"...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, March 12, 2008

Church Approves $500k Loan for Start-up of FBC Jax Academy

Much to the surprise of everyone at church Wednesday 3/12, Mac Brunson began the service calling for a vote for FBC Jacksonville to make a loan to the First Baptist Academy school for costs associated with the school start-up, slated for the Fall of 2009. This church vote was prompted by a meeting on Sunday 3/9 between the pastor, the FBC Jacksonville board of trustees, and the church deacons. According to Mac Brunson before the vote was taken, in the 3/9 meeting the deacons approved a "business financial arrangement" allowing the school to start.

Because this business meeting was not announced from the pulpit prior to tonight, and because it was not announced in any of the church bulletins to alert the people that they would be voting on this, I will provide here on the blog the motion that was voted on, and will get the audio clip here for people to listen to.


Mac Brunson called Mr. David Bristowe, the chairman of the deacons, to the platform to call for the vote.

Here is the motion as read by David Bristowe:

"On Sunday afternoon the deacons unanimously approved what I'm giving to you tonight. The trustees brought it to them and they approved it.

a. To move forward with the establishment of First Baptist Church Academy of Jacksonville, Inc. in accordance with the financial pro forma prepared by the school development committee and reviewed and approved by the FBC board of trustees and deacons;

b. That a loan of up to $500,000 from First Baptist Church of Jacksonville to be extended to the school to pay for associated start up costs. Said load shall be non-interest bearing and shall be extended on an as-needed basis as periodically determined and approved by the FBC board of trustees. The term of the loan shall be determined by the trustees and shall be mutually agreed to in writing by the trustees and the governing body of the school.

Dr. Brunson I move that these items be approved."

Immediately after reading the motion, no discussion was asked for, but Dr. Brunson called for a verbal vote.

The motion passed. Following the vote Mac Brunson announced that the school website will be up on Thursday morning: http://www.fbcjaxacademy.com. The school name or mascot is the "Warriors".

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

No money for the TV ministry, but $500K to start a new school. Love the priorities.

Anonymous said...

I wish FBC would have started a school 40 years ago. Trinity and University Christian are both poor educational programs. Not to mention the sex scandals at TCA. Hopefully FBC's school will be first rate in education and Biblical teaching. I look forward to sending my youngest to FBA.

George Wells

Anonymous said...

Hi George - I'm told that Providence is an excellent Christian school, and that market is the one our school will be competing in...upper middle class families, as the FBC Academy tuition will be around $7700 for K-3, and likely closer to or $9k for the upper grades once the school gets that far.

So FBA will not be an option for most families that have their kids at Trinity, since Trinity is about 1/2 the price as what will be the FBA tuition.

Anonymous said...

George Wells, do you have your kids in private school now? How will you afford the $8000 tuition per kid next year if you can't afford to send them to private school now? You do realize don't you that you will have to pay to send your kid to the FBA?

Anonymous said...

Tuition? I thought it was going to be free! :)

My kids are not presently in private school but they attended K-4 and K-5 at private schools. I attended TCA K-5 thru 12th so I know a little something about parochial schools.

I don't know where ya'll got your tuition figures from but I think they may be high. If you are correct then most likely I won't send my child there. I would expect they would be a bit more than TCA but not much. http://www.tcajax.org/finances.htm
I guess we will know soon enough.

George Wells

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brunson asked for the vote in a very clever way to ensure that it was unanimous. I hope it wasn't intentional. I don't know for sure but here is what he did because I've seen this done on purpose before:

All those in favor..[pause]....say aye.....[and the ayes immediatley voice their ayes]

then

All those opposed..[pause]...that does it, motion passes....

Not implying anything sinister or even that he did it consciously, but the net effect was that anyone who would have voted "no" was waiting for him to say the words "say no", because he DID say the words "say aye"....that is perhaps why there were no NO's heard (at least I didn't hear any), because they were waiting for him to say "Say no" as he did say "say aye".

