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It’s been a tough year for Hillsong megachurch, but its founder believes that the next time scandal strikes, they’ll at least “hopefully” be better prepared.
“I think there’s a lot of things I should’ve known earlier, and hopefully, moving forward, we’ll make sure we have far better systems in place and better accountability,” Brian Houston, who co-founded the church with his wife in 1983, told NBC News’ “Today” in his first interview reflecting on the Australia-based institution’s rocky last year.
After Carl Lentz —Justin Bieber’s ex-pastor pal and the former head of Hillsong’s NY branch — was fired for cheating on his wife in November, a tidal wave of allegations emerged against the multinational house of God.
Houston, 67, now admits that despite the turmoil Lentz’s impropriety caused for Hillsong, he still misses the man.
“Carl was Carl. He’s a unique character. There’s a lot of things I miss about Carl,” Houston said in a clip of the interview, which is set to air in full on Wednesday morning. “But having said that, there were leadership issues that I believe included lying, included what I would call narcissistic behavior.”
While the public only became aware of problems with Lentz’s leadership in November, Houston added that he’d been worried for years.
“I’ve had concerns and many conversations over the years with Carl,” he said, adding that he was bothered “to a degree, for sure” that many people described Lentz as aloof and removed from the actual ministry.
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