Hillsong Church recently broke its silence regarding a scandal where its pastor resigned after sharing an unsolicited photo of himself in revealing workout pants to a church volunteer.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Darnell Barrett, the 32-year-old former creative director of the church’s branch in Montclair, New Jersey, stepped down from his post, originally telling the Daily Mail he thought it was best in order to focus on his marriage which was suffering from infidelity issues.
“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,” the church’s statement reads.
“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,” the statement continues. “We embrace this time of growth and will continue to move forward, caring for people and loving Jesus.”
In the sexually suggestive photos, Barrett can be seen wearing white Nike Pro Compression Tights that outlined his genital area. Along with sending a photo to an unnamed woman who once volunteered at the church, Barrett also posted two similar photos to his Instagram Stories, revealing his battle with anxiety, grief and depression.
In a text exchange between him and the woman obtained by the Daily Mail, Barrett apologized about sending the unsolicited photo on Instagram, mentioning that he meant to share it with his “close friends” group on the app, a feature that allows you to pre-select who can see certain content you share.
The woman was not amused and stated she felt Barrett was attempting to cover up his actions.
“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 buls**t,” the woman wrote.
Barrett defended himself in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“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.”
Barrett’s indiscretions mark the second major sex controversy the church has had to deal with over the last six months following the termination of former pastor Carl Lentz, who admitted he was unfaithful to his wife.