Hillsong pastor who baptised Justin Bieber is sacked by the mega-church

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The Hillsong pastor who baptised Justin Bieber and was inseparable from the popstar during a tour of Australia has been fired by the Christian mega-church for alleged 'breaches of trust' and 'a recent revelation of moral failures'.  

Carl Lentz, who was connected to Hillsong in New York City, was sacked by the church's founder Brian Houston this week. 

'This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures,' Mr Houston said.

'While I have no doubt in my heart that this is the right course of action, I must mention Bobbie's (Houston's wife) and my personal sadness, as we have known Laura her entire life and Carl for well over 20 years.'

Carl Lentz (right), who baptised Bieber (left) in 2014, was sacked by Hillsong founder Brian Houston this week

Lentz is married to Australian woman Laura Lentz. The couple have three children together

Lentz has said he first met when Bieber was already a star in 2008, when he was just 14-years-old

Mr Houston said it was 'not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl'.

'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.'  

Mr Houston said it 'would not be appropriate' to provide details on the events which led to the church's decision. 

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

Lentz, who baptised Bieber in 2014, dropped out of university and attended a seminary in California before moving to Australia. 

He enrolled in a Hillsong 'leadership' course where he met his Aussie wife, Laura. The couple have three children together. 

The 41-year-old has become a Hillsong star in his own right, with more than 678,000 Instagram followers including Drake and NBA stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.  

Lentz copped backlash earlier this year when he ignored large gathering limits to allow 200 to enter the New York church. He tested positive to COVID-19 in March. 

Hillsong was brought to public attention when Justin Bieber was baptised in an NBA player Tyson Chandler's bath by Lentz in 2014.

It played a central role in transforming his image from a partying ladies' man to a clean-cut Christian devotee. 

His wife, Hailey Baldwin, is also a believer, and are frequently spotted in church together.

Bieber and Lentz were inseparable during a trip to Australia in 2017, where they were spotted brunching together at swanky Sydney restaurants while the pop star was on tour

Now a father-of-three, Lentz described their relationship in the past as 'regular friends who talk all the time'. Pictured with rapper Lil Wayne

Founder Hillsong Brian Houston (pictured) said it 'would not be appropriate' to provide details on the events which led to the church's decision

Other famous faces have followed their lead, including Chris Pratt, Selena Gomez, Kylie and Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian.

Bieber and Lentz were inseparable during a trip to Australia in 2017, where they were spotted brunching together at swanky Sydney restaurants while the pop star was on tour.     

Speaking to the U.S. edition of GQ in 2015, Lentz documented the moment Bieber got down on his knees, 'ravaged by loss' and sobbed: 'I want to know Jesus'. 

According to the magazine account, the baptism finished with Bieber 'wet and sobbing against Pastor Carl's chest... born anew'.  

The incredible moment appears to have cemented a close friendship between the pair.

Lentz documented the moment Bieber got down on his knees, 'ravaged by loss' and sobbed: 'I want to know Jesus'. Pictured with Lentz's son

Bieber's wife, Hailey Baldwin, is also a believer, and are frequently spotted in church together

Lentz has said they first met when Bieber was already a star in 2008, when he was just 14 year old.  

Now a father-of-three, Lentz described their relationship in the past as 'regular friends who talk all the time'.

He has been quoted telling media: 'When he's with me, he rolls with me.

'He's like a member of our team ... He fits in like a piece of furniture'.  

Lentz opened the New York branch of his church in 2011. He has become known in local media as the 'rock star preacher' and also for his spruiking of an alkaline-based nutrition and fitness regime. 

Statement from Hillsong 

Today Hillsong Church East Coast advised our congregation that we have terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz. This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl.

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. 

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. In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here.

This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.

It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family.

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.

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.

Hillsong Church will not be making further public comments on this matter.

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