"...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

Saturday, December 1, 2007

You Blew It Mac - No Deal on FBA (For Now)

Mac, you blew it. So close, but then you blew it. A last minute meltdown on the order of the '07 Mets or the '94 Choke at Doak. Your sham vote called for on November 28, 2007 on bylaw changes that included creation of a disciplinary committee, inserting a clause saying members agree to have disputes settled by mediation or the Florida Baptist Convention, changes in approval levels of financial expenditures, changes in how committee appointments and trustee appointments are made, might become known as your "Falter at the Alter".

You broke two of the Southern Baptist Convention's irrefutable laws on church leadership, which say:

"The week before you ask your church to vote on whether or not to follow your leadership in starting a costly new ministry (like a K-12 school for example), never send the president of your trustees to conduct a Wednesday night business meeting to fool your congregation into blindly passing significant changes to the church bylaws with no explanation or discussion prior to or in the meeting."

and

"Don't make it as difficult as you can for members to read proposed bylaw changes by treating them as classified documents and putting serial numbered copies in the library, requiring them to be signed out, and having the librarian clearly explain that they mustn't leave the library. In fact its best to make the proposed changes readily available to members by implementing very creative initiatives like making copies and passing them out, summarizing the changes in the bulletin, if your church has a website posting the information so all members can have access to it, and even have the pastor tell the people what the changes are and why they are being proposed - especially if he is the one who desires the changes."

You were so close to getting your school approved by us, and then you go and do this. Right up there with "4th and Dumb".

Congregations tend to not like it when their leadership tricks them into voting for changes to the bylaws on Wednesday nights. At least the thinking members of the congregation don't like it. Doing this tends to tick people off, and it lowers significantly their support for your proposed new ministry.

It is my hope that this Wednesday night the church does NOT approve your vote on whether to start down the First Brunson Academy route. If we vote "No", it doesn't mean we never want to start a school, it means that now is not the right time. It means you haven't demonstrated yourself worthy of leading us into this venture - at least not yet. A "No" vote means that you've just thrown us for a loop by pulling the wool over our eyes while you changed our bylaws with hardly anyone noticing, you making very obvious and orchestrated attempt to conceal the changes, and to identify those who have bothered to read them and therefore your credibility is now in question, sir.

A "No" vote means we want you to do the following:

1. Immediately hold a Wednesday night meeting to revoke the bylaw changes voted on Wednesday night. No, its too late now for you to give us one of your 60-second "van-down-by-the-river", after-the-fact explanation of the bylaw changes. That won't be good enough. You have shown us that your explanations after-the-fact are shallow and empty of substance. We asked you why you were holding the "Time to Stand for Israel" since it was not about evangelism but about raising money for a Jewish hospital and you bravely told us "Jesus was a Jew, and we got our bibles from the Jews". Uh, we already knew that, and that wasn't what we were asking, and we were wanting you to explain how deciding to hold this fund raiser was congruent with this statement and others similar to it that you've made several times. So we would like you to apologize to the members, especially those present for the Wednesday night November 28th, 2007 business meeting, for changing the bylaws in the rush and hidden manner you did, and bring a motion to revoke the changes. Then, feel free to explain to us what the changes are, give us copies of the bylaws and the proposed changes. You are then perfectly free to explain the need for a "disciplinary committee". You are free to explain how it will operate. You are free to explain all of the significant proposed changes and rally support for them! Then we can vote on your by law changes again once we are informed! If you missed the meeting and the vote, click here to listen yourself (listen closely and you'll hear the 10 "recalcitrants" who did read the bylaw changes and voted no).

2. Explain completely where we are on our budget shortfalls; or better yet, have the chairman of our finance committee explain it. You have given two seemingly contradictory explanations: one at Mud Creek Baptist on 10/8 saying "we" (meaning YOU) overspent on missions (click here for the Mud Creek explanation) and another to us on Sunday 11/25 saying we have not overspent, but that we haven't been giving what we committed (click here for the 11/25 explanation). We are confused. We want straight answers. If we think you can't give us straight answers on this simple question, how can we trust you to give us straight answers in the future on other projects like FBA?

