Prominent pastor and former Southern Baptist church planter Darrin Patrick died Thursday night (May 7) after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Patrick, 49, was on staff as teaching pastor at Seacoast Church in the Carolinas. He also routinely provided pulpit supply at Southern Baptist churches across the country and was scheduled to preach May 17 at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.
“Darrin was a good friend who spurred me on to be a better pastor and husband,” Robby Gallaty, pastor at Long Hollow, said in a statement. “He used past experiences from burnout to put safeguards in place to keep the same from happening in my life. I am still stunned by the news.”
Seacoast announced the news of the tragedy Friday on its website, saying: “We are saddened to announce the sudden passing of Pastor Darrin Patrick. Darrin was a loved member of the Seacoast family, the teaching team, and pastoral staff and we are mourning his loss. Darrin had a gift for teaching the Word and a heart for encouraging other pastors. God allowed Seacoast to be a part of Darrin’s story in a time when he needed a family. He was a gift to us and we are thankful for the time the Lord gave him to us. His influence and impact cannot be measured. We are surrounding the Patrick family with our prayers and support during this time.”
“When a personal tragedy like this occurs we not only grieve, but we also deal with so many other emotions,” said Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee. “Once again, we realize that pastors are not any different from other people. We need relationships and friendships that help us walk through life and the challenges of leadership. The stress of ministry mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually is ever-present.”
Patrick rose to prominence in the SBC in the mid-2000s after planting The Journey in St. Louis in 2002. The church plant grew quickly, running a reported 2,300 in weekly worship by 2008. A mentor to many church planters, Patrick wrote a book on the subject in 2010 and served as vice president for the Acts 29 Network, a global church planting organization.
Patrick’s time with both organizations ended in 2016 as he was removed by The Journey’s elders and the Acts 29 board for what was labeled “pastoral misconduct” and a “historical pattern of sin.” The Journey also claimed Patrick had violated the “high standard for elders in marriage through inappropriate meetings, conversations, and phone calls with two women.”
But 2017 saw Patrick reemerge at Seacoast Church through a restoration plan overseen by pastor Greg Surratt. Patrick joined the staff at Seacoast as a teaching pastor and had become a regular guest at Southern Baptist seminaries and on church leadership podcasts in recent years.
Patrick is survived by his wife Amie and four children: Glory, Grace, Drew and Delainey.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jonathan Howe is vice president for communications at the SBC Executive Committee.)