Hillsong East Coast Pastor Carl Lentz Has Been Fired for ‘Moral Failures’ [Updated]

Update 2:30 CST]

Carl Lentz has released a statement on Instagram about his termination from Hillsong NYC, admitting to marital infidelity. “I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that,” Lentz wrote. “This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions.” Lentz said that he “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. When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences.”

You can read the full post below.

 

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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. 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. Laura and I and our amazing children have given all that we have to serve and build this church and over the years 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. 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. 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. 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. To our pastors Brian and Bobbie, thank you for allowing us to lead, allowing us to thrive and giving us room to have a voice that you have never stifled or tried to silence. 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..

A post shared by Carl Lentz (@carllentz) on


Lentz’s post follows a statement from Hillsong founding pastor announcing that Lentz would be fired for “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.” Lentz planted Hillsong NYC with Houston’s son Joel in 2010.

In his Instagram post, Lentz apologized for his actions and thanked the elder Houston “for allowing us to lead, allowing us to thrive and giving us room to have a voice that you have never stifled or tried to silence. Thank you for your grace and kindness especially in this season, as you have done so much to protect and love us through this.”

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. 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.

Lentz said that he and his 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.”

On Wednesday, Hillsong founding pastor Brian Houston sent an email to Hillsong East Coast informing them that Carl Lentz had been fired as the lead pastor of the New York City location. Houston cited “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures” as reasons for Lentz’s termination.

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Houston said he could not go into further details. “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 wrote.

Original Post

In a statement posted to Hillsong NYC’s website, Houston praised Lentz and his wife Laura for their time and work at the church and expressed confidence that they would continue to serve elsewhere. “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,” the statement said.

Lentz planted Hillsong NYC with Brian Houston’s son Joel back in 2010, and helped establish the church as a cultural force in the city, drawing nearly as much attention for its influential ministries as it did for famous congregants like Justin Bieber and Kevin Durant. Glossy press outlets like GQ and Esquire profiled Lentz as a quasi-celebrity in his own right, scratching their editorial heads over his cool clothes and flashy tattoos.

“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,” Houston continued in the statement.

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