A Year After Resigning in Disgrace, a Former SBC Pastor Opens a New Church

Last year a pastor of a Southern Baptist Convention church in Tennessee was forced to resign after his “inappropriate relationships” with multiple female congregants came to light. Now, less than a year later, that same pastor is opening a new church and we fear that this situation will only create more victims of pastoral abuse.

Pastor Sam Boyd was forced out of Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville following revelations – exposed by his own family – that he was abusing his position and entering into sexual relationships with female parishioners. Despite his clear history of abusing his power and authority, Pastor Boyd is now slated to lead the New Life Fellowship in Franklin, TN. Notably, this new church is an independent one and does not fall under the auspices of the SBC.

Those who abuse their power will not stop their behavior until they are forced to do so. In our opinion, this situation is a disaster waiting to happen. Pastor Boyd is not the only SBC pastor removed for sexual misconduct to later create their own church, and typically with even less accountability than before. That certainly seems to ring true in this case, considering that Pastor Boyd’s new church is helmed by its own independent board of directors, meaning they are not subject to the minimal changes that the SBC has made to prevent future cases of abuse.

This is another example of why it is critical that all allegations of abuse are handled by secular authorities and not church officials. If pastors who abuse their position of power are accountable to no one but themselves, there is nothing a congregation or community can do other than choose to not attend that church. We hope that parishioners in Franklin and the surrounding area will opt to use their power in this way and attend services from a pastor who has not been forced to leave his church in disgrace.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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