The Secrets of Hillsong: Where is Carl Lentz now?

What happened to the pastor after he was forced out of the church?

Carl Lentz now, as illustrated by Former Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz
(Image credit: Associated Press/Alamy/Future)

Carl Lentz now has taken a different path in life after he was forced out of Hillsong church in 2020, after allegations of substandard behaviour were made against him.

The Secrets of Hillsong airs on Disney+ from July 12. The four-part FX documentary is based on the investigative reporting of Vanity Fair journalists Alex French and Dan Adler, and charts the controversial Australian Christian megachurch Hillsong and its history of misconduct among staff. Particularly, the rise and fall of celebrity Hillsong Global pastor Carl Lentz takes centre stage - he was responsible for co-founding Hillsong NYC, and attracting celebrities including Justin Bieber to the church. Forced out of Hillsong due to cheating allegations and other misconduct, we take a look at where Carl Lentz is now.

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Where is Carl Lentz now?

Carl Lentz now works at an advertising agency in Sarasota, Florida, where he lives with wife and three children. He has only just returned to social media after a 3-year hiatus.

He also revealed in March this year that he's been hired by Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The nondenominational megachurch is led by pastor and YouTuber, Michael Todd. Tammy McQuarters, he church's executive pastor of operations, told Religion News Service  in a statement "We gladly welcome Carl Lentz to our Transformation Church staff, helping TC with strategy as we continue to move forward in our vast vision. After two years of Carl being in his own discovery and healing process, he has shown readiness to use his God-given gifts towards the local church again. We believe in Carl, his marriage, his skill set, and his restoration."

Lentz has however, let people know that his role at Transformation Church is not as a leader of a preacher. In a statement on Instagram, he said "I'm no longer in ministry. I'm not preaching, not overseeing people, my role is to help give perspective and insight where I can." 

The Secrets of Hillsong offers the first interview with Carl and wife Laura, who were both forced out of the church, since the news broke - Lentz famously said he just wanted to lay low at the time of the incident in 2020. He is also set to reveal new information about the personal circumstances he says contributed to his behavior. 

Carl Lentz preaching

(Image credit: Associated Press/Alamy)

What did Carl Lentz do?

Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong for "leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures," including affairs with designer Ranin Karim, and his child's nanny, Leona. 

The documentary reveals that Lentz and Laura married on May 5, 2003, when both were in their early 20s. Feeling the marriage would fix a lot of issues he was dealing with, Lentz was surprised to learn that it didn't - he was still dealing with the effects of sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a family friend as a child. He says this warped his view of relationships and sex, beginning a pattern of secretive behaviour relating to them. 

In October 2020, an affair between Lentz and designer Ranin Karim came to light. While answering to church Elders about this, he confessed to also having an affair with the family nanny, Leona Kimes. However, in an essay published by Medium, Kimes suggests there was no relationship, but she was instead preyed upon and assaulted by Lentz - this has never been proven. 

In an Instagram statement at the time, Lentz admitted his infidelity. He said "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. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need."

He also alluded to experiencing problems with Adderall addiction, and spent some time in rehab. His most recent Instagram post began "For the last 3 years my entire focus has been fighting for my wife and my kids, my family has been my only priority. In order to do that, seeking sobriety and healing had to run parallel with those goals."

Who is Carl Lentz' wife?

Laura Lentz is an Australian pastor, who graduated from Sydney's Hillsong Leadership College - the Hillsong church originated in the country before branching out into the US. 

Moving to New York to become lead Pastor of Hillsong East Coast Church, she met and married Carl Lentz, and the pair welcomed daughters Charlie and Ava, and son Roman together. When her husband's employment with the church was cut short in 2020, Laura's contract was also terminated. 

Laura now appears to be an entrepreneur, selling health and wellness supplements and encouraging others to join marketing and sales opportunities her business offers. She also shares many family updates, with plenty of posts about her and Carl's children and their family life to social media.

Both she and her husband took a lot of time away from social media when news of the scandal broke. However, she now appears to be supporting her husband and working to rebuild their marriage. Her first return post to Instagram in 2021 read "I have learnt a lot about myself over the past few months. I have found true friendships- the ones who have been with me on the mountaintops are the same ones who are with me during my darkest valley!! 

I will not forget who abandoned us, but I choose to keep my heart free of bitterness & remain thankful for those that have stayed & loved us. I don’t want to judge others nor do I want to be judged... one thing a friend told me during this time is, 'I would rather be accused of being too gracious toward someone, over being accused of judging someone too harshly'... I want to be known as a woman who sees the good in people & truly loves people unconditionally..."

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.