Unconventional pastor leads booming NYC megachurch

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By BONNY GHOSH, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Carl Lentz is not your typical pastor. With a half-shaved head, slicked-back Mohawk and tattoos, he's an unconventional preacher leading an unconventional church.

His Hillsong Church in New York City has become one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, packing in about 5,500 worshipers in six services held every Sunday in a rock concert venue. Crowds lining up are a regular weekly scene at Irving Plaza near Manhattan's Union Square.

Christian rock music is a big part of the services and the 34-year-old Lentz peppers his sermons with scripture quotes, jokes and street slang, all of which appeals to a younger demographic of church goers.

Hillsong is a branch of the popular Australian-based Hillsong Church, the Pentecostal church which draws more than 21,000 to its services every week.

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