- Thank you Jim Whitmire and musicians - the music was great.
- Thank you Dr. Vines - for modeling for our pastor and those present how to be a man, stand up, and preach a bible sermon without having to put people down, or make silly points attempting to address critics (we know of late you have had some). You didn't come in with a chip on your shoulder, didn't come to further your own personal agendas, you didn't twist scripture to make certain points to people, you just preached the Word. You've reminded us what its like to hear a humble, happy, spirit-filled man of God just preach the Word to feed the sheep. We still would love to hear you take a public stand in favor of a sexual predator database, maybe you will do that at the convention this year.
- Thank you Jimmy Scroggins for an outstanding message on children and youth ministry integrity. Your passion for youth ministry is very evident. A great sermon. Ever consider coming back to Jacksonville? You're on our short list.
- Thank you Paige Patterson for preaching a great Bible lesson Sunday morning. We have thirsted for so long to hear good, solid, expository preaching that we soaked up your sermon like sponges. You too have more than your share of critics (including this writer) and could have come in here to push your agendas, answer your critics, and be the tough guy with a chip on your shoulder, but you showed grace and dignity and many were reminded what a great expositor you are. Not only that, you had one of the best lines of the conference: "If I believed one-tenth of what everyone writes about me, I wouldn't like me either."
- To our pastor Mac Brunson: Your sermon Sunday morning was embarrassing for many of us, but we were glad that the pastors present got to see for themselves what we have experienced the last couple of years. We again left another service scratching our heads, wondering:
- how could our pastor actually stand in the pulpit and accuse SBC pastors that the reason people are blogging about pastors is because the pastors are attacking each other? When you got absolutely ZERO amens, you screamed its "truth under God"...in a house full of preachers when there is not one amen, probably what you said is NOT truth, no matter how loud you scream it is so. Most pastors that blog are not "ripping" pastors...take a close look and you'll see that the pastor's getting "ripped up one side and down the other" as you said, are the ones who are either making stupid decisions consistently, are not being open and transparent with their congregations in financial matters, are living extravagently with "God's money", or are sending sexually explicit text messages to little girls. Last time I looked, no one is "ripping into" Johnny Hunt, David Jeremiah, or Junior Hill.
- for what earthly (or heavenly) reason would our pastor say: "...I have enough smarts, drive, and ambition that I could go anywhere and make a living..." Really? If so, why say it? How arrogant you must be to utter such a thing. As Jonathan Falwell said Friday night, any of his ability if he has it, comes from God. Imagine Jonathan Falwell saying such a thing...."I don't need your money, I have enough drive, smarts, and ambition...". I do defy you Mac to use your smarts, drive and ambition to find a job that would give you a $300,000 free gift of land, jobs for the family, etc. Arrogance with a capital "A".
- how could you dare to drop the line that "no wonder our church members are stingy and won't give the tithe, when so many pastors are negotiating salaries like NBA players and CEO's" - talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Pastors present: we apologize on behalf of our pastor for such a stupid thing being said, by someone who lives in a million dollar + home, drives a BMW and Jaguar, and lives on a $300,000 tract of land given to him in a gated community backing up to a golf course. He says he didn't know his salary at FBC Jax until he told our search committee he was coming. Who cares, and what relevance is that? Let's use some logic to prove Mac doesn't know what he's talking about: the only pastors who MIGHT be negotiating NBA money are the mega church pastors; and can anyone tell me one single mega church that has any openness and transparency about what the pastor's salary is, or even more so does anyone know of churches who tell their members about how salaries are negotiated? That information is so closely guarded that NO MEMBERS but a very select few know anything about salaries or negotiations of salaries. Therefore Mac, you do NOT know what you are talking about...actually, if there is anything related to pastor salaries affecting people's giving, its what they SEE WITH THEIR OWN EYES: large million dollar homes, fancy cars, jobs for wives and sons, free gifts of land, use of condos rent free for a year. So do NOT tell anyone it has anything to do with pastors negotiating...its PASTOR'S LIFESTYLES WHICH REFLECT LAVISH SALARIES!!! Well, what about the other perks including the land and the ocean front condo - did you know about those? Besides, we don't believe you...you may not have known the actual salary number, but that doesn't mean you told them what you needed to make the deal.
- On the last evening our pastor then dared to give his son credit for raising $100,000 for the conference, and used that as an opportunity to tell everyone what his son makes as Director of Special Projects ($50,000). Trey raised it? No, praise God that some generous members donated the money...that's the story. Never in all my years have I heard a pastor publicly exposing a man's salary from the pulpit, and certainly NEVER, EVER have I heard a pastor ascribe the raising of funds in a church to a man's efforts...never. Why do that to your son, to proclaim to the church and pastors what Trey makes? Maybe this is a trend - that you're going to slowly let us know what everyone makes? Let's go straight to Deb and yourself...how does that $100,000 that Trey raised compare to your salary? To Deb's?
Well pastor's, perhaps we'll see you next year. If you want to express your comments to FBC Jax about the conference (good or bad), feel free to do that here if you like...several church staff members are daily readers of this blog. We hope that you enjoyed the "Team Building" theme of this year's conference...even though as you have seen, the only "Team Building" going on at FBC Jax these days is the building up of "Team Brunson". Next year's theme? Maybe you have some suggestions...