Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz fired over 'moral failures'

Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz(Photo: Hillsong)

Hillsong has fired Carl Lentz, the pastor of its New York City branch.

Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday in which he said the decision "was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl." 

Explaining the decision, Houston said it followed "ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures". 

He said it would "not be appropriate" to go into the details of the events that led to the termination of his employment, but asked for prayers as Hillsong NYC begins the search for a new leader. 

"Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family," he said.

"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.

"Hillsong East Coast services and all of our 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.

"This is a message our nation and the world need to hear more than ever during a time of such instability and uncertainty.

Justin Bieber with Lentz, one of his closest friends and mentors(PHOTO: Instagram/Justin Bieber)

"I appreciate the great team of people who serve here, and as we embark on the process of selecting new leadership, we are praying that God would bring about an exciting new season for our church and this region." 

Lentz, 41, has been Hillsong NYC's pastor since its founding in 2010. He is a close friend of Justin Bieber and was among the guests at the pop star's wedding to wife Hailey last year. 

Houston said he did not want the termination of Letz's tenure to "diminish the good work" he did at Hillsong NYC over the last decade. 

"We thank Pastors Carl and Laura for the way they have served faithfully and sacrificially since the start of Hillsong NYC and for contributing so significantly to the countless lives that have been transformed for Jesus Christ through this ministry," he said.

"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." 

Lentz has not commented on his firing.