FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The embattled pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, is stepping down to take a position at McAfee School of Theology.
Brett Younger, who survived a vote in March that would have led to his removal, is leaving to become associate professor of preaching at the school, which is situated on the campus of Mercer University in Georgia.
The congregation has been a leading voice in moderate Baptist life. Younger’s final Sunday at Broadway will be June 8.
“I feel like the Spirit is leading me to this new ministry,” Younger told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I am also sad at leaving Broadway. The church has taught me so much about following Christ. The congregation has faced difficult issues with great courage. One of my hopes in my new position is that I will be able to help students lead their own congregations to be as faithful as Broadway has been.”
Church members had voted March 9 to retain Younger by a 499-237 margin (68 percent to 32 percent).
The church has been embroiled in controversy for the last several months as members have struggled with issues such as whether to allow homosexual couples in the church to be presented as couples in a planned 125th anniversary pictorial directory.
At issue was not whether homosexuals should be able to serve, attend and hold positions of authority in the church, but whether a pictorial directory that included homosexual couples would make it appear as if the church endorsed the homosexual lifestyle. That issue was settled Feb. 24 when the church voted 294-182 to leave family portraits out of the directory in favor of candid photos.
A group calling itself Friends for the Future of Broadway had brought a litany of complaints against Younger in recent months, criticizing his handling of the pictorial directory controversy, his invitation to controversial theologian Marcus Borg to preach to the church and a decline in church attendance since the beginning of his tenure in 2001.
Compiled by Michael Foust, with reporting by Samuel Smith, a writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.