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Houston Pastor Ed Young steps down from Second Baptist after 46 years

H. Edwin Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist in Houston, announced Sunday morning that he was resigning from his leadership post at the church, ending his 46-year tenure as one of America's most prominent, charismatic and high-profile pastors. The 87-year-old preacher known simply as Ed closed his sermon at the church's Woodway Campus, one of six sites across the metro, with news his son Ben Young will take over as senior pastor.

"We're not stepping down, we're stepping up to use our primary spiritual gifts," Ed Young said during the early service, at times through tears, as he listed ways he and his wife would still serve the church, using the time to lead people to Christ, to encourage his congregation and to help further Second Baptist's vision. "I'm stepping up to maximize what God has given me and what God has given to my great wife, Lisa."

Young, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), leaves behind a complicated legacy after growing Second Baptist into one of the Houston area's largest churches, and after his decades as one of the most influential leaders among Protestant circles. His resignation comes just two weeks before the SBC's annual conference begins in ...