A NAMB supported church with a woman pastor that mentors NAMB church planters also hosts #BeerAndBible Bible studies, has its own brewery and sold its beer at the Mountain View Oktoberfest.
ALLEGATION: Kevin Ezell sent gift of wine in 2011 to celebrate NAMB trustee approval of his new church planting VP.
A church supported by Southern Baptists through the North American Mission Board (NAMB) not only has a woman teaching pastor but its own brewing company.
In images first mentioned by Will McRaney during a Facebook Live video, Echo Church is shown participating in an Oktoberfest with its own branded beer and hosting Bible studies centered around the hashtag #BeerAndBible.
According to research, McRaney said that a beer license costs $12,000 in California. He asked, “Did they buy a license?” And more importantly, “Did any NAMB money go to pay for this?”
In one image, about 10 kegs of beer are visible.
McRaney said in the video that he was not attacking the church or pastors or the pastors’ wives. He said the use of alcohol is a local church matter. However, what NAMB supports and its adherence to SBC policies are the key issue. So, he produced images and names to verify the allegations.
Filipe Santos the executive pastor at Echo Church is also an employee of NAMB as an assessor and trainer.
You can see Filipe Santos leading the #BeerAndBible Bible studies in these images.
The church was also a participant in the Oktoberfest.
The church is part of the NAMB Church Planting Residency program in 2020.
NAMB uses the church operationally to train church planters.
As you can see in this image, the church with women pastors and hosting keg parties were hosted the NAMB Church Planters’ Retreat for 11 couples being assessed by NAMB. You can see that in the below photograph.
Further, NAMB financially supports the church and its planting efforts. According to documents obtained by Will McRaney, Andy Wood and Echo Church has two homes it uses that are owned by NAMB. One is a $1,007,000 5-bedroom, 2,555 sq. ft. home located at 6026 Golden Vista Dr. San Jose, CA 95123. The home was purchased by NAMB in 2015 when built and sold January 2020. It is unclear to whom NAMB sold the home. Was it Echo Church? Was it Andy Wood? Was it someone else entirely? Just one more reason Southern Baptists need a forensic audit. We can’t trust the trustees because as they admitted they know all about this and in fact authorized this type of behavior.
Oh, one final detail, on this 2,555 sq. ft. home NAMB recently sold. Since 2015, the property taxes annually were about $15,000.
Another home is also linked to NAMB and Echo Church, according to documents obtained by McRaney. A 3-bedroom, four-bath 1,900 sq. ft. home purchased for $785,000 in 2017 with annual taxes of around $13,000 is presently valued at about $1.135 million and is still owned by NAMB and is linked to the Echo Church.
Conclusion: Is this a reflection on Kevin Ezell’s leadership and what did the trustees know and when did they know it?
Southern Baptists are free to debate alcohol. Is it biblically inappropriate or an issue of Christian liberty? However, what is not up for discussion is the general policies adopted by Southern Baptists to restrict the promotion of alcohol through its Cooperative Program funding channels.
Is this an outgrowth of Kevin Ezell’s leadership? McRaney said, that in 2011 that Ezell sent an alcoholic gift of two bottles of wine to Jeff Christopherson as a congratulations gift for being elected by the NAMB Trustees for VP over Church Planting. This violated NAMB’s policy on use of alcohol.
According to the NAMB Code of Conduct available on the NAMB website, “I will abstain from the consumption of any alcoholic beverage or illegal drugs.”
If Ezell and the trustees cannot follow this simple code of conduct, what does that say about the honesty of SBC leadership? Now more than ever a forensic audit is necessary.
You can watch all of McRaney’s video below: