CHARLOTTE — Joe B. Brown,
pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church for 26 years, announced on Sunday,
November 21 that he will step aside from all duties as senior pastor at Hickory
Grove Baptist Church on December 31, 2010.
“Under God’s leadership and
guidance, I have come to realize it is time for me to step away from my beloved
Hickory Grove Baptist Church” Brown said, “However, let me be clear, this is
not a retirement from the calling God has placed on my life to preach the
gospel of Jesus Christ. If I may use an old naval term, it is a redeployment to
different ports of call where I will continue to faithfully deposit His
Brown recalls moving to
Charlotte to begin his ministry at Hickory Grove in 1984, “The Charlotte
skyline loomed large on the horizon as we came up I-77 that Saturday night, and
I knew my life was changed forever.”
Under Brown’s leadership,
the church expanded its membership from 2,155 in 1984 to 16,827 in 2010, making
Hickory Grove Baptist Church one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in
the Carolinas, baptizing upwards of 8,000 since 1984.
The ministerial staff grew
from four full time ministers in 1984 to 25 current full time ministers as of
November 2010. The church entered into four building campaigns that expanded
the church facilities to more than 120 acres and 600,000 square feet
encompassing all three of its campuses that provide seven Sunday morning
Brown’s evangelical passion
manifested into an award winning television ministry, “Challenge for Living,”
from 1991-2010; opened the doors of Hickory Grove Baptist Christian School in
the Fall of 1995 that has a current enrollment of 985 K-12 students for the
2010-2011 academic year; and pioneered Hickory Grove’s multi-campus initiative
opening the church’s North Campus in 1995 and its Latin American Campus in
1998, which is currently one of the largest Latin American Baptist
congregations in the state of North Carolina.
Brown’s plans include
spending time with family, including his four grandchildren, traveling the
world through missions, and guest speaking in various church pulpits.
I take memories of miracles, of which many of you have been a part” Brown says,
“You will always be in my heart and my prayer is for God’s continued blessing
on your lives, and Hickory Grove Baptist Church.”
Clint Pressley was called as
co-pastor in February. Pressley will fulfill all pulpit responsibilities at the
main and north campuses.
For more information and to
watch a video by Brown, visit DiscoverHickoryGrove.org.