"...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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Let FBC Jacksonville be Your Third Place"

Received an email from someone who has seen several new TV commercials that have been running late at night, perhaps on Channel 12 or Fox News. Maybe we paid for those in our special "Media Evangelism" offering on Resurrection Day.

One of the TV spots could be entitled "Your Third Place". It features Mac holding a large coffee cup, probably in his study as it looks like there are books in the background, and explaining how the success of Starbucks is attributed to their stores being not just "coffee shops" but "third places" in peoples' lives. Mac explains how everyone needs a "third place" in addition to their "home" and "work" - the third place where they can gather, relax, meet people, etc. Starbucks has created environments at which people are comfortable as the "third place" in their lives.

Then Mac says: "Why not consider something very radical: make FBC Jacksonville your 'third place'". He says a few other words about the church, then closes with the very witty invite: "You visit FBC Jacksonville, and after the service the coffee is on me.". Aw shucks, Mac wants to buy you a cup o' joe; oh boy, I can see the crowds coming to have some coffee with Mac - is he just speaking figuratively, or is there a place where we can enjoy a latte with Mac?

Nothing new and innovative here; the church marketing bunch has been presenting this concept of the church as the "third place" in people's lives for quite a while. I'm just not sold on the idea that our church is really going to be an attractive place for some person to try it out as their "third place".

Just thought I'd share this with you, since its likely you'll not hear anything from Mac on the results of the Media Evangelism offering otherwise he'd have told you already and you might not be up late enough to see these spots. As one poster said here earlier, the decision to buy the TV spots and the decision to put Mac on INSP network was probably already made and in the works - the Media Evangelism offering was really not really a means of raising the funds so we could do these things - but a ploy to raise funds to help pay for something already decided upon. My guess is that we'll hear nothing about the Media Evangelism offering, but come May we'll see InLight back on at INSP network. You can bet the Watchdog will be watching and will let you know.

Your thoughts?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

My thoughts: GET A LIFE!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

My thoughts: definitely get a life if you have time to visit blogs that upset you and cause you to post things like GET A LIFE.

Anonymous said...

Hey America, what is next up from the "informative watchdog"?

Na na na boo booo?

Now, lets assume the "dog" spends 77 hours a week at home, 40 hours at work, and 6 hours a week at church (how many on the blog, I wonder?). Would church be "third place" or "fourth place"?
Inquiring minds want to know!

We may need Prof. Ghost to explain the math on this one for us. Anyone know where to find him? He seems to have disappeared!

Paul Z said...

I don't see anything offensive or wrong with it. It's an advertising campaign. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. The question is does even one person see it, come to church because of it (either now or remembers it 5 years from now when their life is in shambles), gets saved, and their lives turned around. If so, it's a success. If not, well, they tried. I don't understand why you are making light of it at all really.

Paul Z said...

Boy Anon 1:08's argument was relevant and informative....oh wait, no it wasn't.

Is the comment section here going to now engage in a "how many hours do you spend here, there, and everywhere else" contest?

If you don't agree with his post (like I didn't) then state why. All I ask (and with no authority to do so) is please don't turn this into a "mine is bigger than yours" thread.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03pm - LOL!

I don't really see anything "wrong" with it, but I wonder if it could really work.

How are "starbucks" people supposed to make FBC their 3rd place when it is only open on Sunday, Wednesday night and Thursday for lunch.

I would think something like opening the library up to allow for a gathering place or a section of the dining room with coffee would make more sense. Then you could have a few trained people to mingle with the visitors, establish relationships, etc. that could possibly lead to an opportunity to share the gospel with them.

I could see having some kind of small groups, discipleship, lunch-n-learn meetings, etc.

Steve W

Anonymous said...

Paul, do you actually expect to see either a relevant or informative argument from this blog?

Defenses of our pastor are dismissed, called unintelligent or completely misconstrued. Even when the truth is spoken, it is shot down.There is nothing relevant coming from this place.

If you want relevant information, go to the source. Don't go to the Cyber-Enquirer.

Paul Z said...

Anon 3:39, the point is if you are going to lower yourself to doing the same, then you are no better than what you perceive the Watchdog to be. That's what I was getting at.

