"...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

Friday, March 21, 2008

Just What is the "Media Evangelism" Offering For?

Mac and the A-Group are masterful marketers. Look at the "Media Evangelism" promo banner on the FBC Jax website and you'll see icons showing people using various media. The "sell" that Mac and the A-Group are trying to make to us is that this offering is for "cutting edge technology" ministry.

Unfortunately, that's not what the offering is for.

According to Mac's letter (which is now available on the FBC Jax website), the offering is for:

- buying local TV and radio advertising
- paying for special mailers
- putting Mac's sermons on the Inspiration network nationwide

Nothing innovative, certainly nothing cutting-edge there. We've included advertising and TV time in our budget for 3 decades as they are a very important activity to reaching those in our area. We have never gone onto a nationwide network with our broadcasts because we've never viewed our church and our pastors have never viewed themselves as "televangelist" in nature - as Dr. Vines used to say, when a person gets sick or experiences the loss of a loved on, the TV church and preacher and staff ain't going to be ministering to you. So we've always kept our TV ministry local. If Mac himself wants to go nationwide to build his personal brand, that's fine and he has the right to do it as his sermons are his intellectual property. Let him (or Trey) raise the funds to start a nationwide "Mac Brunson Sermon Broadcast" on a network, but please Team Brunson hold don't your hand out asking FBC Jax members to fund it. Like the school, its not really part of our church's ministry, and will reach very few people in our area for a huge expenditure.

I'd like to point something out for FBC Jax members to consider: in Mac's letter note how he uses the words "our podcast" and "our services" and "our broadcast". No, the podcast is not "ours"...it is the "Mac Brunson Podcast" with a full Mac Brunson mug logo, and its part of a separate 501(c)3 organization called Inlight Ministries. When he says we need to broadcast "our services" nationwide, he's not talking our services, he's talking his sermons. But its convenient and a clever marketing gimmick to use the words "our" in order to compel you to give to his project.

About the "The Mac Brunson Podcast": this offering is not either to pay for Mac's podcast, since that is already up and running and I assume our church has been paying for "The Mac Brunson Podcast" for some time. But there are some problems with that: he and the A-Group controls which sermons are available (for instance the 3/11 "I can't get 50 men and Homer would want to know why" and "your job is to listen" sermon was up only for a few days until someone wisely decided to pull it), there are no original broadcast dates with them (only dates posted to I-Tunes), and its called the "Mac Brunson Podcast", not the "First Baptist Church Jacksonville Podcast". If its "our" podcast and if our church is going to fund it, then change the name to "First Baptist Jacksonville Podcast", put our church logo on it, and put it on our church website with our church logo and not on Mac's Inlight.org webiste. This is an example of how Mac talks out of both sides of his mouth. He loves to say that church is not about personalities, that we don't come to church to hear from a man but to hear from God - sounds good, but then if he truly believes this why is his full face used as an icon and why is the podcast called "The Mac Brunson Podcast" when our church is funding it and its therefore a ministry of our church?

Since we've never gone nationwide with a TV ministry from our church (as I said if Mac wants to do that with his sermons, he's free to raise funds and start a Mac Brunson TV ministry), that doesn't mean we can't use technology to have nationwide and world-wide reach. Live streaming is great, but we can do much, much more at a relatively low cost as compared to buying TV time. After all, in many parts of the world our services are streamed live at inconvenient times.

We can archive our sermons video and make them available 24/7. I want to offer to you three examples of how churches are using technology to provide video streams of their full services, made available 24/7 world-wide. Consider the following examples:

1. First Baptist Church Woodstock: FBC Woodstock makes available online all church services for the past three months - not just Johnny Hunt's sermons (its not the "Johnny Hunt Broadcast" its the "FBC Woodstock" broadcast), but all sermons, even when Jerry Vines is preaching or one of the other ministers fills in. I'm talking full video of the entire service, praise music, preaching, invitation, and even an up front promo highlighting the ministries of the church. They even hyperlink in sermon notes. Click here to see it:

FBC Woodstock On-Demand Video Ministry

While there click on the Jerry Vines 3/2/08 sermon to see and hear a great Bible sermon. Listen to this sermon and you'll be happy to see he has hardly lost a step since retiring. Powerful message on the love of God.

2. First Baptist Church Dallas: The next one that I want you to see is how FBC Dallas makes their services available. They utilize a service called "316 network" to make there services available online:

First Baptist Dallas On-Demand Video Ministry

Notice on the viewing banner Robert Jeffress picture is there, but its the FBC Dallas logo, and the "tools" on the site are all hyperlinks highlighting the ministry of the church. Viewers can even click a link to submit a prayer request, or find information out about the church's ministries. Its not a ministry of just Robert Jeffress, its a ministry of the church that is funding it.

3. Northpoint Community Church: For a third example, take a look at Northpoint Church, the Atlanta church started by Andy Stanley in the 90's. At their website they archive all sermons (not the music), but they have a very unique and innovative interface that lists each sermon, its date, speaker, and three options for viewing. Take a look at the third option, that has the red "f" icon (for flash)...it is a viewer in which the wide screen sermon is viewed, with tools on the viewer to allow notes to be taken and emailed to one's self, hyperlinks to the previous parts of the sermon series, and pdf files for sermon outlines.

North Point Church On-Demand Video

Notice again: this is not the "Andy Stanley Video Broadcast", its the Northpoint Church broadcast at their website, and all sermons not just Andy Stanley's are put there for viewing.

