Discovery+ has ordered a three-episode docuseries called Breaking Hillsong, which will follow the rise and fall former Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz. If you’ve been following this series over the last few months, you know there are definitely enough twists and turns for a documentary film crew to really sink their teeth into. Something like this was probably inevitable, given Hillsong’s enormous platform. It’s not that surprising. It might be a little surprising that it’s happening this soon since the story appears to still be ongoing but, hey, that’s showbiz.
Hannah Frishberg, a freelance journalist whose covered much of the Hillsong NYC drama, will partner with the New York Post to handle the docuseries duties, which promises “never-before-seen” footage and interviews with people like Ranin Karim, the fashion designer whose five-month affair with Lentz sparked the scandal that ended his time in ministry.
Hillsong NYC’s reach and influence was vast, and celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kevin Durant and a couple Kardashians could be included among the many who spent time worshipping or even became members there. Lentz planted the church with his friend Joel Houston and quickly built it into a real cultural force with Lentz as its star, who got profiled in glitzy places like GQ and Esquire (not to mention RELEVANT). Lentz’s affair was discovered in the winter of last year, which led to an independent investigation of the church.
There’s a lot more to the story that will probably be covered in Breaking Hillsong, and possibly some new details we haven’t heard yet including, according to Deadline, conversations with “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.” What a tragic mess.
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's senior editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.