Carl Lentz, a former celebrity pastor best known for preaching the gospel at Hillsong, a mega-celebrity church, has acknowledged to having an extramarital affair with his wife while leading the American branch of the organization.
Lentz discusses the highs and lows of overseeing a flourishing congregation for almost ten years as Hillsong Church expanded from Australia to the United States in a new FX docuseries.
Lentz helped Hillsong gain notoriety, and his megachurch included Kourtney Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Bono, and other well-known figures.
After serving as a pastor for ten years, Lentz announced in an Instagram post in November 2020 that his family was quitting the church because he had been “unfaithful” to his wife Laura.
He claimed that he had failed to “do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refueling my own soul, and reaching out for the readily available help that is available” and that he, his wife, and their three children were leaving the church. Making decisions out of a place of emptiness has significant and severe implications.
The pastor was accused of having an affair with a woman named Ranin Karim.
Now, in a new trailer for “The Secrets of Hillsong,” which releases Friday, May 19, Lentz said; “You do not want to be in this chair. I cannot stress it enough.”
Lentz could be seen wearing two gold chain necklaces that featured a pendant of a heart and another with a cross.
“I had some major lies,” he said.
Then his wife, Laura, remembered when Carl revealed the truth about his extramarital affair.
“He said, ‘I have been unfaithful,’” she said as pictures from their wedding day flashed before the screen.
During a video conference with Hillsong leaders prior to being fired – including Brian Houston who resigned in 2022 amid allegations of “inappropriate behavior” toward two women Lentz was also reportedly asked about a relationship with their family nanny, Leona Kimes.
“He hadn’t told me this part yet,” Laura said in a preview of the docuseries via People magazine. “I’d sometimes get these little feelings. And then one night I found them in a compromising position. I was angry and I definitely freaked out.”
Laura remembered they “never talked” about the situation again, but Lentz was fired one month later. In July 2021, Kimes alleged sexual and emotional abuse by the pastor, although she did not name him.
He also revealed allegations of sexual abuse as a child by a family friend.
Carl addressed the allegations in the docuseries: “I am responsible for allowing an inappropriate relationship to develop in my house with someone that worked for us,” Lentz said, before adding “any notion of abuse is categorically false.”
“There were mutual adult decisions made by two people who lied profusely, mainly to my wife. It’s an issue because I was a boss, this person was an employee. I’m responsible for that power dynamic and the management of it and the wisdom that goes with it, and I failed absolutely miserably.”
Lentz broke his social media silence almost two years after disclosing the affair and stated that his family is “at peace and thanks to the grace of God we are together.”
He recently stated that the last three years have been spent battling for his wife and his children. To accomplish that, pursuing sobriety and healing has to go hand in hand with those objectives.
Even though the former pastor is no longer in the ministry, he has subsequently discovered a relationship with Jesus that he was unable to have “from the pulpit.”