Yet another set of high-profile pastors are leaving scandalized megachurch Hillsong under unclear circumstances.
Reed Bogard, 38, and his wife, Jess Bogard, 35, the lead pastors of the Australia-based institution’s Dallas branch, are stepping away from the once-celebrity-beloved international worship chain after over a decade of employment there.
“Hey church, hope you’re doing well,” Reed says in a cutaway clip included in an hourlong Sunday sermon recorded live this weekend. “Just wanted to take a second on behalf of Jess and I to share some news with you.”
He goes on to say how the couple met at Hillsong College and served various staff roles at the church — including positions at three American branches — over the course of 15 years, all of which “has really taken a bit of a toll on Jess and I, on our family.”
Without offering further explanation, he then announces, “We just really feel that it’s time to transition off of our staff and take some time to remain healthy, get healthy and to really see what this next season holds for us.”
After heaping praise on Hillsong founders Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, the shot changes from Bogard to Houston.
“Reed’s announcement to you right now, not sure whether that comes as a shock, but I must say Reed and Jess have given their heart and soul to the pioneering of Hillsong Dallas over the last couple of years, umm, and we’re grateful for that,” says Houston, 66, before adding, “Reed and I have been talking over a period of time and we both agree that it would be a perfect time for them to come to a new season in their life.”
No other details are given, but Houston assures the Dallas congregation they’ll eventually get new lead pastors, and they are “not going to be forsaken.”
The Bogards’ resignations come less than two months after Justin Bieber’s former friend and Hillsong NYC lead pastor Carl Lentz was fired for what were initially only cited as “breaches of trust” and “moral failures.” Lentz later admitted he cheated on his wife, fellow pastor Laura Lentz, in what was revealed to have been a steamy affair. In response, Hillsong launched an internal investigation of its East Coast operations.
The service proceeds with no other mention of the longtime pastors’ sudden stepping down, nor has there been any mention of it on Hillsong’s various social media accounts, on Brian or Bobbie Houston’s, or on that of the Bogards, who cumulatively have more than 26,000 Instagram followers.