3. Give us serious, adult facts upon which we can base a wise vote on the FBA. And by "facts" we don't mean lame explanations like "nobody is home anymore to be reached and thus we have to start a school to reach people" (what research did you base that on, anyways?) like you did this past Sunday night (click here for this beauty), or that by having an FBA you'll be able to be have FBA grads run up to you at airports and restaurants to congratulate you for starting a school. Surely you've done some market research to see what capacity there is in the existing Christian schools in Jacksonville, what their target students are by denomination and income, tuition costs, and perhaps some research to find the level of interest within our church and the community for a Baptist, Christian school downtown. If you haven't perhaps the Director of Special Projects, or the A-Group can do this. Surely you've talked to other schools in town to get an idea of projected demand growth for Christian schools - what have you found?

4. Bring in a serious expert on Christian schools who can talk to us about pros and cons, benefits and costs, of starting a school. Don't bring in some man whose recent notoriety is for telling parents they are disobedient for sending their kids to public schools. You said Sunday 11/25 that you were having Ed Gamble in on 11/28 to "talk to us about having a school in Jacksonville." That was not what Mr. Gamble did (as the Watchdog correctly predicted beforehand here on this blog). He didn't talk to us about having a school in Jacksonville, but instead talked about the importance of Christian education in general (about which most of us understand already!). Very little of what he said has any direct relevance to OUR situation of deciding as a corporate body to start a Christian school or not. Some of us might completely agree with Mr. Gamble's assessment that parents should not put their kids in public schools but instead private Christian schools, but at the same time NOT believe its the right thing for our church at this time to start a school. Mr. Gamble addressed the question: "How Important is Christian Education", while we are trying to answer: "Is now the right time for us to start a Christian school." Big difference between the two. So give us some facts. Sell us on the idea. Maybe even let the chair person of the school committee (is that Dave Bristowe also?) you've formed speak to us about pros and cons...about the costs in terms of dollars out of budget, possible impacts on other ministry areas, etc.

There you go Mac. You might still get the gullible sheep of FBC Jax to give you the green light for the FBA next Wednesday. But there will be a sizable group that will vote No, and a growing number who have a distrust of your leadership unless you undo the stunt you pulled on Wednesday November 28, 2007, at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. One of the best churches in America as you said last weekend, but certainly not the most stupid.

25 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

No wonder he waited so long to ramrod changes to the bylaws without a fair hearing and discussion on the substance of and need for the changes to the bylaws. He had to wait until certain individuals who had some integrity were out of the way.

Imagine, just for a second, Calvin Carr standing by while this farce of a preacher ramrodded these bylaw changes through. I tell you Calvin Carr would not have stood for it.

Imagine, just for a second, Doug Pigg, standing idly by while this fool from Texas rides into town, claims his 250,000 dollar land prize, then shoves down our throats these changes to the bylaws to grant himself more power and the use of a "disciplinary committee" to squelch opposition. Doug Pigg wouldn't have let it happen - or at least wouldn't have stood by while it happened. Doug Pigg, as the professional church administrator that he is, would have known the right thing to do was to hand out copies of the resolution, or have someone in a business meeting summarize and explain the changes. Mac had to get rid of Doug Pigg. He had to. Doug Pigg has a spine. Doug Pigg knows WHAT IS RIGHT when it comes to church administration.

Would Lewis Howard have objected to Mac making these changes in a clandestine manner? I think he would have had no qualms going to Mac and to the inner circle of Mac's advisors and telling them that they are going about it wrongly. Lewis Howard knows what it is to love a congregation, and to do what is best for the congregation not for himself.

Here's the clincher...imagine Bob Barton letting Mac do this to the wonderful people of FBC Jacksonville and keeping his mouth shut. NO WAY! Bobby Barton would have been screaming that this is wrong even if it meant he would be fired.

Once he had these people out of the way, he could crank into high gear his agenda.

