"...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

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What Does a "Trustee" Do?

As has been chronicled on this blog numerous times, Mac Brunson made significant changes to the church bylaws in a business meeting held during a Wednesday night church service on November 28th, 2007. Never has Mac Brunson once explained what these changes were or why they were necessary. The church congregation still has no idea what the changes included, except we do know from those who did go to the library to check out the proposed changes that they included addition of a discipline committee, changes to expenditure approvals, and changes to how members of committees are nominated. One person who read the bylaws and posted here said that in his/her opinion the bylaw changes granted more power to the pastor in how the church is operated. We also know that the bylaw changes required that the church articles of incorporation be amended to increase the number of trustees; we know this because the president of the trustees asked for a vote on amending the articles of incorporation immediately after asking for the vote on the bylaws.

So now we come to the point where Mac Brunson is nominating the trustees and is asking us to vote on them. He presumably is nominating trustees to fill the increased number of trustees positions created from the November 28th meeting. But before Mac Brunson asks us to vote on these trustees, shouldn't he take the time to give us some basic information on what we are voting on? Here are some questions Mac, that you might be able to answer to your congregation...just take 2 or 3 minutes during the announcement period of a service:

1. Why did the bylaw changes require the number of trustees be increased?

2. If you're giving us biographical information on these men before we vote, then presumably they will have some role in church governance - can you please explain what this role will be that these men we're voting on will have? We don't feel comfortable being asked to vote for men for a position in the church when we're not told what their roles and responsibilities will be. If they have no roles and responsibilities and these are "figurehead" positions only, why the trouble of giving us biographical information on them?

3. Did the bylaw changes specify roles for the trustees, if so what are they? If the bylaws do not, what do YOU Mac Brunson, view their role as being? Are they "advisors"? Will you confer with them on important decisions?

4. What do the bylaws specify as the requirements for a man holding the position of trustee?

I personally don't feel comfortable voting for any of Mac's proposals (trustees, school, budget, etc) he brings to the church until he first takes a few minutes and explains the November 28th bylaw changes and why they were proposed and passed in the secretive manner they were. If he wants our trust, then he would be wise to reciprocate and trust us with important information about what he is doing and why he is doing it. I also would not vote into a position of trustee any man who served on the pastor search committee or who served as a trustee during the first two years of Mac Brunson's tenure as pastor.

Church, if Mac Brunson can't answer simple questions to his congregation about bylaw changes and trustee responsibilities before asking us to vote on them, I hope you will vote no on his trustee selections.

6 comments:

nothappywithbloggers said...

Isn't there a committee that is taking up the responsibility for the by-law changes?

If so, why not send these questions to them?

If not, find out who is proposing the changes.

Anonymous said...

In a "normal" Baptist church (and I am not sure FBC, Jax is normal anymore) the trustees are only there to sign legal documents.

Since that is their only function, I doubt if there is a Biblical qualification for them. I also doubt that God intended a trustee to serve as a deacon and/or an elder. For that matter, I'm not sure they have to be spiritual advisers to the pastor.

Just a little information for you to think on...

Ghost said...

Since Brunson likes historical comparisons so much, I will share an event in U.S. History that reminds me of the arrogance that Brunson posesses and I saw comparisons with Brunson's trustee move.

In the 1930's President Roosevelt passed his New Deal plan filled with many socialistic programs. Many of these programs were implemented and helped get the country out of the poverty of the Great Depression. However, some of his other proposals greatly crossed the line and granted the federal government too much power. The Supreme Court began reviewing some of FDR's programs and struck them down as being unconstitutional. FDR being furious over the Supreme Court striking down some of his proposals, did not respond well to being told no. Who did they think they were trying to maintain some sort of check on the President?

So in order to get his new policies approved without opposition, FDR came up with a plan in 1937 which has become known as Roosevelt's Court Packing Scheme. This plan, introduced in the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 would add 7 new members to the US Supreme Court, who would conveniently be appointed by Roosevelt, and would ideally allow all of his plans to be enacted into law without any sort of check.

Thankfully, the United States Senate recognized the arrogance and the potential for the abuse of power here and voted down the measure 70-20.

Do you see any comparisons to FBC Jax here? Are the arrogance and abuse of power FDR displayed, not similar to the arrogance that Mac displays? See any similarities in FDR trying to create new chief justice positions and Brunson creating new trustee positions? Both men's goals are the same. Both of these moves are intended to remove any type of accountability.

