Carl Lentz, the unconventional pastor at Hillsong Church NYC, is featured in Details magazine’s October issue in an article called “Jesus Christ’s Superstar (The Gospel According to Carl Lentz).”
“With the Lord as his swagger coach, the 34-year-old pastor is turning Hillsong Church in New York City into a Pentecostal powerhouse and a destination for the in crowd,” the story says.
Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston, 33-year-old son of Australian Pentecostal Hillsong Church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston. Together they have led the church, which has become a beacon for young people, for the last 2 1/2 years.
An estimated 5,500 people show up every Sunday to its Irving Plaza location near Manhattan’s Union Square.
Lentz, who sports tattoos and a half-shaved head, has been in the spotlight recently, including being the subject of a report from the Associated Press. The hipster pastor is well on his way to being this generation’s Billy Graham.
As the magazine displays in a clever infographic, Lentz has ties with celebrities such as Justin Bieber, NBA superstar Kevin Durant, Jeremy Lin and Vanessa Hudgens.
“He is going to be huge,” pastor Priscilla Shirer predicted while she was guest speaking at the church, according to the Details feature.
“Drawn by his concertlike sermons and pop-idol looks, Lentz's fast growing flock of groupies includes Justin Bieber, NBA superstars, and young Hollywood celebs,” Howie Kahn writes in Details. “But whom, exactly, is this new apostle of cool seeking to glorify?”
Jesus, the magazine concludes.
The writer closes out the article with a recounting of one of Lentz’s sermons: “Wiping sweat from his brow under the disco ball, Lentz cited John 6:53 and spoke of a total commitment to Christ: ‘Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.’ He then explained the meaning of Jesus' words: ‘When you take a bite of me, when you really follow me, everything in me goes in you—you can't pick and choose.’
“Lentz leaned out over the edge of the stage, his voice rising. ‘You have to be consumed with this. I'm talking about flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, everything in me, in you, and if you're not about that, you need to go follow somebody else.’
“Lentz was ostensibly talking about his savior, but it almost sounded like he meant himself. ‘Because this is not a game. I am not a circus. I am not just traveling around doing cool things. I am after followers.’”