These actions on the bylaws by Mac Brunson speaks volumes to us about who he is, what are his motives and most importantly, what he things about us as a congregation.

Mac's actions also beg certain questions:

What does this say to the incredible music minister Jim Whitmire? Jim Whitmire knows full well what a preacher who runs roughshod over the congregation with his own agenda can do - he has watched Steve Gaines single handedly destroy the church he and Adrian Rogers labored in for so many years. Jim when Mac asked you to come serve here in Jax and you stood in our church and compared him to Adrian Rogers, what do you think now? When you came did you think Mac was different than Steve Gaines? Did you ever imagine Mac would do such a low-ball act to such a loving and trusting congregation like us? Will Jim Whitmire stand with Mac Brunson now? Is he going to taint his reputation by sticking with Mac?

How about you Jim Smyrl? Did you ever think when you came back here to work for Mac Brunson that he would do this to his congregation? You are known as one of the young, rising preacher boy starts in the convention...you going to stick with Mac on this? Did Mac consult you or ask your opinion on these changes to the bylaws? Did he ask you what was the best way to communicate them to the church to get them passed? Or are you as shocked as we are to find what he has done?

John Blount - growing up you were taught the Bible by Homer Lindsay Jr and Sr. You sat under their preaching for years and years and Homer, Jr. is your hero of the faith. In fact Homer had the wisdom in selecting godly laypeople like you and Kevin King to serve as full time ministers - he knew that you weren't professional religionists who might be apt to use the church for your own agendas. Would Homer have done this to the church? Would Homer have asked his chairman of the deacons and president of the trustees to stand before the church and hold a phoney baloney business meeting asking people to vote on significant changes to the bylaws of the church without first HIMSELF addressing them with the congregation?

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the fine students at Southwest Seminary - are you proud of how Mac is treating his congregation? Are you still praying for "poor ole Mac" who is being attacked by "recalcitrants"? Perhaps he'll write another chapter in his Pastor's Guidebook on how to ramrod bylaw changes through in a mega church.

Jerry Vines - when you asked Mac to be your copastor, when you saw our search committee bring Mac here...did you ever think he would treat us like this? If you thought in a million years Mac would stoop this low, would you have ever asked him to come to Jax? Would you or Homer have ever done this to us? Will you call Mac and tell him the error of his ways so he can correct this mess he's made?

Pastors around the convention - are you going to spend your church's money to come to our church for the Pastor's Conference 2008? Would you in your wildest nightmare ever think you could pull this with your congregation? Would they stand for it? If not, send Mac a message by not coming to the conference this year. Our church has nothing to teach you...perhaps we once did, but as you can see we have some fixing up to do. If you registered, cancel your registration and tell Mac you'll look at 2009 perhaps.

How will people react? Their action or inaction will speak volumes.

Jon L. Estes said...

How much do you want the people in the pew who support FBCJax, the pastor and the direction to listen to you when you call them mindless pew sitters because they don't see things the way you do?

At least the thinking members of the congregation don't like it.

And you want Mac to do things differently. It would be funny if it were not so sad.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jon - you give all pastors like yourself a bad name when you twist words.

If a church member is sitting in a Wed night service, and they are not upset when they find that they were asked to vote on very significant changes to bylaws when the changes are not explained to them, and the manner in which the meeting is conducted led them to believe the changes were insignificant (explaining in detail the administrative changes, but silent on the significant changes), they might be considered "non-thinking". But the point is, that if the church members who trusted their leadership by voting "Aye" Wed night while not knowing ONE THING about the bylaw changes are told what the changes were, the majority of them, I believe, will feel betrayed.

Keep on defending the indefensible Jon.

Ghost said...

Several of the pastors on staff with the church were asked to take pay cuts to help with our financial situation. I would be curious to know if Mac, Debbie, and Trey Brunson led by example and took pay cuts themselves since they asked other pastors on staff to do so.