So church, don't be duped. Giving to the "Media Evangelism" offering this Sunday will only be paying for advertising that should already be in our budget, and to pay for broadcast of Mac Brunson sermons nationwide when we FIRST need to make our full worship services (not just Mac's sermons) available on demand on the Internet.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks watchdog for the informative information. To me the only thing that we are doing different in our media from other mega churches is that we are the only ones that actually allow our pastor to provide our archived messages only through his own website. I know he legally can do this since as you say he owns them as intellectual property, but since he is a pastor of our church and our church is paying him and our church is paying for the Internet, shouldn't they be broadcast under our church name?

I will definitely be using the Dallas and Woodstock sites to view their services. I might try the Andy Stanley as well.

Anonymous said...

It's no joke that FBC members are being treated like little children: Just do what I tell you to do and don't ask unacceptable questions! And we must sacrificially keep on giving our funds! But I don't give funds when I don't know specifically what they will be used for. It makes me sick to see that we are not being fully and truthfully advised up-front.

It's a shame that our preacher has apparently been taught that this is the way a pastor runs a church. But it isn't God's Way, that's for sure!

As to the person who said that Calvin Carr left of his own accord because he wanted to have a church of his own; then why did I know he was leaving about a year before he left? I was told it was because he was asked to leave and that he was allowed to stay until his daughter could graduate from high school.

Has anyone looked at what the tuition is going to be for the school? It will be over $7,000.00 per student. Other than a few, who will be able to afford the full tuition? If there are scholarships given then I guess the church will be subsidizing the school more than we think. I see financial fiasco written all over this one.

As to the people who have said that anyone who questions the pastor is ungodly (or just plain stupid) please be aware that the people who don't question are the same ones who are gullible enough to hang on all the way to Jonestown! You feel free to go on ahead and do be sure to give all your money but you must remember to not ask questions about exactly how the money will be used.

Anonymous said...

I will say my blinders are coming off and I am finally seeing what is going on at my church. It has taken me a while to see what Mac is really doing to our church and much of the information is coming from this web site. Your messages here analyzing this offering and Mac's recent angry sermons and the way he conducted the school vote really are getting me to think and I hope others in our church too. There are far too many in our church that are as trusting of this man as they were of Dr. Lindsay and that is a dangerous thing. While I have never liked the idea of this information being here for the world both saved and lost to see I do see now that it is necessary to get the word out to people.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 1:03 - I hope you're wrong. If what you're saying is that Mac Brunson told Calvin Carr that he is no longer needed at our church and that he needs to get another job, then whatever respect I might have had for Mac Brunson has gone out the window.

Yes indeedy, tuition will, according to their pro-forma handed out the night of the vote, average over $7000 per student, rising to over $8000 per year in year 3 of operation.

Anonymous said...

FBC Jax Watchdog said "Anon 1:03 - I hope you're wrong. If what you're saying is that Mac Brunson told Calvin Carr that he is no longer needed at our church and that he needs to get another job, then whatever respect I might have had for Mac Brunson has gone out the window."

I can't say specifically what the exact wording was to Rev. Carr. I just know that I was told by a reliable source that he was asked to leave - long before he left. Maybe he was told how things were going to be and decided he couldn't stomach it and so, technically you could say he chose to leave. An earlier version of this FBC JAX blog carried at least one strong denial that Rev. Carr was leaving, the denial seeming to come from someone in the know. I began to doubt that it was true that he was leaving but then, boom, there he went, right along with all the rest of the staff!

Then we were told by a blogger that it's not unusual for a new CEO to come in and fire all the staff but it seems things should be handled differently by a Cristian church pastor. We don't really care how things are done in the secular world, do we? Rev. Carr did disappear just about like the rest of the staff -- with very little advance notice to the congregation.

I have never seen anything like this. I hope God's Holy Spirit will deal with Doc Brunson's heart and show him that continued harping about naysayers and threats of church discipline just ain't gonna get the job done! He talks about how the world has changed and so we have to reach people differently than we have in the past and yet how is he planning to conduct church discipline? Is he going to go back to the days of the Puritans? Instead of a scarlet A on a shirt-front might we be required to wear a scarlet B (B for Blogger)?

Paul Z said...

Ok, I am the one who said Calvin Carr may have wanted to pastor his own church knowing full well he may have been told to leave (similar to what I heard was told several other long time church staff), but that was a response to a comment that went something to the effect of "how did we let him slip through our fingers" as if to say FBC Jax is the be all and end all of all churches and once anyone is there they would never, ever leave on their own because they could never have aspirations of doing anything else....after all, we are the great FBC Jax. Had the post gone something to the effect of I heard this or that about him being let go, is it true, and if so, why? That would have generated a different response from me. So that is why I responded the way I did.

Watchdog, funny you mention the 3:16 network. I am a little familiar with it since First Baptist Orlando uses it also. Occasionally I would watch FBC Jax's live streaming and it was awful. I don't know how many of you have ever viewed it, but you can watch and the audio gets behind the video, the screen turns green at sporadic intervals, turns upside down, and it is just horrible to sit there and watch. So, when I came back I made a suggestion that they might want to look into the 3:16 network as far as cost, bandwidth, and all since as a frequent user of it, I had never had a single problem with it. I doubt anything was ever done about that.

