"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jim Smyrl Announces He is Leaving FBC Jax

At last Wednesday's FBC Jax mid-week service, Jim Smyrl announced he is leaving FBC Jax as of this coming Wednesday, July 6th, 2011.

Smyrl was hired by Mac Brunson back in 2006 and served as the church's Executive Pastor of Education, until about a month ago when his title was changed to "Teaching Pastor", and longtime FBC Jax minister Steve Clifton took over as the Executive Pastor of Education.

Without question, Smyrl was the number two preacher at FBC Jax behind Mac Brunson for the last several years. Smyrl is a very skilled bible expositor and preached frequently on Wednesday nights. Smyrl became a popular preacher when he first came to FBC Jax in the mid 1990's when he served as the minister of singles, as his preaching style seemed to be very close to that of Jerry Vines. However, in my opinion his preaching style seemed to harden since returning to serve under Brunson, and his theology seemed to be more on the reformed end of the spectrum.

Jim Smyrl will apparently be leaving to serve full-time in his ministry called "Loyal Hearts Ministry", which develops training materials and holds training seminars to equip lay people to teach the bible in an expository fashion. Smyrl introduced and implemented at FBC Jax a ministry model called "Theology Driven Ministry", which is what Smyrl teaches to churches through the Loyal Hearts Ministry. TDM focuses on four biblical "competencies": biblical thinking, living, relating, and proclaiming.

Smyrl, who is from South Carolina, has a Ph.D. in preaching from SEBTS. Smyrl has said that Paige Patterson was one of his spiritual mentors in college, as Patterson was the president of SEBTS when Smyrl attended there.

While I have frequently been critical of some of Smyrl's comments made from the pulpit on a variety of topics, there is no question he is a fine Christian preacher, and a wonderful father and husband and I wish him all the best in his future ministry. I predict greater things for Smyrl now that he will be away from FBC Jax.

55 comments:

Long Time FBC Jax Member said...

Jim, you've been a tremendous asset to FBC Jax, and you'll be a great teacher of lay persons. Best wishes to you and your sweet family. You'll be missed.

Anonymous said...

Nap time when Steve Clifton preaches - yes, Jim Smyrl is smart - he recognizes membership & monies being drained from FBCJ and getting out. One week notice, smart man after being demoted, I'd say!

Best wishes to you Jim - good move! For sure, Steve Clifton does not have the talent to have this kind of position.

40+ Yr FBC Jax Member said...

"However, in my opinion his preaching style seemed to harden since returning to serve under Brunson"

I totally disagree. When he came back to FBCJ he had totally changed and it had nothing to do with Brunson. Something happened since the first time he was at FBCJ and when he returned.


"I predict greater things for Smyrl now that he will be away from FBC Jax"

I too predict great things and wish him the best but it has nothing to do with him "being away from FBC Jax!" It is because he is educated, charismatic and talented, and following what he perceives as his calling.

Anonymous said...

"When he came back to FBCJ he had totally changed and it had nothing to do with Brunson. Something happened since the first time he was at FBCJ and when he returned."

What changed Smyrl was that he had attached a "earned" PhD to his name!

Anonymous said...

The guy is smart, loyal, and can be very overbearing.

He thinks he is God's gift to lay people.

We don't need his kind of smarts.

I had a run in with him and he told me it would be a good idea to find another church.

Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the next one to leave will be Mac Brunson, then our church can be called "the miracle of downtown Jacksonville" again.

Anonymous said...

"the miracle of downtown Jacksonville"

What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

"the miracle of downtown Jacksonville"

What does that mean?

It means we will return with the reputation of being one of America's finest churches. . .Mac Brunson has not and is not respected here in this community. He's worked to change a church that was not broken and been sucessful in it's destruction. I don't hold him responsible, but the deacons who have allowed the destruction. Brunson needs to go period~

Anonymous said...

