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Tag: Sexual Texts

Red Collar Scandal: Southern Baptist Worship Leader Aaron Ivey Accused of Trading Sexual Texts with Men

aaron ivey

The Red Collar Scandal Series relies on public news stories for its content. If you read a story about an Evangelical preacher who can’t keep his pants zipped up, please send it to Bruce Gerencser.

Aaron Ivey was the head worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, a multicampus evangelical church in Austin, Texas. Ivey was recently accused of trading sexual texts with men, going back twelve years, and may have included a minor. Austin Stone Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Religion News Service reports:

The Austin Stone Church, a multicampus evangelical church in Austin, Texas, announced on Sunday (Feb. 11) that it had dismissed its head worship pastor after discovering he had engaged in “inappropriate and explicit ongoing text messages with an adult male,” according to a statement from the church’s elders.

Aaron Ivey, the pastor of worship and creativity and an elder at the megachurch, was fired last Monday for what the statement called a “disqualifying situation,” which the elders said they became aware of the previous day.

“Several elders were made aware of this situation on the evening of Sunday, February 4th and after reviewing the explicit nature of these messages, it was clear that termination of Aaron’s eldership and employment was necessary in accordance with the clear biblical standards outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20,” according to the statement. The first passage, from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to Timothy, urges church leaders to be faithful in marriage; the second says church elders “who are sinning” should be reproved before everyone.

After firing Ivey, the elders said, they then discovered that Ivey, the husband of bestselling author and popular podcaster Jamie Ivey, had a history of texting with men, including one who had been underage at the time of the explicit texts, according to the statement.

“Since then, we have uncovered multiple similar instances with different individuals dating back to 2011 that show a very clear pattern of predatory manipulation, sexual exploitation, and abuse of influence,” the statement said.

The elders detailed a timeline of texts they had discovered, alleging that they began in 2011 with the exchanges with a minor, which they said they had reported to the “appropriate authorities.”

“The first known instance, which took place with a teenage male victim and continued over time, involved inappropriate and explicit communications, indecent exposure, and the use of alcohol and illegal substances,” read the statement.

A spokesperson for the church, which has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, declined to offer additional comment on the allegations and Ivey’s termination.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser