Pastor Carl Lentz, who is known for his high-profile celebrity followers and friends such as Justin Bieber, has reportedly been fired from Hillsong Church due to past "moral failures," PEOPLE reported.
The church’s founder Brian Houston announced that the pastor was let go on Wednesday, November 4, via email, and then later posted a public statement echoing the same sentiment. "Today Hillsong Church East Coast advised our congregation that we have terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz," he said. "This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl."
This comes after "ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures." Houston added that it would "not be appropriate" to give more detail about the matter.
"However you can be assured that this decision was made in order to honor God and pastorally care for you, our East Coast family, Pastor Carl and his family," Houston said.
The senior paster said that the church would "proceed as usual," and they were "praying that God would bring about an exciting new season for our church and this region."
Sources with knowledge of the situation tell OK! that the Pastor's increasingly erratic behavior and rumors of extramarital affairs had been a concern for some time.
Lentz joined the congregation at the New York location in 2010 when he launched their first U.S. location with Joel Houston, who is the senior pastor's son. "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," Houston said in the statement.
"We thank Pastors Carl and Lentz's wife 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," he said.
"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," he concluded.
The pastor is best known for his famous friends and followers, such as Bieber, his wife, Hailey Baldwin, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Lentz baptized Bieber several years ago, and the pair were inseparable for several years. In 2014, the “Yummy” singer even lived with him for a brief period in 2014 in New Jersey and gave him advice about his relationship with Selena Gomez in 2017. The next year, TMZ reported that the two had a falling out and did not appear to make amends.
Prior to losing his job, Lentz had been promoting Hillsong East Coast's online sermons on Instagram in September but has been quiet on social media since. He has yet to acknowledge the news.