Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz tests positive for coronavirus: 'Like a flu times 50'

Carl Lentz sit down with Oprah Winfrey for a taping of Super Soul Sunday October 16, 2015.
Carl Lentz sit down with Oprah Winfrey for a taping of Super Soul Sunday October 16, 2015. | (Photo:

Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong NYC, said he has tested positive for the coronavirus, revealing that while the disease "took him out," he is "good" now. 

The 41-year-old megachurch pastor made the announcement with Judah Smith, pastor of Churchome, on Instagram Live Monday night.

"I started feeling so bad," Lentz told Smith, who pastors in Seattle and Los Angeles. "I got my test. It came back positive."

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According to the pastor, Hillsong NYC closed its doors on Sunday, the same day Governor Andrew Cuomo enforced a state-wide lockdown. A short time later, Lentz said, his "team got hit pretty hard."

"I'm fine," he said. "I'm good ... Let me tell you something. It is definitely real ... the symptoms are so real. It's kind of like a flu times 50 ... still don't feel like myself ... I look forward to getting my energy back."

He added, "My breath is a lot shorter. Fatigue is a lot quicker. My advice to people is, try to take this as seriously as you can."

If anyone else tests positive, Lentz encouraged them to remember: "You're not alone. I'm praying that we find something that eradicates this thing completely. That's my hope.”

Smith asked all watching to pray over Lentz and his family, stressing the pastor’s positive diagnosis is "sobering.”

The coronavirus has affected at least 52,215 people across every state, plus Washington, D.C., and three U.S. territories. 

New York has 10 times the cases of any other state in the country. More than 90,000 New Yorkers have been tested and more than 25,000 people have tested positive for the virus.

On Tuesday, Cuomo said the rate of increase of coronavirus cases in New York has grown and the rate of new infections is doubling every three days.

Lentz isn't the only pastor or Christian figure in the U.S. to test positive for the virus.

Mark Palenske, pastor of Greers Ferry First Assembly in Arkansas, was struck with the virus along with his wife, Dena, and more than 30 others connected to his church. It was later confirmed that a church greeter, who had a "significant medical history," including respiratory and cardiac problems, later died from the virus.

“There was very little in my training for the ministry that covered the full measure of what our church family has dealt with in the past few weeks,” the pastor said in a statement on Facebook Sunday.

“The intensity of this virus has been underestimated by so many, and I continue to ask that each of you take it very seriously. An act of wisdom and restraint on your part can be the blessing that preserves the health of someone else.”

Last week, Christian singer Sandi Patty announced she had tested positive for COVID-19 in a video in which she urged fans to take the pandemic seriously, to avoid in-person social gatherings, including church, and to wash their hands.

“This is not fake news. This is real. This is everything they say it is, and we’ve got to take it seriously,” Patty, 63, said. 

Her caption on Instagram read, “If you are not already practicing social distancing and STAYING HOME, DO SO NOW! This is what we can all do. This is how we stop the spread. God has given us faith, but he’s also given us wisdom.”

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