Bishop I.V. Hilliard gives reins of megachurch over to his daughter in historic move
Article By Beth Morris // EEW Magazine Ministry News
And a woman shall lead them.
Dr. Irishea Hilliard has been installed as new senior pastor of New Light Christian Center Church—a designation that officially makes her the successor of Bishop I.V. Hilliard, who is her father, and also founder of the ministry.
The patriarchal leader of the mega-church founded in 1984, which boasts more than 20,000 members, is blazing a trail by giving over the reins of such a large, prominent ministry, to a woman.
In a televised news story that ran on Houston’s ABC 13, Pastor Irishea admits that everyone isn’t happy about this leadership sea change. “I've seen the push-back. I've heard the push-back, but I don't pay attention to it," said the gospel preacher who has been sharing the word of God for almost 20 years.
"It has been a journey that has been amazing. I've been preparing for it for years, but to finally be here is exciting," the former chief operations officer for New Light told the news station.
“He really wanted a boy and I was supposed to be a boy,” Pastor Irishea explained. “He always thought, you know, I don't have a boy, so I don't have someone to pass the church to, but in that moment, God spoke to him and told him he got it right, and that I was always meant to be his successor and take over the ministry and I was his promised seed.”
No matter where people fall, on the side of celebrators or critics, all eyes are on the this historic female leader to see how she will advance New Light, which has two locations in Houston and one in Beaumont.
"It's now time for women to step up to the plate. I think we have to do it and continue to do it from a place of integrity, do it from a place of character, and know someone is watching," she said.