The 48-year-old pastor of one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention told his congregation Sept. 11 he will “retire” as their pastor due to serious health problems but will continue his ministry as vice president for church planting and church mobilization at the SBC’s North American Mission Board.
“I talked to several pastors that left their pastorate and came to NAMB, and all of them said it’s significantly a less stressful situation than pastoring the local church,” Matt Carter told Sunday worshipers at Sagemont Church in Houston.
Carter assumed the pastorate at Sagemont in May 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person worship worldwide. He followed Sagemont’s founding pastor, John Morgan, who had led the megachurch 53 years.
Before that, Carter was the founding pastor of Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, which grew from a core team of 15 in 2002 to more than 8,000 attending by his departure in 2020.
Sagemont ranks as one of the largest churches in the nation, with 20,000 members and reported pre-pandemic attendance of 17,000 weekly. The church’s history is a Texas-sized growth story similar to many of America’s megachurches.
NAMB’s upper-level leadership has been populated with several pastors of large churches recruited by NAMB President Kevin Ezell. Chief among those was Johnny Hunt, who resigned as senior vice president at NAMB in June after being named in an investigation of sexual abuse in the SBC. He previously was pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga.
Vance Pitman, president of NAMB’s Send Network, came to the agency after 21 years as a church planter and pastor at Hope Church in Las Vegas, which grew to 4,000 members under his leadership. Travis Ogle, senior vice president of NAMB’s Send Network, served on staff with Pitman in Las Vegas.
Bryant Wright, president of NAMB’s Send Relief, came to the agency after he retired as pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., which grew to more than 8,000 members under his pastorate.
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Source: Baptist News Global