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Gavin Ortlund to Leave Pastorate to Focus on Truth Unites YouTube Ministry

Truth Unites is both a theological voice for the church and an apologetics voice for the culture

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Pastor and author Gavin Ortlund is resigning as pastor of First Baptist Church in Ojai, California, to dedicate more time to his growing ministry on YouTube.

Gavin Ortlund / YouTube screenshot

Ortlund made the announcement in a YouTube video, explaining there is a “heaviness and sadness” in stepping away from FBC Ojai, where he’s been on staff since summer 2018. But he called this new season a situation where “all the stars were aligning.”

In Ortlund’s words, this decision “allows us to be close to our families and it frees me to focus on some of these ministries that are really deep in my heart right now like Truth Unites.” The media ministry Truth Unites is intended as a theological resource to the church and an apologetics voice in the culture. As of publication, the Truth Unites YouTube channel has more than 42,000 subscribers.

Truth Unites will merge with Renewal Ministries, a teaching ministry founded by Ortlund’s late grandfather Ray Ortlund Sr. The ministry is now headed by Gavin’s parents Ray Ortlund Jr. and his wife Jani. Gavin will also join the staff at his fathers church, Immanuel Church in Nashville, as theologian-in-residence.

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Gavin expressed his love for pastoring the people at FBC Ojai but said the growth of Truth Unites has made it difficult to juggle all the aspects of his life. “It’s been a busy three years. We’ve had two more children in that time period; we have five kids now. I’m a full-time pastor, and I’m doing all these different kinds of things,” Ortlund said. “And I love them all, so I’ve been able to kind of try to navigate things. Over the last year or so, it’s ratcheted up to one level further of busyness. And so that is a part of this.”

In the nearly 20-minute long YouTube video, Ortlund calls Truth Unites “his greatest passion” in vocational ministry and he prayerfully hopes it will help address the religious decline in America.

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Daniel Ritchie

Daniel Ritchie is an evangelist, speaker and author from Wake Forest, NC. He has spoken nationally and internationally to churches, colleges, seminaries, conferences and professional sports teams. He is the author of two books - My Affliction for His Glory & Endure. He is a husband to Heather and daddy of two children.