By Jennifer Okundia
It takes a really broken heart to come out publicly and reveal wrongdoing done secretly. Media personality and entrepreneur Toke Makinwa addressed this issue in her latest vlog.
Earlier in November, the pastor of Hillsong church in New York, Carl Lentz, released a statement on his social media handle, where he stated that he had been unfaithful to his wife.
This led to his dismissal from the church, and he is currently on a journey to rebuilding trust with his wife and family. His post read:
Our time at HillsongNYC has come to an end. This is a hard ending to what has been the most amazing, impacting and special chapter of our lives. Leading this church has been an honor in every sense of the word and it is impossible to articulate how much we have loved and will always love the amazing people in this church. When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate. That it honors the church, and that it honors God. When that does not happen, a change needs to be made and has been made in this case to ensure that standard is upheld. Laura and I and our amazing children have given all that we have to serve and build this church and over the years I did not do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refilling my own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available. When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences. I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need. I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process. I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have. So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again. To our pastors Brian and Bobbie, thank you for allowing us to lead, allowing us to thrive and giving us room to have a voice that you have never stifled or tried to silence. Thank you for your grace and kindness especially in this season, as you have done so much to protect and love us through this. We, the Lentz family, don’t know what this next chapter will look like, but we will walk into it together very hopeful and grateful for the grace of God..
Toke discussed this issue on this episode of her vlog, stating that pastors are human beings too, and people should stop holding them to unrealistic standards.
“This week’s vlog is deeeeeeep! The pastor of hillsong church NYC recently put up a post on Instagram that took the air out of me, he had shared recently with the world that he was stepping down from the pulpit because he had been unfaithful to his wife. Now this vlog is not to shame or Judge him but to talk about the need to face the race to heaven on your own, find God yourself, stop idolising people who are also struggling just as you are. we are all men/women/daughters of God. As I read his post, I went from shock to sad and then admiration. I do not condone infidelity but there was something about how honest he was that made me less judgemental but more empathic. I loved how he came out to address the public , (howbeit on social media), I love how vulnerable he was and truthful if I can say so, I love how relatable he was and lastly, I love how accountable he was. It was not a blame it on the devil, the temptress or denial, it was blame it on ‘me”. I am accountable, I know I should have done better but I dropped the ball. it left me feeling like if all men of God shared some of their inner struggles and acted less perfect, perhaps we won’t hold them all to unattainable standards after all before they became “Men” of God, they are first men,, perhaps if they were less arrogant in thinking that they are Jesus’s assistant and humbly aware that beyond religion, we are all saved by his grace to lead by transparency, maybe, just maybe the world will be a better place.”