July 24, 2008

Fort Worth’s Broadway Baptist Church Names Interim Pasto

By Terry Lee Goodrich, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jul. 24--A pastor known in Baptist circles for his insightful preaching and effective inner-city ministries will temporarily take the reins of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth.

The 1,500-member congregation is regrouping after months of rancorous debate over theological issues, church officials say.

The Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, 51, will preach his first sermon at Broadway on Sunday, church leaders said.

Johnson, who headed Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio from 2001 to 2006, said his role will be "to build a bridge from the previous pastor to the next one."

"I'm proud to walk a ways with those good folks and provide ...a pastoral presence to them in a time of regrouping," he said in a phone interview.

Karen Krause, chairman of the interim pastor search committee, said its members considered "many, many names," listened to numerous sermons online and interviewed three finalists before recommending Johnson to the board of deacons.

"He's very insightful and has an engaging style of preaching," Krause said. Johnson's experience in inner-city ministry "fits very nicely with our ministries" to the homeless and jobless.

The Rev. Brett Younger, Broadway's former senior pastor, left in June, after debates about whether his leadership was too liberal theologically. One divisive issue was the church directory, with several gay couples wanting their portraits to appear.

The church decided to publish a book without individual or family portraits but with candid snapshots in order to treat members equally but not make a Scriptural interpretation about homosexuality.

Younger announced his resignation in April, about a month after he survived by a more than 2-1 ratio a vote calling for his ouster. He went to McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta as an associate professor of preaching.

Johnson declined to comment about the directory, but said, "I don't think Broadway's conflicts are too terribly different from others."

"The people there are seeking to be faithful to God's word," he said. "Churches are very intimate communities, and these issues are nuanced and delicate and not given to easy understanding by anyone outside the community."

Kathy Madera, who chairs Broadway's board of deacons, said Johnson "brings many gifts to Broadway."

The church's search committee "will take as much time as needed to find the person God has prepared" to be the permanent pastor, she said.

The Rev. Charles Foster Johnson

Born May 8, 1957, in Monroeville, Ala.

Married to Jana Johnson, with three grown children.

Master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Visiting instructor of preaching at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta from 2006 to 2008.

Senior pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio from 2001 to 2006.

At Trinity, he conducted a regional television ministry, oversaw the transformation of a former supermarket into a community outreach center and founded Slam Dunk for Life, a faith-based summer basketball camp for inner-city youths. He cultivated a multicultural, multiracial ministry, with about 500 Latino members becoming part of the 5,000-member congregation.

Johnson served as pastor at churches in Lubbock and Kentucky.

Information: www.charlesfosterjohnson.com


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