Mac Brunson Abruptly Resigns From Pastorate of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville After 12 Years

When Mac Brunson, co-senior pastor of 10,000-member First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, stepped into the pulpit Sunday, it began as any other worship experience.

But by the time the April 29 service ended, Brunson had announced his immediate resignation from his pastorate of a dozen years and left the sanctuary with his wife Deb.

Heath Lambert, a counseling professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Brunson last fall as senior co-pastor of the Florida church. Baptist Press has sought a comment from Lambert. On Twitter, Lambert stated on Monday morning, “I am so grateful for the ministry of Mac Brunson, and am praying for his next phase of fruitful ministry.”

The FBC JAX congregation was stunned by Brunson’s announcement, sources told Georgia Baptists’ Christian Index. In his announcement Brunson noted there is no place of ministry awaiting him and his wife, but they are “excitedly waiting for the Lord to show us His perfect will for our lives.”

In a letter of resignation posted online, Brunson, 60, who was the 2003 president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference, stated that while “Deb and I are stepping away from the church at the end of the month [April 30]; my last Sunday to preach will be next Sunday morning, May 6.”

He recounted that “Deb and I have sensed for the last six or seven months that the Lord was bringing our ministry to a close here in Jacksonville. … We believe, as the Lord has confirmed in our hearts, that some of our most productive and fruitful days of ministry are ahead of us.”

First Baptist, in a statement issued Monday, noted, “Whenever a pastor leaves a place of service it is common for rumors of a scandal to circulate. We want to be clear that no such scandal exists at First Baptist, or in the ministry of Dr. Brunson. Dr. Brunson’s service has been characterized by moral and ministerial faithfulness, and no individual or group within our church asked him to leave.

“On the contrary, we are grateful for the years of service rendered by Dr. Brunson and his wife Debbie,” the FBC JAX statement continued. “We wish them all the best in their future ministry endeavors, and Dr. Lambert hopes to welcome them as guests at First Baptist very often in the future.

The church also stated that Brunson’s announcement was in keeping with a transition plan for him and Lambert approved last September.

Brunson, who came to First Baptist in February 2006 after seven years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, told in his resignation letter of spending “these last days and weeks of ministry” with his wife looking “in three directions — inward, outward, and upward. Allow me to reminisce as we look back over our ministry here.”

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Source: Baptist Press