• Hillsong branched out to U.S. from Australia with pastor Carl Lentz in New York
  • Lentz was fired in 2020 amid church staff's allegations of sexual abuse
  • Woman who had a five-month affair with the pastor speaks out in documentary

A new documentary series that digs deep into the headlines that rocked megachurch Hillsong will premiere on Discovery Plus on March 24, as per a Variety report.

The streaming platform also released a trailer of the three-part documentary, titled “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed,” on Thursday. It includes snippets of interviews with insiders of the church and experts, and also features a clip of an interview with Ranin Karim, the woman who had an affair with Hillsong's pastor in New York, Carl Lentz.

The opening sequence of the two-minute trailer includes a glimpse of the Sydney Opera House, highlighting the Australian roots of the church. The voice-over of a woman asks, “Have you ever heard of Hillsong church?”

The trailer proceeds to show a man naming the celebrities who go to Hillsong church such as Justin Bieber, Vanessa Hudgens, Bono and Kevin Durant.

“It wasn’t just this Australian startup anymore. It was Justin Bieber's church,” a woman says. "It was the most toxic thing I've ever had to deal with," Karim said in the trailer.

Hillsong was founded in Australia by Brian Houston and is widely known for its numerous recordings of original worship songs. As the church grew in number, its leaders decided to expand internationally and appointed Carl Lentz as the pastor of its New York City chapter.

Lentz was fired in November 2020 for “moral failures” in the midst of numerous allegations that rocked the church.

Aside from Karim, other commentators in the documentary include New York Post reporter Hannah Frishberg, megachurch expert and founder of PreachersNSneakers Instagram account Ben Kirby as well as Jaclyn Hayes and Janice Lagata who had worked for Lentz as church volunteers.

“With more than 150,000 global members, Hillsong has recently been entangled in scandal. ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ will profile numerous ex-members of the church who have come forward to share harrowing allegations of the trauma, abuse, financial and labor exploitation that created a culture of chaos within the church. The series will also examine how Hillsong was able to grow into a global brand, while uncovering the truth behind the headlines of recent scandals and shining a light on the fine line between culture, corporation and cult,” a summary of the series reads as cited by Variety.

As the scandal continued to grow bigger, it was reported in November 2020 that Lentz and his wife were working on restoring their relationship after the pastor acknowledged his mistakes.

Carl Lentz, senior pastor Hillsong Church
Carl Lentz, the senior pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City visits iHeart Now at Z100 Studio to talk with Elvis Duran on November 20, 2017 in New York City. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images