Hillsong founder Brian Houston has announced a married couple has been appointed to serve the Hillsong East Coast church following the removal of former pastor Carl Lentz.
The Religion News Service (RNS) reports Houston made the announcement during his sermon on Sunday to the primary Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam, both currently pastors at the Hillsong Church in Perth, have been named to lead the congregation located in New York City.
In an email to the RNS on Friday, Houston said the Jeyaratnams’ new assignment came after an independent investigation into the New York City outpost revealed “significant ways” the church had “failed to reflect Hillsong global culture.”
As CBN News reported in November, the investigation was conducted after Lentz was fired for “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”
Lentz, 41, was dismissed after it was revealed he had engaged in a months-long sexual affair.
In a statement shared with CBN’s Faithwire at the time, a representative for the church said the decision to launch an outside investigation was made after leadership “heard from a number of people about their experiences and concerns.”
Hillsong East Coast Pastors Announced During Church’s ‘Vision Sunday’
Houston announced the Jeyaratnams’ appointment during an event known as “Vision Sunday,” an annual Hillsong event when the global church’s plans for the next year are announced, according to the RNS.
After announcing the new pastors, he said, “I believe that God is going to restore, rebuild in New York City.”
“We are so thrilled about what God can do. That God could sweep that city with revival,” said Chrishan Jeyaratnam about his new position with the New York church, in a video played during the Sydney church’s Sunday service. He appeared in the video with his wife and four daughters.
Other Changes Coming to Hillsong Churches
During his announcement, Houston also said the investigation into Hillsong East Coast had made him realize the Hillsong leadership “need to put much more structure in the church globally.”
“The changes will be worked through Hillsong London,” where veteran lead pastors Gary and Cathy Clarke, will take on a new role “working with the global side of our church, with our pastors and in development.”
They will be replaced by Tim and Nicola Douglass, currently pastors at Hillsong Melbourne.
Houston also indicated in his email to the RNS there would be other changes coming to Hillsong East Coast.
“In addition to cultural changes, we will be implementing significant structural changes and enacting new policies and procedures in order to rectify the issues we’ve uncovered,” he wrote.
The original Hillsong church was founded by Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston in 1983 near Sydney. Besides having church locations in 28 countries around the world, the church is known for its worship music and conferences.