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.