I find it sad to walk through parking garages 3 and 4 on Sunday morning on my way to church and see how empty they are now as compared to the 90s when garage 3 was full and the church had to build garage 4 to handle our increasing attendance. That's when Dr. Lindsay decided to add the lighthouse to garage 4 because First Baptist use to(but not anymore)be a lighthouse for God to downtown Jacksonville. Now Mac Brunson says that going out on visitation doesn't work anymore and he convinced the church to put his face on TV on Sat. night and 3 times on Sunday mornings. Do a search on Wikipedia and look up Homer Lindsay Jr. and then look up Mac Brunson, and see who has made a greater impact for Jesus, and it was written by a secular writer

Anonymous said...

Just read on the fox news website where the Rev. Robert H Schuller has been ousted from the Crystal Cathedral Ministries. It says the church has had a significant drop in donations and a dwindling membership. Sounds like something First Baptist deacons need to consider.

FBC Choir Member said...

I can't say I've been a big fan of the Rev. Dr. Jim Smyrl, but I wish him well in his future endeavors.

I will say that he's probably leaving over being demoted.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like First Baptist has an abundance of talented staff members because God keeps calling them to other places. How many staff members have left now since Mac became pastor.

Anonymous said...

I've never read a blog in which so many people were still trying to live in the past. Maybe that's why you can't get along in the present. Jim is smart in getting out of FBCJ and it ain't because of Mac. Its because of the people in it.

Anonymous said...

Jim is smart in getting out of FBCJ and it ain't because of Mac. Its because of the people in it.

You mean Flag worshipers!

Anonymous said...

The only staff members who are left @ FBCJ are followers and "yes" men . . .

Thy Peace said...

Does anyone know why he was demoted?

Anonymous said...

I don't think he was demoted. He was reassigned to teaching pastor.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, from EXECUTIVE PASTOR OF EDUCATION, to a title of teaching pastor. Sounds like a demotion to me!
Oh well, another one going through the exit door. Like one said, people are dropping out like flies.

Anonymous said...

From "executive pastor of education", to a title of "TEACHING PASTOR". Sounds like a promotion to me!

Some churches seem to be going to a TEACHING PASTOR title instead of a senior pastor title. I like the literal meaning of the title better than senior pastor.

Also seems like a lot less admin stuff attached with more time to prepare to teach / preach. Something Smyrl is gifted at.

I wish him the best and it is possible his time in the FBCJ pulpit has not come to an end.

Anonymous said...

It's all about the money people.

I promise you wherever he is going is giving him more peso's!

This guy drives a really nice car, lives in a big house, and he will not downgrade.

He could learn a little something from Jesus but it is a whole lot easier to Preach it than it is to Live it!

What a Jerk!

Anonymous said...

9:38 AM
Jim Smyrl is not about to cut ties with FBCJ as to many people separately support his ministry - he nees their money & the pulpit to promote his own business. Those that have been "fired" still suck up to Brunson as they don't want to burn any bridges. We became disgusted with Smyrl when he came on staff making a handsome salary & sent out personal request for monies to support his personal ministry. One might note that his board members are mostly made up of First Baptist Members.

Anonymous said...

Let's drop the church-speak shall we?
Personal ministry = side job.

Anonymous said...

'This guy drives a really nice car, lives in a big house, and he will not downgrade.'

Where is the line drawn and who gets to draw it for when a car is too nice?

Where is the line drawn and who gets to draw it for when a house is too big?

Anonymous said...

"I predict greater things for Smyrl now that he will be away from FBC Jax"

His style is 12th Century, He would thrive there, today people want the hard facts he can’t and may not be ever to deliver.

Anonymous said...

Just read on the fox news website where the Rev. Robert H Schuller has been ousted from the Crystal Cathedral Ministries. It says the church has had a significant drop in donations and a dwindling membership. Sounds like something First Baptist deacons need to consider.


Read that too, notice he is at odds with his daughter who required choir members to sign a covenant that they were saved and believed marriage was between one man and one woman. Oops, she is trying to create a church, not in Daddy's footsteps for sure.

Anonymous said...

