A Texas pastor who claims he was improperly fired by members of his congregation who called police when he tried to preach is now suing his former church and seven of its leaders, including four deacons, for $100,000 in damages.
Pastor John J. Rector alleges in a lawsuit filed in Waco’s 170th State District Court and cited by the Waco Tribune-Herald, that the leaders of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Waco, where he had been serving as senior pastor since December 2016, called an “unauthorized meeting” at the church on May 15 that led to his ouster.
Rector contends that the meeting violated church bylaws which require the presence of the presiding pastor, secretary and treasurer at meetings. The bylaws of the church also require that the entire congregation of 125 members be given notice of a vote by secret ballot.
The leaders, however, wrote a letter of termination and delivered it to Rector on Saturday, May 18, the suit said.
“The following day, May 19, 2019, when John Rector showed up to church to deliver his sermon, defendants called Waco Police Department, tendered the unauthorized termination letter to the officers and asked that John Rector be issued a ‘no trespassing’ warning. Thereby, preventing John Rector from carrying out his duties as presiding pastor,” according to the lawsuit filed on Rector’s behalf by his lawyer Christopher D. Demerson.
The Christian Post reached out to Demerson, Rector and the church for comment on the lawsuit Tuesday but no one was immediately available.
Staff at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio where Rector’s father, John Rector Sr. led for 40 years, said they were aware that he was appointed leader of the Waco church but was not aware that he had been fired.
“His father pastored here for 40 years but he has never pastored here. This is his home church but he has been pastoring in Michigan and other churches here in San Antonio, so he has not been an official active member here for years,” a church official told CP.
“We knew he took on the role as pastor of that church. We did not have opportunity or take any time to go down there as a church,” she added.
The church official further noted that even though she was not aware of the details of Rector’s ouster, she was surprised by the lawsuit “from what I know of him.”
“I don’t think anybody was expecting anything like that but then like I stated earlier, I don’t know that congregation. I don’t know what they are capable of. I don’t know what they put their leaders through. I don’t know,” she added.
On a cached page from his now defunct website, Rector says his call to be a pastor “cannot be suppressed.”
“My call to the gospel ministry cannot be suppressed by anything of this world. I am compelled to preach and teach the inspired Word of God to people from all walks of life. As a child, I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home. My father, the late Pastor John J. Rector, Sr. relentlessly served as the Senior Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio for over 40 years,” he proudly noted.
“He and my mother, a devoted home-maker, made sure I established an authentic relationship with Christ early in life. The Lord called my father home when I was 11 years old, just two months after I publically acknowledged my call (Jan.1, 1993) and preached my first sermon (Jan.13, 1993). This experience intensified and drives my call to complete submission to the Holy Spirit as I embrace the disciplines of spiritual formation embedded in the Word of God,” he wrote.
“I believe in Baptist Doctrine. I believe in the Trinitarian order of emersion (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) gives credence to the practice of public baptism, missions and evangelical outreach. I believe that the Bible, the infallible and inspired Word of God, is the final source of authority,” he ended.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is listed as a member church of the Southern Baptist Convention.