Pastors at Hillsong Church were living lavish lifestyles for years, spending money like drunken sailors at the expense of member’s tithes, according to a new report in the NY Post that spoke with former pastors and members.
They describe how Hillsong NY, the former home of the disgraced woke pastor Carl Lentz, did not expect their leaders to act modestly or use the tithing wisely.
“Pastors splurged on fancy restaurant meals, designer clothes and weekly manicures while living in the same Kent Avenue Williamsburg high-rise (whose apartments rent on average of nearly $6,0000 a month) and zipping around the neighborhood on ATVs .”
Former Hillsong LA service pastor Nicole Herman recounts how they all used PEX cards (prepaid expense cards) which were loaded up at the end of services after all the tithes were collected.
These cards would be used on pretty much whatever they wanted and did not have to be reconciled, explained or justified at the end of the month.
The post reports that “Of the $12.7 million that Hillsong East Coast made in 2019, 88% of it came from “tithes & offerings.” Over 66% of that revenue went to a combination of staff salaries, benefits and expenses ($3.8 million) and operating expenses including venue rentals, staffing, and production costs ($4.9 million).”
One congregant who nannied for many of the pastors,Jenna Babitt, described a long list of extravagant purchases, including large quantities of food for the pastors before services, mostly consistent of Sushi and expensive takeout, with the occasional Chipotle chipped in. They frequently rolled out the red carpet for guest and celebrity attendees, pushing designer purchases and spending up to 200$ on a single meal from pricey the Dean and Deluca restaurant.
Another former member, Megan Phalon, got a job babysitting for pastors Kane and Karla Keatinge, eventually doing light personal assistant duties for them. She says “He’d be spending all this money and at the end of the month he’d be like, ‘I don’t know what this was for.” She describes going out and buying a brand new unlocked iPhone without being told who it was for, and the pastors buying All-Terrain Vehicles to drive around town.
Another former member who functioned as lead pastor Reed Boggard’s assistant and was there from day one, Brandon Walker, describes how Hillsong leadership were all about eating out and staying in fancy hotels and Airbnb’s, including booking one that cost nearly$1100 a night.
According to the post:
“Walker recalled one day out on the town with Jess Bogard and two of his friends when she bought the group matching $100 jackets before taking them out to dinner at a “pretty nice, pretty expensive Italian restaurant” called North Italia, where she dropped hundreds on a decadent, wine-filled meal. “I think the bill was $600 to $700,” Walker recalled. “It was just, like, ‘Wow. [She] just dropped over $1,000 for no reason.’ ”
At the end of the day, there’s no accountability, there’s no self-reflection. Everything’s a flex, everything’s a show.”
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