Did Pastor James Welch Boot 200 Church Members Over $250K Salary?

First Baptist trustees expelled from membership an estimated 200 churchgoers, seemingly under the direction of Lead Pastor James Welch.

church cross
(Photo: Daniel Tseng/Unsplash)

First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, a venerable downtown religious landmark, is in full-out civil war after a year of sporadic confrontations about financial accountability and transparency.

On Friday night First Baptist trustees, seemingly under the control of Lead Pastor James Welch, released an email that expelled from membership —  much like Catholic excommunication —  an entire dissident faction, an estimated 200 churchgoers.

The group has been pressing for dialog about finances, the future of the property-rich institution and Welch’s controversial, top-down management style. He took control of the church in early 2019.

There could be no more dramatic example of that style than the trustees’ Friday night purge.

“All we ever wanted was to have a voice,” said Brian Keno, a leader of Concerned Members of First Baptist Church, and now, apparently, a former congregant. “We started strong. So many left in disgust.”

Following inquiries from Florida Bulldog, Romney Rogers, a lawyer for First Baptist and a longtime church insider, forwarded the trustees’ statement that exiled the dissidents.

Continue reading at Florida Bulldog

Republish Our Original Articles

Appreciate our work? Subscribe! Instead of being limited to 4 free premium articles a month, a subscription grants you instant access to all of our exclusive content. As a Faithfully Magazine Partner subscriber, you'll enjoy:
  • Instant on-demand web access to everything
  • Free print/digital issues of the magazine
  • Free motto t-shirt (Level B & A Partners only)
  • Special live virtual events with special guests
  • Connecting with other Partner members
  • Helping us keep Christian media diverse
  • And much more!
Share via


What do you think?


Leave a Reply


    Written by FM Editors

    Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.

    asian women protest

    ‘Never Being American Enough:’ Asian Women on Living in a Country That Feels Increasingly Unsafe

    trinity bible chapel

    Report: Trinity Bible Chapel Shut Down, Facing $40M in Fines Over COVID Orders (www.kitchenertoday.com)