High profile pastor of Hillsong NYC, Carl Lentz, has had his employment terminated.
In an email sent out to Hillsong East Coast church members, Hillsong Global Pastor Brian Houston said he knew the announcement “will come as a shock to you, but please know that this action was not taken lightly.”
This is absolutely colossal news. This is the celebrity pastor best known for baptising Justin Bieber in a bathtub. https://t.co/ELHEtHJaXE
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— Eliza Barr (@ElizaJBarr) November 4, 2020
“This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures,” wrote Houston, adding it would be inappropriate to provide details of what led to the decision.
“In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here.”
In 2010, Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston. During the past decade, Lentz has been a prominent Christian in the public arena, appearing regularly in television interviews and becoming known as the “celebrity pastor.” His close friendship and mentorship of people such as Justin Bieber placed a steady spotlight upon him.
This year, Lentz took a particularly strong and outspoken stance during the Black Lives Matter protests. Although he was highly active on Instagram, the New York pastor has not posted since September 19.
Brian Houston expressed his and wife Bobbie’s personal sadness about the Lentz termination, having known Lentz for more than 20 years and his wife Laura for “her entire life”.
“As sudden as this feels to us, we must remember that it’s not a shock to God, who birthed Hillsong NYC and already has planned for this time. He will continue to open new doors for us and do new things, as long as we continue to honour Him.
“Carl and Laura have a heart for people and we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong Church. However, you can be assured that this decision was made in order to honour God and pastorally care for you, our East Coast family, Pastor Carl and his family.”
Houston said Hillsong NYC services and ministries will continue. He also asked that people respond using the power of God’s word, not the destructive force of human word.
“I implore you to deal with this scripturally by not engaging in rumour, gossip or slander.”