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Hillsong pastor and former Justin Bieber adviser is fired for 'moral failures'

Carl Lentz, a pastor to celebrities like Justin and Hailey Bieber and the Jenner sisters at megachurch Hillsong NYC, has been fired for unspecified "breaches of trust."
/ Source: TODAY

The New York megachurch pastor known for his celebrity followers has been fired from his position at Hillsong because of "moral failures" and "breaches of trust."

Carl Lentz, 41, who was a spiritual adviser to pop star Justin Bieber for years, has been fired from Hillsong's New York City location, according to a statement released Wednesday by Hillsong Church Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston.

Carl Lentz
Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz, whose followers have included NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and pop star Justin Bieber, was fired for "moral failings." Bebeto Matthews / AP

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"This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl," Houston said in the statement.

"This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures."

Lentz was a senior member of Hillsong NYC, a Manhattan-based Christian church known for its celebrity worshipers like Bieber and his wife, Hailey, as well as the Jenner sisters, according to a 2017 GQ story. Lentz also counted Brooklyn Nets stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant among his followers, according to multiple reports.

2017 Aces Charity Celebrity Basketball Game
Justin Bieber once lived with Carl Lentz at Lentz's New Jersey home during a turbulent period in his life. Shareif Ziyadat / Getty Images

Hillsong is a contemporary Christian church founded in Australia in 1983 by Houston and his wife, Bobbie, and now has locations in 28 countries, according to the church's website.

Houston thanked Lentz and his wife, Laura, who was also a pastor at the church, for their service and said the church is "confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church."

The church did not indicate what exactly caused Lentz's termination and specified it will not be making any more public comments on the issue. Houston said in his statement that "it would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision."

Bieber said he moved into Lentz's New Jersey home in 2014 during a difficult time in his life in which he told Vogue last year that he was abusing Xanax and being promiscuous with women. He claimed to no longer be using drugs after his time with Lentz.

"I grieved very intensely over the whole situation,” Hailey Bieber told Vogue. "I just wanted him to be happy and be good and be safe and feel joy. But I’m really proud of him. To do it without a program, and to stick with it without a sober coach or AA or classes — I think it’s extraordinary. He is, in ways, a walking miracle."

Bieber and Lentz reportedly had a falling out in 2018, according to TMZ.