Smyrl, through personal study of the word of God, began leaning towards the reformed view of God as is in control, rather than man. FBC Jax won't tolerate unconformity. Smyrl is not the first leader/teacher at FBC Jax to be forced to leave after beginning to believe God is Sovereign over all. I wish Smyl the best and can say his teaching was my favorite and most biblical that I've heard at FBC Jax.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 4:3-6

Anonymous said...

Let's drop the church-speak shall we?
Personal ministry = side job.

July 5, 2011 11:29 AM

Well Said 11:29 . . .I'm still detoxing from being SBC Baptist - you are so right, a side job whose only paid staff member is his wife! Thanks for saying what it really is and that is a side job he used FBCJ workplace to work on.

Thanks be to Watchdog for bringing light to the sheep that otherwise woud not have a clue as to what is going on.

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious. You have no clue. You can download all of the resources on Dr Smyrl's website for free. I'm telling you he is not making anything from Loyal Heart Ministries. He's not leaving to make more money.

Anonymous said...

'This is hilarious. You have no clue. You can download all of the resources on Dr Smyrl's website for free. I'm telling you he is not making anything from Loyal Heart Ministries. He's not leaving to make more money.'

You must be incorrect. None of those who demonstrate they don't like FBCJ, Mac, megas, Caner... here on this blog ever get it wrong. This is where God comes to see who is living righteously and who isn't. So I am sorry, you must be wrong.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon...Don't be too hard on the commenters here. No one knows why Smyrl left because when a minister falls into bad graces with the big cheese he just goes away and we're told God "called" them to another ministry.

Anonymous said...

I am listening to this brother teach via ITunes. So far--solid stuff. Does he espouse "storehouse tithing" also? Sounds like he holds strongly to the sovereignty of GOD.

Jonathan

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jonathan - that is a good question. I can honestly say I've never heard him preach on storehouse tithing.

But raising funds is not his area - that is up to the mega church head honcho Brunson, and he has pulled just about every tithing gimmick out of scripture that is possible. Some of them have been pretty clever. My favorite is the classic about how Mesopatamianas (sp?) tithed to Marduke the Moon God, so Christians in 2011 should tithe to their God also. That is really cutting edge stuff.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,

"My favorite is the classic about how Mesopatamianas (sp?) tithed to Marduke the Moon God, so Christians in 2011 should tithe to their God also. That is really cutting edge stuff."

Yeah, I remember that post. Basically, he was insinuating that the Triune LORD of the Bible has to somehow be placated by a carnal "gift." That kind of pragmatism denies the truth of Hebrews 10:14, etc., etc......

Jonathan

Anonymous said...

FBC Watchdog,

Sometimes God creates or allows difficult situations to get you to move on. I have been there before. Eventhough we had different views on how things should be done they were still friends but I had no peace and had to move on. Now the question, is it right to intentionally create an intentional situation to make it difficult on someone? Years later I face being on the other end of it and I had to stand my ground with humility and compassion. I had no problem keeping the person in leadership at their current level of responsibilty and I was not going to give them the hatchet. I pray for the situation and gave God free control of it and He ended taking care of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Because of his gravitstion to Reformed Theology and Calvinism, Smyrl was given to the end of the year to resign from his position, but he decided it was best to go ahead and step down now. Although, I do wish this was made know to the church. I do not believe it is right to be secretive and deceptive about why a member is choosing to leave. Matters such as these are highly public and should be handled on a public level with honesty. However, I have no doubt that if he decides ro continue teaching, he will have no problem gaining a position at a Reformed church. I pray that the Lord blesses Smyrl and guide him during this transitional period.

Anonymous said...

*gravitation

Anonymous said...

In much of Baptistland these days, pretty sure that having any sign of reformed leanings is worse than (gasp) dancing or even drinking!!!

Anonymous said...

