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Amid False “Racism” Scandal, Executive Pastor of FBC Naples Resigns

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A few weeks ago, you may remember the scandal brewing at First Baptist Church of Naples, FL where a black pastoral candidate, Marcus Hayes, failed to receive enough of the required votes to install him as the new senior pastor. Shortly after the vote, the church — along with Southern Baptist leaders — began to cry “racism” and “white supremacy” as the motivation behind the rejection which led us to believe there was more to the story. Knowing how the Southern Baptist Convention operates, we opined that the motivation was likely not motivated by racism at all. And we were right.

John David Edie, Executive Pastor
John Edie, (Former) Executive Pastor, FBC Naples

It turns out that after we received emails from the concerned party who voted against Hayes, the motivation for his rejection had much more to do with his liberal progressive bent and, well, zero evidence of racism.

We then began to connect the dots between the current church leadership and the failed vote and came to the conclusion that the leadership — many of which had a serious criminal history including fraud — were likely involved in a back-alley deal with Southern Baptist leaders to install Hayes. As the leadership began to purge dissenting members from the congregation — without following the biblical steps of Matthew 18 and church discipline — more and more members became concerned with how the church was being operated. The plan was to purge the “no” voters and re-hold the vote bringing Hayes in as the senior pastor. Ultimately, after the scandal ran its course and facts began to emerge, Hayes decided to drop out and remove his candidacy altogether.

To this day, the accusations of “racism” and “white supremacy” against those who voted “no” to Hayes as the senior pastor have remained unsubstantiated. Now, the executive pastor who essentially led the failed effort to install Hayes as the senior pastor has decided to abandon his congregation — he has resigned, leaving the church with no leadership.

Below are two emails that the Church sent out — one from the executive pastor, John Edie, announcing his resignation and the other from the remaining church leadership.

A Message from Pastor John D. Edie
Dear Church Family,

For the past six years, it has been my privilege and honor to serve the Lord and you, the wonderful people of First Baptist Naples. I have had the great joy of seeing my three children graduate from First Baptist Academy, and I will never forget the day that I got to baptize my youngest son in the Gulf. There has been much great ministry that we were able to do together which yielded lasting fruit and provided many cherished memories. The staff and the lay leadership at First Baptist are in my mind the best anywhere. They are some of the finest and most competent people I have ever had the privilege to serve alongside.

With that said, the Lord is calling this chapter in the Edie’s life to a close. The weekend of December 7 & 8 will be our last at First Baptist. The Lord is leading us on to new ministry endeavors as we seek to serve the local church and His Kingdom in new ways. Rhonda and I would like to express to the entire First Baptist family our heartfelt gratitude and love for you all. We feel incredibly blessed to have been called to Naples six years ago and will always have fond memories of our time here. We covet your prayers as we move forward and seek the Lord in His new directions. Thank you so much for all you have done for us, and please know that we leave with only love and gratitude in our hearts toward the Lord and you!


Blessings,
John D. Edie and Rhonda Edie
A Message from the Personnel Committee
Dear First Baptist Naples Church Family,

It is with sadness that we write to you and announce the departure of Pastor John D. Edie and his wonderful family from our church community. Over the past six years, Pastor Edie has led our Discipleship Ministry and served as our Executive Pastor. He provided excellence in leadership to all staff during his tenure with us. His leadership kept our pastoral staff together and spiritually strong during this time of transition. John David’s decision was discussed several weeks ago with the Personnel Committee, and we have complete confidence that the Lord will continue to use him powerfully for His Kingdom.
 
The weekend of December 7 & 8, we would like to honor them and provide a small reception following the worship services in the Commons. Please join us in expressing your gratitude.
 
Moving forward from a ministry perspective, Pastor Kevin Taylor and Clint Holland will be sharing the duties performed by our Executive Pastor on a temporary basis. Lay leadership will come alongside them to support their ministry areas and provide any guidance and assistance needed.
 
According to our Constitution and Bylaws, with input from the Pastoral Staff, the Personnel Committee has agreed to invite Dr. Jon Akin to serve as our Interim Pastor to provide Gospel centered preaching and oversight leadership for the church and staff. Dr. Akin was recommended to us by Dr. Kevin Ezell, President of the North American Mission Board, where he also is employed providing leadership to young Pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. We are excited to have Dr. Akin joining us to serve as our Interim Pastor beginning the weekend of January 11 &12.
 
Please continue to pray for our ministry here at First Baptist Church Naples and for our staff as they continue to lead as God has called them.

God Bless You,
The Personnel Committee

Troy Boone
Lynn Bailey
Andy Petry
Tim Roettele
Don Thomason
Michael Winkle
Janie Winterman
         

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