On Friday (March 10), Saddleback Church lead pastor Andy Wood released a video responding to the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) recent determination that the denomination’s largest church is no longer “in friendly cooperation with the Convention.”
The determination came in light of Saddleback’s decision to allow women to function in the role of pastor, specifically Wood’s wife, Stacie, who serves as a teaching pastor at the church and regularly preaches during worship services.
Saddleback Church previously raised the concerns of some SBC churches in March 2021 when they ordained three women pastors—a first in the church’s 40-plus year history.
Saddleback was in danger of being disfellowshipped last June at the SBC annual meeting in Anaheim, California, due to these ordinations. Instead, the SBC Credentials Committee recommended a committee be formed to study the usage of the title “pastor” in regard to female staffers.
After some conversation on the convention floor, the Committee’s recommendation was rejected by the messengers. The Credentials Committee took no further action, which left Saddleback Church in “friendly cooperation” with the convention.
Later, a different complaint was submitted to the Credentials Committee by an SBC messenger after Stacie preached during a Saddleback Church worship service, thus leading to the SBC’s decision to disfellowship Saddleback last month.
Wood and his wife were announced as Warren’s successors on June 2, 2022.
“This afternoon, at our all-staff meeting held at the Lake Forest campus, I was finally able to publicly announce that we have found God’s couple to lead our congregation, and that they have agreed to come,” Warren said in a congregational email at the time.
On August 28, 2022, Warren delivered his final sermon as Saddleback Church’s pastor. A couple months later, Wood shared that the church had no plans to leave the SBC despite their continued allowance of women pastors, including his wife’s preaching.
“Stacie and I are grateful to be called to serve at Saddleback Church. We are not co-pastors but rather have unique roles on staff. I’m serving as the lead pastor and one of our Saddleback overseers while Stacie is serving as one of our teaching pastors,” Wood explained in a Baptist Press article.