Update on Aaron Coe's Gallery ChurchOn February 17th, we introduced you to North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell's right hand man, Aaron Coe. Aaron came to NAMB from planting and pastoring The Gallery Church in New York City. Since Aaron is responsible for distributing millions of dollars of Southern Baptist money to NAMB church plants around the country one would hope that he was someone who could not only plant but grow a church. As a good steward of Southern Baptist money President Ezell would want that kind of experience, right?
No, not Kevin. In our article, we showed you Aaron's less-than-stellar performance as a church planter and pastor. We linked to article after article describing the free help and resources that Aaron received. From Kevin Ezell's church, to NAMB money and personnel, to mission trip volunteers from other churches, Coe's Gallery Church received what seemed to be a nearly unlimited amount of help and resources. Yet year after year under Coe's leadership the church declined.
Yes dear readers, this is the man Kevin Ezell selected to distribute Southern Baptist money to church plants. Now I know what you're thinking. Charles, you say, maybe Kevin was seduced by Southern Seminary's slick video interviews with Aaron that attempted to show him as one of their success stories. No, that's not it. Kevin knew Aaron and even claimed credit for helping to plant The Gallery Church. (Note to Southern: You might want to pull those now embarrassing videos.)
So what's up with Gallery Church these days? After Aaron's departure, the church is now pastored by Freddy T. Wyatt. Like Aaron, Freddy is
Like most Southern Seminary graduates, Freddy's hero's are not Southern Baptist pastors and evangelists who are proven soul winners. In one of his blog entries Freddy wrote:
I first heard John Piper preach, and first read a few of his books in 1998. His sermons and books became and still are water for my soul. Piper’s personal ministry (which is really the overflow of his preaching ministry) is Desiring God. Desiring God recently began to interview pastors and I really enjoyed this one of Tim Keller. Keller planted Redeemer Presbyterian Church here in Manhattan 21 years ago. Most young planters like myself have gleaned much wisdom from Keller.Note to Freddy: You can do better. Start by forgetting everything those "regeneration before faith" Southern professors taught you about growing a church. It's not working!
Freddy also serves as the director of Southern Seminary's extension program in NYC and I'm sure the extra income is a help to him and his family. And NAMB? Don't you know they're still involved! (At what point do they quit pouring money into a black hole?) The church has a business administrator who "is officially employed by the Gallery Church through an internship program with the North American Mission Board." All this for a church of 100 members. I kid you not.
When Kevin Ezell tells you about all the church planting that NAMB is doing, ask him how much time and money he has in The Gallery Church. Then duck.