Carl Lentz, the lead pastor ousted by Hillsong NYC earlier this week, admitted in an Instagram post on Thursday that he had an extramarital affair, ending speculation about his firing from the church.
Hillsong founding pastor Brian Houston told church staff in an email that Lentz had been terminated his position, citing "leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures." Houston did not specifically give more details, saying it "would not be appropriate."
Lentz addressed the termination on social media.
"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," Lentz wrote. "I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process. I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have."
Lentz said that leading Hillsong NYC "has been an honor in every sense of the word."
"This is a hard ending to what has been the most amazing, impacting, and special chapter of our lives," he wrote.
Houston praised Lentz in a statement on the church website, saying that he was grateful for the service the family had provided.
"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," the statement said.