Carl Lentz’s replacement John Termini leaves Hillsong to start church in Hawaii

Yet another pastor is out at scandal-plagued Hillsong megachurch. 

After a decade working at the Australia-based church, John Termini — who temporarily served as lead pastor for Hillsong’s NYC branch in the wake of Carl Lentz’s adulterous fall from grace — is leaving and embarking for sunnier shores, to set up his own religious institution in Hawaii. 

“My family and I will be moving to Hawaii in August, where I will begin the process of planting a local church close to where my brother lives with his beautiful wife and little boy,” Termini, 38, said in an Instagram post Thursday, before launching into praise for Hillsong founders Brian and Bobbie Houston. 

Since Hillsong began an internal investigation in response to Lentz’s firing — and the onslaught of allegations that followed — a slew of pastors has left the church under unclear circumstances. Termini, however, insists that his departure is not only amicable but that he has Hillsong leaders’ best wishes in his new venture. 

“I am fortunate to have Pastor Brian’s blessing and I am thankful for our relationship moving forward,” he wrote in the announcement, formatted as the image caption on a photo of himself, his wife and their two children in front of a red surfboard. “Hillsong church, I love you.” 

Despite formerly being Lentz’s “right-hand guy,” the post makes no mention of him, nor the past year’s worth of turmoil at the megachurch, including claims of financial abuse by pastors and accusations that members were indoctrinated into an alleged cult that demanded they perform “slave labor.” 

John Termini in a Jan. 12 Instagram photo with Justin and Hailey Bieber.
John Termini in a Jan. 12 Instagram photo with Justin and Hailey Bieber.

Comments on the announcement are full of glowing goodbyes from Hillsong’s upper management, as well as other celebrity pastors including Zoe Church founder Chad Veach.

“Will miss your faces there but completely understand your desire for this next season. “Thanks for the highs and for being there in the lows,” responded Bobbie Houston. “Hawaii is almost AUSTRALIA (kidding).”

Termini appears to not only be leaving on good terms but managed to stay buddies with ex-Hillsong congregant Justin Bieber, whom he was pictured with in a Jan. 12 Instagram post. 

Former congregants, however, have less than positive remarks about his tenure at the church: One former Hillsong member described Termini as being “crass” and “disingenuous” and even alleged a disturbing instance in which, unprovoked, Termini reportedly publicly eviscerated him for being gay.

Neither Hillsong nor Termini responded to The Post’s request for comment. 

John Termini and his wife Katie Termini in a Feb. 14 Instagram post.
John Termini and his wife Katie Termini in a Feb. 14 Instagram post.


New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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