Hillsong Pastor Resigns After "Accidentally" Sending Explicit Photos To Woman: Report
In recent months, the Hillsong empire seems to be crumbling in front of a global audience. Their uber-famous worship group has earned the religious corporation a Grammy and with dozens of Hillsong megachurches planted worldwide, it's one of the largest religious organizations in the world. Its influence is felt near and far, especially in Hollywood, as many of the church's pastors have become friends with celebrities like Justin and Hailey Bieber as well as the Kardashian-Jenners.
However, there have been controversies that have plagued the celebrity-centered church. Most recently, Carl Lentz, former pastor of Hillsong's New York branch, exited his position following a scandal that revealed he'd cheated on his wife and carried on an affair. Dallas branch pastors Reed and Jess Bogard were suspended and later resigned following an investigation into their alleged "excessive spending." The Dallas church eventually closed its doors.
Most recently, Darnell Barrett, pastor to Hillsong's Montclair, New Jersey branch, resigned after a woman, reportedly a church volunteer, revealed that he sent her explicit photos via Instagram. According to reports, for two days in a row, Barrett sent DMs to the woman of himself shirtless in tight boxer briefs. He wrote to her saying that he accidentally sent her the pictures that were meant to be for his "close friends list," calling it an "honest mistake." Barrett also posted the photos to his Instagram Story as a workout motivation and they are said to show an imprint of his genitals.
Initially, the woman brushed it off with a joke and blocked him, but she decided to send him a lengthy message about manipulating women and being disrespectful. "I'm sorry?" is all he stated before she permanently blocked him. After the photo scandal went viral, Barrett announced his resignation.
"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," Barrett told the Daily Mail. "This was something that was just an honest mistake and I informed my wife as soon as it happened."