Hillsong NYC Pastor, Carl Lentz, says Location has Been a Boon for the Church’s Growth
Pastor Carl Lentz believes that Hillsong Church NYC’s rapid growth and diverse congregation in just three years since its opening is largely due to the church’s location in a city known for its diversity.
“I think it’s less to do about us and more to do with New York City‚Ä¶we try to reach everyone here whether you’re homeless or in the world’s eyes, a celebrity, we pray our church can reach you,” said Lentz, in an interview with¬†New York’s Fox 5.¬†“It’s more about the fact that New York has a spectrum of people so we should have the whole spectrum in our church.”
Ever since the church was planted in early 2011, many New Yorkers have flocked to meet at Irving Plaza, which is a concert venue, for a worship experience and to hear the 34-year-old preach. Currently, the stateside Hillsong movement has gained more than 5,000 attendees, divided their services into six time slots each Sunday with lines of devotees wrapped around the block for each one, and launched an additional service in Montclair N.J. The church also counts Justin Bieber, Vanessa Hudgens and NBA player Kevin Durant as followers of its ministry.
Lentz, who has stirred the Pentecostal movement in New York with his urban demeanor, says their church does not narrow down who they reach out to. Instead, it is their unpretentious attitude that also garners the attention of thousands each week, he explains.
“It’s not so much that I do it on purpose, we’re just trying to be genuine to who we are,” said Lentz, noting that he dresses casually to lead services out of personal preference. “Typically with churches, people think they don’t fit in right away so one of our big advantages is that we look incredibly normal.”
While the church’s band and neon lights take center stage at the venue each week, newcomers often feel as though they have entered a concert. However, Lentz says he is quick to establish that attending a Hillsong service is not a spectacle.