Hillsong NYC Youth Leader Appears as ‘Naked Cowboy’ Reportedly for Women’s Conference

Photo Credit: Instagram

NEW YORK — Concerns are being raised after the youth leader at Hillsong NYC appeared as the “naked cowboy” at a recent women’s conference.

Hillsong’s Colour Conference was held on May 6 and 7 in Madison Square Garden with ticket prices set at $209.50 a person in advance and $219.50 at the door.

“Colour seeks to ‘gather, equip and mobilize’ women of all age, background and culture in the belief that together we can and will make the world a better place,” a description of the event reads. “Our team labor to create an atmosphere that will refresh heart and soul, and inspire transformation. Our desire is that worship, creativity and the presentation of God’s Word (the Bible) will honor the King of heaven and cause faith to rise, enabling the enormous potential within to become reality.”

But online video footage of the event shows members of Hillsong NYC engaging in patriotic shout-outs and performing the song “New York, New York” surrounded by firemen, a costumed statue of liberty, Broadway dancers—and a look-alike of the city’s notorious “Naked Cowboy.”

The “Naked Cowboy,” dressed in only his underwear and a cowboy hat, moves to the front of the stage at one point and blows kisses to the cheering, flag-waving crowd. Hillsong NYC leader Carl Lentz is believed to be seen in the footage, as well as Bobbie Houston and her son Ben Houston, who leads Hillsong Los Angeles.

At first, the identity of the “Naked Cowboy” was a mystery to outsiders who viewed the online footage, but one Instagram user named Kelly Amber soon posted a snapshot of the event online, writing “light and shade #colour conf.” She also tagged Ben Houston and Hillsong NYC youth leader Diego Simila in the photograph.

Followers began chiming in, “Is that Diego with his shirt off?” “His shirt wasn’t the only thing missing!! @diegosimilaaka ‘naked cowboy’!!” and “Not surprised that it was @diegosimila.”

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Simila has served as the youth leader at Hillsong NYC since 2010. A former model, Simila sports his last name tattooed in large script across his chest, which can be seen in the video footage.

According to an online video featuring Simila preaching at LifePointe Church in Olathe, Kansas last year, Simila was formerly a part of a boy band in California, but believed that God had called him to leave it all and attend Bible college at Hillsong Sydney. After graduating, he moved back to California where he worked as a model, until he then felt led to move to New York City.

“He lived homeless there for about three weeks and he was just jumping from couch to couch. But he was faithful, and all of a sudden in a short, short time, he winds up being asked, being told to be the Youth Pastor of Hillsong New York City, started in 2010,” LifePointe leader Patrick Norris explains to the congregation.

But some find it inappropriate to have a youth minister appear as the “naked cowboy” and parade himself in his underwear at a women’s conference presented by a professing Christian church.

“I usually don’t expect to see a near-naked cowboy gyrating from the stage of a Christian women’s conference. Nor would I see and hear thousands of Christian females applauding and squealing in delight, and spurring on the performance. Indeed if I were of the world, I’d expect these sights and sounds to come from a giant bachelorette party at a strip club,” wrote Amy Spreeman of Berean Research.

“Hillsong continues to astound by their complete and utter disregard for how scripture instructs Christians to conduct their lives in this present evil age,” also commented the blog Pirate Christian. “First they brought us sleezy Silent Night. Then they had the sexual pervert Austin Powers appear at their women’s conference in London and now they’ve had The Naked Cowboy appear at their women’s conference in New York. We fear to see what they have in store for their next conference.”

Hillsong’s contact information is not posted online and therefore none could be reached for comment.

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  • Amos Moses

    SMH……………………. “modern christianity” ……………. more like church of Laodecia ……….. or the Corinthian church ………… again ………….. SMH ………….

    3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

    3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

    3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

    3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

    3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

  • TheBottomline4This

    I marked and have avoided Hillsong for years.

  • Eunice Hipe

    In my observation certain groups or a person get into a church and pretend to be a Christian, yet, they are “wolves” in sheep clothing. There are many pretender Christians are in the church; the goal, is to destroy the church, especially, when the church is weak and vulnerable. However, this kind of behavior is goes to the church, again, the church responsibility, if Christ name is in vain, such as this behavior, the church failed.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Stay away from Hillsong…

    • Josey

      Amen and if you are part of this and truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, walk out of there, wipe the dust off your feet and never look back!

  • Josey

    This has nothing to do with worship of Christ, they don’t even have any shame of what they are doing, worldly all the way.

    • acontraryview

      Who are you to question someone’s faith because they worship in a way that is different than the way you worship?

      • Amos Moses

        Who are you to question her questioning of those who did it?

        • acontraryview

          Who are you to question me about questioning her regarding her questioning of those who did it?

