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Carl Lentz Announces New Podcast, Ending Speculation About What’s Next

By Julie Roys
Carl Lentz Podcast ministry
Disgraced former Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz announced he's launching a podcast, called "Lights On with Carl Lentz." (Source: Video Screengrab)

Carl Lentz tonight posted a video on Instagram, announcing he’s launching a new podcast, ending two days of speculation that he may be returning to ministry.

The “new show,” called “Lights On with Carl Lentz,” premieres June 4. But the video claims it’s not a comeback.

“I’M NOT BACK,” one frame states. The next frame adds, “THAT GUY IS GONE.”   

About the podcast, Lentz writes in the post: “My choices, and the road toward recovery taught me how helpful it is to have people share vulnerably the impact of their bad choices, the pain they caused, and the pain they suffered that led them to make those choices, and what they’ve discovered can be helpful and healing. My hope is that in sharing those things from my story and asking others to share theirs, it will be helpful, hopeful and healing.”

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Two days ago, Lentz published a cryptic video with scenes of New York City and  Carl and his wife, Laura. It ended with a black screen with the date, 06.04.

Many commented on Lentz’s account that they hoped Lentz was returning to ministry. “Praying for it now and for God to use your marriage, ministry, story, and gifts powerfully.”

One person wrote, “Transformation Church NYC.”

Lentz currently is serving on staff at Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma—a megachurch led by controversial pastor, Michael Todd.

A spokesperson for the Lentz family spoke with The Roys Report (TRR) and confirmed that Lentz is not planning to plant a church.

They said Lentz has “no desire to do a church” and that Lentz doesn’t “even think that’s appropriate.”

In 2020, Lentz was fired from Hillsong Church New York City for “moral failures.”

It later came out that he had a five-month-long affair with New York City designer, Ranin Karim. Lentz also has been accused of sexual abuse with Leona Kimes, his former nanny who served with her husband, Josh Kimes, as pastors of Hillsong Boston.

Carl Lentz
Disgraced former Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz. (Instagram Sept. 22, 2018)

Lentz also has been accused of misusing church money for to fund his lavish lifestyle and of fostering a toxic work culture.

Most all the comments on Lentz’s post announcing the podcast were positive.

“CAN NOT WAIT! With y’all!” said William Heckenbach, a pastor at Transformation Church.

“Praise Jesus for His healing power, a steadfast wife and your courage to share the journey,” someone wrote.

“One step closer back to preaching the gospel. We love you Pastor Carl Lentz!” wrote another.

And someone else said, “Walk in the confidence of the restoration of the LORD. You are His.”

Yet there were detractors, as well.

“Will you be profiting off of your mistakes?” one person asked.

And another wrote, “This dude is so good at marketing himself and making money. Literally taking notes.”

According to the Lentz family spokesperson, Lentz has a consulting business for churches and pastors in addition to his job helping with strategy at Transformation Church.

Carl Lentz’s wife, Laura, who will appear on the podcast, has a consulting business, as well. She also runs an interior design company.

Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. She also previously hosted a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network, called Up for Debate, and has worked as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate. Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals. 

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20 Responses

  1. “MY choices, and the road toward recovery taught ME how helpful IT is to have people share vulnerably the impact of THEIR bad choices, the pain THEY caused, and the pain THEY suffered that led THEM to make those choices, and what THEY’VE discovered can be helpful and healing. MY hope is that in sharing those things from MY story and asking others to share THEIRS, IT will be helpful, hopeful and healing.”

    Note how Lentz transitions from singular/personal to plural/impersonal. And pairs the vague pronoun “it” with passive verbs [is/will be]. Perhaps his podcast will indeed be helpful to listeners. But I find his description void of any apology, accountability, remorse, or claim of responsibility.

    Is “bad choices” code for sin? Or “suffer(ing) that led them . . ” an excuse for sin? Feels like the ministry version of an airline’s obligatory but insincere announcement to passengers “we apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you.”

    1. I also noticed all the personal pronouns make the podcast description void of Jesus. What work has Jesus done in him? What has the Holy Spirit taught him? Sounds more like arrogance and self-promotion to me.

      Heartbroken for the abused who are overshadowed.

  2. Absolutely, @Cec Merz!

    I think Lentz is very confused.
    A man of God should have zero in common with a rock star and, above all, be allergic to self-promotion.
    Humility equals self-effacement, not self-aggrandizement.

    In sharp contrast, Joel Houston, for a long time the main songwriter (and frequent “front man”) of Hillsong music never EVER promoted himself in all these years.

    Carl Lentz is truly one of a kind.
    And that’s not a compliment in his case…

    1st John 2:15-17 comes to mind…

  3. There are people who see the way technology is changing the world, and have an intuition that allows them to create a new market environment rather than working with an existing structure. Elon Musk is one. Ben Shapiro in political journalism. Joe Rogan. Brandon Sanderson in publishing. They pull an industry segment instead of riding on it.

    Mr. Lentz seems as if he might be that kind of breakthrough performer.

