NEW YORK – Carl Lentz, a celebrity pastor and who brought the Hillsong global megachurch from Australia to the U.S., was fired from the church after he admitted that he cheated on his wife.
“When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real consequences,” Lentz said on social media. “I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that.”
Lentz, 41, met his wife Laura while the two were training at Hillsong’s college in Sydney. They married in 2003 and moved to New York in 2010 to spread the church’s message. The church is popular among millennials and others. More than 100,000 people in 20 countries attend weekly services.
Performer Justin Bieber once spent a month with Lentz and his family. Lentz even baptized the pop star in NBA veteran Tyson Chandler’s bathtub one night.
Brian Houston, Hillsong’s founder told congregants Wednesday that Lentz was fired.
“Following ongoing discussions in relationship to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures,” Houston said.
The couple live in Montclair, New Jersey, and have three children. Lentz said he takes full responsibility and seeks to rebuild trust with his family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.