Florida megachurch senior pastor Tim Timberlake told the congregation at Jacksonville’s Celebration Church last week that he and his wife “aren’t going anywhere” amid a lawsuit filed by founding pastor Stovall Weems against the church.
“We are here to weather this storm with you, baby. It’s our desire to continue to shepherd, to continue to lead with integrity, godly character, love, honor and excellence,” Timberlake told members of the 12,000-member church in a March 20 sermon.
Weems says he was illegally removed from his position by the church’s governing board earlier this year, after his accusations that a trustee was improperly billing the church for “enormous sums of money” for services were turned back on him.
Timberlake was chosen as Weems’ planned successor in early 2021, when Weems expressed an interest in transitioning out of the senior pastor role to focus on church missions. Timberlake and his wife — Jen, also listed as a senior pastor on the church’s website — assumed leadership of the church in Jacksonville and its affiliate campuses in the U.S. in March. Meanwhile, Weems retained his legal position and authority as the senior pastor, president, chief executive and chairman of the board until his suspension.
Weems’ lawsuit against the church claims that when he tried to bring to light alleged financial improprieties by a church trustee, Kevin Cormier, Cormier “began feeding the other trustees and senior church members lies and misinformation,” claiming it was actually Weems who was guilty of misconduct. His wife Kerri is named as a co-plaintiff in the suit.