Hillsong founding pastor Brian Houston has announced that an independent investigation has been commissioned to look into the “inner workings” of Hillsong NYC following the termination of former lead pastor Carl Lentz. Lentz was fired following revelations of an extramarital affair.
“We need a solid foundation for a fresh start and new beginning,” Houston tweeted. “The best is yet to come.”
We are launching an independent investigation into the inner workings of Hillsong NYC/ East Coast. We need a solid foundation for a fresh start and new beginning. The best is yet to come.
— Brian Houston (@BrianCHouston) November 12, 2020
Houston sent a statement to Religion News Service in which Houston said the church has heard “from a number of people about their experiences and concerns” following Lentz’s firing.
“We are taking this extremely seriously and on the basis of this report, we will be better positioned to take whatever actions are deemed necessary to right the wrongs and see Hillsong East Coast move forward in a way that enables many more people to find hope in Jesus,” the statement continued.
The Hillsong East Coast staff was informed that Lentz was no longer the pastor of Hillsong NYC on November 4 in an email that cited “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.” The following day, Lentz admitted that he’d been “unfaithful to [his] wife” in a lengthy Instagram post, with an accompanying photo of the whole Lentz family. “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 in the post.
In Brian Houston’s address to the Hillsong NYC congregation during their streamed service, he addressed confidence that the church would move forward.
“It’s always a time where there’s speculation, rumor and gossip when change is made, and especially when radical change is made.”
“There’s great days ahead,” Houston assured the church. “We will continue to stay in touch when it comes to the long-term leadership of Hillsong East Coast.”