Just over a year ago, Sam Boyd resigned as senior pastor of Forest Hills Baptist Church. In a letter to the congregation, he described his decision as one based on “errors of judgment and personal failings.”
The reality was much more disturbing. As reported by the Tennessean, Boyd had admitted to “inappropriate” relationships with multiple women, included members of his own congregation. Some of those were sexual. (He became a widower in 2017.) It was wildly unethical at the very least, given his authority within the church.
But as is so often the case, Boyd isn’t just quietly going away from the public spotlight. He just launched a brand new church called New Life Fellowship about a 20 minute drive from his old congregation.
The church’s website makes no substantive reference to what happened last year. See if you can read between these lines in his bio, though:
After 40 years of pastoring six churches in Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, it was “the next right thing” to start a “simple” church that emphasizes Biblical priorities and minimizes structure and process.
That’s just what an alleged sexual predator needs: less structure. That said, there’s a “board of advisors” overseeing the non-denominational church… composed of 13 men. It’s hard to believe they’re going to hold Boyd in line any more than his previous church.
On his otherwise extremely dull blog on the church’s website, Boyd explains this is how God is helping him after a troubling year:
It has been a long, painful, uncomfortable year, but with everything that’s gone in my life, a vision, and ” New Life” has been born from within. My slow and mostly inactive rehabilitation has given me the forced opportunity to spend time in Paul’s metaphorical “Arabian Desert.” As is often said, ” The worst times in our lives, become some of the best times.”
He’s not talking about the allegations. He’s talking about a physical injury he suffered last year.
To be sure, there’s nothing stopping himn from starting a new church. But without openly talking about why he had to leave his previous one, there’s no reason to suspect the same problems won’t arise again.
The first service is scheduled for next weekend.