Now another question when you discuss television ministries, churches being separate from them, etc. What is In Touch, Love Worth Finding, Coral Ridge, and other like them like? They aren't really a typical televangelist either, but I would assume the congregations of those churches helped or help foot the bill for those ministries too. I could be wrong about that, but do you know?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Paul Z - those ministries are all separate entities, probably 501(c)3 tax-exempt ministries.

The pertinent question is this:

Do the churches of the pastors who are the featured teachers on those broadcasts, subsidize the ministry or is it a self-standing ministry supported solely by the gifts of the listeners and viewers of the broadcast?

I believe that LWF must be a self-standing ministry, as it still is in existence after Rogers death and I would figure there is no way Bellevue is financing that operation today. Perhaps the ministry built up some sort of endowment (if that's the right word) that helps fund it and keeps it going.

Perhaps one of the Memphis readers of this blog will chime in and shed light on LWF.

I imagine the same is true of Stanley's broadcasts - church doesn't have to support them but donations to the separate ministry fund what they do.

What is so interesting is the www.inlight.org ministry of Mac Brunson originated in Dallas when he went there, and for the first year that he was here in Jax the ministry website was never updated to reflect a new bio changing his church from FBC Dallas to Jacksonville. During this time it was set up to accept donations as I recall - don't know if the site worked, but it had buttons and options for a person to donate to the ministry.

About a year or so ago Mac began the "Mac Brunson Podcast" ministry from the www.inlight.org ministry website. So Mac wants his own 501(c)3, but its strange that now he talks about it and its podcast as "our podcast" - I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that is because he doesn't bring enough donations into his ministry to support his TV ministry that has been on Inspiration network that he now decides to direct all income to that ministry to FBC Jax because FBC Jax has been paying the cost of the broadcasts on Inspiration. Up until 4 or 5 months ago, the ministry website did have information about Mac's broadcasts on Inspiration network - I could be wrong about that, but I'm pretty sure. Apparently now we find out that the FBC Jax church was paying for those broadcasts, because Mac told us that those "were cut" from the budget. So now the obvious question is: WHY WERE WE PAYING FOR THOSE BROADCASTS IN THE FIRST PLACE, IF THEY WERE NOT MENTIONED ON OUR CHURCH WEBSITE? I say you can't have it both ways...if the broadcasts are going to be funded by FBC Jax members, and he's going to call it "our ministry", and he's going to use church resources to solicit the funds, then it has to be a First Baptist Church ministry with our logo and our ministries tied into it.

Also, notice that the Agroup designs and maintains his www.inlight.org ministry website...let me guess...FBC Jax pays for that too.

Are you all getting the picture yet? Is it starting to fit together?

Anonymous said...

FBCJW,

No, not one idea or concept you come up with makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it fellow church members: The holding back of excess funds over 10% has been felt in the budget. (Maybe some members have been withholding all of it.) I've been withholding anything over the tithe and giving it to worthwhile organizations here in Jax and also to missionaries where I can give directly to their ministries.

That method would never be my first choice but I felt that giving over 10% to FBC to carelessly use without proper accounting was irresponsible and just a wrong use of what God has given me.

I would like to move on but so far have not been able to find another church. I know, I know, don't join a perfect church because I'm imperfect and I'll just ruin it, blah blah blah. Of course there's no perfect church because there aren't any perfect people -- but I'm not asking for perfect, just an honest accounting of exactly what the funds coming in are being used for. Don't you dare use church funds for "missions trips" that are just excuses to take family and travel to neat destinations! That is a misuse of God's money!

I don't envy anyone's destinations with the use of their personal funds but please don't harp from the pulpit about a lack of funds when the funds that have already been given are being partially used for the staff's personal travel!

I believe it is wrong to promote self under the guise of reaching the lost -- his name used instead of FBC's name. I think that what we've been told about FBC starting "video churches" is wrong for the same reason. If you want to start new churches, then do that! Don't just advertise yourself! A church is the people and a pastor reaching out to their own community -- not a video preacher you watch on IMAGS on Sunday morning. If there's no other choice, that's a different thing but I'm sure there are plenty of young men coming out of seminary who would be thankful to have a church in a community where he and his congregation can reach the lost.

Anonymous said...

If your not comfortable giving more than your tithe because of concern over how the money is spent why are you even giving the tithe?

Anonymous said...

Dear Watchdog-If you insist on talking about the current pastor of First Dallas, please refer to him by the correct name. It is Robert Jeffress not Richard.

Anonymous said...

to anon. 3/21 6:54 pm
"If your not comfortable giving more than your tithe because of concern over how the money is spent why are you even giving the tithe?"

I give the 10% to FBC because I am a member of FBC and because I and my family benefit from some of the programs there. I give it to FBC because until I find another church, FBC is my home church.

Is that a good enough explanation for you? Or am I going to have to wear the B for Blogger on my shirt?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:44 - my question wasn't meant as a criticism, I genuinely wanted to know. Thanks for the explanation.

Other Anon - I don't "insist on talking about" the pastor at FBC Dallas, but I'll try to get his name right if I mention him again.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

This blog has seen an explosion in traffic recently as word is getting around about the abuses of Team Brunson at our church (the latest of which was the video last Sunday of Ashley Collins - son of the Mr. Collins who gifted Mac Brunson the $300,000 land - more on this in a future post), and those that are reading this I challenge you to read the blogs last year about the bylaw changes that were pushed through by Mac Brunson with hardly anyone in the church knowing about them. I've documented how this was done, even have an audio link of the Wed service.

