Carl Lentz has told his church family and social media followers that he was fired from his position as pastor of Hillsong’s New York City church because he was unfaithful to his wife.
“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,” Lentz wrote in a statement released on Instagram this morning.
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“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.”
“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.
Lentz said it was a “hard end to what has been the most amazing, impacting and special chapter of our lives.”
His post follows an announcement made yesterday by Hillsong’s Global pastor Brian Houston, saying Lentz was asked to leave Hillsong’s leadership after “ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”.
Lentz apologised to to his family and his church family, “for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving.”
“When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate,” wrote Lentz. “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.
He said while he wished he could speak to his congregation in person, it was an opportunity that he would not be given.
“To those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again.”
Addressing Hillsong’s global pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston, Lentz said he thanked them 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.”
“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.”
Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston, son of Brian and Bobbie. During the past decade, Lentz has been a prominent Christian in the public arena, appearing regularly in television interviews. His close friendship and mentorship of people like Justin Bieber placed a steady spotlight upon him, becoming known as the “celebrity pastor.”