"...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, March 29, 2008

Ed Young, Jr: "Boy Our Job is Tough"

When you get a chance, listen to Ed Young, Jr. share his thoughts on the difficulties of being a pastor:

Ed Young Video Blog - May 14, 2007

No doubt he is very sincere and he does correctly point out some of the trials of being a pastor. Anyone who has been in churches, especially smaller churches where the pastor does not have a fully staffed office suite consisting of wife, son secretary and marketing consultants, knows how difficult a pastor's job can be as they juggle so many responsibilities in the church. But I offer this clip because I think it gives us a very rare glimpse into the thought process and logic that these mega church pastors use to justify their enormous salaries and benefit packages. Ed Young Jr's message here is that our job is so tough, tougher than you can ever know, so tough that you need to pay us extremely well. Notice how even his body language and dress and posture serves to communicate the message that there is no job on earth as tough as theirs; I mean he looks like he's been up reading Lamentations all night and might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown!

Of particular interest is his view of the pastor being the "franchise player" who is "responsible every year...to raise money...because we are the ones responsible before God for raising money.....every year I've stared a lot of money in the face and I know at the end of the day its up to me to raise that money....and that's a taxing thing." That is twisted logic. Firstly, he is really not "raising" money. He has people coming to his church that believe they are "giving to God" and they drop their money in the plate. He obviously has no clue what it is like to REALLY have to raise money for a cause, or even more difficult how to generate revenue in a business enterprise to keep it viable and a source of jobs for people who are depending on the business. Secondly, for the pastor to view themselves as "franchise players raising money" ignores the scriptural truth that the church's ministries are financed by God's people giving out of their thankful hearts to God, prompted by the Holy Spirit and really its not a pastor's job to raise the money. As it relates to finances, a pastor's primary responsibility is to be a very good steward of the money that God BRINGS TO HIM. A pastor is to make sure that the faithful people who donated money can rest assured that the money they give is going to ministry and not to enrich a pastor or his family, or that its going to a slick marketing firm in Nashville to design the best looking logos for the next sermon series. If the pastor views themselves as the "franchise player raising the money" then of course they will not have a problem taking a large salary, nor will they have a problem with taking church funds for their own favorite ministry projects that are outside the ministry of the local church.

Of course if a mega church pastor views it as their responsibility to "raise that money", they will have a hard time seeing it as unethical to accept a $300,000 gift from one of the donors to their non-profit organization that they are to lead. If Mac views himself as being responsible for raising $15 million per year to fund the operations of FBC Jax, what could possibly be wrong will taking $300,000 from a church donor? This is why it was so disturbing to hear Mac Brunson at the Pastor's Conference call his son to the platform and proclaim to everyone that "Trey raised over $100,000 by himself to help defray the costs of the conference." This leads me to believe that perhaps Mac shares this view of Ed Young, Jr of the pastor being the "fund raiser" of the church.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry for these multi millionaire "preachers" (?). I have said before its all about money. Where is the concern for the lost? Where is the working of the Holy Spirit? What ministry are they talking about? Its all about money/business.

Anonymous said...

Well said couldn't have said it better. Here in the Dallas area, we are very familiar with Ed Young, Jr and "his" empire.

Anonymous said...

As an outsider, I don't intend to clutter up your blog with extraneous comments but from a distance the gift of property to the pastor is not unethical, imo, so long as it is acknowledged publicly and nothing was given in return for it. I think you lessen your credibility by harping on that. It looks like envy from this distance.

I don't have any issue with a megachurch pastor having a salary in the $200k+ range. That is a local church matter. The problem is in having all the family on the payroll. That is unethical and, IMO, unwise. Again, it's a local church matter but if FBCJ gets that school going just think of the pastor patronage jobs that will be available there.

SBC average pastor

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon pastor - Mac never acknowledged the gift publicly. He couldn't. People would not have liked it. The only thing he did was tell Vines and Patter how we was attacked by "recalcitrants" since he came to Jax (see my article in October about Patterson's comments during a chapel service about Mac Brunson) which is not true. The bloggers and emailers went after Mac starting in January 2007, about 10 months after he got here and people observed his antics. He got nothing but love and followship from his congregation, at least as much as one can expect at a large church. I sure hope Mac when he complained about recalcitrants bothered to tell Vines and Brunson that someone gave him a $300k piece of land - oh and the free year's stay at the multi-million dollar condo on the beach.

Members in our church will recall that shortly after Brunson arrived there were rumors that someone had donated land to the church for a school. The rumors were actually addressed by Brunson from the pulpit when he said "if someone has donated land for a school I sure don't know about it." Perfect chance for him to say "maybe you're confusing this with the quarter million land gift I got 2 weeks after I arrived" but somehow I see that going over like a lead zeppelin. But now I wonder if the rumor was 1/2 right, that someone had donated land, but they donated to the pastor directly and not the church. I've maintained all along that if that land gift was "God being generous to the man of God", then the gift should be acknowledged publicly so we could ALL rejoice.

I disagree with you that even if he publicly acknowledged the quarter million gift that would make it OK, because of the particular circumstances of Mac's gift, and in light of all the other abuses he has committed since being here. If a pastor who has been at a church for many years and is much beloved by his people, and one of the wealthy church members decides to grant the land gift to the pastor and its disclosed to the congregation and we all celebrate in it, perhaps that would be OK. But Anon pastor, certainly you must see the problems a pastor creates for himself by accepting a large gift like that as soon as his plane lands in his new city. He is coming in to pastor a mega church and all eyes are on him both in and out of the church, and one of the first things you do is ink a deal making yourself a quarter million more wealthy? People are looking to size you up, find out what you are all about, what are your priorities, are you the man of God everyone thinks. You and your wife and son are on salary, you are drawing a handsome salary, and you as your first move take a quarter mil from one of the donors of the church? The poor judgement he demonstrated is amazing - the only thing more amazing than that I think are the people defending it. I am so sick of people coming here and using the "jealosy" word. People at FBC Jax are ticked off about it, so Mac will have to deal with it. Can't ignore it, gotta deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Mac Brunson too likes to tell his congregation how tough he has it. How many times has he said "If you could be in my shoes for a day"...saying either his job is tough, or you people are hard to pastor, and WHEW are those emails criticzing me a real burden. Its so unbecoming to hear a pastor say things like that. Actually its unmanly. Be a man, do your job, quit complaining about it publicly.

Anonymous said...

To see the issue of extravagant spending coupled with limited or no financial disclosure within an SBC agency, check out this link that reviews a book written by a former NAMB employee; second link is to her (Mary Branson)website.

http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=8520

http://www.wordauthority.com/blog/SGM.html

Anonymous said...

Did Ed Young also feel the need to tell everyone in attendance, and all those listening around the world by internet, that he "had the smarts, drive and ambition" that he could make the same kind of money doing something else.

Or is Ed not that insecure that he would feel the need to say such a thing. It makes me wonder (1) is that even true? and (2) if it is, why feel the need to toot your own horn; and (3) who told him that (his yes men and family) and (4) if no one else told him that, did he come up with that all by himself? and (5) WHAT MAKES HIM THINK THAT?

I don't think major companies are looking for PhD students or MDiv students from SWBTS for their CEO positions.

But at least he has smarts and ambition, if you don't believe me, just ask HIM.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad that you have that point of view on Ed and Fellowship. If you spent half the time you did on "researching" your point of view on seeing the life change that is coming from Fellowship Church, you wouldn't have such a sad and skewed view of what Ed Young is really like and what is happening at fellowship.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 1:04 - I really am not trying to draw any conclusions regarding Ed Young's church. I am merely using Ed Young's thoughts about the job of a pastor to propose some context to help those at FBC Jax evaluate recent actions and comments of our pastor Mac Brunson.

Anonymous said...

tell me something. If Debbie Brunson works on staff, what is her job title? I don't see her listed on your church website under contacts. And if she goes on these cruises, is that vacation time? Who really is running this show anyways? John Blount or Dan Elkins or even Courtney the floor manager - do you get to leave for two weeks at a time with pay, and not take your vacation time?

Anonymous said...

Watchdog hope all is well with you. Should we continue blogging as I have noticed limited postings the last few days????.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 8:46 - feel free to blog...there are some posts coming through about the "emerging church" and "ecumenicalism", and I haven't let some of those through because that may tend for us to take the focus of what is the issue here: Mac Brunson's arrogance, abuses, and poor leadership of our church. I don't want Mac or those on Team Brunson who read this for him and keep him informed about it - I don't want them to get the idea that the church opposes him for the changes he is trying to bring about. He is facing stiffer and stiffer opposition because he is behaving very poorly - the continued nepotism, the tantrums during sermons, the million dollar home, the silence on the $300k gift, dishonesty about the role of a school in our church ministry, dishonesty about his 501(c)3 ministry being "our ministry" and using our people to raise funds for it, the bylaw changes...those are abuses and that is what people are upset about, not whether some aspects of his leadership might be the same as Warrenism or any other ism. Granted, there seem to be some similarities between steps to transitioning a church to "purpose driven" and actions Mac has taken, but I'm not drawing that connection yet.

But if anyone has insights or examples around the SBC or other churches that will help us understand the problem of the arrogant CEO preachers and their tendancy to take for themselves and their families, please post. That is why I thought I'd share this Ed Young Jr. video. I've never heard a CEO mega church preacher be so blatantly honest about how he views himself as the "franchise player" (and of course we know what we must pay franchise players in the NFL, right?) who is supposed to "raise money"....Mac has said similar things (his congratulating Trey on "raising" $100,000 for the pastor's conference, and Mac's declaration during pastor's conference that he "has the smarts, drive and ambition" that he would be successful outside the church in any profession) that confirms he is of this same CEO mentality. Gotta hand it to ole Ed Jr. though for explaining it so clearly and deliberatly. No doubt when we hired Mac in Mac's mind and in the mind of the power structure of our church we hired "a franchise player".

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if any of you are pastors or just Monday morning armchair pastors, but be reminded of the old saying, don't judge a man (or a pastor) until you've walked a mile in his shoes. If you haven't actually been a pastor (large or small church)your criticism rings hollow, and just speaking the truth in love, you don't know what you're talking about! Which reminds me of another saying, this one biblical, maybe we need to be speaking life (encouragement) into each other rather than criticism. Just a thought! By the way, I am a pastor, not a CEO and I don't pastor a mega church, and I'm not even capable of knowing what other pastors go through. Just a thought!

Anonymous said...

I find it rather odd this guy's deameanor....I mean with his feet on top of his desk, torn jeans, his self serving attitude, etc.
Can you just picture Dr. Lindsay doing an interview in the same manner as this guy?
WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED!
Dr. Lindsay had too much respect for God, the FBC office and calling of pastor.

Bryan said...

It's not difficult if you just open the Bible and use the material that God has given us. Now, tickling itching ears, yes, that is a bit more difficult. But alas, there is a way that seems right to us, and in the end of that way, we all die.