Another staff of Hillsong Church resigned after it was revealed that he showed inappropriate photos to a former female volunteer. He claimed that the images were sent accidentally.
Darnell Barrett, creative director of Hillsong Montclair, New Jersey, confirmed to The Daily Mail that he stepped down from his post on Tuesday for the said misconduct in February, sharing a couple of photos to a woman on Instagram. He is a married U.S. Navy veteran with two children.
"We thought it was best for me to move on. I don't want to get into the details," he told the news outlet.
He insisted that the incident was an "honest mistake," telling his wife immediately after it happened.
"I was not at all trying to lure her. 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," he added.
But the woman who received the photos told The Mail that the incident was not an accident as Barrett is claiming. She said that Barrett even wrote captions on the photos, writing on one photo that he was suffering from depression but was "proud" of himself for going to the gym.
She then forwarded the photos to her friend and found those to be inappropriate. The woman decided to block Barrett's account after receiving the pictures but unblocked him briefly to express her anger.
In her messages, she confronted Barrett of his action and pointed out that she does not believe the photos were "accidentally" sent.
Barrett replied by saying "I'm sorry?" before the woman could block him again.
The woman, who volunteered for the church from 2014 to 2016, revealed that Barrett had contacted her in January when he was planning to go to the state where she had moved. Barrett asked for suggestions on places to visit and specifically asked for a liquor store.
Hillsong explained in a statement sent to The Sun that Barnett officially resigned April 27, and that while it accepts his resignation, the church is disappointed that he made the wrong choices.
"Darnell Barrett, the creative oversight for Hillsong's Montclair location, resigned on April 27, 2021. Hillsong accepted his resignation and agreed that he could not continue as part of our team," the statement read.
"We were disappointed to learn about choices he made that were unacceptable for any Hillsong staff member."
Hillsong added that it has "countless" staff and volunteers who work with "trustworthiness, integrity, and excellence," and that these people "represent the heart of Hillsong Church," not just leaders such as Barrett and former East Coast pastor Carl Lentz, who Hillsong also dismissed over moral failures..
The Brian Houston-led church added that it thanks its staff and volunteers "for the work they do."
Captured by The Christian Post, Barrett joined Hillsong Church in January 2019.
Because of his parents' drug addiction, he and his brother were given up for adoption. He reconnected with his father, Hampton Robinson, and presented him to the church in December 2018.
"I cared about drugs more than I cared about being a good father at that time in my life. It's hard to look you in the eyes and say that to you, but ... that's the truth," Robinson told Barrett.
Barrett reportedly told Steve Harvey that he struggled about his father's statement and tried to work through it by undergoing prayer and therapy.
"He told me, he looked me in the eyes and said, 'I loved drugs more than I loved you.' Just hearing that, I still struggle with this idea of being enough for someone to stay in my life. So it's something I'm working on and I'm in therapy for and lots of prayer," he told Harvey.
Hillsong Church has been figured in a number of recent controversies involving pastors and staff. In its latest incident, the church decided to pause its Dallas operation following the resignation of former pastor Reed Bogard and his wife. The couple were exposed to have used donations to fund their lavish lifestyles.