Hillsong East Coast Pastor Carl Lentz has been fired. Citing “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures,” Hillsong Church Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston said the decision was not made lightly.
“It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision,” Houston wrote in an announcement posted to the church’s website.
The full statement reads:
Today Hillsong Church East Coast advised our congregation that we have terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz. This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl.
We thank Pastors Carl and Laura for the way they have served faithfully and sacrificially since the start of Hillsong NYC and for contributing so significantly to the countless lives that have been transformed for Jesus Christ through this ministry. They 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. In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here.
This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.
It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family.
While I have no doubt that this is the right course of action, I must mention Bobbie’s and my personal sadness, as we have known Laura her entire life and Carl for well over 20 years.
Hillsong East Coast services and all of our ministries will proceed as usual, and we will continue to be a place of hope, love and faith through the powerful and transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a message our nation and the world need to hear more than ever during a time of such instability and uncertainty.
I appreciate the great team of people who serve here, and as we embark on the process of selecting new leadership, we are praying that God would bring about an exciting new season for our church and this region.
Hillsong Church will not be making further public comments on this matter.
Although originally announced via email to the staff and members of Hillsong East Coast, the announcement was leaked to the broader public via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. A screenshot of the email sent to congregants was shared by Andrew Beck. It’s unclear whether Beck’s images capture the email in its entirety, although some of the wording is the same that was used in the announcement that appeared on Hillsong’s website later on Wednesday evening.
Lentz helped plant the Hillsong congregation in New York City with Houston’s son, Joel Houston, in 2010. Lentz is known for his hip wardrobe and celebrity congregants, which occasionally include Justin Bieber and his wife, Hailey.
Originally from Virginia, Lentz attended King’s College and Seminary in Los Angeles before traveling to Australia to train at Hillsong College. Lentz met his wife, Laura, an Australian native, while attending Hillsong College.
As of this article’s publishing, Lentz has not made a public comment about the announcement.