The reason I mention it is that one of the things Mac did in these bylaw changes was to create a "discipline committee" made up of members assigned by the pastor. You'll see on this blog that I documented how he has several times from his bully pulpit threatened the church with church discipline...even as late as his 3/11 in his "I only got 50 men and Homer would want to know why and your job is to just listen" sermon he couldn't resist mentioning church discipline in the most arrogant way. He pointed out a passage where Paul was dealing with problems in the church and he was coming to deal with them and said this was an example of church discipline. Then as only Mac can say in his oh so condescending manner (I'm paraphrasing since the sermon is now removed from his, er I mean "our" podcast site) "Most people don't have to worry about church discipline, you ever notice the people that get upset when you talk about church discipline", then looking at the drummer in the orchestra "You, drummer, you worried about church discipline? I didn't think so. Most people have nothing to worry about when it comes to church discipline" - inferring there are SOME who do have to worry about it.

If anyone is contacted by the church discipline committee because you are reading or suspected of posting here on this blog, I encourage you to report it here for all the country to see. Be sure to include the names of the people that come to visit you, and what they said. When they come, be sure to ask them about some of the questions that we've never had answered here and let us know if you get answers.

Anonymous said...

About the free " Collins commercial"; I like the Collins family they are nice people. I do really question the land deal. I think there is something strange there or it would be out in the open. Now lets see, theres another dichotomy here. Wasn't the crux of the commerical centered around not working on Sunday? So when was the free commercial broadcast?......On Sunday, during church time, on FBC facilities and God's time to be used for spreading the gospel. Thats time and facilities paid for by church members. Just another example of the way things are done at FBC now.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think JESUS chose the twelve disciples? They were the ones that would proclaim HIM. As one of your earlier bloggers said JESUS is on the outside looking into HIS church. HE didn't hire "THE GREEK" scholars or would be scholars, intellectuals, teachers of the law, tradition, and history. Why do we need marketing groups such as the A Group to advise our church or preacher about anything? Let us not forget that since the CROSS, JESUS has used the working of the Holy Spirit upon mans heart. Let us not become like scribes and pharises. 1 Cor:1:27..But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I do admire the Collins boys for their business and I am certain that the decision to close on Sundays was done out of their convictions believing that was what God wanted them to do.

However, for Mac then to use church resources to make a professional promo video (or maybe it was another bright idea by Trey) for presentation to his church and to the city on our TV broadcast, well, it stinks. Why does it stink?

Well, if Mac wanted to use the Collins boys' decision to close their business on Sundays as a teaching point in his sermon, he could have just "said it", no need to send the video prodcution crews out there and then produce it with music and violins, and numerous displays of their company logo. Furthermore, there was no need to to even use their names so as to not appear to his congregation that he is playing favorites, since there are many business men in our church who honor God in their businesses, but they won't have a full length promo made by Mac's church. So the fact that Mac did produce it, let alone mention their names from the pulpit makes one ask the question "why would he do that"?

One possible answer to the "why" question is that their father, J.D. Collins, gave Mac Brunson a $300,000 land gift 2 weeks after Brunson arrived in Jacksonville. The deed says the land was given for $50 and in return "for love and affection". If the video production, and its broadcast during our worship service and presumably on TV on Resurrection Sunday, was not a quid-pro-quo, it looks like it. This is why a pastor accepting large gifts, certainly gifts of $300,000 is so dangerous - the pastors decisions and motives then become open to scrutiny, especially by "snake" and "recalcitrant" bloggers.

Mac gives the appearance that our pulpit is for sale. How sad.

Here are the main explanations given by church members defending Mac on this blog on the land deal:

- it was a personal financial transaction of the pastor and no one's business

- to question it means you must be jealous

- what's wrong with the pastor being blessed financially, the Bible says he is worthy of "double honor" (in the original greek text that likely means 'free land deals')

- some anonymous person here used the words a "land exchange" (did Mac swap his property in Dallas for $300k property? If so, why does the deed say 'for love and affection?')

- if there was something wrong with the deal its none of our business and we should "let God deal with it".

If this $300,000 land gift from J.D. Collins to Donald Mcall Brunson and Debra Devore Brunson on May 1st, 2006 transacted at 3840 Crown Point Road (the address of the Collins' boys business) was anything other than a free and clear gift from the Collins to the Brunsons would someone please come here and clear it up? If it WAS just a straight gift, can anyone who was on the search committee explain how this came about and why a church donor gave such a large gift, and why Brunson accepted it? This question has been asked for over a year and its never ever been answered. And until it is, questions will continue to plague Brunson and his decisions, like now people questioning the motives behind the Collins commercial displayed during our church service on March 16, 2008.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers - talk all you want and post here all you want. But unless you stop giving - that means any percentage of your income in accordance with the legalistic Old Testament practice of farmers giving a share of their crops and livestock to the priests which we refer to as the tithe AND certainly don't give any "offerings". If Mac has to continually "raise" this money to make up for the shortfalls he and Trey create, than someday, somehow, some of the trustees might actually, humbly and lovingly in the name of Jesus, try and help Mac to see the error of his ways.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Dave and David and Trey - did you ever wonder why ONLY 50 men signed on to pray for the man? Ever wonder why during his wife's surgery, during that 13 hours in the waiting room, NOT ONE man, woman or child came to be with him? Ever notice he paints himself as the victim in both those scenarios, even though neither is about him? And more importantly, ever stop to consider that again, NOT ONE man, woman or child has enough love and concern for the man to lovingly help him right now when he obviously needs some straight talk. Why didn't any of you men who claim to love him and want to support him tell him "you just can't do it that way, pastor?" Changing the by-laws like that, secretly accepting huge land gifts, spending money outside of where its budgeted, running off anyone who dares question anything, nepotism, and on and on...Sir, Pastor, Dad - please, try and learn from what is going on around you. I think these people will love you and follow you, but you have to stop being an arrogant jerk. And brother, if you would just hear your criticisms with an open mind, and either make the required changes, or lovingly point out where the criticism is wrong (for example: there is no nepotism, I did accept such a gift, I circulated the by-laws and had ample discussion on the proposed changes, etc.) then 99% of your perceived "division" in the church would go away.

