Saturday, April 14, 2012

Update on Aaron Coe's Gallery Church

On 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 Deformed Reformed in his theology. Last year the church downsized to one worship service and only a few months ago the New York Times reported that the church had around 100 members. This is sad considering the "lostness" in America's largest city and especially considering the vast resources that NAMB and others have poured into the church for years.

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.


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At Monday, April 16, 2012 2:31:00 AM, Anonymous Bruce K. Oyen said...

"Charles," I looked at the links you give to the Gallery Church. As expected, you misrepresented what is said. You said the church downsized. But the link says they went from two services to one. So, if they had two services with 50 in attendance at each one, and went to one service, the numbers remain the same. 50+50=100. You also implied that having only 100 in attendance in a large city is not good. But the link says the church is only 5 years old. Does God think this is insignificant growth? Or just you? You implied something is wrong with this church having a business manager or administrator. The link says he is an intern continuing his education. Who appointed you as judge and jury of this? It is clear from your postings that you are an embittered man whose bitterness makes you see things in a twisted manner. You are not demonstrating the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life. I oppose Calvinism, but the websites of some of the men you are attacking reveal more of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives than you demonstrate in your life.

At Tuesday, April 17, 2012 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Bruce, Hello!

I'm really not sure how to answer you without seeming unkind. Sometimes, Bruce, your comments lack basic common sense.

A thriving, growing church generally does not go from two services to one. The ACP of Gallery Church shows that the church is declining. I noted this in a previous article. I suggest you go back and read it.

As for having a business manager, no, there is nothing wrong with a church having one. But a church of 100 members? Why is NAMB involved in this?

I'm not bitter but I do want NAMB to plant growing Southern Baptist churches as opposed to Reformed churches. I'm not even bitter that Kevin Ezell is not transparent about how much Southern Baptist money NAMB has poured into churches like this one. These Reformed churches do not reflect the theology of the vast majority of Southern Baptists.

Bruce, it sounds like you are the bitter one. You fire off half-cocked comments without even knowing what you are talking about.


At Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:36:00 PM, Anonymous Bruce K. Oyen said...

"Charles," based on the ACP figures, you were right. I was wrong. I apologize.
My statement was based on the link you provided, which says the church was started some years ago and has 100 members.
But even though the church's attendance has declined, the causes can various. E. g. 1.)Transitioning to a new pastor. 2) Move-aways and deaths. 3) Some might have been temporary right from the start. 4) Internal conflicts. 5) Finding a church closer to one's residence. 6) Doctrinal matters.
We both know that most churches have ups-and-downs regarding attendance.
Moreover, Gallery Church might be on the re-bound. Their website's reference to baptisms makes me think so.
Things are not always what they seem to be. E. g. it might look like our church quit having mid-week and Sunday evening services because we no longer meet in the church building. But that isn't so. We now have mid-week outreaches at retirement homes and nursing homes. And we now meet in homes on Sunday evenings, at which times we study God's Word, pray, worship, and fellowship with one another. Now that we do these things, attendance has picked up on Wednesday nights and Sunday nights.
About Gallery Church having a business manager: Some research revealed that this man does more than one thing. He preaches for the church. He works with outreach activities. And, probably does even more things for the church. Maybe he has a part in the church's church-planting efforts. Since he is continuing his education, the more experience he gets, the better.

At Sunday, April 22, 2012 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce: Dude, get real! We (21st century SBC) do not have time to waste on church plants that fail. If we invest 5 years and thousands of $ to reach 100 people out of millions, then we need to move on and try something different.

At Sunday, April 22, 2012 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce: Dude, get real! We (21st century SBC) do not have time to waste on church plants that fail. If we invest 5 years and thousands of $ to reach 100 people out of millions, then we need to move on and try something different.

At Sunday, April 22, 2012 1:43:00 AM, Anonymous Bruce K. Oyen said...

Dude Anonymous, how big should this church be after 5 years?


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