BEAST (August 19, 2022)

Pastor That Was Spotted At Trump Riot Has Now Stepped Down As Senior Pastor He Is Now An Elder

Grace Chapel Pastor Steve Berger delivers the invocation during the inauguration of Bill Lee as the 50th governor of Tennessee at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.

Pastor Steve Berger will no longer be the senior pastor of Gov. Bill Lee’s church. 

Berger, who has led Grace Chapel in Williamson County for decades, announced Sunday that he is transitioning from senior pastor to founding pastor. His wife, Sarah Berger, is also stepping down from her longtime role as director of women’s ministry. 

“Sarah and I need to transition from leading the team, listen to me, to encouraging, empowering and releasing them to lead all of the rest of us, including me,” Berger said in a video of Sunday’s service.

This transition has been in the works for three years, Berger said. Church leadership planned to announce Berger’s transition on Aug. 9, 2020, but they postponed the announcement due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Mark Bright, the executive pastor of Grace Chapel, said in a statement.  

Rob Rogers, who came back to Grace Chapel in 2018, will now serve as lead pastor, Bright said.  

“Over the last two years, we have been announcing the increased visibility that Rob was going to have while also talking about Steve’s new ventures,” Bright said. “We are excited about the future with Steve stepping into his new role and Rob Rogers being our lead pastor.” 

Bright said the role change has nothing to do with the events of Jan. 6 nor the media coverage Berger received for being on the National Mall the day the U.S. Capitol riot broke.

Berger, who said he was back in his hotel room before the riot broke out, has apologized for sharing unfounded claims that supporters of the antifascist protest movement, antifa, were part of the riot. But Berger has taken issue with news coverage of him, including criticizing The Tennessean and local TV station WSMV during Sunday worship services.

Berger said Sunday that he and his wife are not being fired. 

“Sarah and I aren’t going anywhere. We’re not quitting, retiring, leaving, abandoning, we’re not running the other direction because of recent conflict. We’re not running from the fight, in fact, we’re running into the fight in even greater ways,” Berger said. Your stories live here.Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.

Berger, who will stay on as a church elder, will continue to preach once a month at Grace Chapel and advise the church’s leadership team, Bright said. During the Sunday address, Berger said he and his wife will restart their morning devotionals and they’re developing a nonprofit that will help them influence influencers. 

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