IS THERE NOT ONE MAN, WOMAN or CHILD WHO CARES ENOUGH ABOUT MAC TO HELP HIM? We know there wasn't even one in that waiting room and know only 50 will even pray for him now, but won't ONE give him Godly counsel now? The man is drowning in his own stubbornness and arrogance and the only ones around him are "yessing him to death."

Except...the Watchdog. Who says like the prophet said to David "YOU ARE THAT MAN." And yet some still try to silence the watchdog.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Just a thought: looks like as a website manager A-Group has provided FBC Jax a website in terms of functionality and originality and resources on par with a church of the size of 200 not of 20,000. I really wonder how much the A-Group is being paid each month for these so called marketing services that include website design. Anybody on the finance committee - can you tell us what we pay the A-Group on an annual basis? And since the Agroup is doing work not only for the church, but also for Inlight Ministries (Mac's 501(c)3 organization) and for the Pastors Conference website - are we separating out those costs or do we pay them out of our regular budget for their services on all three of these websites?

I will remind everyone: one of the VERY FIRST things Mac did when he was voted on as pastor, well before he ever showed up on site, was to hand over the church website design to the A-Group. It happened almost immediately. They've had this baby for 2 years now.

You talk about priorities of Mac - if you look at the quality of the Pastor's Conference website it arguably is a much better design from a function and format standpoint than our own church website. It looks like we put more resources into website design of the pastors conference than we do our own church website that still after more than 2 years under A-Group's management it is no better than most church's 1/100th the size of ours.

Seeing those other ministry's websites and how they have incorporated their services into their church websites, and the incredible resources and links they put there for viewers of the services - links to submitting prayer requests, notes pages that can be emailed or printed, etc shows just how far behind FBC Jax has fallen in terms of "using technology" as Mac calls it.

Anonymous said...

Church discipline used to be a few deacons who would make certain that the teenagers weren't wandering the halls, parking lots, or talking during church services. You mean we have a different style of discipline now? Does it entail banishment, fines, or lashes? Who is going to administer it, the pastor? Sounds like the 1200-1500's in Rome....Surely the pastor doesn't want to start a riot? Will he explain it or someone on the committee so we will know when and how to defend our rights? Even hospitals have a bill of rights. Shouldn't FBC members have a bill of rights? Peter spoke and they carried them out dead. Surely FBC doesn't want to go that far?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I can tell you what "church discipline" is to Mac.

It is that described in Matthew 18. Two people going to someone who is in "sin" that is harming the church to confront them of their sin and lovingly try to get them to repent or perhaps leave the church.

If a person wishes to be restored, then they must be brought before the church. That is how Mac views it.

How do I know that's how he views it? Because that's exactly what he did in Dallas with a staff member who was caught in some sort of infidelity...the person repented and was brought before the church and confessed and was restored.

Also, Mac has on several occasions from the pulpit last last year emphasized the "bringing people before the church" part of church discipline. I have chronicled how he positioned himself in November/December to start using church discipline against his detractors. Click here to read for yourself, and listen to audio clips proving my point.

The chain of events was:

1. 11/28 Mac had David Bristowe stand up before the church and ask for them to vote on bylaw changes that were never widely distributed, never explained not one single solitary explanatory word from the Pastor, and they included the formation of a Church Discipline committee whose members are appointed by the pastor.

2. Next sermon Mac accused those who don't go along with changes in "...Sunday School, music, or staff changes" as being "comfortable in their sin and in their compromise", and he does it in the only arrogant way Mac can do it. Yes, he did say it, and you can hear it for yourself at my article hyperlinked above.

3. Then on 12/12 on a Wed night he preaches about not having a "judgemental and critical spirit" and he carelessly describes church discipline as bringing people before the church, with a very pregnant pause, menacing stare, and finger tapping on the pulpit. Again, hear it for yourself as I grabbed these clips knowing that our church has no control over what is going on our website, that its all controlled by Mac and the A-Group. Like Jeremiah Wright, Mac can't run from the things he has said to us in the past in anger and arrogance.

That my friend, is church discipline according to Mac Brunson.

As I said before, if anyone is approached by the discipline committee for their participation in posting to this blog, or if you know of anyone who is, you are more than welcome to post it here for the church and the entire SBC to see.

Anonymous said...

I think Doc Brunson uses the church discipline threat as just that - a threat. When he talks about it I'm reminded of hearing a parent tell a child "I'm warning you!" And the child will usually recognize that he might have to face the music if he continues in his infraction.

Personally, I think it's childish, but childish behavior is what we've been subjected to with all the harping, whining and warning coming from the pulpit.

I believe the land gift was probably given as just that -- a gift. I don't think it passes the smell test that it was accepted but nonetheless it was accepted.

The Collins video of last week was no doubt a thank you for the land gift but this also doesn't pass the smell test. In fact, it stinks so bad that I wouldn't want to have to step in the residue.

I don't know about the rest of you bloggers, but none of this is to say that Doc Brunson and his family are not likeable people. It's just that it ain't right to come charging in and axe the staff, replace them with family and friends and then do deals here and there and expect FBC members to just smile while we put our checks into the offering plate. Plain and simple: it ain't right!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mac - you told me to read my bible, so I did . And I saw clearly that Saturday was and is the Sabbath and Sunday is the "first day of the week." So when you preach about Easter and read the versus about how they went to the tomb on the first day of the week, tell us, was that Saturday or Sunday? And if it was Saturday, than who cares if a local builder closes his business on a Sunday, which is the first day of the week for those of us who read our bibles.

One more observation...sometimes you will point out that what you are saying is "in the bible" like that is a surprise to us. I always wondered why you felt the need to tell us that what you are saying is in fact in the bible. Now I know why, the majority of what you are preaching is NOT in the bible, so when it is, you make darn sure you point it out to us.

Am I the only one that notices this. Like Mac said, only 6 years after Homer Lindsay, Jr. died and none of us know when a man is taking scripture out of context, twisting the clear meaning of them, and preaching for his own agenda? I guess those men all left with the staff. Now Mac has a bunch of yes men who apparently don't read their bibles, and if they do, are too gutless to hold mac to it.

And when can we expect to see more professionally produced commercials for businesses in our church? I recommend Best Fence. The owner is a long time member and could probably use the business plug. Or any good insurance agents or realtors who need a video broadcast to the city and around the country by internet and podcast? Apparently, so far the pulpit is for sale, and all we know so far is that a $307,000 gift will get it done.

Anonymous said...

This Ashley Collins fellow. Who is he, and other than being the son of the man who gave Mac a $300,000 gift when he came to Jacksonville, who is he? What ministry does he have in our church? How long has he been at the church?

Anonymous said...

There are several websites on The A Group and its president Maurilio Amorim. Type in his name and read.
Also, type in Maurilio Amorim Mogul, hit search go to article "The Mega Church Juggernaut". On page four of this article this quote appears:...
Precisely, former Mega Church reverend turned marketing mogul, Maurilio Amorim stated it plainly to the New Yorker (magazine). "We're trying to create a brand for churches....We're trying to create a culture".....(emphasis added). The writer from the New Yorker goes on to say; No doubt. The marketing approach to Christ is funneling millions into Mega Church coffers. And thats on average. Lakewood's label brings in roughly $1 million a week. A prosperous move reports Business Week. This method of marketing and services helps to create loyalty any CEO would envy. Willow Creek (now) ranks in the top 5% of 250 major brands, right up there with Nike and John Deere.

Church what is going on? We are a church. God is not a commodity to be marketed. This is scary...

Anonymous said...

Re: The Discipline Committee threat. Should they come visit me, it might be very expensive for them because then they can talk to my lawyer. Its really sad that the pastor has to threaten the church into liking him. A clue.....its not working.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thank you anon for pointing that out about Maurillio.

The absolute gall of Don Brunson to invoke the name of Homer Lindsay when he only got 50 men to presume to know what Homer would say.

Homer was my pastor, and I can with 100% certainty tell you that if Homer came back right now and saw that Donald (I will no longer refer to him as "Mac") Brunson uses a church marketing consultant, and takes the tithes and offerings from the good people of FBC Jax and pays them to marketing guru Maurillio Amorim, Homer would throw Donald Brunson out on his ear.

Please Donald, don't ever, ever tell us again that you know what Homer Lindsay would say or think.

We knew Homer, and Homer would throw you out and your church marketing consultant out on your ear in a heartbeat.

Here is a direct link to the article that talks about church marketing that quotes Maurillio Amorim:

Maurilio Amorim

The only question is this: Knowing Homer would through Donald and Maurilio out on their ear, how long will it take us to do the same and get in here a loving humble pastor?

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - I'm a long time member of FBC and appreciate your site and the information that is shared. However, it bothers me to hear Dr. Linsday refered to as Homer. Most of us didn't call him by his first name when he was alive and I don't know why that should change now. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with you about the need to make our services available on line like these other churches have done.

When we do this, and I hope we will, it then allows every aspect of our ministry to have global reach.

For instance, letting anyone in the world hear the incredible music in our services, and watch even the faces of our choir members as they sing to the Lord without words on a page, will minister to people's hearts I'm certain. Allowing people worldwide see and hear our young people who play and sing on some Sunday nights, and their small group ensembles...all of this will have worldwide impact!

Only problem: none of that helps further the Mac Brunson brand. So our media offering will only be going to advertising and to get Mac's sermons on TV when it should go to getting our services made available on the Internet.

If Mac were to leave, I would be willing to bet it would take the new pastor less than 2 weeks to get our services archived on the Internet. So far, two years, nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9;24 ask "Why do we need the A Group?" The answer is quite obvious....Maurillio is a long time family friend of the Brunsons. He is one of the family insiders. Gotta keep all of the TEAM employed you know. I'd love to know how much FBC Jax has paid to the A Group since they were put on the payroll. I bet the amount would stagger us.

