Former Hillsong Pastors Trade Infidelity and Abuse Accusations
Atlanta-based Story Church leaders Toni and Sam Collier announce divorce
On Friday (Dec. 1), prominent Atlanta pastor and former Hillsong leader Sam Collier announced he and his wife, Toni, are getting a divorce in the midst of abuse and infidelity allegations.
The news comes less than two years after Sam resigned as Hillsong Atlanta’s lead pastor in attempts to distance himself from the global Hillsong network, and the scandals and infidelity accusations its founder Brian Houston and others were embroiled in.
“My greatest reason for stepping down as pastor of Hillsong Atlanta is probably not a secret to any of you,” he wrote on social media. “With all of the documentaries, scandals, articles, accusations and the church’s subsequent management of these attacks it’s become too difficult to lead and grow a young church in this environment.”
He resigned from Hillsong Atlanta in March of 2022. Almost a month later, Sam and Toni Collier founded Story Church in Atlanta, which opened its doors on Easter Sunday.
But rumblings that all might not be well between the two church leaders began in late November of this year, when Toni Collier posted a photo of herself and the couple’s two children at a different church. In the post she wrote that she “went to a safe, honest church with my babies today, sat next to dear friends who held grief with me.” She also called out church leaders who have attempted “to cover up addictions, infidelity, and manipulation.”
Days later, on Dec. 1, the couple posted contradictory news of their divorce on their respective Instagram accounts.
Access to MinistryWatch content is free. However, we hope you will support our work with your prayers and financial gifts. To make a donation, click here.
“After years of discovering and enduring repeated acts of infidelity, I’ve chosen to end my marriage with Sam,” Toni Collier wrote. “Despite seasons of hope, attempts at reconciliation, and counseling, after recently discovering more infidelity, I realized this wasn’t a sustainable or God-honoring marriage anymore. I’m at a point where I have to say ‘no more.’ I’m taking time off the stage and social media to focus on healing with my kids. I have no desire to hurt Sam, but do want to vigorously protect my heart and my children.”
A few moments later, in a post that has since been deleted, Sam Collier called his wife a “liar and abuser.” He insisted that not only was the divorce decision mutual, but that he “tried to divorce her 7 times and she begged me to stay and kept abusing me.”
After his initial post was deleted, Sam Collier later released another statement apologizing for his first post. He noted that he and his wife have “mutually decided to pursue a divorce” and that “as a man of God I am blessed to know that the FULL truth will be revealed as we navigate through the legal process.”
Toni Collier founded the women’s ministry Broken Crayons Still Color, and has spoken out on toxic relationships and abuse to help women heal, most notably on “The Heart of Dating” podcast.
Sam Collier is an author and founder of A Greater Story Ministries where he broadcasts a TV series and podcast. He has previously worked at North Point Ministries and Ebenezer Baptist Church, among others.
Story Church has not released information as to whether Sam will stay on at the church as lead pastor. His information and title as “Senior and Apostle Pastor” is still listed on the church website. He is also a member of the church’s board of directors.
Main photo: Sam Collier preaching at Story Church Sept. 10 / Video screenshot