Hillsong Church Founder said he has been worried for years about disgraced preacher Carl Lentz

“There were leadership issues that I believe included lying, included what I would call narcissistic behavior,” Hillsong founder Brian Houston said on “TODAY.”

Hillsong Church Founder said he has been worried for years about disgraced preacher Carl Lentz
Image courtesy/Hillsong Church Founder said he has been worried for years about disgraced preacher C...

The founder of the Hillsong, a worldwide megachurch that was a magnet for Christian thousands and superstars, said he had worried for years about Carl Lentz, the pastor who was partly ousted last year due to ‘moral problems.


“Carl was Carl. He’s a unique character. There’s a lot of things I miss about Carl,” Brian Houston, the founder and senior pastor of Hillsong Church, said in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show that aired Wednesday.


“Having said that, there were leadership issues that I believe included lying, included what I would call narcissistic behavior,” stated Houston.


“I’d have to admit I’ve had concerns and many conversations over the years with Carl,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot of things I should have known earlier, and hopefully moving forward we make sure we have far better systems in place and better accountability.”


Lentz was the leading pastor of the New York branch of Hillsong. According to the Religion News Service, he became a minister with the Church in Sydney after he created the first US office, according to the Religion News Service, with Houston’s son, Joel, in 2010.


About a decade after Lentz joined the Church, Houston said he was fired “after continued conversations over leadership concerns and breaches of trust plus a new disclosure of moral shortcomings.”


In an Instagram post, Lentz addressed his termination and said that he was unfaithful in his marriage.


“When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate. That it honors the church, and that it honors God. When that does not happen, a change needs to be made and has been made in this case to ensure that standard is upheld,” he underlines a family photo that included his wife and three children.


Houston stated in October, he learned of Lentz’s infidelity. He’s been dismissed on Nov. 4.


Hillsong was founded in Australia in 1983 and described itself as a “modern Christian church.” Its sites in the US include New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and many more countries.


A Grammy-winning record label, a training program, and a TV station are also included in Hillsong.


The church attracts many famous admirers such as Justin Bieber and his wife, Hailey; Chris Pratt and his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger; Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie and Kendall Jenner.


Requesting “TODAY” for the apparent practice of appealing to famous parishioners like Bieber in Hillsong East, Houston responded that “there is a second side.”


“He was wrecking hotel rooms and basically on the edge of getting deported to Canada,” added Houston, alleging that Bieber was leading a drug addiction ‘out-of-control-control life.’


“And look at Justin Bieber today. Anyone who’s being fair could see a radical change,” Houston said.

“And so not everything about it is bad.”


Houston pressed further about if celebrities received better treatment, “I do think that we did allow a culture to develop where it was one rule for celebrities and a different rule for other people.”


After Lentz’s departure, the pastors of two additional places resigned, and complaints of volunteer abuse and overwork arose.


“In my mind, if one person is treated badly, that’s one too many,” Houston said.


“That, if it’s true that people have been treated badly or that people have been bullied, I am 100 percent committed to moving that out of our church.”


Gay members also have comprehensive experience at Hillsong.


“I want us to improve our approach of communicating, engaging, and working with homosexual people. We are an evangelical church, I’d say a conservative evangelical church.” “We struggle with these problems. The world has evolved so fast.


“I love people. I love all people. And I love people from all walks of life. And I don’t have any personal bias at all against gay or lesbian people. But unfortunately, as a pastor, you don’t represent what you think. You represent what the Bible says,” he said. “But everyone’s welcome. Many, many people who are gay come to Hillsong Church.”


Houston stated he did not deny Hillsong’s misguided leadership.


“I’m acknowledging that mistakes have been made and that there are things where we need to get far better, much better. I’m not shrinking back from that,” he said.


However, he said, the scale of the organization is not the problem.


“I’m not sure a church can be too big. I just think we have to grow into ourselves,” he said.


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