Carl Lentz responds to Naked Cowboy’s disappearing act

Recently, it was discovered that Hillsong NYC Youth Pastor Diego Simila played the Hillsong’s Naked Cowboy (NC) at Hillsong’s US Color Conference. While this information was circulating, Brian Houston released a blog post on this controversy. What followed after that was the sudden removal of Diego Simila’s sermons online. We wrote an article in response to this phenomena here:

Prankster or pastor? Where the world is Hillsong’s man Diego?

Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church NYC responded to this article. You can read his response below. If anyone wants to understand our previous conversations with Carl, read here.

34CWCPortrait_Carl Lentz

We’ve spaced his comment so it is easier to read.

Carl Lentz writes,

Hey guys! Diego is 100 percent our youth pastor at Hillsong Church New York City… I’ve seen quite a few silly things on this topic, this blog is right up there w/ the most silly. I have no idea why anybody, is trying to say we are “cyber scrubbing” anything to do with Diego.

There may not be many sermons online of Diego preaching, because he doesn’t travel and preach often! He is typically busy building our local youth ministry…if he has preached at another church and they put it online and now have taken it off, that’s THIER call not ours. Has zero to do with Hillsong Church.

This is now the second time I have had to clarify bad facts and address you on the very same issue you continually attempt to throw at my church.(you stated as fact one time, I had my own YouTube channel, which in fact I do not and cannot control fake accounts posing as me. I think you issued some sort of apology but mostly re-directed…sound familiar? If I had more time, I would read more of your stuff and im sure there would be profound inaccuracy throughout..)

So again, in your rush to write blogs about us, please do your best to at least get facts right. I realize you hate our church and you get excited to get new material up as fast as you can, that’s your obvious right. But your credibility suffers when you have to retract things, and I want you to be the best church watcher site you can be.

Diego is our youth pastor, I think he’s one of the best I have ever known when it comes to serving and helping young people and if he preaches on a Sunday and we put it online, keep your eye out for it! I love his preaching too..nobody has ever tried to scrub this man, from anything, so your entire blog here? Lacks truth. That has to be disappointing when that’s supposed to be what you hold dear.

Do better and have a great day!

Sincerely: Carl Lentz..
Guy who hired Diego as youth pastor and is confirming his existence.

Source: Carl Lentz, Prankster or pastor? Where the world is Hillsong’s man Diego?, ChurchWatchCentral,, Published 04/06/2016. (Accessed 05/06/2016.)

Do you agree with Carl Lentz’s challenge to us? Do you think he gave us enough information so we could correct our article? What are your thoughts on this?

Categories: Hillsong

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20 replies

  1. I experienced Hillsong’s online manipulation first-hand. When Brian Houston wrote his blog post called “Have You Heard he One About the Cowboy” on June 1st, I made a comment that was immediately removed and then the comments were closed. I took a screen shot of my comment before it was removed; you can see it here:

  2. So here’s the question for you, Carl Lentz: Does your Senior Pastor, Brian Houston NOT know who his NYC youth pastor is? After the “cowboy” story had been out for a week, he could only muster up this feeble sentence: “So how did someone come on stage imitating Times Square famous Naked Cowboy (during a fun moment with lot’s of other people) at the Colour Conference in NYC? It’s a good question, I’ve been trying to work that out myself.” (He has since then altered the first sentence to simply say “cowboy”). So let’s see if I’ve got this straight: Brian Houston has been “trying to work this out.” He doesn’t know who Diego Simila is-he refers to him as just “someone?” You know, the guy portraying the Naked Cowboy? The guy with his name SIMILA tattooed across his bare chest?? The guy standing right next to Brian’s wife and co-pastor, Bobbie Houston? Brian doesn’t know how this stunt happened or who Diego Simila is? Did Brian ask his wife? Did he ask you, Carl? Did Brian ever look at the videos or photographs in order to see what was happening at this event? Doesn’t it seem like he could’ve looked at his youth pastor and recognized him? Are we really supposed to believe that Brian Houston is completely in the dark about ANY of these things? Which is there more evidence of; a careful and honest assessment of this gigantic media debacle, or a cover-up? So now that you, Carl Lentz, have come out proudly supporting your Hillsong NYC youth pastor, Diego Simila, what are we to think of your senior pastor’s comments on his own blog? Did Brian Houston not know ANYTHING about this event, even after a whole week of trying to “work that out?”

    Carl, you wrote this message to Church Watch Central to try say that they got some facts wrong. Fine, maybe they did. Maybe Diego’s web presence was reduced in the past few days for some other reason that none of us know about. Fine.

    What about you and your story, which is radically different from Brian Houston’s story? Did Diego Simila portray the Naked Cowboy character as a part of the Hillsong staff that was all involved in a “fun moment?” It sure looks like all of those people on stage were planned and choreographed in advance; but your Senior Pastor doesn’t have a clue about any of this. Did Diego sneak into that crazy outfit and onstage against the will of Bobbie Houston? It sure doesn’t look like it. It looks like you guys all made a very poor decision (on the level of a high school youth group skit gone terribly wrong), but now the cover-up and confusion coming from the man in charge of Hillsong (Brian Houston) is a much bigger problem.

    Hmmm, I seem to recall Brian Houston being involved in other cover-ups in the recent past…

  3. If they cannot handle the truth of the gospel in an orthodox manner how can we expect them to be truthful about anything else? They verbally dance like a politician who, while standing with their family, have to explain why they are in a photo that is not family friendly.

  4. Hillsong is hoping this latest event will be forgotten and things will return to business-as-usual as soon as possible….

    “Tithes, please.”

    • This is why they get away with it. The average attendee at a Hillsong church falls into this category and Houston has tapped into it.

