Pastor Carl Lentz, who is best known for his friendship with pop singer Justin Bieber, has been terminated from his leadership role at Hillsong East Coast.
On Wednesday evening, Hillsong founding pastor Brian Houston posted a statement on the church’s website where he praised Lentz for his work and faithfulness to Hillsong NYC along with his wife, Laura Lentz.
According to Religion News Service, Houston informed Hillsong East Coast staff and members that Lentz was let go due to “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”
“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.
“Please understand that it would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. However, you can be assured that this decision was made in order to honor God and pastorally care for you, our East Coast family, Pastor Carl and his family,” Houston continued.
Pastor Houston reassured members that Hillsong East Coast services and all its ministries “will proceed as usual and we will continue to be a place of hope, love, and faith through the powerful and transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Houston said that he and the Hillsong team will “embark on the process of new leadership”, and that they are “praying that God would bring about an exciting new season for our church and this region.”
“Hillsong Church will not be making further public comments on this matter,” he added.
Houston’s son, Joel, along with Carl Lentz, founded Hillsong NYC in 2010.
Lentz also oversaw churches in New Jersey, Boston and Connecticut as part of Hillsong East Coast.
Hillsong NYC grew in popularity as large gatherings of young people would line up to attend the initial location of Irving Plaza in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, where it also functions as a concert venue.
Lentz who has also served as a spiritual mentor to Bieber throughout the years, drew attention as a celebrity pastor by the mainstream media and for his friendships with celebrity congregants, his hipster clothing, and his tattoo covered arms.
GQ Magazine, who described Lentz as a “hypepriest”, credited the pastor for baptizing pop star Justin Bieber in the bathtub of former New York Knicks player, Tyson Chandler.