Frank Houston

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Frank Houston
8th General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand
In office
December 1965 – June 1977
Preceded by R R Read
Succeeded by Jim Williams

William Francis "Frank" Houston (born 22 April 1922, Whanganui, New Zealand[1] – died 8 November 2004, Sydney, Australia), was a Pentecostal Christian pastor in the Assemblies of God in New Zealand and Australia. Frank Houston founded Sydney Christian Life Centre, which would eventually come under the leadership of his son Pastor Brian Houston.[2]


Houston commenced ministry training as a Salvation Army officer shortly after turning 18. He married Hazel and they had five children. The couple transferred their allegiance to the Baptist church, and later to the Assemblies of God in New Zealand. Houston initially attended the Ellerslie Assembly in 1960, but later transferred to the Lower Hutt Assemblies of God, and served as the superintendent of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand from 1965 to 1971.

In 1977 Houston moved to Sydney, and founded the Sydney Christian Life Centre in "Sherbrooke Hall" in Double Bay, which was not affiliated with any denomination in its first decade, but then became an Assemblies of God church. With further growth it moved to Darlinghurst, and then warehouse premises in the inner Sydney suburb of Waterloo, which housed a 600-seat auditorium, a Bible and Creative Arts College, and many other ministry arms. Houston was known by those close to him in the church as "the Bishop",[3] not as an official title but as a humorous reference to mainstream churches. He was also involved in over twenty Christian Life Centres being opened throughout New South Wales and overseas. Houston served as pastor at his church for more than two decades, and in senior positions within the Assemblies of God in Australia.

In 1999, after consultation amongst senior pastoral staff of the church, and the staff of Hills Christian Life Centre, a daughter church pastored by his son Brian, the churches were merged to become the Hillsong Church.

Sexual crimes against children[edit]

In 2000 Houston confessed to the sexual abuse of a boy in New Zealand 30 years earlier. Shortly afterward, in response, Brian Houston, who was then also the National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia, dismissed his father.[2]

In August 2007 further allegations emerged that Houston had sexually abused a trainee pastor during counselling sessions in the early 1980s.[4]

On 8 October 2014 Brian Houston admitted to a Sydney hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that his father was guilty of other cases of sexual abuse against children.[5]


Houston is the subject of the biography Being Frank (1989), authored by his wife Hazel.[6]


Houston died at the aged 82 on 8 November 2004. Mourners at his funeral included the then federal MP for Greenway, Louise Markus, a member of Hillsong church, the federal MP for Mitchell, Alan Cadman and the Deputy Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione. Houston's wife, Hazel, had died 6 months earlier.[2]


  1. ^ Hazel Houston, Being Frank: The Frank Houston Story. London: Marshall Pickering, 1989, p24
  2. ^ a b c Stephen Gibbs (2004-11-13). "Hillsong farewells a lost sheep pioneer". Sydney Morning Herald. John Fairfax Holdings. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
  3. ^ Danny Nalliah / Philip Powell (2007-07-13). "Pentecostal Disgrace - Catch the Fire Honouring the Late Frank Houston". Christian Witness Ministries. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  4. ^ David Marr (2007-08-03). "Hillsong - the church with no answers". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  5. ^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet (October 7, 2014). "Hillsong church leader slams paedophile father William Francis 'Frank' Houston as 'repulsive' at child sex abuse royal commission". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ Houston, Hazel (1989). Being Frank (1 ed.). Marshall Pickering. ISBN 9780551018860. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
Preceded by
R Read
General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand
Succeeded by
Jim Williams