      The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.

      Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.

      “Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media,” the report read.

      On the positive side, the report says our ability to multitask has drastically improved in the mobile age.

      Microsoft theorized that the changes were a result of the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself over time and a weaker attention span may be a side effect of evolving to a mobile Internet.

      The survey also confirmed generational differences for mobile use; for example, 77% of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes” when asked, “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,” compared with only 10% of those over the age of 65.

      And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article.

    • “And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article.”

      This was far easier than attempting to sit through even one entire Hillsong “service” I am pleased to say.

      However attempting to ever sit through just one of these apostate Beast of Babylon conferences? That would require no less than superhuman fortitude.

  5. Mr Lentz you say, “nobody has ever tried to scrub this man, from anything” If your cowboy has nothing to hide then why has he ‘scrubbed’ his own Instagram account from public view? Up until a few days ago it has always been public! Oh and I may as well take this opportunity to ask why the official Hillsong Facebook page recently ‘scrubbed’ my question and then blocked me from commenting? Hillsong are very good at ‘scrubbing’ anything from Facebook that does not praise them and dares to question it’s ‘Pioneering’ ways!

    • Hillsong has taken scrubbing to a whole new level. They have sanitized references to tithing from their website, Brian Houston’s twitter comments, Instagram pictures from more than one account, reworded Instagram picture descriptions, on and on, and now this.

      Brian Houston likes to say “You can change the future!”, but he never mentions “They have changed their past.”

  6. I used to go to Hillsong and I was a musician there, and I can tell you that no-one gets near the stage at a large Hillsong conference without being authorised to be there.

    Also, with all the “pastor worship” that goes on, no youth pastor in their right mind would pull a stunt like that without prior approval.

    Brian’s rebuttal just doesn’t smell right….

    • ” I can tell you that no-one gets near the stage at a large Hillsong conference without being authorised to be there.”


      “with all the “pastor worship” that goes on, no youth pastor in their right mind would pull a stunt like that without prior approval.”

      We absolutely agree. As Brian Houston made that claim, we did not believe him. For a pastor to pull such a prank is to go against the culture in Hillsong.

      However, to put the naked Cowboy on stage is a risque thing that someone like Bobbie “I’ll-have-what-she’s-having” Houston would organise and then play dumb, just to be edgy in front of her gals.

      She likes to promote the spirit of envy and is more than happy to defy her husband in public. This stunt has bobbie written all over it.

      Just look at how Brian Houston worded his post:

      “I do know that Bobbie – my wife – who was convener of the conference was clearly unaware that this was going to happen and was taken back by it.”

      It’s true she may have been “clearly unaware that this was going to happen.” But was she aware that this was going to happen at all?

      This is how Brian Houston works. You need to parse his words to get the bottom of his misleading statements.

  7. Carl Lenz doesn’t teach the Bible anyway, so he is not, and has never, spoken for Jesus Christ. Carl Lenz is speaking for “Hillsong”, and that’s it.

  8. Carl Lentz, surely you’re in a position of power in the Hillsong church and have a permanent guest spot in Houston family’s clique. Since you’ve got such a high opinion of Diego, so high that you’re happy to defend him in Enemy territory…..

    … about you tell the big bosses to put Diego and all his material from BC period (before cowboy) back on Hillsong website or you’ll be really cross, hold your breath etc. etc. etc.?

  9. “to put the naked Cowboy on stage is a risque thing that someone like Bobbie “I’ll-have-what-she’s-having” Houston would organise and then play dumb, just to be edgy in front of her gals.”

    Totally agree – both the naked cowboy and the whole Austin Powers thing were inappropriate in the context of a Christian women’s conference, but nothing surprises me anymore with the Hillsong Entertainment Corporation. It’s all about being “relevant” don’t ya know.

    I am wondering if anyone got a good old fashioned smack down for bringing the “brand” into disrepute though…

  10. Naked cowboy in a supposedly christ honouring ministry? I’d say this sort of thing is bordering on pornography. Reminds me of the Israelites dancing around the golden calf. Give it a few years and the audience will all be naked, mark my words and call me a false prophet if this doesn’t happen

    • “Give it a few years and the audience will all be naked”

      Several on the stage are already halfway there.THis is the Hillswrong Way. Leading the path on the apostasy to spiritual death.

  11. I listened to Brian Houstons explanation about the naked cowboy and he said that that the guy had shorts on. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. I saw the clips on youtube that clearly show a high style black undergarment – something between normal jocks and a g jock. Brian should view the clip and correct his statement

  12. Carl, discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit – how can you say that people with discernment hate the church – Do you even read the Bible? let me guess – The Message version – little wonder that you don’t know the real Scripture. Be honest and stop defending the ungodliness perpetrated on your watch. You, Bobbie and Joel were on stage with the naked cowboy, and with the disgraceful depiction of Jesus – MY SAVIOUR, NOT WITH HIS CROWN OF THORNS BUT A CROWM OF STATUE OF LIBERTY – AND THE TORCHH – being a heathen god image !!!!

  13. Whilst I am prepared to a give the benefit of doubt that the cowboy stunt was not ‘authorised’ the correct action by Discerning Bobbie and Undiscerning Karl should have been to immediately send pastor cowboy off the stage IMMEDIATELY. However it seems that all the colour crowd were enjoying the sexual innuendo and Bobbie pathetically asked the crowd HOW WAS THAT? It was DISGRACEFUL BOBBIE, JOEL AND KARL. Please dont ever get so relevant and contemporary – to border on smut. I hope the bad lesson is a learning.


  1. Carl Lentz says those who practice discernment, “hate the church”? | Hillsong Church Watch

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