Once they first met in 2015, Mac Brunson knew Heath Lambert was not the place he belonged.
Brunson was senior pastor of the ten,000-member First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. Lambert, 38, was professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in addition to government director of the Affiliation of Licensed Biblical Counselors.
Brunson invited him to evangelise at First Baptist’s annual Pastor’s Convention and was impressed. Perhaps he had discovered his successor.
“He doesn’t must be in a classroom,” Brunson remembers telling his son, Trey Brunson, then the church’s government pastor of group life. “He must be in a pulpit.”
Lambert stated he, his spouse and most everybody else who is aware of him agreed.
“The one factor I’ve ever needed to do was be a pastor,” he stated.
In January 2016, Lambert joined First Baptist as affiliate pastor. On Sept. 24, virtually two years later, church trustees, deacons and the congregation accredited his appointment as Brunson’s co-pastor and successor.
Each males are happy with the association.
“I’ve been getting slower,” Brunson stated. “I’ve been right here 11½ years. I’ve wanted assist for 11½ years. I felt like this was the appropriate time. There’s solely a lot one individual may give themselves to.”
He has no instant plans to retire or make a profession change — he’s 60 and stated he hopes to remain put for a minimum of 5 extra years — however needed a painless, unified transition when he does depart. He has been by way of “mega-church” management transitions at First Baptist church buildings in Jacksonville and in Dallas.
“I needed it to be clean,” he stated. “Transitions are onerous, unbelievably onerous. It simply goes on and on.”
In the meantime, Lambert had been seminary professor and biblical counselor for 10 years, however was lacking the pulpit. He jumped when the “properly-recognized and properly-revered” Jacksonville church beckoned with the “alternative to work for — and with — somebody like Mac Brunson,” he stated. “I really like and respect Mac Brunson.”
Lambert met two essential standards for Brunson: to “unapologetically preach the phrase and love the individuals,” he stated. “I might see somewhat bit into his coronary heart. … He had a coronary heart for individuals.”
The 2 pastors have established an in depth working relationship based mostly on what they name the “collaborate, agree, defer” mannequin.
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