Life is filled with unexpected and untimely circumstances…

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Life is filled with unexpected and untimely circumstances…things that make you wonder, speculate, and ask “why?” and “why now?” By now, many of you have heard that I have resigned my position as Senior Pastor of Riverchase Baptist Church. To help answer the why and why now questions, I offer the following…

A Letter to the Congregation

A joint letter sent to the RBC congregation today stated…”Over the past several weeks, it became evident to the Personnel Committee and Dr. Layton that the churches expectations and Dr. Layton’s leadership style were not a good match. A comparison was made that sometimes a great coach, even with great players, cannot work together to become a winning team. When that conclusion was reached by the Personnel Committee, a meeting was called of the RBC Deacons, in a process outlined in the RBC By-laws, and by recorded vote, the deacons agreed that change was necessary”. The deacons directed the Deacon Chair and Vice-chair to meet with Dr. Layton. That meeting occurred on May 1, 2020, and Dr. Layton’s resignation was accepted effective that date. 

Although difficult to receive this news, when asked to submit my resignation, I did so without contest. Simply, my resignation was about “expectations, leadership style and fit.” 

The letter further stated…”It’s important to note that there were no issues during Dr. Layton’s tenure at our church that were in any way associated with any immoral, unethical, illegal, or unprofessional conduct. Following Dr. Layton’s resignation, the Finance and Personnel Committees proposed a severance package that all parties agreed was fair”. 

These statements are true. Know that I am thankful for provision which will allow a window of opportunity to discover where God is leading toward a new place of ministry, service or employment. 


The letter also stated…”All of the individuals involved in the committees that were a part of this decision, sincerely thank Steve and Melinda for their ministry and hard work on our behalf this past year, and we wish them the best as they follow God’s will in where they will continue to serve.” 

Knowing that Christlike love comes in many forms, this past year I have said “I love you” in many ways to the RBC family…both corporately and individually. Just as the Apostle Paul often told the churches he served how much he loved them in words and deeds; when I said, “I love you” to the RBC family, I meant it…and I still do

Next Steps

At this point Melinda and I are seeking God’s next step regarding ministry and employment. If God’s plan, we would love to remain near Birmingham…if not, we will follow wherever He leads. Let us know if you hear of employment opportunities, would like a copy of my resume or simply need my email address.

More importantly, we are a family that believes in the power of prayer…so we ask that you remember us in your prayers regularly. 

Blessings and joy for the journey!

J. Steven Layton