PEOPLE Explains: What to Know About Justin Bieber's Church — and Hillsong's Star Pastor Carl Lentz
As a source told PEOPLE, Justin Bieber has "been going to church and has been hanging out with his church crew" since abruptly canceling his Purpose World Tour. Another friend of the singer at the time added, "Being more spiritual and attending church is how he finds his energy and focus again."
Bieber belongs to Hillsong Church in New York City. Originally based in Australia, the church brought its house of worship to N.Y.C. in 2010. Over the years, Bieber has gotten close to Pastor Carl Lentz, a church leader dubbed by many in the media as the "rock star pastor."
The Kardashian-Jenner clan also has ties to Hillsong. Kendall and Kylie have dropped by for services.
And Miami-based minister Rich Wilkerson — who famously performed Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding ceremony — isn't officially connected to the congregation's team of clergy. However, he has often delivered sermons as a guest speaker.
WHO IS PASTOR CARL?
Thanks to his celebrity ties and relationship with Bieber, the tattooed Pastor Carl Lentz has become a recognizable figure, inspiring headlines like "Who is Justin Bieber's hot, shirtless pastor?"
Married to wife Laura — they met at Hillsong College, a school affiliated with the international organization — Lentz is based in N.Y.C. From a quick browse of his Instagram feed, the pastor is friendly with a bevy of entertainers and athletes, having shared selfies with everyone from JAY-Z and Wiz Khalifa to Kevin Durant.
Lentz and Bieber have grown close since the pastor performed the pop star's impromptu baptism in 2014. Lentz called on his pal, the NBA player Tyson Chandler, to borrow his bathtub to baptize Bieber. “It was probably one of the most special things I’ve been a part of,” Lentz later told Oprah Winfrey of the experience.
IT'S NOT LIKE A REGULAR CHURCH, IT'S A COOL CHURCH
In addition to its star-studded congregants, a stylish set attends Hillsong N.Y.C., and the group often welcomes models, including Hailey Baldwin and Lucky Blue Smith.
What's more, unlike many Christian congregations, the youth-saturated Hillsong congregation doesn't meet in a chapel or sanctuary but rather popular music venues in the city and has hosted services at Irving Plaza and, now, Hammerstein Ballroom.
And while it welcomes stars, the organization has launched its own chart-topping careers. Since forming in 1998, Hillsong United — a band of worship leaders that rotate in and out of the lineup — has released five studio albums, all of which have peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's US Christian Albums chart.
SELENA GOMEZ HAS GONE, TOO
Selena Gomez, who dated Bieber on-and-off for years, has said her song "Nobody" was inspired by her relationship with her faith. The Disney alum has attended — and even led — Hillsong worship service.
And, throughout her Revival World Tour, Gomez covered Hillsong United's "Transfiguration."