‘Unacceptable’: Hillsong responds to sexting pastor scandal

Hillsong megachurch has responded to its most recent sex scandal.

The Australia-based, multinational institution lost yet another pastor following revelations of infidelity this week. Darnell Barrett, the creative director of the church’s Montclair, New Jersey, chapter resigned on Tuesday after sharing explicit photos to his Instagram and sending a revealing selfie to a nonconsenting church volunteer. 

“Hey! I think I might’ve added you to my close friends list by accident. I’m so sorry. Trying to figure out how the hell to edit it,” Barrett, 32, a married father of two, texted the volunteer after reportedly sending a lewd photo of himself in front of a mirror, wearing only white Nike Pro tights, the Daily Mail reported. Barrett also supposedly posted two photos from the underwear selfie shoot to his “close friends” Instagram Story in February. 

Hillsong East Coast confirmed Friday in its response statement that Barrett resigned, and “Hillsong accepted his resignation and agreed that he could not continue as part of our team. We were disappointed to learn about choices he made that were unacceptable for any Hillsong staff member.” 

The pastor had previously been the creative director of the megachurch's Montclair branch.
Darnell Barrett had previously been the creative director of the megachurch’s Montclair branch.
Hillsong Church NYC

The statement goes on to laud the many church staffers who aren’t involved in high-profile sex scandals — and makes no mention of pastor Carl Lentz, who has been embroiled in controversy stemming from an affair.

“We recognize that there are countless Hillsong Church staff members and volunteers who carry their responsibilities with trustworthiness, integrity, and excellence,” the statement continues. “They represent the heart of Hillsong Church, and we thank them for the work they do. We also take seriously our responsibility to ensure that our staff is equally committed to creating a safe and Christ-centered environment where all people feel welcome.”

The response concludes with a framing of the current scandal-riddled era for the organization as a “time of growth” during which the church will “continue to move forward, caring for people and loving Jesus.”

Hillsong did not respond to The Post’s request for further comment.

The Post could not immediately reach Barrett, but he denied the claims in a statement to Daily Mail.

“We thought it was best for me to move on. I don’t want to get into the details,” he told DailyMail.com. “This was something that was just an honest mistake and I informed my wife as soon as it happened. I was not at all trying to lure her. I get that she, within the context of what’s happening with Hillsong, that she would draw those conclusions. But I barely know her. That was not my intention.”

Hillsong has called some of Barrett's choices "unacceptable" in a statement.
Hillsong called some of Darnell Barrett’s “choices … unacceptable” in a statement on April 30, 2021.
Hillsong Church NYC


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.

Related Articles

Back to top button