Ted Haggard's Likely Successor Preaches First Sermon

( [email protected] ) Aug 14, 2007 12:59 PM EDT
New Life Church congregants packed their Colorado Springs house of worship on Sunday to hear a sermon from the top candidate to replace their ousted leader, Ted Haggard.
The Rev. Brady Boyd, center, prays with parishioners after delivering his first sermon at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday. Boyd is the leading candidate to replace the church's former pastor, Ted Haggard, who left last year amid a scandal involving sex and drugs. (Photo: AP Images / The Rocky, Darin McGregor)

New Life Church congregants packed their Colorado Springs house of worship on Sunday to hear a sermon from the top candidate to replace their ousted leader, Ted Haggard.

"I want to be your pastor," the Rev. Brady Boyd told thousands, drawing laughter and applause from the packed auditorium.

It was the first of three Sunday sermons Boyd, a 40-year-old associate pastor at a suburban Dallas megachurch, is to preach for the leadership post of one of the most influential churches in the country. New Life attendance has dropped about 25 percent since the fall of their former and very prominent evangelical pastor last year over a sex-and-drugs scandal, but the megachurch is ready to appoint a new leader and bounce back.

"I don't have any moral failures in my past, no bones in my closet," said Boyd, adding that he wasn't perfect, according to Rocky Mountain News. "I have sinned, but I am not a failure."

And he has never been unfaithful to his wife, Pam, he said at a news conference later that Sunday.

In his sermon, Boyd listed his "non-negotiable values" that he said he would never give up for money, material goods or weak moments of the flesh, as reported by The Gazette. Those values include following Jesus, protecting and leading his family and being merciful with people.

With positive feedback from congregants, Boyd is already looking like he'll be taking up the New Life pulpit for good.

“We prayed, fasted and probed. The Lord spoke to us and said this is the man," Mike Ware, one of the church overseers and senior pastor at Victory Church in Westminster, told the congregation, according to The Gazette. “He told me that his most important goal was to make Jesus famous and not himself ... and he also said this was not a career move, but a Kingdom [of Heaven] assignment.”

“We are so excited, we’ve been anticipating this moment – for God to bring us a shepherd,” said Paula Gabriel of New Life, to the local Gazette.

Church leaders acknowledged on Sunday the painful decision they made to bypass Ross Parsley, the associate pastor who served as interim pastor and who many in the congregation hoped would succeed Haggard.

Boyd asked Parsley to stay with him for the next 25 years.

Currently an associate pastor of Gateway Church, another well known megachurch in suburban Dallas, Boyd said he was ready to be a senior pastor even if it means taking up the challenge of rebuilding the reputation of New Life.

"We're here to serve the city. And we're going to win them over," he said, as reported by Rocky Mountain News.

And the Dallas-area pastor clarified that he won't try to fill Haggard's shoes.

"I've been working for 40 years to fill my own shoes," said Boyd, adding that he has deep respect for Haggard who left a great heritage. Haggard founded New Life Church which had grown to 14,000 members.

The New Life congregation will vote on whether to approve his appointment on Aug. 27. Boyd needs a two-thirds majority vote.