And just looking at the A group attempt at a web site is quite embarrasing. Cutting edge...I think not. Remembering back before the A Group was given everything...the FBC Website was so far advanced technically and creatively....and the sermons were archived for anyone, worldwide to listen to free of charge, with no mention of donations.

It's a shame that people don't realize what is going on with In Light...just wondering if In Light is an attempt by Dr. Brunson to be like Dr.Charles Stanley's In Touch Ministry. I'm not sure but I bet if someone would check, Dr. Stanley does not have First Baptist Atlanta co mingle funds from the church to the In Touch Ministry.

The 24-7 web ministries of sending our church services around the world via the internet is most cost efficient and reaches many more people than limited availability national broadcastingvia In Light. Missionaries, military and former members are blessed through the web broadcasts of various great churches. Our church services including the music should be available worldwide for those who love First Baptist Jacksonville.

Another question..is it possible for someone to check which church paid for the InLight broadcast bill when Dr. Brunson left Dallas and came to Jax. FBC Dallas or FBC Jax. I have this funny feeling that FBC Jax paid the bill from day when the Brunsons arrived.

Paul Z said...

There are two things I read in the comments I would like to mention.

First, the so called "IMAG" church. What is so wrong with that? Is this a case of you not understanding the concept? It's something that doesn't fit in the FBC Jax box you are used to so it is automatically wrong? Or do you have experience with one and hate the idea? I ask this because it is not just a pastor preaching on a big screen. The SATELLITE CAMPUS basically becomes a church of it's own under the name of the larger church which put it there. There are people who have seen FBC on TV and would probably like to attend but think the place is too big, too far, too distant, or whatever else. There are also some members of the church who would probably love the idea of attending a campus nearer to where they live. Satellite campuses still have Sunday School classes, live worship music, and the part that you may not realize, their own pastor and staff for that campus who get to know the congregation and minister to them as needed. I believe their are occasions they preach as well. When you get sick downtown, how often did Lindsay, Vines, or Brunson ever visit? That's what the hospital pastors and department leaders are for. Again, you don't have to like the concept or think it's for you, but to just dismiss it as "trying to get your brand out there" basically dismissing any idea it's to make things for the people you are trying to reach more convenient is completely ridiculous. Several churches in this city have satellite campuses and while they are personally not my cup of tea, I don't dog them for having them.

Also, about this brand issue. If lives are being changed, and people coming to know Christ, what does it matter? It doesn't mean I think these places do everything perfect or that I wouldn't do many things in an opposite way. I just don't see the big deal. And if with their "brand" they are bringing in millions of dollars but those millions are going to help the cause of Christ, I really don't see the issue.

I realize everything I posted is not going to be popular and will probably be ripped to shreads because they are non-profit or something. Just remember, I never said they were turning their staff into millionaires and that was ok. I am saying if their books are honest and open, and $5,000 toilet seats being bought (i.e. people like Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, etc)then I don't see what the problem is.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Paul - you're missing the point.

This blog has never been about satellites or not satellites. Its not about methods, its about abuses.

Vines considered some sort of satellite concept, but knew he was too close to the end of his ministry and worked to get the church in good financial and spiritual health for the next man to implement creative new ideas. I'm not against certain ideas of Brunson, I'm against his heavy-handed treatment of his congregation, his lack of telling the whole truth to get his congregation to follow him, and poor financial decisions that will end up harming our church in the long run.

About Lindsay and Vines visiting someone in the hospital...very rare indeed. But that is not the point as it relates to the nationwide TV ministry that Brunson wants our church to donate to. If Brunson wants his sermons to go nationwide like Stanley and Rogers, let his 501(c)3 raise the funds, NOT FIRST JAX. Neither Mac nor any of our church staff or members will be visiting the couple in Ohio whose email has been read 3 times from the pulpit. So he is collecting money not for a church ministry, but for a preaching ministry of his own. Please don't insult our intelligence by telling us that it is OUR ministry that he is collecting money for. He wants a brand name like Stanley and Rogers and he's using us to fund it.

About the branding, you're also missing the point.

There are plenty of solid "marketing" techniques that the church can use to reach the lost. But Mac is seeking to build his own personal "brand" through the "Mac Brunson Podcast" and Mac's sermons nationwide, while he is showing zero leadership in helping our church establish a strong Internet site and Internet broadcast ministry. If Mac were to leave the church today, his Mac Brunson Podcast would go with him, and any TV ministry that he established would also go with him, just as Rogers' LWF is still operating separate from Bellevue long after his death. I'm not saying that is wrong...I'm saying its WRONG to hold your hand out to the church asking them to give you money for your own branding under the guise of it being part of the "church ministry".

What our church needs to do is have our own podcasts, our own archived video streams under our OWN BRAND NAME...so when Mac finally leaves we have our own podcast and video ministry that will continue to minister to people. We can't let Mac Brunson and the A-Group steal all the credit and glory by having his own podcast and nationwide TV broadcast, while we have less of an Internet broadcast capability than a church of several hundred people. Can you see what I'm saying?

Paul Z said...

Watchdog, my last comments weren't directed at anything you said at all. It was to some other comments I saw in this comment section.

I totally agree with you about the abuses and that's fine. I also agree about the lack of doing anything productive on the website (although I do not fault the church for putting money into producing LOCAL TV first, internet second). FBC Jax used to be considered in many ways cutting edge on technology for it's day or at least in the frontrunner of church production, in fact, I think they were still one of the few churches who televised live ever. However, now they look like a shell of their former selves in every way.

Anonymous said...

