One of Donald M. Brunson's strengths is not keeping his congregation informed - his first year we saw this clearly as he rarely told us if he was preaching from Sunday to Sunday. Or in bringing wife and son on staff - no explanation, and no formal listing of ministry responsibilities on the church web site like most other ministries that employ pastor family members. Ditto on the Israeli event that he mentioned ONE TIME to his congregation, 10 days before the event, and never seriously explained why we should be behind him in that endeavor. Its beginning to look like Mac views our church and its resources as something at his personal disposal, and doesn't view himself as having a responsibility to inform us and "bring us along" with him on his decisions...must be he views our role is just to shut up, serve, give, and "be the sheep". But if he needs something from US....like if we have a budget shortfall that needs to be made up, well he has no problem communicating THAT consistently and clearly week after week.
We see this in the issue of the budget shortfall we are currently experiencing. He has told us on several occasions that we are "behind budget" by about half a million dollars, yet hasn't explained why; quite curious in light of his claims that "giving is up" that we are "behind budget". Wouldn't that dictate an explanation of why we under budget and in what area did the excessive spending occur? "What did we overspend on" is an obvious question in the minds of the congregation.
Apparently, FBC Jax, if you want to find out key pieces of information about what's going on in your church, you have to find out where Mac is preaching out of town and listen to Mac's sermons when he is on the road (provided you can find that out!) then you can find out the missing pieces of information that he doesn't tell us.
Case in point: Mac preached a three-day revival at Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, NC on October 8-10 during his recent vacation (which he didn't tell us about - not that he has to, but one would think he at least wants his congregation to pray for him if he's leading a revival) and there he explained in one of his sermons WHY FBC Jax is behind budget: we have overspent on missions. Also, Mac proclaimed that Jesus Christ himself cut the budget shortfall in half on one Sunday! And he also threw in the barb that our finance committee was "terrified" at the budget shortfall and has little faith. Listen to the following clips:
Here is the clip from the sermon on the budget and our finance committee.
Here is another clip giving some tidbits of information that might be interesting to FBC Jax members.
Here is Mac forgetting that he pastors FBC Jacksonville and not FBC Dallas.
[You can watch the video stream of Mac's sermons at Mud Creek by clicking on "video on demand" at the church's website which will direct you to the "316network" where their sermons can be accessed. Maybe by the year 2010 our church, one of the flagship SBC churches, might be able to video archive our services on our website...sure would like to know what agreement our search committee made with Mac that prevents us from doing this. We are being very poor stewards of the technological resources God has given us in not archiving the video of our church services and making them available worldwide 24/7. Mac makes audio of selected sermons available at his own 501(c)3 website, but without sermon titles and without dates!]
Back to the budget: why did we overspend on missions by half a million dollars - doesn't our budget guide us and keep us from doing this unless we cut spending in another line item? Was it the finance committee who didn't do their job, or did the pastor commit our church in missions without prior approval? Maybe the best question is: does not our church have an expenditure approval process that prevents HUGE over-expenditures like $500,000? Maybe I missed something, but in the past 25 years I don't recall hearing of 1/2 million dollar budget shortages because of overspending in one area - so no wonder our finance committee was concerned ("terrified" as Mac almost said in the clip but stopped short at "ter..."). Our church is used to being on-budget and paying as we go...but perhaps this is part of the "change" that Mac and Jim Smyrl have been preaching to us about.
Lastly, if you would like to hear the Paige Patterson clip at SWBTS explaining how poor 'ole Mac was attacked by "recalcitrants" ever since he arrived at FBC Jax and never got a honeymoon, click here. Click here for my article on this matter and what a lie it is that FBC Jax didn't get give the Brunsons a "honeymoon".