Carl Lentz, the high-profile pastor who ministered to celebrities before being ousted from Hillsong Church East Coast in 2020, has taken a new position at an Oklahoma church.
Lentz has joined Tulsa's Transformation Church as a strategist, Executive Pastor Tammy McQuarters told KJRH-TV.
Lentz was terminated as pastor of Hillsong Church East Coast in 2020 due to an extramarital affair. He subsequently released a statement acknowledging his failure and saying he was entering a period of “rebuilding trust” with his wife, Laura, and their children.
“After two years of Carl being in his own discovery and healing process, he has shown readiness to use his God-given gifts towards the local church again,” McQuarters said. “We believe in Carl, his marriage, his skill set, and his restoration. We pray that Carl, Laura, and their family experience not only their own restoration, but help others experience restoration by using their triumphs and failures to create resources for the body of Christ at large. We believe that this is part of what it looks like for the church to be the church.”
Michael and Natalie Todd are the church’s lead pastors.
As pastor of Hillsong Church East Coast in New York, Lentz became a high-profile pastor by ministering to celebrities such as Justin Bieber. Hillsong, in 2020, said it had terminated Lentz “following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.” Hillsong’s statement further said, “we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church.”
Lentz, in 2020, acknowledged his failure.
“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,” Lentz said in 2020. “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.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Charley Gallay/Stringer, Laura and Carl Lentz in 2016
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.