Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


One of Largest Christian Churches in US Departs Southern Baptists After Controversial Ban

Southern Baptists lost one of their biggest congregations last week amid tensions in the largest U.S. Protestant denomination over women at the pulpit.

The Matthews, North Carolina-based Elevation Church sent a letter to the Southern Baptist Convention on June 26 informing them of their intention to disaffiliate “effective immediately.”

The megachurch’s letter did not state a reason for the disaffiliation, though Elevation Pastor Steven Furtick’s wife, Holly Furtick, preaches and posts her sermons online.

Last month, an overwhelming majority of more than 12,000 voting delegates at the 2023 SBC annual meeting in New Orleans approved a preliminary vote to change the SBC’s constitution to formally ban women from serving in a teaching pastoral role.

As a “complementarian” denomination, the SBC maintains that men and women have different but complementary roles in society and church leadership. The SBC’s recent vote affirmed prior teaching laid out in The Baptist Faith & Message 2000, a doctrinal statement that says “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

Elevation Church has multiple locations around Charlotte and throughout North Carolina, as well as in nearby states and Canada.

The megachurch boasted approximately 26,000 congregants every week in 2022, ranking it the seventh-most attended Protestant church in the U.S., according to Outreach magazine. According to the most recent records from the SBC, Elevation Church had an average attendance of 10,185 people in 2021.

Elevation’s departure from the SBC follows in the wake of the denomination’s ouster of the California-based Saddleback Church, which is the second-largest Protestant congregation in the U.S. and pastored by influential Baptist author Rick Warren.

Warren went on a media blitz after his church was expelled over the issue of women serving in a pastoral teaching role, a decision they appealed to the SBC.

Saddleback’s ouster was upheld by a 9,437-1,212 vote last month.

  • Robert says:

    I was baptized when I was 9yo and even then I knew the Scriptures forbade women from having lead over men. I stand with the SBC and let it be known that “churches” that don’t follow Scripture are not of Yahweh and don’t belong affiliated with God-fearing people. The best we can do is pray they come to their senses and get back with Yahweh.

  • Trending Today


    Target have announced it will team up with Homeland Security to tackle soaring theft after it was forced to shut several stores. The retail...


    A federal prosecutor who was involved in some of the early trials of January 6 Capitol rioters has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a...


    A new electric vehicle battery factory in Kansas will require so much energy that a coal plant slated for closure will now remain open,...


    House Republicans are demanding that the Democratic lawmaker who pulled a fire alarm in the Cannon Office Building on Saturday face punishment that could...