I also wonder if there could not be a deeper meaning behind asking certain staff members to cut their pay. Are there "recalcitrants" that remain on staff that Mac is trying to force out the door? Is there someone left such as a Brooks, Carr, Barton, or Howard that is standing up against the Brunson regime?

Anonymous said...

unbelievable. I did walk out of the service Wednesday unaware of what I voted on. I listened to the recording of the meeting, and its clear that they used a classic deception technique - gave details on the lesser motion (administrative changes to the articles) and absolutely no details on the greater motion (numerous and extensive changes to the bylaws affecting each and every church member).

Mac Brunson is a great student of the Bible. He just preached a few weeks ago of how Jesus used to teach "from the lesser to the greater"...that if God for instance cares about the birds (the lesser), how much moreso would he care about his children (the greater). Looks like he knows how to use the same techinque to deceive the very people he claims to love.

If our leadership is reading us the details on the motion to amend the articles, but giving no detail on the motion to amend the bylaws, SURELY the bylaws must be lesser.

Sickening. I'm offended that they did this to me and the other sweet people who made it to church Wednesday night. I know Dave Bristowe and will tell him personally.

Anonymous said...

You folks need to read your constitution and by-laws to find out the procedure for amending or changing your by-laws. I think you have been hoodwinked!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't someone upload the bylaws here so we can all read them?

Anonymous said...

The man is a pompous ass.

I'll be glad to see the day when he leaves.

Today he has proclaimed that those who oppose him are backslidden, complacent, living in their sin.

Not with Mac on his changes, you are the enemy.

Not a loving pastor. A pompous ass who needs to get his way or he uses the pulpit to bash his opponents.

Brady said...

Just a question (and please don't freak out). Did he specifically say that those who oppose HIM (meaning Mac) are backslidden, complacent, and living in their sin or did he say those who cause problems in the church?

If he said the first then he needs to hit the road and repent. If he said the latter, then he's probably right.

I'd be interested in hearing what he specifically said. Not passing judgment on your blog, just wondering.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Brady - I was present and I'm pretty sure he didn't say those who oppose him are sinful....but he went into a rant that there are those in the church who oppose change - they don't like changes in music, don't like changes in staff, (and some other things), and either said directly or implied that these people are the same people who are complacent, who don't want to do anything for Christ, who are mired in their sin, etc. Hopefully Mac will put the sermon on his podcast and I'll post an excerpt of hit here for everyone to listen to.

Ghost said...

uh oh watchdog, you shouldn't admit that you subscribe to Mac's podcast. He will try to find some way to track you now so you can be the first recalcitrant to go before his might discipline committee! =P

Anonymous said...

Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, on Mr. Bristowe. You blame Mac watchdog, but I blame David Bristowe. Any man with a backbone, any man with integrity and honor would have told Mac Brunson "Sorry sir, but I cannot in good conscience ask a congregation to vote on something so very significant as this when I know in my heart that 99% of the people in attendance have no idea what they are voting on.

Why did you do it Dave? Why not come on here and explain yourself?

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - as I was listening to Don's sermon today, I strongly felt the Holy Spirit telling me that Mac is the one whose "Chapter 16 is coming!" God has put "lion" after lion in his way, yet Mac went ahead with the sinister method of changing the by-laws without any explanation or leadership from Mac. Sure, Mac "slayed the Lion" and got them passed, but now he will get to his "Chapter 16." Hey Don, the sermon God put on your heart was for YOU! YOU ARE THAT MAN!

YOUR Chapter 16 is coming brother!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I was thinking the same thing Anon.

When Mac is asking the congregation if God had done anything this past week to get their attention, I thought of Mac.

In fact, I think the first year and a half of his ministry at FBC Jax has been his "Chapter 15"...and now his "Chapter 16" is coming.

Anonymous said...