In the historical reference I made, this move was recognized as the abuse of power that it was, and it was prevented. Will the people of FBC Jax open their eyes and look at the abuses of power by Brunson and finally say enough is enough?

The Brunson express cannot be stopped by this group of "reclcitrant" bloggers alone. FDR's plan was voted down in large part by people in his party who were fiercely loyal to him, but finally recognized the abuse of power and said enough is enough. Are there any deacons at FBC Jax or anyone else in the church who will stand up and do the same thing? How much more abuse must continue before someone in leadership stands up for what is right and says "enough is enough?" Until someone in leadership stands up to this pastor he is going to continue on with his arrogant ways completely unchecked and continue to damage our church in the process.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that some (the few naysayers) who post here do not like Mac's style, personality and leadership qualities. Does this mean Mac is in the wrong? Not at all. It does mean some people do not like his style, personality and leadership qualities.

It is a known fact that some left under Jerry Vines and Homer G. Lindsay, Jr. Some even attempted to cause trouble. If the blog world were available then it would have probably been used against them.

I sat in a dorm room once when Jerry Vines, when visiting us, stated that many students want a church like FBC Jax but we all need to know that 10% of every church is the complaint section. The he asked... Do you want 10% of 100 or 10% of 10,000 to be criticizing you every week.

I guess you can now say you are in the top 10%.

Anonymous said...

As I was sitting around thinking on the FBC, Jax situation I wondered what Mac is actually trying to accomplish. He already has all the money he could possibly want or need and gets to preach anytime he wants.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Ghost - perhaps there are some similarities there.

I will say this: our previous pastors have pretty much had their own way in running the church, I think most would say they had unchecked power to lead the church in whatever way they thought we should go. That is the argument that we hear - why NOW are you making a big deal about these issues of being informed, wanting the pastor to be accountable, caring about bylaw changes, etc. We didn't worry about it before, now that we have a NEW pastor we're making a big deal about it, as though we are just out to cut down the new pastor.

My answers are:

- yes, our previous pastors did have unchecked authority to do as they please, but that does not make it right. Looking back over almost 35 years under Lindsay Jr and Vines we can see that they provided wise leadership. They did make some mistakes yes, but all in all it was godly leadership. However, after watching what happened at Trinity with Bob Gray who was loved and adored just like our pastors. Let's face it - its dangerous to vest so much power in one man in the church like we have done in the past.

- the degree with which we glady followed our pastors leadership was based on years of proven leadership. We knew Lindsay Sr and his son as copastor was a known quantity when he became pastor. During Vines' time as copastor he wasn't running the church - it was Lindsay's church. After Lindsay died we had a man we knew and trusted for 17 years or so at the helm. With Brunson, he was an unknown, yet when he came here he was granted the same power and prestige that Lindsay and Vines had...very dangerous in my opinion!

- To the average layperson watching events transpire he came in not as a humble preacher to minister to a very nervous congregation who was scared because for the first time in over 50 years we were without a pastor...instead he came in as the bigshot "CEO"....given a huge tract of land worth a quarter million, immediately started construction of a 6 bedroom, 4.5 bath home on the quarter million dollar tract of land, living in a multi-million dollar condo on the beach an hour away from Jax rent free his first year, put son and wife on staff, took time off to finish his book manuscripts, then we saw the majority of the long time staff members leave in his first year. When some started asking questions and expressing concern over what was happening in our church, instead of lovingly answering us, he ignored us and even started lashing out at his congregation in his sermons - saying we were worshipping the past, worshipping previous pastors...then we hear of Paige Patterson asking for prayer for Mac who was under attack by recalcitrants in Jax who never gave Mac a honeymoon...and who can forget the Vines/Brunson high five and hug during Vines' sermon when Vines expressed his sentiments toward a man who questioned his salary in one of his previous churches: "You don't pay me enough to be your preacher, brother!!"

So my hope has been that Mac instead of being granted the same unquestioned authority as Vines and Lindsay, will realize that our trust in his ability to lead is not granted to him by his position as "pastor", but it is earned by humble and steady leadership, communicating in a loving way to his congregation about where we are going. If he sees emails coming to him asking about what is going on and why, he will answer them if not directly because he doesn't answer anonymous emails, at least address them by standing in front of the congregation. None of the issues raised here on this blog are issues he couldn't lovingly address directly to his congregation during a service in the time period when church announcements are given.