Carl Lentz is speaking out following his firing from the position of lead pastor for the Hillsong Church in New York City.
On Thursday, Nov. 5, the 41-year-old shared a statement to his Instagram explaining the "moral failures" that Hillsong Church Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston said were the cause of his termination.
He began his post by reflecting on the time he served the celebrity-adored church, writing, "Our time at HillsongNYC has come to an end. This is a hard ending to what has been the most amazing, impacting and special chapter of our lives. Leading this church has been an honor in every sense of the word and it is impossible to articulate how much we have loved and will always love the amazing people in this church."
However, Lentz acknowledged that he didn't practice the messages Hillsong preaches to its massive congregation around the world. "When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate," he continued. "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."
Lentz claimed that while he and his wife, Laura Lentz, gave "everything" to help their congregants, he failed to help himself. He explained, "I did not do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refilling my own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available."
"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," the pastor stated. "This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions."
Lentz stated that he now begins "a journey of rebuilding trust" with his wife and their three children, Charlie, Ava and Roman.
The pastor added that he's not only sorry to his loved ones, but the congregation, who was shocked by Wednesday's announcement of his dismissal. "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," he said. "So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again."
To conclude his statement, he thanked his followers for their "grace and kindness" and shared that his family is "hopeful" they will get through this difficult time.
Houston shocked the Hillsong community when he announced that Lentz was let go, citing "ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures." He kept details vague of his termination vague, but promised, "This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl."
Services for the popular church will continue as scheduled.
Lentz is credited for helping establish the HillsongNYC location in 2010, bringing in celebrity attendees and serving thousands of people at their weekly services.