Discovery+ docuseries to look at Hillsong Church scandal, fall of ex-pastor Carl Lentz 

Carl Lentz speaks at Hillsong Church NYC in this photo dated January 2020.
Carl Lentz speaks at Hillsong Church NYC in this photo dated January 2020. | Facebook/Hillsong Church NYC

Discovery+ has announced that it will stream a three-episode limited docuseries titled “Breaking Hillsong” that will delve into the controversy surrounding former Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz.

Presented by The Content Group’s Breaklight Pictures and the New York Post, “Breaking Hillsong” will give viewers a glimpse into the  Australia-based megachurch that has sites around the world and the recent scrutiny Lentz has come under.

The subscription streaming service has partnered with the New York Post and its investigative journalist Hannah Frishberg, who has written several articles about Hillsong and the former minister. 

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“Drawing on Frishberg’s articles as source material, ‘Breaking Hillsong’ will chronicle the headline-making world of Hillsong, with exclusive, never-before-seen interviews, including Ranin Karim, the New York-based fashion designer whose five-month affair with Lentz led to his downfall,” according to a description of the series as reported by Deadline.

In a statement sent to The Christian Post last November, Hillsong's Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston said Lentz was terminated due to “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”

The church then launched an investigation after additional details of Lentz’s affair with the Muslim fashion designer were made public.

According to Discovery+, the series will profile “current and ex-members of the church who have come forward to share harrowing stories of trauma, abuse, financial and labor exploitation, homophobia and racism that created a culture of chaos at Hillsong.”

“Breaking Hillsong” will also reportedly examine corruption within megachurches at large.

Houston gave his first public interview last month where he addressed Lentz's firing. 

The minister sat down with NBC's "Today" show to briefly discuss the controversies surrounding Lentz. During that broadcast, the network also noted the scandals at two other Hillsong churches: the resignation of Darnell Barrett, creative director of Hillsong Church Montclair in New Jersey, and the resignation of Reed and Jess Bogard from Hillsong Dallas which has since closed

Lentz led all Hillsong campuses across the East Coast and was often pegged as a celebrity pastor by secular media. His friends and church attendees included A-list stars such as Justin and Hailey Bieber, Kevin Durant, Selena Gomez, Kylie Jenner and others. 

He was also credited with having baptized Justin Bieber in the bathtub of former New York Knicks player Tyson Chandler. But following Lentz's public scandal, Bieber publicly distanced himself from Hillsong, saying that he was never a member of Hillsong and his pastor has always been Judah Smith of Churchome.

Houston, who founded Hillsong in 1983, has said how much he and his wife appreciate Lentz, his wife, and all of their work with Hillsong over the past decade.

Lentz first admitted to the affair in an Instagram post after his firing from Hillsong.

“When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real consequences,” he wrote. “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.”

In his post, Lentz said that 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 stated.

“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."

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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