Southlake's Brady Boyd made 'em proud in Colorado yesterday, sounds like. Then again, Ted Haggard did lower the bar quite a bit.

He Just Needs God's Blessings Now

Word broke at the beginning of August that Brady Boyd, associate senior pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, was at the top of the list to replace Ted Haggard as senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But yesterday Boyd had his first official tryout in front of the 14,000-member congregation, and by all accounts, he was a winner: "His breezy style seemed less like an audition than an opening night," reports the Rocky Mountain News this a.m., "complete with good reviews."

Boyd's a sharp guy: From the sound of it yesterday, the Southlake pastor spent much of the service distancing from Haggard, who was forced out of New Life after it was revealed he'd bought meth and "massages" from a dude. The most Boyd could offer was that, yeah, he smoked a little weed when he was a kid -- "before finding Jesus."

Reports the Rocky Mountain News:

Boyd, 40, who is being given a tryout by church leaders to succeed the disgraced Ted Haggard, repeatedly referred to "non-negotiable values" from which he would not stray, such as "protecting and leading my family."

Acting more like a successor than a job candidate -- the congregation will vote Aug. 27 whether to hire him -- the Dallas-based associate pastor promised that during his tenure as pastor, the New Life staff would work hard all day, "but when it's time to go home - we're going to go home to our families."

Applause broke out at the line, a clear dig at Haggard, who resigned last November after admitting to a secret life of drug buys and a sexual relationship with a male escort.

Turns out, though, that after all that Boyd still had to answer one last question at a post-service press conference. Reports the Colorado Springs Gazette:

“I have never been unfaithful to my wife,” [Boyd] said.

But he noted in the sermon that he almost lost her once because he worked 80 hours a week at a Christian school when he was in his 20s. She packed her bags because she felt alone in the marriage. He promised to quit his job and he did the very next day, becoming a low-paid board operator at a radio station so he could spend more time at home.

Later she gave her blessing when at age 31 he became a pastor, helping heal Trinity Fellowship Church in Hereford, Texas, which at the time had gone through a scandal and lost all but 50 members. Then he went to Gateway, a Dallas-area megachurch where he is one of several associate pastors but does much of the preaching.

He told the New Life congregation that he would ask every staff member’s spouse to let him know if they worked too much at church and didn’t spend enough time at home.

There was much applause.

Boyd's finishing up his three-week-long audition, after which God will cast his vote -- from the sound of it thus far, with a thumbs-up. --Robert Wilonsky

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