This scandalized church is doing some serious soul-searching.
The co-founder and lead pastor of megachurch Hillsong took to Twitter Thursday to announce that the institution is launching a formal investigation at the branch where celebrity pastor Carl Lentz, 41, was recently fired for adultery.
“We are launching an independent investigation into the inner workings of Hillsong NYC/ East Coast,” Brian Houston, 66, tweeted. “We need a solid foundation for a fresh start and new beginning. The best is yet to come.”
The tweet followed an online streaming session Saturday in which Houston reassured East Coast members that, while the church is going through some changes, its leadership remained loyal to their mission.
“This is a season of transition. It’s a time when I’m so grateful for the team we have there, we’ve got such strong, committed and deeply loyal people who are part of the team,” Houston said in his digitally broadcast sermon, the Sun reported. “And I must say that not only [are] our key leaders in New York supportive of the decisions that have been made, but they have in fact been part of the process.”
Houston referred to Lentz and his wife Laura’s firing, and Lentz’s subsequent admission of infidelity — with a NYC fashion designer who told The Post that their affair lasted for five months and was about more than just sex — as “rumor” and “gossip.”
“It’s always a time when there is speculation, rumor and gossip when change is made, and especially when radical change is made. But I just want to encourage you … stay close to Jesus, keep him your focus,” he said. “And let’s decide we’re gonna continue with our love for this great church and lean in. And you watch, there’s great days ahead, there’s good things coming.”
Updates to Hillsong’s leadership are likely in the near future, he added.
“Let’s be part of it together, be blessed, and we will definitely continue to stay in touch when it comes to the long-term leadership of our wonderful church at Hillsong, East Coast.”