Justin Bieber has never been shy about his Chistian faith. In fact, he has been seen sobbing after attending a Hillsong UNITED concert. He has also been seen attending the New York church planted four years ago. Recently, Bieber was even baptized by Hillsong NYC's lead pastor Carl Lentz in a private ceremony.
Carl Lentz recalls meeting the 20 year-old pop singer for the first time: "I remember being involved in this preservice prayer [backstage] and just looking at him and going, 'This is going to be a challenge,'" New York Post quotes Lentz as saying, of his meeting at a concert in New Jersey in 2008 where the Hillsong pastor was Seattle-based Pastor Judah Smith's guest. "And that day being like, 'I'm going to pray for this boy to make it.'"
Bieber has even referred to Lentz as his "pastor." Lentz acknowledges his role as the spiritual counsellor to Bieber. "I have a special role in Justin's life, spiritually, but ... I'm not a life-motivational guy," added Lentz. "We're talking about making sure his life remains a blessing, not a burden."
Reaching out to Bieber in grace, Lentz is not judgmental about Bieber's brushes with the law. "He's on a journey. If he's not doing good, should we abandon him?"
Expressing his big pastoral heart, Lentz confesses: "I love Justin, he's a good kid. He's trying to figure this out," the pastor told CBN. "His behavior ... you know, he's figuring it out."
"What should we do? ... People who are like, 'Is he even a Christian?' With Justin, I tell people grace and acceptance does not mean approval. I can accept you as a human being and not approve of your actions. That's how we've been loved. We love because we were first loved... With Justin, it's not my job to be his police officer. It's my job to be a friend to him, and that's all I am."