First Baptist Abilene Pastor Brandon Hudson resigns after arrest

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 the First Baptist Church of Abilene of Texas, tendered his resignation on Sunday after more than a year as senior pastor.

At the church Sunday morning serviceBob Ellis, introduced by the church's personnel committee chairman, 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 the best way it can because the news was unfortunate and unexpected.

“The waiver just came in on Sunday. We just had a few days to digest it,” Greenfield said. “Everything just happened. It's still pretty raw and fresh.”

Greenfield said it is unclear who will be the next senior pastor because 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 March 23, the day before Palm Sunday, on U.S. Highway 84 near Snyder, Texas, while traveling 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 from the pulpit for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

“For the past several months, I have been struggling to deal with simultaneous issues of grief and stress that have put me under mental strain,” Hudson was quoted as writing in his resignation letter.

“I did not deal well or fully with the emotions that were attached to those sorrows and stresses. These factors culminated in an episode of terrible decision-making. A decision that I regret and am already working to deal with in multiple ways.”

Hudson said that he was not looking for “any excuse on my choice” but hoped to encourage them “to take care of each other, to seek help when you need it, and to practice vulnerability in your struggles.”

A prayer service and question-and-answer time for the congregation was held on 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 December 18, 2022, by an overwhelming vote.

The Lubbock native holds degrees from Texas Tech University and Baylor University's Truett Seminary. He began his ministry at First Baptist Abilene on February 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 story of God's grace through proclamation and ministry,” 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.


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