Carl Lentz, who brought the popular Hillsong megachurch to the U.S., announced he was fired after posting to Instagram that he cheated on his wife.
“When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate,” Lentz wrote in an Instagram post. “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 endure that standard is upheld.”
“When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences,” Lentz 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.”
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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..
Brian Houston, founder of Hillsong, told the church’s East Coast congregants said Wednesday that Lentz was fired “following ongoing discussions in relationship to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.” (RELATED: Megachurch Pastor Refuses To Condemn Abortion)
“[Carl and Laura] 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.”
Lentz first met his wife, Laura, while students at Hillsong’s training college in Sydney, according to the Associated Press (AP). They married in 2003 and share three children.
The pair came to New York in 2010 to spread the church’s mass gatherings.