The Pen

Puttin’ on the Ritz for Johnny Hunt

For Johnny Hunt’s 25th anniversary as Pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, the church staff planned a special surprise service to honor him.  As a bit of good-hearted fun, the music minister rewrote Hunt’s favorite “hymn”, Under the Boardwalk, with lyrics that made light of the pastor’s unique way of pronouncing certain words.

In addition to this musical tribute, a gift of custom artwork was purchased to honor Hunt.  An artist from Colorado was commissioned to to create an ornate wood carving of two hands, one reaching down and another reaching up.  The carving is symbolic of Hunt’s history of helping the less fortunate.  It is also symbolic of the financial largesse of Hunt’s megachurch as such a fine piece of art didn’t come cheaply.  The intricate sculpture, the last time I saw it, was proudly displayed in the church’s worship center, colloquially known as “the Johnny Dome” or “Six Flags Over Jesus.”   Five years later, it’s apparently time for FBCW to celebrate Pastor Johnny again.  This time, revilers will need tickets.


For his 30th anniversary at FBC Woodstock, Johnny Hunt is being honored with a “1920s Costume or Black Tie” ball at the 1,200-person capacity Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta.  Unlike Hunt’s 25-year anniversary celebration, the entire church is not invited.  According an exclusive flyer which I obtained, “seating is limited” for this “invitation only” special event.  Invitees are encourage to register ASAP and reminded to “be sure to print and bring (their) tickets” and that “there is a security checkpoint and (they) must have an invitation and ticket in order to get through the security check point.”

In addition to wondering why their church has promoted a film about Jesus based upon stories from Gnostic gospels on its website, many members of FBC Woodstock should perhaps also wonder why an exclusive and costly ball, to which they have not been invited, is being thrown for their pastor.  Personally, I think personal anniversary celebrations should be limited to Easter Sunday and include a spot for whosoever may want to come.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.