Carl Lentz has broken his silence about his firing from Hillsong East Coast on Wednesday, revealing that he was unfaithful to his wife.
“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 admitted in a lengthy Instagram post, along with a photo of his wife, Laura, and their three children.
He added, “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,” Lentz continued.
Hillsong’s founder, Pastor Brian Houston, first made the announcement about Lentz's termination in an email to church staff and members of Hillsong East Coast on Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement sent to The Christian Post by Hillsong, Houston revealed that Lentz’s termination was due to “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”
“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, whose church has locations worldwide, wrote in the email.
The announcement went on to say how much Houston and his wife appreciate Lentz and his wife and all of their work with Hillsong over the past decade.
Lentz’s Instagram post also revealed how much he valued his time pastoring the thriving congregation located in Manhattan.
“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,” he noted.
“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 continued.
The celebrity minister said he and his family gave all they had to serve and build Hillsong NYC over the years but now he will focus on rebuilding his family.
“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,” Lentz confessed.
“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,” he added.
Lentz finished off the post by thanking “pastors Brian and Bobbie” Houston for allowing him to lead.
“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,” he ended.
Within minutes of the post, thousands of people responded, including some popular Christian leaders.
Lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, Levi Lusko, commented: “Jennies and my life and journey would not be where it is without you and Laura’s ministry, influence and friendship. So grateful for your ministry at @hillsongnyc and how it changed so many lives, ours included. Can’t wait to see what God has next. Love you.”
Lecrae wrote, “God restores.”
“Tear filled post. You are loved by many. Praying for your sweet family and that the presence of God would feel more tangible than ever,” worship leader Kari Jobe wrote.
Lentz served Hillsong NYC during its foundational years, starting in 2010. The edgy pastor and the Hillsong name drew thousands of people to the church, which was held at Irving Plaza in Manhattan at the time and was a church by day and club by night.
Lentz’s rise to fame came after he became the lead pastor of Hillsong NYC, and was known for his fashion choices, tattoo-covered arms and celebrity congregants such as Justin and Hailey Bieber, Kevin Durant and others.
Hillsong said it will not be making further public comments on this matter.
Hillsong East Coast services will "proceed as usual."