          • Amos Moses

            You are the one saying we cannot question …………….. we are not …………

      • Josey

        I can question it when it doesn’t line up with how The King of glory is to be worshipped. There should be a decisive difference between the world and the church of the Living God but instead this looks like a show out of Vegas, they bring shame to the Name of Christ not glory, honor and respect due His Holy Name.

        • acontraryview

          “doesn’t line up with how The King of glory is to be worshipped.”

          According to who?

          • Josey

            According to the God, the highest authority given to us, according to every Spirit filled born again child of God, that is who!
            This naked cowboy singing songs that do not glorify God and dancers who do not know how to dress appropriately are not worshipping the Almighty, they are putting on a show to entertain each other, God is Holy and deserves to be worshipped and honored as such. Who is the center of attention here, certainly not Christ Jesus.

            John 4:23, 24 vs23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

            1 Chronicles 16:25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. 27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
            28 Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

            I could go on with many other words from God and the Holy Bible He gave to men to lead us in the right way, but this is enough and shall be a witness against you in that day when you see all of God’s ppl worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth unless you repent you will be on the left and thrown out where there will be gnashing of teeth and eternal torment because you reject God’s word and God’s Son who gave Himself for you, took your place on the cross, something God does not take lightly. John 3:16-21 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

          • Veteren

            That’s right!

          • http://HisPlaceDanville.com Stephen Anderson

            >”doesn’t line up with how The King of glory is to be worshipped.”
            >According to who?
            Ah yes, there it is! The refusal to live under the Word of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

          • michael hood

            According to the King of Glory, that’s who!

        • Veteren

          Exactly Vegas show saw it on tv when i was a kid but now Todd White is taking the streets healing ministry wOW awesome instant miracles!

      • Lovethebluehills

        Everything has to be measured by the light of the Word. And these actions dont line up with that Word. That is why the questions.

        • Veteren

          Plus there is a requirements that God demands of you and until now no one is doing it, everyone wants to live their own way and go to Heaven when they all die as long as God is not there

      • jennylynn

        We are to make righteous judgements matthew 7 and to be fruit inspectors. If you read your Bible you would know this.

        1 corinthians 5:11-13
        …11But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone
        who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a verbal abuser, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12What business of mine is it to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”…

      • Liz Litts

        This is not worship!

        • acontraryview

          It is to the people who are there.

          • Josey

            No, it’s entertainment to those who are there, it is not worship of Christ Jesus who should be the center of the worship. It’s a ridiculous side show and mockery.

          • JuliaGulia

            Well-said. This does not honor The Father. “You shall know them by their fruits”, yet there is no distinction between their fruits & those of the world.

      • Amos Moses

        For those who think it’s mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Brian Houston (or any other popular teacher) here’s something just for you: Shocking Stuff You’re Not Supposed to Know.

        If you’re having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Hillsong, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

        Finally, here’s an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

      • Veteren

        I love your style yeah! Reminds me of this statement “Do has thy will that is the fullness of the law” Peace

      • Lux Elliott

        Would you question my faith if I did not worship at all?

      • http://HisPlaceDanville.com Stephen Anderson

        And Nadab and Abihu died when they offered profane fire before the LORD. (Num 26:61 NKJ)
        Worship is the bowing down to God, the submission to God, the honoring of God. And God takes offense when your “worship” is about pleasing yourself rather than pleasing Him.

    • Veteren

      When you become famous you tend to loose your way..

  • BanIgnorance

    Feminism means “men are pigs – let’s be like them.”

    That worked out great, didn’t it? Instead of one sex being trashy and vulgar, now both sexes are. Only a fool would call that “progress.”

  • LadyFreeBird♥BlessedBeTheLord

    Somehow that does not see respectful to God. What was he trying to prove? Why would a MAN be nude at a Woman’s conference? He should be ashamed of himself.

  • John Evans

    Y’all should be ashamed of yourself. Do some research before you post this crap. It is not true.

    • Amos Moses

      Video is available at Pirate Christian Radio – Museum of Idolatry ………… and it is all over the youtube machine …………… not to mention the Austin Power thing they did at the London Hillsong Conference ……… Perhaps you should follow your own advice ………….

  • Peter

    “Hillsong” Don’t you mean Hellsong

    • Jack

      Good one!

  • Toro Keng

    Hillsong or any CCM are not just ”modern music”.

    Are you 100% sure that these CCM is good to be used in church to worship the Almighty God? Songs that authored by these peple? Seriously?!

  • Nidalap

    “Hillsong’s contact information is not posted online and therefore none could be reached for comment.”

    Oh, come ON now. Really?

  • Samuel F Waddell

    How far are we going with this cheap grace, false teaching, belief that allow Christians to live for the flesh and still be welcome in heaven? The True Grace of God calls us to repentance.

