KEY POINTS

  • Hillsong Church is allegedly giving its high-profile guests special treatment, a report says
  • An insider said the megachurch is operating like a nightclub and prioritizes VIPs 
  • This report came after one of its pastors, Carl Lentz, was fired due to "moral failures"

Hillsong Church recently made headlines due to the infidelity controversy of its pastor Carl Lentz, who has since been fired. Now, a report has claimed that the megachurch adopted a “nightclub mentality” to make important guests feel special.

A “former insider” told Page Six that Hillsong Church is being operated like a nightclub to give its VIP members special treatment. For instance, when it used to hold its services at Gramercy Theater, famous members were able to reserve seats, while others had to wait before they get a spot, the source claimed.

“They rented out the space every Sunday to hold their services and they had like this VIP congregation with reserved spots for celebrities, influencers and nightlife people in the know. There were probably, like, 100 seats reserved for notables and regular people would line up to get one of the few seats from the back row … I’m talking they’d show up an hour or two before the church opened,” an unnamed source who “works nightlife” told the outlet. 

“A guy like me, I could show up five minutes before and get a seat. I’d hit up one of my friends and be like, ‘Hey, I’m coming to service with a plus-one,’ and they’d have two seats for me just like that. It’s one of those things where they were treating the church with a nightclub mentality,” the insider added. 

Page Six reached out to a rep for Hillsong Church for comment but has not received a response.

Hillsong Church, whose members included Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian, remains under scrutiny after one of its pastors was found to have had affairs. Lentz, who once served as a spiritual adviser to Bieber, was fired from the megachurch in November a day before he came clean about cheating on his wife.

Initially reported to have cheated on his wife of nearly two decades with one woman, Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston appeared to claim in an audio recording obtained by Page Six that Lentz allegedly had multiple affairs over the years. And despite this, the disgraced pastor will still get severance pay.

“When we talk about an affair. These issues were more than one affair, they were significant. And at least some bad moral behavior had gone back historically, but not necessarily those affairs,” the founder allegedly said in the audio clip. 

The Hillsong Church leader also allegedly said that Lentz was a “difficult” person to talk to because he would always be defensive.

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