RELIGION
12/20/2013 12:11 pm ET Updated Dec 20, 2013

Carl Lentz, Hillsong NYC Pastor, On Engaging Youth In A Godless City

Finding and making sense of God in New York City is a feat. Yet Carl Lentz, Hillsong NYC's lead pastor, has had no problem achieving this, evidenced by the 6,000 people who flock to Irving Plaza every Sunday to hear his sermons.

But Lentz is no ordinary pastor, clad in leather, skinny jeans, and tattooed arms. And his message is no ordinary message, preached in sermons likened to rock concerts in a venue likened to a club. Joining HuffPost Live, Lentz discussed engaging youth and relating to Jesus.

"There's a void of kindness in New York City, and there's a void of people who want to serve. So our job as Christians is to love people as we've been loved, which was unconditionally for free," the 34-year-old pastor said.

As millennials are becoming less religiously affiliated, according to a recent Pew study, Lentz addressed the issue of the lack of religious literacy.

To fill the void, Lentz responded, "We talk about Jesus a lot. Because Jesus actually came to kind of almost disprove and abolish religion. So when Jesus showed up on the planet, religion was the only way. And Jesus basically said, 'I am the religion. You can't live up to God, you can't work your way up to him.'"

He continued, "So I don't even get into religious stuff... It's really easy to differentiate between Jesus and religion."

For Lentz personally, relating to Jesus is much like his relationship with his wife who, after 10 years of marriage, he concedes still "makes out" with a lot.

"I feel like 10 years in a marriage, I'm just getting to know her. That's how I feel about Jesus," he told HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. I feel like every day I wake up, there's an opportunity for me to know a little bit more about him and to walk with him... That freaks people out, because it can sound kind of super spiro and weird. But I'm okay with that because I'm a weird guy in general."

To learn more about Hillsong, watch Carl Lentz's full interview HERE.

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