Pastor Ed Young resigns from Houston's Second Baptist after 46 years, vows to 'stay in battle'

Dr. Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church Houston, preaches a sermon.
Dr. Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church Houston, preaches a sermon. | Youtube: Second Baptist Church, Houston

H. Edwin Young, the senior pastor of Second Baptist in Houston and one of the most prolific Southern Baptist pastors in the United States, announced his resignation Sunday morning, ending his 46-year tenure.

The 87-year-old preacher closed his sermon at the church's Woodway Campus with the news that his son Ben Young will succeed him as senior pastor, The Houston Chronicle reported.

"We're not stepping down, we're stepping up to use our primary spiritual gifts," Young said. "I'm stepping up to maximize what God has given me and what God has given to my great wife, Lisa."

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"I will be 88 years old this August," Young added. "Two weeks ago, I thought I was in the red zone and maybe in the two-minute zone because I know I'm in the last quarter of my life. But Lisa and I have gone through all kinds of medical things, and amazingly. So I stand up here happy and reasonably healthy and ready to serve God."

Young, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, grew Second Baptist into one of the largest churches in the Houston area after taking on the senior pastor role in 1978, according to the church's website.

In 1999, Second Baptist became one church in two locations and today has six campuses across the city with an estimated 18,000 members.

His resignation comes just two weeks before the SBC's annual conference in Indianapolis on June 9.

Born in 1936 in southeastern Mississippi, Young studied at Mississippi College and Southeastern Seminary. A prolific writer and speaker, Young has a longstanding broadcast ministry called The Winning Walk. Young served two terms as SBC president starting in 1992. 

In a letter sent to his congregation over the weekend, Young said he and his wife are "eager to use our primary spiritual gifts of evangelism and encouragement within this family of faith" and vowed to "stay in the battle" despite stepping down as senior pastor.

"Evangelism has always been my heart's desire, and Lisa may do it better than anyone I know. I am committed to following Andrew's example in the New Testament. Lisa is a natural Barnabas with the gift of encouragement and is also teaching me to expand that cheerleading spirit in my ministry. We will stay in the battle," he wrote.

"Please know I love you collectively, and I love the individuals in this Body of Christ with all my heart. Long ago, I pledged to God that I would give Him all that I am and all that I will ever be. Though I am the chief of sinners, God has graciously allowed me to live out that calling with you. Serving you has been the great privilege of my life. You are family to Lisa and me."

According to The Chronicle, Ben Young previously served as an associate pastor at Second Baptist and served as a chaplain for the Houston Astros. He has also hosted a radio talk show and likes to surf and practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

In addition to Ben, Young is the father to two other children: Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church, a megachurch in Grapevine, Texas; and Cliff Young, director of Second Films and member of the contemporary Christian music group Caedmon's Call.

In recent months, Young has made headlines for his comments on immigration and for referring to President Joe Biden as "godless" after he declared Easter to be Transgender Day of Visibility.

"By presidential proclamation, Joseph Biden selected this past Easter as a time in which there is a coming out of — whatever that means — and I guess honoring and affirming those who feel like God made a tragic mistake when they were brought into this earth as male or as female," Young said in an April sermon, according to The Chronicle. "I've never known a more godless attack on Christianity by the president of the United States in all the history of our land."

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