CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS/AP) — Elevation Church confirmed to Queen City News it is withdrawing its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention, effective immediately.

In a letter to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, on June 26, Elevation Church said in part, “This letter is to inform you that Elevation Church is withdrawing its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention effective immediately. You will find that our Statement of Beliefs on our website is very much in line with the Baptist Faith and Message – we have no intention of changing those core beliefs.”

Elevation Church’s decision to withdraw from the SBC comes after the Christian denomination refused to welcome several churches back into its fold for having women pastors.

All Baptist churches are independent. So the convention can’t tell them what to do, but it can decide which churches are “not in friendly cooperation,” the official verbiage for an expulsion.

The SBC’s statement of faith says the office of pastor is reserved for qualified men, but this is believed to be the first time the convention has expelled any churches over it.

In February 2023, the SBC’s Executive Committee voted to oust two congregations, along with three others that chose not to appeal, for having women pastors.

For years, questions about women’s ministry roles have caused turmoil in the SBC. In June, the messengers pressed to make those roles more clear by voting to amend the convention’s constitution to specify that Southern Baptists churches must “affirm, appoint or employ only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.”

To go into effect, it needs to be approved at the next annual meeting.