Dear Team Brunson - (whichever one screens emails and blog posts and then spins them to Mac) - Please try and understand this. YOU ARE NO LONGER QUALIFIED TO LEAD FBC JAX. The Lord told me clearly that he could have used you to lead this great church into the future. All of your plans, all of your visions, all of your desire to see us be used by God were good ones. Unfortunately, you lost all credibility, and all integrity of leadership, when you accepted the $307,000 piece of land. You should have humbly and respectfully refused, proved yourself and your motives to us by working hard at your goals for a year or two, and then seen if you felt led to take the land. By taking it, you were seduced by the love of money and compromised your integrity and ability to lead others. Particularity when it comes to stewardship issues.

I bet your dad told you the same thing mine told me: "You can't get something of value for nothing. There is always a price to be paid." and "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." Mac, you are now paying the price for accepting the land. You knew better than that. I am sure it still dogs you deep down inside. You didn't need it, and you should not have given in to the temptation of it. Now, your ministry and goals are forever compromised. Sad, but true.

It had to feel great when you and Deb watched J.D. Collins sign that warranty deed. Now, your ministry and ability to lead is paying the price. I hope it was, and is, worth it to you. Just don't try and lead us now and expect us to follow. You got your reward here on earth. In the name of the Lord, I am asking that you resign as pastor and step aside for God's man to come and lead us. Hopefully one who is not so quickly and easily enticed by the temptation of power and wealth. Thank you for reading and considering this, as it comes from the Lord.

Anonymous said...

anon December 2, 7:20 p.m. - I don't think you should blame Dave Bristowe. In his desire to love and serve his pastor, he has been taken advantage of and won't realize it until this pastor is gone. I doubt he reads your blog and doubt he would reply here even if he did. I can assure you that many men just like him in Dallas did not understand their mistakes until the pastor was gone. We will never make the same mistakes again. Some men, in their zeal for JESUS, get caught up in thinking they are called to do whatever if takes to protect the latest preacher. I commend Mr. Bristowe for his love for the Lord and for the church. Forgive him, Father, for he knows not what he does.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I appreciate your defense of Brother Dave...but he is the one man, out of thousands and thousands, that had the responsibility I think to stand up to Mac on this one travesty. He is the president of the trustees of the FBC Jacksonville, Inc.

He had the respnosibility and the right to tell Mac: we will NOT ask our beloved people, in fact the most faithful of our church members who come on Wednesday nights, to vote on something that I know 99% of them know nothing about.

He didn't do it.

How sad.

He is unqualified to hold his position (in my opinion) based on his failure to due his duties.

Anonymous said...

Dec 2, 7:31 p.m. - I agree with your assessment that Mac Brunson must resign. Have you thought about this: Assuming Mac's total compensation package (salary, housing allowance, auto allowance, insurances, retirement, etc.) totals $300,000. If he tithes 10% of the gross, he would be giving $30,000 per year to the church. Now, IF he serves here and is faithful to tithe this 10% of the gross every year for the NEXT 10 YEARS (and I don't doubt that he will be faithful to tithe on the gross) than he still will have "only" tithed a total of $300,000. Which by the way, is still less than the value of the land that was given to him as soon as he arrived!!!

So, how can he stand in front of us and ask us to tithe when in reality he was given more as a gift than his total tithe will be for the next 10 years? You say he doesn't make that much? Okay, then if he makes half of that, he will have to tithe on the gross for the next TWENTY years before he gives ANY money to the church over what he already received in a gift. And this man thinks God will bless him and his ministry?

That is not going to happen. Mac made a decision to take the money, now he is finding it difficult to lead.

Anonymous said...

WD - looks like the pastors at BaptistLife.com are talking about FBC Jax.

Go Here:

http://forums.baptistlife.com

And click on the SBC News and Trends forum.

Someone there started a thread entitled:

"What FBC Jax Bylaws and Coke Secret Formula Have in Common"

Most of the comments are somewhat tame, trying to give Mac the benefit of the doubt I suppose, but as the most recent poster there said what Mac did with the bylaws doesn't pass the "smell test".

I would wholeheartedly agree with that one!

Anonymous said...

WD - got the following headline last night via email FoxNews Feed:

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ CONCEDES DEFEAT IN CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM TO EXPAND POWERS

My first thought was: Gee, Chavez needs to talk to Mac Brunson - Mac could certainly have helped Chavez expand his powers...stupid Chavez must have let the referendum out of the library for people to read!

walt said...