Has anybody seen Rev Kevin King around First Baptist lately.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope we do not see this man at First Baptist Atlanta. Though he may be a very good pastor, there seems to be a flood of ex-Jacksonville pastors at FBA and we are getting very suspicious of Rodney Brooks and friends.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 9:25 - I hope you are wrong about Smyrl's reformed theology having anything to do with his dismissal. If so, the hypocrisy in that is indescribable.

I would hope that it is was a cost cutting measure.

But we will never know.

Anonymous said...

Jim did not come to FBC in the mid 90's. It was in the early 2000's.

Thy Peace said...

Mac Brunson will bring in Ergun Mi'kael Mehmet Giovani Janel Caner as a substitute for Jim Smyrl.

Long Time FBC Jax Member said...

Thy Peace -

I believe you're right.

Smyrl will either be replaced by Caner, or by Brunson's son-in- law.

Anonymous said...

Yes we are suspicious of RB because he is actually doing 2 jobs extremely well. HIs love for the Lord and the ministry guides his every move. If you don't know this, you don't know him.

Anonymous said...

He's not going to Atlanta. I'm excited because he's staying local.

"We are thrilled to announce the start of: Loyal Heart Bible Church"
http://www.loyalheartministries.com

To those who made accusations of him seeking more $$$, this is obviously not the case. He is not pastoring another mega church nor is he looking to make lots of $$$ off loyal heart ministries. His salary will be strickly based on how many people the Lord chooses to bring to the church. I am excited to see that his gifts as a teacher will not be lost. I look forward to the Lord's work as Smyrl continues to lead others down the path of Christ and Reformed Theology.

Thy Peace said...

Looks like Anon 9:25 is correct.

Anonymous said...

I know I sat in a room with 200+ people asking questions and RB could not give a straight answer - he tiptoed around every questioned fired at him, had his choir "plants" in the audience and did nothing but confirm to many longtime church members that something is not right at FBA. Not fooling anyone - We are fighting this one on our knees. You are right - I don't know him - and as it was pointed out to him at that meeting - He does not speak to anyone unless you are in the choir.

Anonymous said...

To what are you referring at FBC Atlanta? Is something wrong up there?

Anonymous said...

Informational meeting for Loyal Hearts Bible Church next Wednesday evening July 13, at the Ramada Inn Mandarin.

Real FBC insider said...

"Does anyone know why he was demoted?"

Although very scholarly, the guy is an "oger" (sp). Very few folks get along with him and he can be very harsh when talking with people.

However, everyone wishes him the best in his new venture as the pastor of Loyal Heart Baptist Church.

Real FBC insider said...

"Has anybody seen Rev Kevin King around First Baptist lately."

Come on people. Stop trying to find fault in everything like some sicko rumormongers.

King is in charge of the south campus and spends his time working in that arena.

Anonymous said...

"we are getting very suspicious of Rodney Brooks and friends."

VERY WISE INSITE ON YOUR PART!!!

Anonymous said...

I just bumped into this site as I was looking for jim smyurl, being simple minded as I am, I was amazed and shocked at all the energy put into character analysis into a human beings life, are you the clerics of god or something, the time and petiness of the whole site smells of hoytie toytie judgementalism and maybe you could better spend the time looking at the beam in your own eye. What does it cost to have personal survey done of of my character, maybe can improve ! Blessings, Joe M.

Anonymous said...

Probably left for calling Catholicism a "cult." Not very Christian like.

Anonymous said...

Smyrl was told he had one year to leave, bc he began to hear God telling him to repent, to change his ways. & he began questioning pastors...they didn't like that & got demoted. God told him to get out of there & he did. He had no clue where he was going when he left...he does not have a really nice car. Yes, its big..he does have 5 daughters. & their house is not huge.
He may be harsh sometimes. But it is always out of love. If u don't like a church or the way someone's preaching...leave. but he is doing very well at his ministry...he left not expecting to have a salary, unsure of how to pay bills. He does not make more money, as he had to get a day job.
So, stop all the hate.
He's a great man, loving, he doesn't think he's better than anyone. He just wants to live a life of repentance & have Bible based people behind him.