Woman Houston, Bobbie (1957 - )
- Pentecostalist Pastor
Written by Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University
Bobbie Houston was born in New Zealand in 1957. She was not a churchgoer as a child but became involved with the Pentecostalist movement as a teenager and met her husband, Brian, at a Christian convention, the 'defining moment' of her life (Australian Story). They married in 1977 and in the following year migrated to Australia, to minister alongside his father to a Pentecostalist congregation in Sydney. In 1983, the Houstons set out on their own establishing in Baulkham Hills the first congregation of what would become the megachurch Hillsong which now has congregations across Australia and overseas.
Houston understands her leadership in terms of partnership. 'Our roles are that Brian is, you know, senior pastor, and because I'm married to him and connected in heart and soul with him, that I am seen and respected as senior pastor with him also. And I also oversee our women's ministry at the church as well' (Australian Story). She sees her responsibility within the church in gendered terms, to teach the women of the church and 'to hopefully example what a woman of God could look like' (Australian Story).
Bobbie heads the Colour Sisterhood described as a 'global awakening of God's daughters on earth' which aims to help women 'find an important and critical level of partnership' in local and international projects' (Colour Sisterhood website). It holds annual conferences in Sydney, Kiev, London and Capetown designed to help women realise their potential to bring about change. She urges women to support each other, rather than expect their husbands to depart from their gendered roles, impressing upon her followers that she always took primary responsibility for the home and the care of the couple's three now adult children (Church Leaders website).
Hillsong has become a multimillion dollar business but in accordance with her understanding of the nature of their partnership, Houston accepts a substantially lower salary than her husband (Bobbie's and my finances website). She has disseminated her views about Christian womanhood in both print and audiovisual form. In 2012 Houston was named number 34 on the Sydney Morning Herald''s list of movers and shakers, with her husband at number 33 (Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2012).
- Houston, Bobbie, I'll Have What She's Having: The Ultimate Compliment To Any Woman Daring To Change Her World, Thomas Nelson, Sydney, New South Wales, 2008. Details
- Houston, Bobbie, 'Interview with Bobbie Houston', in Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): Australian Story, Program Transcript, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 1 August 2005, http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2005/s1427576.htm. Details
- Houston, Bobbie, The Colour Sisterhood, Hillsong, 2009, http://thecoloursisterhood.com/about. Details
- Houston, Bobbie, 'Bobbie Houston: How to Balance Ministry and Family', Church Leaders: Lead Better Everyday, c. 2013, http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-how-to/155204-bobbie-houston-20-tips-to-balance-ministry-and-family.html. Details
- Houston, Brian, 'Bobbie's and My Finances... A letter from Brian Houston', 13 August 2010, http://retro.hillsong.com/bobbies-and-my-finances-a-letter-brian-houston. Details
- Lobley, Katrina and Coorey, Phillip, 'Pulling the Strings', The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2012, p. 46, http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?page=1&sy=nstore&kw=bobbie+houston&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=entire&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=nrm&clsPage=1&docID=SMH1211302P30I48TQ0B. Details