Just thought I'd share that. No matter what the motion would have passed because he had the deacons there because they KNEW that the vote would be taken, but they never bothered to tell the congregation that the vote was going to be taken that night.

Again, not implying anything sinister here but its just more evidence of the man showing a general lack of respect for his congregation. Every thing he says and does from the pulpit says very clearly that he thinks we're a bunch of dolts. He has to condescendingly tell us to bring our bibles....he condescendingly tells us that he preaches out of the bible and if we don't like it its our problem...that we should try reading the Bible some time...that at least turn the pages of the hymnal if you don't want to turn the pages of your bible...and then this sort of thing at a business meeting where he doesn't allow no votes and doesn't bother announcing the vote before its taken. I wonder if the church bylaws require special business meetings to be announced - of course that wouldn't matter to him, and perhaps that might be one of the changes made last year to the bylaws ramrodded through last year, but that's water under the bridge.

Team Brunson, respect is a two way street. no matter how much you want people to respect you for your position as pastor, the fact is you will have very little respect from your congregation at large when you week after week treat them like mindless sheep.

Any of this sound familiar FBC Dallas?

Anonymous said...

First off to Anon 11:50, apparently you haven't been in too many Baptist Church business meetings, he said things the exact same way every pastor who has come before him has. You say you're not implying anything sinister, but by the mere suggestion, you are.

Secondly, if there's anything sinister, it's watchdog's title of the post. At first glance, it appears the church is going into debt over the school when in fact, they aren't...not even close. It's the opposite, the church is LOANING money to the school for start up expenses. Please, if you have any ideas how to convince teachers/administrators to show up and work for a few weeks before any kids enroll (i.e. income), please write a book...you could make a fortune on motivation speeches.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Yes, I have the clip, and the anon poster is exactly right. Mac made sure it was unanimous by cutting off the nays. I will concede that this is standard practice for baptist churches, especially our FBC Jax. But when it comes to serious non-routine matters, like, well, I'll pick a few: like voting on substantial bylaw changes, and hmmm...like voting to divert $500,000 of money from the church's ministries to starting a Christian school, then maybe its worth calling for a vote using standard procedure: announce the vote to the members of the organization before hand, provide information in advance of the vote, and definitely call for yays and nays in a fair fashion.

Why argue semantics of whether the church is technically loaning or not...the fact is: money is being taken from the church ministries to fund a new ministry of the church. Money that would have otherwise been spent on other ministries in the church has been diverted to start a school. Is that OK to state it that way?

Question: since the pastor announced that Trey "raised $100,000 for the pastor's conference", why couldn't Trey have raised the $500,000 for the start up of the school?

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the school Jax. I know a little about Christian education and happy to share thoughts with the members of First Jacksonville.

A member has shared your projections, and the enrollments seem to be very optimistic.

To start K-3 with 60 kids per grade is overly optimistic - ask others in the Christian education market that have started Christian schools in the last 10 years. You should expect to start with 1/2 or even 1/3 of that. Not a problem, you can adjust your staffing to keep in line with enrollment and you already have un-utilized space so not a problem there.

Your tuition of $7k - $8k in the first three years indicates that you are seeking to attract the wealthier clientele. Lots of competition in that market segment already that you will find difficult to compete with for a number of reasons. While among conservative Christians First Jax has a strong brand name, that works against you with those Christians (who as you know are a growing percentage these days) who view your brand as "fundamentalist". Will need to spend plenty on marketing campaign to position your brand appropriately in that regard. You will need to spend more than $100k to position your school properly via radio and TV media.

Needless to say the location will be an obstacle, as well as lack of recreational space which is not a problem the first 5 years of operation as you are filling in elementary and middle school. I'm sure your plan will be to perhaps even move the school or perhaps high school in future years to another location much like Mandarin Christian did.

Break-even by year three is again overly optimistic; the church needs to be prepared for the first 10 years to have to significantly subsidize the school's revenue while it is being established. As I said your enrollment is overly optimistic, as is your per student revenue as you will likely have to set your tuition slightly lower than Providence.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, you must have hit a nerve with that blogger who called you Judas. Remember that you and we are bringing forth questions of concern. If there is no alarm then no one should be concerned about this blog. There are many of us that once served at FBC when things were more open such as pastor's salary, etc. Now we have secrecy and meetings behind closed doors unannouced and the A Group. Many would find it strange that a person who has nothing to hide is concerned about the internet. I find it odd that they invoke secrecy regarding salaries, etc, but get very upset about undisclosed identities on a blog. The internet is nothing more than a place where ideas can be expressed freely anonymously. I recall during Nehemiah's day they set a watchman on the wall to confront the enemy that may or may not attack. Its good policy to have a place where these ideas can be broadcast. It certainly would not be permitted to openly discuss these concerns at FBC as they now have a discipline committee which would seperate and mark those that disagreed with the pastor. The pastor needs input and oftentimes those in authority (deacons and trustees) do not desire to oppose the pastor as they will lose favor and appear weak or indifferent to changes that are brought before them. Oddly enough, they look weak to the membership who trust them to hold the pastor in line for the good of the church. Other members in authority may want to express disagreement but because of their long time membership and prestige they don't want to be classified as troublemakers. I call them compromisers. They appear more concerned with the favor of men than the duties set before them. This is a sad commentary of churches today but that is why Baptist churches are losing members right and left. Baptisms are down, fewer people getting saved, more money spent on frivilous programs, twelve hundred female pastors ordained unbiblically. All of these internal church problems are not the fault of the bloggers. The bloggers have come along as a result of their frustrations over the manner in which their churches have changed. When a pastor loses the respect of his members then the real challenges are set before him. Will he follow God and get rid of his own personal agenda whatever that may be or use the pulpit to whip his congregation into submission. As Joshua once said " As for me and my house we will serve the Lord". That is and should be the hallmark of all Christian churches whether they are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. I hope that others will sound the alarm and bring forth once again great blessings on Jacksonville. Jacksonville needs a downtown church that reaches out for the lost. The members within FBC need a pastor that they can count on to minister to them.The fields are white unto harvest and let it begin here in Jacksonville. We once had a slogan at FBC "That Jacksonville May Know Christ". I say, Amen to that.God bless you Watchdog for taking a stand. So many men are afraid to take a stand for their God or anything in general.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Yep, its a sad state of affairs.

You sound like an insider, maybe a former staff member? What do you know about the A-Group?

What is so sad is Mac is getting angrier, and he's getting more and more arrogant and condescending to his congregation. And he actually thinks he's preaching good when he acts that way.

For example, he announced Sunday that "his job is to preach", and its "our job to listen", and if we don't listen then its between us and God. That is not true. Our pastors Lindsay and Vines taught us for years to measure carefully every word of their sermons and every man's sermon against THE word. They were sure to tell us not just to listen and obey their words, but make sure their words lined up with scripture. No, Mac wants us to listen and obey. "Listen and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy at FBC Jax, but to trust and obey Mac."

Anonymous said...

Just some clips to share the two best reasons why we should start a school:

Best Reason to Have a School (no one is home anymore)

2nd Best Reason to Have a School (R U Dr. Brunson?)

Music to Go With 2nd Reason (its all about me)

Anonymous said...

Comments from a member at FBC, Dallas.

About the vote: Dr. Criswell (whom everyone seems to think is just below God) alway had everyone vote "everyone in favor" followed by "and that's all of us". We never had a chance to vote against anything and everything was announced as a unanimous decision. So, this practice has been going on for a very long time and is not likely to change.

About the new school: FBA in Dallas does not attract the FBC Dallas students on the whole. In the youth group, there has always been quite a bit of dissension between the FBA students and the students from other Dallas area high schools. It is said that the FBA kids form cliques the other students can't penetrate. We chose, at great personal sacrifice financially, to send our kids to FBA. Matter of fact, we joined the church about the time our first child entered, thinking that many of the church kids would be in the school class. There were virtually none. I don't think we'd be able to make that choice now. I just looked up the tuition and I don't know how families afford it, particularly if they have more than one child. (Kindergarten -$6500; Grade 1 - $8000; Grades 2-4 - $8650; Grades 5-8 - $9600; Grades 9-12 - $10,450) One thing I do know is that many of the students are there on scholarship funded through grants and foundations.

Concerning Mac's preaching: A lot of what I've read here about his "anger" I just contribute to his style. I listen to his sermons regularly through the podcasts and I don't notice a great difference in the way he preaches to you and what we heard and I never thought he was angry at us. There are many of us at First Dallas now who would gladly trade pastors with you.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that FBA in Dallas started operations in 1972 with 125 students and last year they had 625. Thats a gain of 15 each year for 35 years. The member in Dallas tells about the tuition which is considerably out of the reach of most members of FBC Jacksonville and most of the other residents as well.How are we to reach great numbers of people with these few contacts? Sounds like another elitest proposition to me. Looks like another marketing tool from the A-Group.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 5:51 - Mac actually has tried to sell the concept of a school to his congregation by telling us that we must do it in order to reach people for Christ. He is painting a school as a MUST, that we have to do it, as though if we DON'T do it we are harming our ability to reach Jacksonville...and that is just so disingenous. There are many reasons why a Christian school might be a good idea for FBC, but to say that it is an essential component to reaching our city for Christ is false. I expect politicians to oversell me on their policy ideas, but not my pastor.

I'm glad that www.ethicsdaily.com did a story today on the FBC Jax Academy, and I'm glad they put the quote in there from Mac last December: "I'm never at home, you're never at home, nobody's ever at home anymore"...that was his explanation of why door to door evangelism does not work anymore, and why a school is necessary. So my question is: Does he really believe that, or does he know its not true and he thinks we're stupid enough to believe it?

Anonymous said...

The FBA Dallas person points out a true fact: The members of the church are not the ones that will be sending their kids there for the most part. Less than 10% of the students or teachers at Providence attend New Life. At Trinity, it is a little higher percentage since teachers are required to attend there and discounts may be given to members. I am sure University Christian and Mandarin Christian and First Coast Christian and Seacoast Christian and on and on are reaching families by being LOCATED near where those people live! Isn't that a better idea? Why not GO INTO THE COMMUNITIES and reach those folks. Why ask them to drive downtown twice a day during morning rush hour and again in the afternoon with gas approaching $4.00 per gallon by the time the school opens. Driving to church on Sundays with no traffic takes some about 15 - 20 minutes. That same drive in the morning rush hour could take 45 minutes each way.

People drove downtown to hear the unique choir, music and preaching of Homer Lindsays and Jerry Vines. It was worth the added cost and inconvenience. It is no longer worth it AND certainly makes no sense to drive downtown, pay double the tuition and not get anything they can not get in any of the schools mentioned above.

And compare (those schools have websites you should visit too before signing up downtown) the libraries, athletic fields, computer labs, academic programs, etc that those schools have from K-12 and you will see only the arrogant, gullible wealthy supporters of FBC Jax and Mac Brunson would believe such a school would be part of God's plan for the future ministry of FBC Jax.

Write ICHABOD over FBC Jax and all it does until Mac Brunson leaves. Like Mac pointed out, when God has left, nothing you do is going to matter.

But once the momentum gets started, like the Iraq war, we will all be stuck in it and will have to give, give, give and rationalize, rationalize and compromise, to try to make it successful. What seemed like a good idea that was manageable at the start could turn into a nightmare. CAN WE TRUST MAC AND TREY BRUNSON on this?

Anonymous said...

What are the rules of order for the church business meeting? There's got to be some way to force a fair up or down vote.

Anonymous said...

I am not a church member at FBC but i was in awe to hear the back stabbing and rude comments from: CHRISTIANS!Although i'm sure the church loves to hear positive comments about progress and messages and ill feeeling are what drives a school under and allow for untruthful rumors and such. Please protect your church and school with all your power and Their is always power in prayer! Keep God 1st and nothing can go wrong. Hats Off to your new school and Congrats on the grant!!!