FBC JAX was always on the cutting edge technology wise...TV and internet. Then enter Team Brunson and their advisor the A Group. The A Group decides that they are the know all and everything is pulled so that the A group could be in control and make their millions (and I'm sure if anyone could check the records in the last couple of years it would be that and more). The excellent website down...so that the A Group could redesign (with very basic graphics) and charge of course for the consulting, design and upkeep. None of which was necessary.

Also, the new FBC Jax logo was designed....did any one else notice but me that it resembles the log for the Jacksonville Public Library two blocks away. I'm sure the out of town A Group did not even know that because they know nothing about Jacksonville.

And how elementary is You Belong @ First? I wonder how much we paid for that? Cutting edge marketing. A group of 2nd graders could have come up with that. Well, maybe 6th graders.

Our state of the art TV technology in High Definition is now growing cobwebs. The A Group does not think it is necessary....and when high definition TV sales are going through the roof. Live high definition Sunday broadcasts should are cutting edge. Not an attempt to pay for a "ministry" that Jacksonville viewers cannot even get locally. Could it be that the ministry is building a "brand" that the Team can take with them into retirement to feather their nests.

Today is Easter and a special time for reflection on What the Lord has done for me.

I have become so burdened as I now am begining to see what is happening at my church. And what is happening with the sacrificial giving and how it is being squandered.

It pains me to see how far down the current leadership as taken us. Also, the leadership (If you can call it that) of the A team. I even remember the talk on the 2nd floor administration building when everyone knew that Maurillio would be in town. It was common knowledge that he was the hatchet man and common knowledge that when he came to town there would be another staff member "being called of the Lord" to move on.

I love my church and thank God for the Watchdog. When there is a wrong someone will stand....apparently the yes men who surround the Team are too blinded by their ambition and perceived clout to stand for what is right for FBC JAX.

Why can the A Group not see that Jacksonville is a city that is still most effective when we are striving to reach the CITY for Christ not build Team Brunson.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Very well said Anon.

Now, for the part that really hurts.

Church, do a Google on "The A Group" and look at their website.

What you will see will either make you sick, or make you cry, perhaps both.

There you will see beautiful, fit and trim, tanned Marillio Amorim using our church materials in his "portfolio" to further market himself to other churches to do their promos and marketing and websites for them. We paid him obviously to do that awfully hard Christian work that only a Nashville marketing firm can do, that is design artwork and come up with catchy slogans for preacher sermon series and special events. Thank God for the A-Group, what WOULD we have done without them the last two years?

How low have we sunk that we have to pay some out of town marketing group in Nashville to do all of our artwork and concepts rather than using our own staff and maybe even our own church members, or perhaps local companies that likely would charge much less and are familiar with our city and its needs?

Would someone on the finance committee please post here anonymously and tell us how much of our tithes and offerings are going to this marketing firm? If its less than 6 figures per year I'll eat the invoice - with no salt or pepper.

And when you go to their web site, you'll see something else that sickens you.

Along side the FBC Jax pieces of his "portfolio" is the work that Maurillio does for Calvin Klein and Tommy Bahama...so Mac has joined our church with a marketing firm that also does work for Calvin Klein and Tommy Bahama. Visit the Tommy Bahama (www.tommybahama.com) website managed by our consultant Maurillio if you ever need to buy a "beer pilsner set" for $49, or a "Wine Away" bottle for your favorite wine for $10, or maybe your home bar needs a "tropical shot glass set" for $39. I myself liked the "Embossed 5 oz flask" so I can carry around my Jack Daniels in my bible pouch along with my Christian tracts, and of course no home is complete without their "brown leather cigar and flash set" for $98.

Maurillio - are you a church marketing firm or are you a commercial marketing firm helping to peddle alcohol and tobacco paraphanalia? You don't seem to be such a smart marketer after all, since you seem to be diluting your brand of Christian marketing by doing work in the secular area.

Hey Mac and Trey, I'm sure you'll be reading this while your family is on their 2-week Meteranean vacation (by the way, too bad you couldn't find time in your vacation schedule to meet our visitors on the one day that we arguably have the largest numbers of visitors - we definitely see where your priorities lie!) you said if Homer came back he'd want to know why you only got 50 men to pray with you. Something tells me that if he came back he'd have just a few questions for YOU dear sir about how you dole out God's money to marketing firms.

Have a great vacation Team Brunson, we'll hold the fort down for you until you get back. Maurillio is hard at work designing the logos for your next sermon series, and I'm sure those proofs will be on your desk when you get back.

Anonymous said...

I may be over paying my pastor if, during this recession, he can afford a family vacation in the Med. Sea. Every penny he spends came from someone who put that money in the offering plate for missions and for the Lord's work. Explain to me how this high living can be justified!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the results of the "missions trip" when they get back. How much missions work is being done compared to sight seeing? I think there's likely more time spent sight seeing and clowning for cute photos than doing missions work.

Concerning Paul Z's question about what's wrong with satellite churches. I think the better question would be what's right about it. Why not start a church and then help that church to be autonomous? Why have a church that stays a part of FBC? If each satellite location has a preacher then why not let that preacher do the preaching? Why does it have to be Doc Brunson? As to older folk who can't get there or people who think the church is too big, etc., why couldn't they just stay home and watch FBC on TV? Or join a church closer to their home? It's not like FBC is the ONLY church in the area!

It just seems as though everything FBC is doing is about promoting Doc Brunson!