    1. Cynthia,
      I agree that Lentz, might well (I don’t know his heart or head) belong in the company of spiritually and morally bankrupt “visionaries” like Musk, Shapiro and Rogan, but I think it’s optimistic to think that Lentz’ return represents something novel or a breakout from market/industry business-as-usual. Fallen leaders being too valuable for the market to leave alone is a very, very common tale.

      Once a leader reaches a certain level of super-popularity their appeal to the market is simply too great to have them sidelined for long. Whatever percentage of followers and name-recognition they retain post-scandal is still a large market segment that has real value. Someone (sometimes themselves) will inevitably sweep in to put them on a new podium and reap the financial rewards. Get enough people to follow you and you can survive accountability for almost any number of business failures, blatant lies, marital unfaithfulness, public cruelty, sexual abuse scandals, felony convictions, etc.

      Unfortunately, one of the things that the Roys Report has shown us all clearly is that the ‘christian” market is absolutely no different in this respect than the political, music and sports arenas.

      1. Although non-denominational megachurch is not my subculture, I have the impression that Mr. Lentz’s “meta” emphasis on the “consulting” and “strategy” aspects is something of a novelty. Time will tell.

  4. Lentz has a consulting business for churches and pastors??? We watched the Hillsong documentaries not long ago. How can someone with such a demonstrated lack of integrity and accountability provide any value to churches and pastors? The scam and deceit gets repackaged and continues. God help us.

  5. Perhaps typical narcissistic behavior, needing attention all the time. Gotta be center stage.

  6. I really struggle with this “return.” Yes, God has forgiven you but re-entering the same space where you hurt so many…man, I don’t know how that advances the Kingdom. Over and over again folks who get “found out” come back to a new generation of folks who didn’t experience or see the times of their abuse and in turn, they have new customers willing to lap up whatever they are serving. Makes me sick actually. God be with the victims and those who no longer pursue God because of these figures.

  7. I’m not sure I understand the anger with him having a podcast. Are any of us except from Gods grace?

    I, personally, don’t believe so. What is so wrong about him sharing his perspective from HIS journey about what he has learned?

    1. Maria, good comments and questions. Agreed, all of us are spiritually bankrupt sinners in desperate of need of forgiveness through Christ. And no sin is beyond the reach of God’s grace expressed at Calvary.

      Pastors and teachers, however, are held to higher standards of accountability than are laypersons (James 3:1). And elders who direct the affairs of a church while sinning should be publicly rebuked as a warning to the entire congregation (I Timothy 5:17-21). Carl Lentz is credibly accused of severe moral failures during his tenure as a pastor and therefore needs correction.

      The purpose of this website is to expose wrongdoing in the church so that it may be excised for the sake of holiness and witness to the unsaved world. I’m not angry at Carl Lentz. Instead, I’m frustrated and disappointed that yet another Christian leader promotes himself (and likely monetizes a podcast) without genuine remorse for flagrant sin, apologies to the many persons whom he hurt, or a sufficient term of discipleship and humble reflection away from public ministry. Sharing lessons learned from his journey may be appropriate, but only after true repentance. His recent announcement leaves doubt whether such repentance has begun.

    2. I think what’s wrong with it is that he is just platforming himself again. Yeah, it’s better than a church, but still … When you’ve sullied the name of Christ while serving a pastor, shouldn’t you repent and go away for a long time to get your head on straight and do the YEARS of work that it takes to reform character? Wouldn’t time out of the spotlight, serving in a job with real folks and outside the ministry, go a long way toward helping him change?

      1. Time away. I agree completely.
        As for “the spotlight,” we shouldn’t have one of those in the Church at all. When Jesus wrapped a towel around himself and knelt to wash feet, there was an oil lamp in the room, if any source of light other than himself.

      2. Exactly. A perfect example is John Profumo, a UK politician in the 1960s.
        (For a summary, read the intro then the “later life” paragraph on his Wikipedia page).
        That’s EXACTLY what such men should do but it shows how worse things are today that a non-Christian politician knew how to do it and professing “believers” evidently do not.

    3. Maria, It is not so much a question of God’s grace, as it is about when the healing journey is at a point where people (in particular those with a high profile and influence) are able to re-enter any form of ministry.

      When he says, “I’m not back”, and “that guy is gone.”, it raises concerns about the counsel and support he has been given. Part of his recovery journey should be focused on the fact that he will always be “that guy” to some- be that right or wrong; and what it means to reconcile that within himself.
      There is also the matter of the impact of what his new platform means for his victims. If he has truly found God’s grace and healing, would he not want to ensure that his victims are afforded grace, healing, and dignity?

      Yes, he speaks of his healing, and desire to help others; yet if he truly wants to see healing in others, let him start with those who are still grappling with the impact of his behaviour. Grace is one thing, yet repentance is another- I do not mean in some “easy to say the word” kind of way, rather I mean in the way that seeks to make amends, and to see healing in those he abused, hurt, bullied, and damaged.

      If that would mean that he never returns to any platform, then so be it- that, and that alone would be evidence of a true healing.

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Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “What If Jesus Was Serious about the Church?” by Skye Jethani.