Carl Lentz is an American pastor who became popular because of his association with celebrities like Justin Bieber. He was the lead pastor of Hillsong Church New York until 2020 when he was fired from that position.
Carl Lentz Biography
Stephen Carl Lentz is a famous American pastor, author and entrepreneur who was born on the 6th of November 1978.
Carl, who is from Virginia Beach, went to Frank W. Cox High School and played basketball there. He enrolled at North Carolina State after high school and played as a walk-on for their basketball team.
Mr. Lentz was not a particularly devout person but attended a Baptist church while growing up.
Carl went to church one evening at his parents’ urging to meet Steve, the pastor of the Hillsong Church, who was a guest. After the service, which changed his life, he enrolled in Virginia Wesleyan for his sophomore year.
Although he would subsequently enroll in the Hillsong International Leadership College in Australia, the abrupt changes in his life left him feeling overwhelmed. He went back to America and enrolled in a Bible college in California. Carl received his first tattoo at this time—a sword on fire—near Sunset Boulevard.
A year later he traveled back to Australia to finish his bible studies and met his wife, Laura.
Carl Lentz was born on the 6th of November 1978.
Carl Lentz Family Life
While attending Hillsong College, he met Laura, a fellow pastor who would become his wife.
Both Carl and Laura have a straightforward, committed faith in Jesus, and they are passionate about sharing the good news in a way that appeals to a generation that is frantically looking for something bigger than themselves.
Three of Carl and Laura’s kids are under the age of seven as at the time of this publication.
He studied at North Carolina State University from 1998 to 2000. Carl relocated to Los Angeles as an adult to attend The King’s College and Seminary. He subsequently went on to study at Hillsong International Leadership College at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.
When he was 20 years old and still in college, Joel Houston, the son of Hillsong founder Brian Houston, came up with the concept to start a Hillsong Church campus in New York City.
He returned to Virginia Beach after receiving his theology degree in 2003. There, he was ordained, and he started working with young people.
Lentz helped establish Hillsong NYC in New York City in 2010. It was Lentz who baptized Justin Bieber, and also attended Kevin Durant’s baptism. He has made friends with a number of other well-known figures.
Mr. Lentz’s affiliation with Mr. Bieber pushed him to a new level of stardom. He appeared on Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram and was a guest at Oprah Winfrey’s interview.
Rich Wilkerson Jr., a Miami-based pastor who officiated Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding, was also one of the trendy preachers he socialized with.
Mr. Lentz was known for his look: tattoos, edgy glasses and not just style but fashion. Women’s Wear Daily described Mr. Lentz’s “uniform” as a Saint Laurent leather jacket, ripped jeans and a low-cut T-shirt. He often sported a Rolex, too. Pastors and other staff members who arrived at Hillsong wearing traditional suits and ties often gradually started to dress like Mr. Lentz, and even imitate his Southern-inflected accent.
Carl Lentz Affair & Scandal
In an email to the congregation on November 4, Hillsong’s founder Brian Houston informed them that he had sacked Mr. Lentz due to “leadership challenges and breaches of trust, as well as a recent disclosure of moral shortcomings.”
Following the news, Mr. Lentz admitted: “I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life,” to his almost 700,000 followers on Instagram.
Leona Kimes accused Carl of using “manipulation, control, bullying, misuse of authority, and sexual assault” against her on May 31, 2021. Kimes served as the family’s babysitter, and she claims that the assaults occurred between 2011 and 2017.
After the scandal broke out, Carl Lentz took a long hiatus from the ministry as well as social media. However, he made a comeback in May 2023, via a social media post where he talked about how during this time, he focused on self-reflection and seeking guidance from trusted mentors. He recognized the importance of taking responsibility for his actions and committed himself to personal growth and healing. Also, he revealed the premiere of a docuseries.
The Secrets of Hillsong, is a four-part docuseries premiering May 19 on FX, and based on an investigative series by Vanity Fair. The docuseries contains the first interviews with the Lentzes since the whole cheating scandal blew up their lives, as well as those with ex-congregants who accuse the church of everything from discrimination and graft to sexual abuse.
We cannot estimate how much Mr. Lentz is worth at the moment. However, some sources did say that Carl was worth about $700k – $800k USD in 2020.