A Black leader at a Hillsong Church in Montclair, New Jersey, resigned on Tuesday after he reportedly texted a volunteer a scantily clad photo of himself, attempting to pass it off as a mistake.
Darnell Barrett, a married father of two and the chapter’s former creative director, has been named as the culprit in the scandal which is the second controversy involving Hillsong pastors in the last year. In October former pastor Carl Lentz was fired after it was revealed he cheated on his wife.
“Hey! I think I might’ve added you to my close friends list by accident. I’m so sorry. Trying to figure out how the hell to edit it,” Barrett, 32, texted a 30-year-old woman volunteer in February. The woman told The Daily Mail that she worked for the church from 2014-2016.
The message followed a pic of Barrett in front of a mirror wearing only white Nike Pro tights which emphasized the outline of his genital area.
On the same day he posted two selfies to his Instagram story “close friends” group, a feature that allows you to share content with groups of friends that you personally select.
In one of the photos he captioned his struggles with anxiety and depression, lamenting that his workout was aimed to combat a recent struggle with grief.
He later texted the woman that the photos were “some real raw s**t I send to my friends man.”
“Seriously, sorry about that. I guess,” he continued.
At first the woman said she understood and attempted to move past the awkward encounter.
However, later texts obtained by The Daily Mail revealed she had second thoughts and took the opportunity to express her disgust and disappointment with Barrett.
‘Darnell, I’m not going to lie, I blocked your for a second but I’ve decided I need to say something to you,’ she wrote in messages obtained by DailyMail.com.
“First off, I’m insulted that you wouldn’t understand what you’re doing but I’m not f**king stupid. For you to go out of your way to make it seem like you ‘accidentally’ added me to your close friends… and then, went out of your way to message me about it KNOWING that would make me go look is bulls**t. Obviously, what you wanted me to see were the shirtless photos and the outline of your d**k, let’s not play and act like that wasn’t the point. Your messages to bait me into seeing your ‘raw s**t’ are obvious. I know what you’re doing, do not insult me. I see you very clearly.”
“To be honest, this whole ‘fishing’ scheme of yours to see if I will bite isn’t what even pissed me off,” she continued.
She told The Daily Mail that her communication with Barrett was scarce prior to the event. He once reached out to her in Jan. informing her that he planned to visit her area, asking for recommendations.
Barrett told the outlet that he decided to step down after the photos were revealed to church officials and that in the best interest of working through infidelity issues with his wife he decided to step down.
He asserts he sent the photos by mistake.
“I was not at all trying to lure her,” he said. “I get that she, within the context of what’s happening with Hillsong, that she would draw those conclusions.”
“But I barely know her. That was not my intention.”