Marc Fennell’s New Mega Church Doco Just Dropped, And It’s Incredible
Stream The Kingdom for Free on SBS On Demand
Found: your next all-consuming documentary binge, courtesy of SBS and Marc Fennell.
Journalist Marc Fennell — you’ll know him from Stuff The British Stole, Framed and Mastermind — is returning to his roots, diving into the rise and fall of one of the biggest religious movements in the Western world in an exclusive documentary with SBS.
Fennell ran away from Pentecostal churches 17 years ago, and while he’s mostly previously avoided talking about his childhood, his latest project The Kingdom finally explores his experience growing up in what he describes as a “carefully planned emotional rollercoaster”.
Framed in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, financial improprieties, and bullying scandals surrounding the Hillsong church, The Kingdom takes viewers inside some of the biggest megachurches in Australia as Marc tries to find out what made Australian Pentecostalism resonate with Christians around the world. Emerging from a quiet Northwest Sydney suburb, this small off-shoot of Christianity soon snowballed into a global phenomenon – and Marc’s documentary tracks this wild journey across Australia and the US.
With unique access to people inside the churches vying to become the next Hillsong, Marc is able to connect viewers with those who are still very much within the world of Pentecostal Christianity, as well as with those who have left Pentecostalism completely, and those still figuring things out. Hearing these honest, clashing perspectives make for intriguing and thought-provoking TV. Put it this way: you’ll need to dissect this with a few friends after watching.
While it’s easy to think of the Church as a single institution, it’s the people who build them into greatness, and it’s the people who send them crumbling to the ground. With his lived experience of once worshipping along with friends and family inside the Church, Fennel’s in the rare position to be able to connect all of the dots. It’s a confronting, complex and intriguing watch, leaving us with just about as many questions as it does answers (the sign of every good documentary, really).
Carefully balancing grueling experiences from ex-Pentecostal members alongside those who wouldn’t be where they are today without the church, The Kingdom isn’t here to just rehash the damage that Hillsong, and similar religious institutions, have done. Instead, it’s about where these religious institutions go from here, and what’s next for its power players.
As the tagline says, ‘The battle for heaven starts on Earth’.
Stream The Kingdom as it drops exclusively on SBS On Demand from June 8, and you can watch live as it airs on SBS on Sunday June 11 at 7.30pm.