‘This is not my first rodeo’

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Mac Brunson, pictured with his wife Debbie, is the new pastor at Valleydale Church in Birmingham. VALLEYDALE/Facebook

BIRMINGHAM — Southern Baptists from near and far have been watching and waiting to see just where Mac Brunson, who recently resigned as pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, was going to land.

When Brunson, 60, announced his resignation from the Florida megachurch on April 29, he stated, “While Deb and I are stepping away from the church at the end of the month” – with tomorrow being the last day of the month – “my last Sunday to preach will be next Sunday morning, May 6.”

The Christian Index reported in a previous article that in Brunson’s announcement he noted there was no place of ministry awaiting him and his wife, but they indicated that they were “excitedly waiting for the Lord to show [them] His perfect will for [their] lives.”

Two weeks later Valleydale Church in Birmingham broadcast the news that Brunson would be preaching in view of a call as senior pastor on Sunday, May 20.

The Alabama church called Brunson to be their pastor as expected and social media began to light up with glowing reports of their new pastor’s sermon and the joyful anticipation of having him serve as the pastor of their church.

Adam Burgess tweeted, “The most impressive thing about having (Dr.) Brunson at Valleydale this morning was the fact that he was not preaching to secure a job, but his focus was on changing our hearts and focus through the Word of God.”

Rick Byrd added, “Mac Brunson has left his pulpit footprint and shared his pastor’s heart (across the south). Only eternity will reveal the many who’ve been impacted by this man’s dedication and diligence in preaching the Word.”

Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX, simply stated concerning Valleydale calling Brunson as pastor, “Alabama keeps winning!!!”

Jennifer Rash, writing for The Alabama Baptist, commented, “Mac Brunson admits that moving from a megachurch pulpit where he was preaching to at least 6,000 people each Sunday to shepherding less than 1,000 people in a Birmingham, Alabama suburb is a unique move. But it’s one he and his wife, Debbie, are embracing with enthusiasm.

“’This is a God move,’ Brunson said. ‘Every church is critical and key in the kingdom of God. … I’m excited to be able to pour into the lives of others now that I’m in my 60s and have finally grown up,’ he said with a chuckle on May 17 prior to a reception with the church deacons and elders.”

Brunson’s introductory sermon on May 20 was entitled “A Church for the City,” and his text was Acts 3:1-10. He began by showing a picture of the flood that inundated the Midwest several years ago.

He began with an illustration drawn from the photo. He explained that there was one house that was protected when the owners encircled the house with multiple sandbags. When the waters rose the house with the sandbags was secure and the residents of the house watched as trees floated by the house; then sections of barns and cars and even other houses were swept away by the flood as they stood and watched.

Then Brunson exclaimed in his own characteristic way, “They saved their house, but they lost their neighborhood. Is that a picture of the church today? We have built walls to save ourselves while others are swept away into a Christless eternity.”

The prospective pastor then stated, “I know some of you came today to see who is going to be voted on as the next pastor, but I want to know where are you going to be in six months? Where are you going to be next year this time? If we are going to reach this city we must have a new commitment to the Word of God, to living righteously, and to reaching a lost and dying world.”

Brunson told his congregation, “This is not my first rodeo!” He then proceeded to tell the people what it would take to reach their city for Christ. It was a powerful sermon and when the people voted to call him they likely voted in a future that will pave the destiny of the church with remarkably good health and significant growth.

They may have also gotten them a bronc-riding, steer-roping, steer-wrestling, barrel-racing, mutton-busting, whipcracking preacher who is bent on reaching Birmingham for Christ.

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