JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Homer G. Lindsay, Jr., pastor of the nation’s third largest Southern Baptist church, announced Dec.19 he will retire.
Lindsay’s announcement stunned the congregation and staff of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. Lindsay, 72, has been at the church for nearly 31 years. He succeeded his father, Homer Lindsay, Sr., who came to First Baptist in 1940.
The pastorate has been in the Lindsay family for nearly 60 years.
“The Bible says there is a time and a place for all things,” Lindsay told the congregation. “I feel that it has come to that time and place for me to announce my retirement.”
Church Administrator Doug Pigg said Lindsay’s last Sunday in the pulpit is scheduled for March 26, 2000. “We’ll be sending out a letter to our church members on Jan. 2 that will bring everyone up to date with our future plans,” he added.
Jerry Vines, who serves as co-pastor with Lindsay, will lead the search to find a new co-pastor. “Now, we begin to pray that God will lead someone to come and serve with me as co-pastor,” Vines said. “Until that time, I’ll be doing the work.
“We plan to stay right on our focus. Our mission is our New Testament assignment to win people to Christ. It’s our long range, mid-range, and short range goal.”
Vines is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Homer Lindsay is a big man with a huge heart whose timeless passion for Jesus and people has left an indelible imprint on a church, a city, a state, a denomination, and thousands of pastors like me,” said Jim Henry, pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla. and also a former president of the SBC.
“His courage, convictions, and compelling vision leave a spirited legacy for generations to come,” he added.
During Lindsay’s pastorate, First Baptist grew from 2,600 in 1969 to more than 26,000 members today.
The church campus includes property on 11 city blocks as well as an auditorium that seats 9,200.
First Baptist Church’s annual pastor’s conference is considered to be the largest of its kind in the nation with more than 6,000 attending last year’s meetings.