Lead pastor of Highpoint Church resigns after former pastor was accused of sexual assault

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The lead pastor of Highpoint Church, Chris Conlee, resigned Wednesday after a former pastor was accused of sexual assault.

You may remember, former associate pastor Andy Savage admitted he had a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old while he was youth pastor at a Texas church 20 years ago.

Savage resigned from Highpoint in March 2018.

"It's a relief that Pastor Conlee resigned his position at Highpoint Church, and it allows Highpoint a new beginning after a difficult period of time," former member Julia Dahl said.

Drew O'Brien, a long -time member, says despite Conlee's resignation, they're ready for what's next.

"I would say the majority of the core group of members who have been going here since the beginning have sustained the church through each season, are hopeful for the future," said O'Brien.

"In his own words from the pulpit in January, Chris Conlee disclosed he had known about Andy Savage's conduct prior to inviting Andy to co-found or lead in Highpoint Church," said Dahl. "With that knowledge, Chris elected to do nothing to protect that victim of sexual assault."

The church sent a statement to members on Wednesday saying,

Over the last couple months, Chris and the trustees have been praying and discussing the direction and future of our church. We have arrived at a point of respectfully agreeing to go in different directions for the kingdom. We love and respect each other.

O'Brien says they're looking ahead and moving forward.

"It's all apart of God's plan. We don't always know how God's plan is going to work out, and we're just holding on to faith right now."