  • Sterling Twighlight

    New Age ideologies is more respectable than this charade of a church movement.

  • jennylynn

    The apostate American Church!

    Mathew 25
    25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

    • Believer

      Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

  • Steve PA

    What on earth is going on at Hillsongs? Where are their leaders? We’ve come to the point where Christians can sing passionate worship songs one minute and then act like the world? I am not for going back to the days of Christian legalism. But frankly this is a bit much, and I can see no way in which this glorifies Christ and points us to Him. It seems more like lust of the flesh to me. None of us are perfect, but leaders should set an example and are held to a higher level of accountability.

  • archaeologist

    “Colour seeks to ‘gather, equip and mobilize’ women of all age,
    background and culture in the belief that together we can and will make
    the world a better place,” a description of the event reads.”

    You want to do that, then teach women the truth and how to behave scripturally

  • Ben Cleveland

    Isn’t it Hillsong that also toed the popes line about the Bible and the koran being equal? They are not Christians if this is how they are going to stand. No matter what thy claim.

  • Jae Vittetow

    “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – Paul

    Though sad, we shouldn’t be surprised by the deception of Hillsong NYC. They are spiritual poison. They are disregarding the basic simple black and white words of the Word. Jesus is the Word made flesh, if we choose to not follow the Word, we reject Him and His Father. Jesus said if you love Me you will keep my commandments. They don’t love Him. They love the world and honor the world by their very actions. No legalism needed, just simple observance.

  • Danny Pike

    God told us to be fruit inspectors. I see no Fruit bearing by them at all. They are disgrace to the Word of God. No morals at all. But God be judge with the Bible

  • Peridot Path

    Gross immorality , period. If they are mirroring the world , then they are not
    mirroring Christ and His message of purity. Leave Hillsong out as long as they
    mirror the world.

  • http://computers4christians.org/ Eric Bradshaw
  • Darren Jones

    From reading the post it’s obvious that this type of behavior cause division among believers and their behavior is not edifying or uplifting to the body of Christ. We should put off these vain imaginations and worship as one and not as the world does.

  • Johnny Hopkins

    I am a fan of Hillsong’s music, but this is inappropriate. Even if the services are held in stadiums, those spaces become sacred ground when worship is involved. Cheap grace is not the problem but it is with leadership. As awesome as their creative/dance team is, there should be STRONG boundaries as to what goes on at the conferences and their regular services. This is a case of a creative/dance ministry acting with no regard to scriptural standards. People have a right to come to a women’s conference and not be subjected to a youth minister dressing up like the Naked Cowboy. I am sure the real Naked Cowboy would disapprove of their Colours conferences. Hillsong is letting its good be spoken evil of and it will implode before their very eyes.

  • Fiona Borland

    It will always shock me how much the church like to point in and shoot AT each other. Were any of you at Colour? Do you know what those 4 minutes are about and why they are so silly? Were you there when 5000 women prayed against human trafficking, or when Brooke Frasier led 5000 women in heart changing worship, or when Bobbie Houston preached about the value God places on the feminine heart – No? Oh then that explains your misunderstanding of the situation. I just used this article to show my 16 year-old daughter exactly WHY we belong to Hillsong and never want to be a part of hypocrisy and mis-judgement ever again. Diego is an INCREDIBLE you guy with a heart of love and mercy for Youth. Shame on you all for judging an man you din;t know. I am so very SURE that Jesus was laughing. Becasue Jesus laughed,

    • jennylynn

      Compromising with the world and doing good works in the name of the LORD does not prove anything. The church is to be holy not an entertainment center. When you make it about entertainment your take away true worship from the LORD.
      God is holy,holy holy. This behavior has not place in a church.

      Titus 2:11
      11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

      Romans 12:2
      2 And be not conformed to this
      world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    • michael hood

      Not too many dispute the good that Hillsong has done and probably still does. But does that counterbalance sin? No. We are called to be holy, as He is holy. As has already been pointed out, we are not to associate with brothers who are sexually immoral, not even eat with them (1 Cor. 6:9). So is dressing in your underwear on stage in front of thousands of people of the opposite sex immoral, and that just for entertainment? I would say so, wouldn’t you? Please let’s be real. Would Jesus do it? No! Would Paul? No! Should we? NO!

  • Candice Courtney

    It’s actually quite funny. The ‘Naked Cowboy’ is as well know as the Statue of Liberty in NY. He probably did it for a laugh and now is getting destroyed by the conservative Christian. Shame, the poor guy. We don’t need Satan. Christians will do it on their own.

