“Hillsong accepted his resignation and agreed that he could not continue as part of our team,” the megachurch said in a statement

By Naledi Ushe
April 29, 2021 10:45 PM
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Darnell barrett
Darnell Barrett
| Credit: STEVE TV

Hillsong Church addressed what they're calling "unacceptable" behavior on the part of their former Pastor Darnell Barrett.

Barrett, 32, who was the creative director of Hillsong's Montclair, New Jersey, chapter, posted photos of himself shirtless after a workout wearing Nike Pro Compression Tights that were very revealing.

The photo scandal, along with claims that Barrett sent an anonymous woman similar photos and that there was infidelity in his marriage, led to him quitting on Tuesday.

"Darnell Barrett, the creative oversight for Hillsong East Coast's Montclair location (New York), resigned on Tuesday (April 27, 2021)," Hillsong confirmed in a statement.

Hillsong church
Credit: Hillsong Church/Getty

The celebrity-loved mega church added, "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."

"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," Hillsong representatives wrote. "We embrace this time of growth and will continue to move forward, caring for people and loving Jesus."

Barrett – who previously appeared on Steve Harvey's talk show – wrote that "depression and anxiety got the best of me in the last 30 hours" in text written over the pictures he posted to his Close Friends list on Instagram, saying the gym is what's been helping him get out of bed, the photos obtained by Daily Mail show.

One unnamed woman – who told the Daily Mail she was a former volunteer at Hillsong – said to the outlet that the father of two had sent her similar photos and attempted to lure her, before he shared the shirtless pictures on his Instagram Stories, claiming it was "an accident." Barrett told the outlet that sending her those photos was "an honest mistake."

"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," he told the outlet, presumably referring to Pastor Carl Lentz who was fired in November from Hillsong due to what the church described as past "moral failures."

Barrett added, 'This was something that was just an honest mistake and I informed my wife as soon as it happened."

The former pastor told the Daily Mail outside his New Jersey home that he and his wife "thought it was best for me to move on" from his position at the church amid the social media behavior and that "there was infidelity in my marriage that we're working through."

Barret's stepping down comes months after Lentz admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, writing on Instagram that "this failure is on me, and me alone."

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"Today Hillsong Church East Coast advised our congregation that we have terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz," the church's founder Brian Houston said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE at the time. "This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl."

Houston added that Lentz's firing comes after "ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures."