"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Monday, December 31, 2007

Some Observations...

Just a few observations that perhaps some of you want to comment on:

- how does a church like Shiloh or Trinity Baptist end up hiring a pastor who abuses people? How do their deeds go undetected? What empowers a man to think he can do these things and get away with it? Does elevating their pastor to "rock star", untouchable status have anything to do with it? Has FBC Jax been guilty of the same, but we were just blessed to have godly men at the helm who didn't abuse the power and trust given to them? Its very apparent we have a pastor who desires to have much accountability within in his pastor's office by having his wife working with him - that is one thing that our church was very happy about. But when I see how we heap praise and money and power on one man that we hardly know just because of his position of "pastor", it makes me greatly concerned that our church could also be susceptible to pastoral abuse.

- Isn't it interesting that now several times we have been told during announcements that we will be voting on the church trustees that have been nominated by Mac Brunson? Mac has told us this at least once and maybe twice, and Ed Dickinson mentioned it yesterday, that on January 6th we'll be voting for these men, and that there is biographical information on these men available for everyone to pick up at the usher stations! Well, imagine that!!! Actually ANNOUNCING, and DISTRIBUTING NECESSARY INFORMATION about what we will be voting on! While I'm glad they are distributing information, this shows how deceitful Mac Brunson was about the bylaw changes that were voted on November 28th. Just as easily as Mac is making trustee nominee biographical information available to the congregation, he could have made the bylaw changes available also, BUT CHOSE NOT TO DO SO (and you have to admit that providing biographical info on these men is much less important than providing information to members on the bylaw changes that affect their membership and governance of the church). Sorry Jim Smyrl, I haven't witnessed to anyone this week, but I'm still going to "complain" that our pastor and president of the trustees deceived their congregation by not making bylaw changes very available to the membership before asking for a vote. Asking the faithful Wednesday night attenders to vote on bylaw changes without at least, AT LEAST summarizing the changes was a shameful act.

- anyone notice that Jim Smyrl's preaching style/demeanor has changed since working under Mac Brunson? Most of us have heard Smyrl before he worked under Brunson, and now we've heard him quite a few times since he was hired and working under Brunson. I myself notice a distinct change but wondered if anyone else has.

- I'm sure that the trustee vote on January 6th will be an "all or nothing", "up or down" vote on all the men that our pastor has nominated. If this is so, it is a sham vote. If they're going to ask us to vote, give us a ballot and allow us to vote yes or no on each of these men. I haven't seen the list of men, but here is some criteria that I would apply to the vote if I were to vote:

a. Before I will vote "yes" on ANY of these men that Mac Brunson is nominating, I want Mac Brunson to stand in the pulpit and explain the bylaw changes that were ramrodded through, and I want him to explain why he felt the need to ask for a vote without making the bylaw changes readily available to the membership, why he felt the need to never at least explain the changes, and then apologize for this stupid act. Until he does THAT, I won't vote in favor of any of his proposals brought before the church - trustees, new school, none of it.

b. Any men that were involved in any way with the decision to bring Mac Brunson to Jacksonville by being on the search committee, I would vote "NO" on. We don't need men in positions of trustee who have their reputations in the church and community tied to Mac's success. We need men who can objectively hold Mac accountable to do right by his congregation.

c. Any men that have served with Mac as a trustee during his first two years or in a position of leadership like chair or vice chair of deacons would get a "NO" vote. These men, in my opinion, failed to hold Mac accountable during the first two years and I could not vote for any of them. Where were these men when the $300,000 gift was given? Didn't they see the problem that this would present when the congregation became aware of it? We need men who will be willing to say "NO" to Mac Brunson, willing to ask tough questions of Mac Brunson. Where were the current trustees when someone needed to tell Mac Brunson "No, we will NOT ask our church to vote on significant bylaw changes without first making the changes readily available and summarizing the changes before the vote. If you do, I will resign." Where were the trustees when it was found out that Mac was going to use our church facilities to host "A Night to Stand With Israel" and he wasn't explaining it to his congregation?

d. Is he nominating any new men to positions of trustee leadership that are long-time faithful members who have stellar reputations and could be trusted, but not part of the current "power structure" at church? Men who the congregation knows have the judgement and discernment needed to be a trustee, but who don't have the clout because they don't hang with the current big shots? If you've read the list, are there any men that YOU would nominate that are not on the list? Feel free to post your ideas here on who should NOT be on the list and who SHOULD be...I'm particularly interested in hearing some nominations of men who serve faithfully but aren't "big shots" who are probably overlooked by the pastor. If this was a ballot vote, I would write in a few names of men who I know have impeccable reputations, but get overlooked because they don't hang with the current lay power structure of the church. If we've learned anything about our church in the last 2 years, its that we need some fresh new lay leadership - not "new" in the sense of "uknown" - but "new" in trusted men that we know and love but have never served in those positions.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what your by-laws state (and I doubt if you do) but in our church and most Baptist churches, trustees are men who are ONLY empowered to sign legal documents for the church. They do not have authority to do anything else. In reality, it is a figurehead position and any authority they have to sign documents is given by a church vote. In some churches, the authority is granted to them by the deacons.

Personally I don't think anyone should be elected as a trustee if he is not a deacon and one who is actively involved in leadership and ministry.

Nowhere in Scripture are deacons given the authority to "run" the church. They are to be servants and servants alone. Elders are given the authority to give direction to the church and should be men of good repute and leadership skills. Perhaps JAX should consider looking at this Biblical model. Apparently your deacons can't figure out what they are.

Good luck guys. You are going to need it.

Anonymous said...

Baptists have brought this current crisis of "pastoral kingship" upon themselves. During the Conservative Resurgence led by Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers, Paige Patterson, Jerry Vines, and Judge Pressler, men were elevated to "king" status and expected to be worshipped and adored by their congregations. In many cases, men deserved honor and respect because of their faithfulness to the Lord and His Word--but the sad thing is that we Baptists went overboard (as we always seem to do). I can well remember watching Paige "hold court" as he expected men to come by and swear their allegiance to him and his decisions. It was pathetic!

Now we are reaping the rewards of that disgusting practice. Mac Brunson, Darrell Gilyard, and Steve Gaines are the "results" of this earlier generation of pastors. If the truth were told by those who are still living, I think they would be ashamed of what they have done.

At least I hope they would be.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - not sure if you are just taking a swipe there in your "I doubt if you do" comment. You are correct that I don't know what is in the bylaws, but not because I'm stupid, but because as you know if you read this blog that our pastor made significant changes to them and we have to sign our names to check out copies from the library, if they're even still there. So at this point in time the congregation does NOT know what is in the bylaws.

I don't know what legal authority the trustees have in our church, but I do know that we increased the number of trustees significantly in the articles of incorporation, and if Mac is giving biographical information out about them, then he must view them as men who would be trusted men who could give input on decisions at the church - if its "figurehead" only, why put on the show of having their biographies distributed?

This again highlights one of the problems with Mac Brunson. He treats us like we are mindless idiots. Absolutely no information whatsoever is freely given in written or spoken form about the bylaw changes before the vote, and even the night of the vote he doesn't stand to offer an explanation of the changes! Yet, for something that if you are right, has VERY LITTLE significance in the church are the trustees, he freely gives out information in an attempt to show how "open and transparent" he is.

Jon L. Estes said...

You should add. We need men who will be i=men of integrity and are brave for the sake of the kingdom. We should not support anyone who fears man so much they hide behind anonymity to criticize and complain, even if their complaints be true.

Where are the real men, men who fear God more than men.

Not running this blog...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nothappywithbloggers said...

I think you are so hung up on the pastor getting a 300K piece of land that you cannot clearly, correctly, or honestly discuss other issues. I think you have mentioned the land gift in about 75% of your blog articles. It might be an exaggeration on my part, but it seems very common.

The land has been given, the Brunson's accepted and you are displaying envy, distrust, and portraying it as some kind of dishonest and deceitful act by the Brunson's and the person giving the gift. This is nothing short of slander and bearing false witness against someone.

Instead of mentioning it over and and over why don't you get some facts such as whether or not the person giving it is demanding favors in return before acting like the National Equirer and spouting off inuendo and damaging reputations.

As for the trustees, why don't you call each of them and ask them questions instead of blogging about them and including them in your slanderfest. I think at least two of them were on the Pastor Search committee, the one for which you probably voted.

It seems the popularity of this blog has gone to your head and you are too prideful to reveal who you and others are so that you can keep the interest up.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

NotHappy: I'll keep mentioning the $300,000 gift until it is fully explained to the congregation. Am I "hung up" on it? OK, yes, I'm hung up on it because it needs to be explained. But I'm not the only one "hung up
on it. As people become aware of this fact: Mac Brunson was given a $300,000 gift of land by one of the church donors 2 weeks after he arrived in Jacksonville - once they understand that this is a FACT as evidenced by the Property Appraisor records with the City of Jacksonville people become very concerned and would like answers as to why the gift was accepted, and if it was a gift that was offered as a means to entice them to come to Jax, how it could be for "love and affection", etc. I'm very sorry if these questions make you and others uncomfortable, but they must be answered to the congregation.

If the pastor loves all the people in his congregation he will explain this "gift"...becaue growing numbers of those he is charged with pastoring are feeling very uncomfortable about this gift. He owes an explanation.

Jon L. Estes said...

Why remove your post to me? Did my response show you your synopsis was off target and you are afraid others will think you are off target on other things you think true?

Integrity,show it, I know with Jesus in your heart it can be demonstrated. Live in fear of Him and not man. It is so freeing.

I guess you are not going to post my reply. And you want others to answer you.

This would be funny if it were not so sad.

unhappywithbloggers said...

I will break this propery gift up into two pieces.

1. the actual property

2. the timing of the gift

Were the members of FBC Jax ever given explanations of prior pastor's gifts from members?

What is the basis for having to wait a certain length of time before giving a gift?

Did Christians in the book of Acts have to wait a certain length of time before giving? Has Paul in any of his letters mentioned a "waiting period" before giving to pastors or anyone in the ministry?

Why do you need to know the particulars about the land gift? Why not all the gifts he has received since being at FBC Jax?

Why is a pastor's love for his congregation based on explanation of a large gift?

Why aren't you instead questioning the person who gave the gift? Wouldn't they be better to explain why it was given? Was the giver of the land on the search committee or a trustee? Have you asked the giver when they offered the land? Could the giver have been so blessed that they merely wanted to share or wanted something to help with their income tax situation?

All these questions I have asked seem to be unable to be answered due to the anonymous methods you are employing. Coupled with the manner in which you scrutinize answers on this blog to the point where you question the integrity of the people giving the answers.

Still unhappy...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Unhappy: Some responses to your answers.

Were the members of FBC Jax ever given explanations of prior pastor's gifts from members?

Totally 100% irrelevant. Has nothing to do with the current pastor's gift. But if you are implying that perhaps Linday or Vines accepted gifts worth $100,000 or more, I could possibly understand it if the gift was given years after the pastors had been here for true "love and affection"...but I don't think either Vines or Lindsay would accept a personal gift that large but instead would encourage the giver to give it to the Lord's work and not to enrich the pastor.

What is the basis for having to wait a certain length of time before giving a gift?

Fair question. Don't have a number actually, but I think any objective, fair-minded person would say "two weeks" is not enough time for a person to decide that they will give a $300,000 land gift for simply "love and affection" to a pastor. Maybe Senator Grassley could answer that one.

Did Christians in the book of Acts have to wait a certain length of time before giving? Has Paul in any of his letters mentioned a "waiting period" before giving to pastors or anyone in the ministry?

No and No. Did anyone of the NT Christian preachers earn million dollar salaries and live like kings? Did Paul accept a large salary, and a huge home? So your question is not a very good one because I could ask just as many relevant questions to show that accepting a large gift and earning a huge pastoral salary is nowhere commended in scripture.

Why do you need to know the particulars about the land gift? Why not all the gifts he has received since being at FBC Jax?

As I have said, I personally don't need to know about them. But the congregation, the members of the 501(c)3 organization that joined the organization because it has a mission that they agree with - they need to know....because they now see that one of the donors of the 501(c)3 gave a huge gift worth over a quarter of a million dollars not to the organization, but directly to the head of the organization, and the head of the organization accepted it even though they are already being paid handsomely by the the 501(c)3 organization to which the members contribute. As far as which gifts: don't need to know about all of them. Maybe just the ones over, say $100,000 that might have been used to entice him.

Why is a pastor's love for his congregation based on explanation of a large gift?

Because if the pastor perceives that people are unable to fully support and love their pastor because of this gift and other actions he has taken since arriving, he has a duty to clear these things up and release these people to fully love and support their pastor.

Why aren't you instead questioning the person who gave the gift? Wouldn't they be better to explain why it was given? Was the giver of the land on the search committee or a trustee? Have you asked the giver when they offered the land? Could the giver have been so blessed that they merely wanted to share or wanted something to help with their income tax situation?

Those are all great questions! I think the answers should be shared with the congregation. I don't question the giver because that person is not the pastor of the church to which I belong. I don't question the giver because he is not the person who is asking the congregation to give sacrificially. I don't question the giver because he is not the one in charge of leading the church. I ask the pastor because he is the one who should feel some sort of accountability on such matters to the members of the church whose contributions pay his salary.

All these questions I have asked seem to be unable to be answered due to the anonymous methods you are employing. Coupled with the manner in which you scrutinize answers on this blog to the point where you question the integrity of the people giving the answers.

The answers are not owed to me. I don't ask them for my own curiosity's sake, but for those in the church who are donors to the church. But the answers can be given by the pastor to the church in about 3 minutes or less. If he would simply address the gift and explain it and how it was of God then he could put it to rest.

Still unhappy...