Mac Brunson on Sunday night introduced Pastor Daniel Jones of the "Christ Ministry of Changing Lives" in Jacksonville. Pastor Jones' church ministers in a very crime-ridden neighborhood in Jacksonville, and his church building was nearly destroyed by arson in March 2007. Articles and videos documenting the arson and his rebuilding efforts are found here and here.
Mac introduced Pastor Jones to the FBC Jacksonville congregation because our church has decided to help him with some of the rebuilding process; we have garnered the support of several businesses to buy some air conditioning units and perhaps some other things as well. Mac of course is to be commended for reaching out to the community in this fashion to help Pastor Jones and his church.
When Mac introduced Pastor Jones he described how the events were set into motion to help this ministry: Mac's son Trey saw a news article about this man's church and his struggle to rebuild, and brought it to Mac's attention, and then they (Mac and Trey) decided to help them out. According to Mac, Trey then sprung into action and "negotiated" to get reduced pricing on the air conditioning units to be purchased by FBC Jax. Mac then called out and volunteered several men in the congregation to go "door to door" with Pastor Jones to invite people to his church.
As I said, that is good. By all appearances this seems to be a worthwhile ministry to Pastor Jones on the part of FBC Jax. The only reason I bring this up here on the blog is this: the way Mac explained the events leading up to the decision to help this church, this seemed to be somewhat of an "impulse" giving decision. Other than Mac and Trey deciding that this was a worthwhile investment of our church's time and money, did our church do its due diligence into examining this ministry and making sure our involvement is worthwhile? This does remind me of the hot water that Steve Gaines got himself into at Bellevue when he decided to donate a sum of money from the Bellevue church to a local non-Baptist church that had been damaged. Upon further investigation this church was found to be very liberal, had a woman pastor, was a church that took a strong pro-abortion position, and many members at Bellevue were irate that a decision to donate money from the church coffers could be made by the pastor with little lay oversight and no due diligence.
So the question is: how did we arrive at the decision to give to this church, and not other churches (some of them our Southern Baptist brethren) that perhaps also might need our assistance? Did serious-minded men look into this pastor and his church and their doctrinal stances to make sure that it is a worthwhile investment of our time and money (sorry, this question DOES need to be asked!)? Did we have this planned in our budget (as Mac said our giving should be "planned" and not "impulse")? Why are we volunteering our lay people to go help him knock on doors to help him build his church? Why did Mac decide to announce this when he did, bringing the man up to the platform?