  • Veteren

    Show me something i haven’t heard? It’s sad but true you got to give what the community wants right? It’s called religion, Jesus introduced His Kingdom “if you just thought you want to kill someone, you just did in your mind” wOW scary! religion has nothing to do with God satan loves it when humans have religion bcoz it has no power. If you look at their colours represents demons are assigned to make people live in denial & loose their way. For more spiritual discernment watch ex satanist John Ramirez/YouTube, Peace

  • Veteren

    People don’t change..they pretend

  • Believer

    REPENT! This has nothing to do with the worship of Jesus Christ, I agree! Jesus said come out from among those of the world and be separate, to not worship as the pagans do, to keep His commandments, that if you love your sin you hate Jesus, Jesus said to the masses REPENT! For the kingdom of heaven has come near! We know, that during the day of the Lord before the kingdom has come and His will is done on Earth as is in Heaven, that Jesus himself will tell all practicers of lawlessness and the sexually immoral, “Depart from me! You who practice Lawlessness, I never knew you!” then he will make all evil doers and those who practice sexual immorality SUFFER the second death, as his horse tramples them in the Winepress of Wrath, and they are delivered to the lake of fire where the flame is NEVER quenched and the worm NEVER dies.

  • Jack

    YAAAAAAAAAY MORE CHRISTIANS FINGER FIGHTING EACH OTHER!!! ….. *walks away & helps someone in actual need.

  • Lux Elliott

    Modern day Christianity is getting more and more ridiculous. This only helps show the disconnect and delusion from reality religion can bring. The only thing we’re witnessing is how music can create an emotional state that allows the listener to attached whatever they ‘feel’ to it. That video is either pure insanity, or a Flaming Lips concert.

  • Paul D.

    I count eleven US flags in that photo along. What are you guys worshipping again?

    But by all means, freak out about the dude with his shirt off instead.

  • http://HisPlaceDanville.com Stephen Anderson

    Hillsong pretends to be a Christian church. Part of the problem is that the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement does not adhere to Sola Scriptura and will always be vulnerable to all manner of deception.

  • Amos Moses

    From Rick Wiles at TruNews

    So, let’s get this straight:

    Hillsong had a dancing naked cowboy perform at a Christian women’s conference.

    The said cowboy was not the original ‘Naked Cowboy’, but actually a youth pastor from the church.

    The original ‘Naked Cowboy’ is greatly offended that his trademarked illusion of nudity would be used in a church setting.

    The source of the original ‘Naked Cowboy’s offense come from Burck being an ordained minister himself.

    If there was ever any doubt that the church has descended into Babylon, those doubts should now be removed.

  • 4TimesAYear

    They *paid* to see this drivel?

  • Amos Moses

    Brian Houston on the “naked cowboy” Event: “I’m Clueless About It-But It’s No Big Deal Anyway”

  • Amos Moses

    From TruNews and Rick Wiles……….

    In a statement released June 1:

    Have You Heard the One About the Cowboy?
    So how did someone come on stage resembling a cowboy, (during a fun moment involving lots of other people), at the Colour Conference in NYC? It’s a good question, I’ve been trying to work that out myself.

    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. She was at the dress rehearsal and there was no sign of a cowboy there. Carl and Laura Lentz were also not part of the decision. I can only guess at this point, that someone thought it would be funny and sent him out there without thinking about the ramifications.

    What I do know is that those who perpetuate the story, do so mainly with the help of a video, no context, and a good dose of what the bible describes as hearsay and rumour. He was wearing proper shorts, not underwear, and he had a flag draped over him – perhaps inappropriate, certainly unexpected and unathorized but not naked.

    What I also know is that talk of apostates etc., is nonsense. Some well-meaning person just made a silly decision. It won’t happen again.

    Brian Houston, we have a problem.

  • michael hood

    What’s sad about this whole discussion is the fact that the dancing girls, who I guess are supposed to be like the “Rockets”, are thrusting their rear ends and high kicking and with only short skirts on. I suppose no men in the crowd (and there were some there) were tempted to check them out, hmmm?? We’ve strayed so far that that is not even in issue. This is indeed a sad day.

  • Amos Moses

    Bearded Lady Liberty Featured at Hillsong NYC Event

    (TRUNEWS) As if Hillsong’s recent controversy regarding the Times Square Naked Cowboy wasn’t creating enough worries for the megachurch, a further look at the video reveals even more startling content.

    This video shows a clip from Hillsong’s recent Color Conference, a special event for women. This huge production number which features the Naked Cowboy, Ninja Turtles, dancers and other images from the Big Apple finishes up with a crooner introducing Lady Liberty.

  • Gena B

    Since it was for women who worship, which part do you think God liked best the performance of “New York, New York,” the Broadway dancers, or the naked cowboy who use to be a model and now leads the youth? I don’t think God was anywhere near that sinking ship.