Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz has said Justin Bieber is a "good Christian" whose relationship with Jesus Christ is "changing his life daily".
"I think that Justin is a good Christian. I don't think his problems are behind him, but we all have to deal with other stuff to come," the pastor, 38, told Sunrise on Wednesday
"His relationship with Jesus is changing his life daily. It is one of those things where you never really get it, it takes a while to keep growing as a person. Every day he is getting older, and with each chapter comes new growth... This is what conference is all about," Lentz added.
The pastor also hit back allegations Bieber was paid to attend Sydney's four-day Hillsong Closer Conference: "We don't pay him to attend. He comes on his own," he explained. "This is a volunteer thing. He comes on his own. Everyone here would buy a ticket and be a part of it. He feels like it is a big part of his year."
Tickets to the late-night conference on Tuesday night started at $359, and according to Fairfax Justin's appearance was not announced beforehand.
The pastor revealed that Justin "just listens" at the event: "He sings, does what everybody else does," Lentz said. "He does not perform. He is not on stage, he is just a face in the crowd. His face is really recognizable but for him, it is just a chance for him to be as normal as he can."
As earlier reported by GH, the "Despacito" singer previously attended the 2015 Hillsong Conference, and in March of this year attended Hillsong's Australia Color Conference launch along with Lentz.
The well-known "celebrity pastor" is credited with bringing Bieber back to his faith and baptizing him.
While a guest on "Super Soul Sunday," Lentz spoke to Oprah about his relationship with the singer. Lentz revealed that he met Bieber after his friend, fellow pastor Judah Smith, contacted him and said he was "working" with Bieber and wanted the two of them to connect.
"Through Judah, I was able to become a friend of Justin. To make a long story short, his baptism was a moment where he was going through it and he was pulling himself up," Lentz said.
Oprah then questioned whether or not it was true Bieber said he wanted "to know" Jesus.
"He's known Jesus and has had a relationship with Jesus. His mom did a great job at planting the right seeds, but you get to a point as a man where it goes from being your mama's relationship or your grandmama's religious background to yours. And I think he got to a place where he was like, 'I wanna make this real,'" the Virginia native responded.
"He's serious," Lentz said of Bieber. "People say, 'What does it mean to be a serious Christian?' Look at Justin, he's a work in progress. He's never said he's perfect, he's never said he is the representation of Christianity but I'm proud of him for admitting he's a Christian in the middle of and knowing he's going to have more problems. I love that about Justin."
The annual Hillsong Conference is hosted by pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. This year, speakers include Beth Moore, Lauren Daigle, John Gray, and others. Worship is led by the popular CCM group Hillsong United.