Bloggers - how sad, but I must agree this man can no longer do what God called him here to do. I am sure God (and Jerry Vines and our pastor search committee) were confident this man could have been used greatly to lead us into an exciting and dynamic future. Unfortunately, no one knew all the things he was going to do to compromise his leadership and respect.

Now, every sermon seems to be from Mac, and not from God. This past Sunday was sad when instead of preaching the biblical truths from the passage in Samson, he actually began to accuse members of being sinners which is true of course, but then he made mention of some talking about "what some other preacher did back in the 1970's" I was confused as to how any of that applied and as to what sin he was referring to. He mentions "sin" but never states what it is? Is it left up to each of us to decide.

Bottom line, now that he has no integrity or leadership, he has to spend much of his time, energy and thoughts and sermon prep time dealing with damage control on what he has miscalculated so far. Trying to launch an expensive and risky school at this time won't work now. Whether you love mac or want to see him go, there is no longer any denying he is NOT the man to lead the church any longer.

(I wonder if that "preacher back in the 1970's" is rolling over in his grave to hear that door to door evangelism doesn't work because people aren't home; or that FBC should build a school. He heard these same exact arguments back in the 1970's.
Hey Mac, Homer already had these conversations and considered your arguments back in the day. Bob Gray started Trinity School, many churches stopped visitation, but Homer continued on the biblical way, focused on Jesus and did it his way/God's way, and you see the results.)

Please resign now before it gets any uglier and 60 years of reputation and ministry are undone!

And if you are sick of hearing of Homer Lindsay, then quit playing his clips during services and quit referencing him in your sermons and quit taking advantage of the wealthy flock he taught to love Jesus and who gladly and blindly followed him based on his integrity and leadership. You have none in my opinion, sir.

Anonymous said...

Dr. B - it is never too late to do the right thing. Repent over the nepotism, of accepting such a large gift as soon as you arrived, and the way you have treated anyone who was concerned about the cumulative effects of your actions.

Who knows, maybe you could still have a ministry here if you could humble yourself and repent and get on with leading the church instead of continuing to use sermons to try and cover yourself and accuse others in your congregation. But if you can't, or won't, do that, please resign and move on. Thank-you.

Old friend said...

This blogging about the church has come a long way. I remember when it was just a few "concerned members" who "had some questions." I guess those questions never got answered... :)

Anonymous said...

FBCJW - I read the BaptisLife forum you referenced. Those pastors seem to see it the same way you do...Here is one of many quotes on the topic: "Basic to the life of a community is its governance issues. If this report is true, FBC Jax is doing much to attenuate its ability to build fellowship. If true, and if this pastor does not protest this policy and seek a process to overcome it, then said pastor is not worth following."

Amen! Now why can't Dave Bristowe and others who we trust (trustee, get it)see this and put a stop to it?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I do also believe Mac has done much to harm his ability to lead our church. He can still lead if he repents.

Although Mac believes himself to be quite wise and educated, its very apparent he doesn't know much about true leadership.

In John Maxwell's book "The 21 Irefutable Laws of Leadership", one of his leadership laws is "The Law of Buy-In". Here is what Maxwell says that I think pertains to our current situation at FBC Jax:

..You see, many people who approach the area of vision in leadership have it all backward. They believe that if the cdause is good enough, people will automatically buy into it and follow. But that's not how leadership really works. People don't at first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes. People buy in to the leader first, then the leader's vision."

I think that explains why we gladly gave to the HDTV ministry before Jerry Vines left - it looks like now that wasn't all that much of a worthy cause, since we haven't had HD broadcasts in over a year, but we bought in to Jerry Vines' leadership and trusted him. Homer Lindsay the same...we trusted him, and he led us.

Mac, you have some serious work to do in repairing your relationship with your church if you're to lead us. Else perhaps your "Chapter 16" may be coming, as you preached to us this Sunday.