In a surprise move, disgraced former Hillsong Church pastor Carl Lentz has joined the staff of the nondenominational Transformation Church in Tusla, Oklahoma. The church is led by pastors Mike and Natalie Todd.
Earlier this week, the announcement spread throughout social media after being reported by multiple news agencies, sparking a flurry of emotions and warnings.
In an email sent to Religion News Service, Executive Pastor Tammy McQuarters said, “We gladly welcome Carl Lentz to our Transformation Church staff, helping TC with strategy as we continue to move forward in our vast vision.”
McQuarters told 2 News Oklahoma that “after two years of Carl being in his own discovery and healing process, he has shown readiness to use his God-given gifts towards the local church again. We believe in Carl, his marriage, his skill set, and his restoration. We pray that Carl, Laura, and their family experience not only their own restoration, but help others experience restoration by using their triumphs and failures to create resources for the body of Christ at large. We believe that this is part of what it looks like for the church to be the church.”
Lentz previously lived a high-profile lifestyle while pastor of New York’s Hillsong East Coast, frequently rubbing shoulders with celebrities and athletes like Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, and Kevin Durant, and Tyson Chandler.
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The stylish pastor was fired in November 2020 by Hillsong Church’s now-former Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston for what was described as “moral failures.”
Lentz took full responsibility for his moral failing after the news of his firing was made public, disclosing in a social media post, “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 pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again,” Lentz went on to write.
Lentz’s mistress, New York fashion designer named Ranin Karim, exposed the secret relationship and shared that early on in their affair, she had no idea that Lentz was a pastor. Lentz told her that he was someone who managed celebrities and traveled with them. He had asked her not to Google him.
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After Lentz’s wife Laura became aware of the affair, Lentz abruptly ending his relationship with Karim via phone call.