Corpus Christi church removes 165 from rolls

CORPUS CHRISTI?A Southern Baptist church made news when a large majority of its members voted to remove from its rolls 165 people who oppose the church’s pastoral leadership and direction.

Members of Gardendale Baptist Church in Corpus Christi voted during a business meeting July 18 to “confirm or deny” that Micah Davidson “is the God-called pastor for Gardendale and is leading us in God’s direction or not.”

Members confirmed Davidson by about 750-165, said John Gilbert, the church’s administrative pastor. Davidson promised to leave immediately if voted down; if not, those voting against his leadership would be removed, a letter sent prior to the vote stated.

Davidson, who was on an international mission and not available for comment, was the unanimously choice as pastor when he came in 2002, but had gotten criticism from some members because the church quit holding traditional Sunday night services and reserved congregational decision making to major issues, the Caller-Times newspaper reported.

In a telephone interview with the TEXAN, Gilbert said the Caller-Times report of July 20 was accurate. Gilbert told the newspaper opposition in the church was hindering its ministry and that members could not vote on every decision.

“It was a very difficult day for us,” Gilbert told the TEXAN, adding that Davidson displayed “utmost integrity in walking through that.”

Comment here from dissenting member ?

He said the church hopes for restoration for members who were removed, which would involve attending a membership class and signing a membership covenant. Gilbert told the TEXAN he’d just spent two hours with one member who voted against Davidson and was rethinking his decision.

“I really anticipate a good number will be back,” Gilbert said.

A copy of the covenant faxed to the TEXAN by Gilbert notes four requirements:

?”I confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”

?”I have been baptized by immersion.”

?”I have completed the new member class.”

?”I am committed to abide by the membership covenant.”

Members also covenant to regularly attend services; participate in small group Bible studies; serve in a God-called ministry; be consistent tithers; model a Christ-centered life; reach out to the unchurched, and protect the congregation’s unity.

Gilbert said the entire staff was ready to resign if members fired Davidson.

In a letter from Davidson to members that announced that a vote would be taken on his leadership, he wrote that since January more than 800 adults have joined “Home Teams,” 200 are serving in a church ministry and more than 100 have signed up for mission trips. He also noted that 45 people were baptized on March 7 and 43 salvation decisions were recorded during the church’s Vacation Bible School.

Davidson wrote, “gossip, rumors, slander and secret meetings must stop.”

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