Home Christian News Texas SBC Pastor Aaron Ivey Fired for ‘Clear Pattern of Predatory Manipulation’

Texas SBC Pastor Aaron Ivey Fired for ‘Clear Pattern of Predatory Manipulation’

Aaron Ivey
Screengrab via YouTube / @Focus on the Family

On Sunday, Feb. 11, elders at The Austin Stone Church in Austin, Texas, revealed that they had fired Aaron Ivey, a pastor and elder, due to “inappropriate and explicit ongoing text messages with an adult male.” Ivey, 45, had been pastor of worship and creativity at the church, which has six locations in central Texas. The Austin Stone Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

According to a statement from church elders, they learned of the “disqualifying situation” on Feb. 4 and, after reviewing the text messages, terminated “Aaron’s eldership and employment” the next day.

“Since then, we have uncovered multiple similar instances with different individuals dating back to 2011 that show a very clear pattern of predatory manipulation, sexual exploitation, and abuse of influence,” the elders wrote. “Three of the known instances involved adult male individuals. However, one known instance, in 2011, involved a minor male outside our formal programming, which we have reported to the appropriate authorities.”

Church elders shared the known timeline of “these abhorrent instances,” adding, “We will not be surprised if more is uncovered.”

The Austin Stone Church Fires Pastor Aaron Ivey

According to elders, the 2011 incident involving a minor “continued over time, involved inappropriate and explicit communications, indecent exposure, and the use of alcohol and illegal substances.” The other known incidents, from 2020, 2021, and 2024, “involved inappropriate and explicit” texts and/or behavior with adult males.

The elders said they are “heartbroken” and “devastated” by the discovery. “We know this may affect your trust because we know it certainly has rattled ours,” they wrote. Austin Stone partners with MinistrySafe, which has been informed about the situation, elders added. They shared resources for care, counseling, and submitting details of any “specific offenses perpetrated by Aaron Ivey.”

Ivey’s personal website appears to have been taken down, and he has not responded to requests for comment. ChurchLeaders reached out to him, Austin Stone, and MinistrySafe and will update this article with any replies.

Ivey and his wife, Jamie Ivey, adhere to complementarianism, or male headship in marriage. The couple, who have four children, wrote a 2021 book and Bible study titled “Complement,” which addresses the marital relationship. Aaron Ivey was part of a 2019 SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission panel about God’s design for “Manhood in Marriage.”

Jamie Ivey, who hosts “The Happy Hour” podcast, had been on a book tour for her new release “Why Can’t I Get It Together?” On Feb. 9, she was in New York City to discuss the book on “Good Morning America.” Two days later, her team posted on social media that “Jamie recently received devastating news while on book tour” and is “pausing all public appearances.”

Elders’ Swift Action Earns Praise Online

On social media, several people praised the Austin Stone elders for swiftly firing Aaron Ivey. “I know the temptation churches feel to save face,” wrote Aaron New, a former psychology professor. “So I’m going to temper my observations a little and keep watching. But this sounds like the kind of reaction we need. This seems well done.”

Another person wrote, “This is how you handle unqualified elders. Thank you @theaustinstone for showing others that churches can do this right.”