First Baptist Abilene Pastor Brandon Hudson resigns after arrest

Pastor Brandon Hudson preaches a sermon on March 17, 2024, at First Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas.
Pastor Brandon Hudson preaches a sermon on March 17, 2024, at First Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas. | Facebook/First Baptist Church, Abilene, TX

The pastor of a historic large Baptist church in West Texas has resigned two weeks after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Forty-four-year-old Brandon Hudson, the senior pastor of Texas' First Baptist Church Abilene, submitted his resignation Sunday after over a year as senior pastor. 

At the church's Sunday morning service, Bob Ellis, introduced by the church's personnel committee chair, read Hudson's letter of resignation and asked the congregation to keep Hudson and his family in their prayers. 

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Mike Greenfield, the pastor for administration and spiritual development at First Baptist Church Abilene, told The Christian Post on Thursday that the church is navigating the sudden change in the best way it can because the news was unfortunate and unexpected.  

"The resignation was just received Sunday. We've just had a couple of days to digest it," Greenfield said. "This all just happened. It's still pretty raw and fresh." 

Greenfield said it's unclear who the next senior pastor will be as the church must follow its bylaws during the selection process.

The church, founded in 1881, announced Hudson's arrest two weeks ago, veteran journalist Loretta Fulton of Spirit of Abilene reports. 

Hudson was arrested on March 23, the day before Palm Sunday, at U.S. Highway 84 near Snyder, Texas, during a trip from Lubbock to Abilene, according to Baptist News Global.

Hudson's final sermon at the church was preached on Sunday, March 17. He was absent in the pulpit for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

"Over the past several months, I have struggled to deal with concurrent issues of grief and stress that have placed me in mental strain," Hudson was quoted as writing in his letter of resignation. 

"I have not dealt well or fully with the emotions that have been attached to those griefs and stresses. These factors culminated in an episode of horrific decision-making. A decision I regret and am already working to address in multiple ways."

Hudson said he didn't seek "any exoneration on my choice" but hoped to encourage them "to take care of one another, to seek help when you need it, and to practice vulnerability about your struggles."

A prayer service and question-and-answer time for the congregation was held Tuesday. 

Hudson's online biography page has since been removed from the First Baptist Church Abilene website.

An archived version of the page states that the congregation appointed Hudson as the senior pastor on Dec. 18, 2022, by an overwhelming vote. 

The Lubbock native has degrees from Texas Tech University and Truett Seminary of Baylor University. He began his ministry at First Baptist Abilene on Feb. 5, 2023.

Hudson's predecessor, Phil Christopher, retired from the church in September 2021 after 26 years of service. The congregation's Pastor Search Committee unanimously recommended Hudson to FBC. 

Before coming to FBC, Hudson served for five years as a youth pastor in Texas churches and 15 years as a senior pastor in two churches in North Carolina and Alabama. 

"I love people and their stories [and my passion is] to help others explore the way their stories connect to the grand narrative of God's grace through proclamation and pastoral care," he wrote.  

Hudson was the 19th senior pastor in the church's history, but he was only the fifth senior pastor in the last 70 years. 

Nicole VanDyke is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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