Carl Lentz, a senior pastor at the New York branch of Hillsong Church has had his employment terminated over “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”
In an email sent to church members, Senior Pastor and Hillsong Founder Brian Houston announced that Lentz had been relieved of his duties.
“I am very sad to inform you that Hillsong Church has terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz,” Mr Houston’s email read. “I know this will come as a shock to you, but please know that this action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl.”
Houston continued to thank Carl and his wife Laura Lentz — who is also a pastor at the campus — for their service at Hillsong over the past 20 years. Houston did not provide details into the church’s decision to sack Lentz, claiming it “would not be appropriate.”
Carl Lentz took to Instagram yesterday to acknowledge that he had been “unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life.”
“This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions,” he wrote. “I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura, and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need.”
Carl Lentz is somewhat a celebrity in the evangelical scene. Lentz famously acted as a spirit-guide for musician Justin Bieber, who revealed to GQ in a 2015 profile that he moved in with Lentz and his family in 2014.
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Our time at HillsongNYC has come to an end. This is a hard ending to what has been the most amazing, impacting and special chapter of our lives. Leading this church has been an honor in every sense of the word and it is impossible to articulate how much we have loved and will always love the amazing people in this church. When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate. That it honors the church, and that it honors God. When that does not happen, a change needs to be made and has been made in this case to ensure that standard is upheld. Laura and I and our amazing children have given all that we have to serve and build this church and over the years I did not do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refilling my own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available. When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences. I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need. I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process. I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have. So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again. To our pastors Brian and Bobbie, thank you for allowing us to lead, allowing us to thrive and giving us room to have a voice that you have never stifled or tried to silence. Thank you for your grace and kindness especially in this season, as you have done so much to protect and love us through this. We, the Lentz family, don’t know what this next chapter will look like, but we will walk into it together very hopeful and grateful for the grace of God..
In other news, late last month Hillsong Church confirmed that they have acquired beloved Melbourne concert venue Festival Hall.
The church intends to allow the venue to keep hosting live events throughout the week, but it would be “the house of God” on Sundays.