Do I expect fair analysis here of everything at First Baptist Downtown or pastor are doing? Absolutely not. I take a lot of what he says (like this latest blog entry) with a handful of salt. But did I respond to it by throwing mud, asking about how many hours he works, blogs, prays, has sex with his wife, calling names, or anything else? No, I didn't. I decided to respond in an intelligent manner and back up my views with reasons why I feel that way. I do believe there is some credence though to certain things he does bring up. Some of what I disagree with I just don't bother to responding to because I feel the premise of which he comes from is unchangeable so there is no reason to get in depth with it (i.e. Whitney Phipps).

My only concern was I was hoping it didn't break down into, like I said, a "accounting for every minute of every day" and the usual fundamental super spiritual "I pray and read my bible x number of minutes a day, what about you Watchdog" type of thing that allegedly takes the spiritual temperature of everyone. Basically, a whole bunch of things that aren't all that relevant to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Check out Frist Baptist of Dallas Website.. They proudly offer Brew Starbcuks/Cafe/Bookstore. Has Starbucks Menu....?????
Hm! sounds like it may be coming our way!

Anonymous said...

Check out First Baptist of Dallas website, they ofer Proudly Brew Starbucks. Cafe/bookstore. Have Full Starbucks Menu. Hm! Sounds like we may be getting the Stars sent our way~

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason says:

Steve W - your post makes a lot of sense. I agree that if we want to try and cater to the "starbucks" generation, we should use our facilities as Starbucks does. Comfortable couches, informal setting, with weekly hours day and night. Perhaps have good young ministers like Marcus Allen, Jr., Dan Elkins and Jim Smyrl there as "hosts." Those guys are for real and know how to "mingle" while reaching the lost.

Nothing against Mac personally, but he will never be attractive to that generation. The idea though, is not a bad one. I hope Mac follows up on this though, and stays out of the way of it. Coming by to meet him (when he decides to be there) is not going to help reach people.

Those are my thoughts, WD.

Anonymous said...

Why are we advertising Starbucks? What do they have to do with the church?

Ghost said...

Anon said...
We may need Prof. Ghost to explain the math on this one for us. Anyone know where to find him? He seems to have disappeared!

I wrote two posts back...I haven't disappeared but perhaps if I weren't such a "coward" as people like you and Robert so lovingly called me and would just post my name I could be dragged before Big Mac's mighty discipline committee and I would finally just disappear by being thrown out of the church, huh? ....Also, if you have something to ask why don't you register a name and contact me? I didn't feel the need to post on the last thread...I'm thrilled that Debbie has gotten a new post that might keep her occupied. Perhaps now she will have less time to filter Mac's email and perhaps one of the emails sent by us recalcitrant back-slidden beauty salon gossiping bloggers will actually reach Mac Brunson. That would be profound if the Pastor actually read and replied to his emails wouldnt it?

Also, regarding people making FBC their "Third Place" I know the perfect location that we could fix up and create an environment at the church where people feel they can come and spend time. As a matter of fact there is a very large space on the ground floor of the children's building...oh wait, I forgot...that space is occupied with Big Mac's VIP Suite...what was I thinking?

Anonymous said...

Did Mac's commercial tell people the whole truth? That if they had that cup of coffee on him, and later joined the church, they would "agree" to be disciplined and they would have to give a minimum of 10% of their gross income to God or "be cursed with a curse" per Malachi 3?

Or is he not telling the whole truth in those ads?

Anonymous said...

Paul, I was just kidding about the questions. I was joking about the dog's view about the "Third Place" thread he started.

"Some of what I disagree with I just don't bother to responding to because I feel the premise of which he comes from is unchangeable so there is no reason to get in depth with it (i.e. Whitney Phipps)."

And you know what? You are exactly right. WD sets up a premise (Pastor bad, WD good) and runs with it. That is the absurdity of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked if the preacher was going to really have coffee with people after church like he hints at in the ad.

Nope, you won't be having coffee with the pastor. He was referring to the guest reception after am Sunday church. You take your guest through the line, shake hands with the pastor and Miss Debbie and several other people and then you walk over to a table and get coffee and a cookie.

Anyone expecting a Starbucks setting is going to be sorely disappointed. The atmosphere isn't exactly like Starbucks. To tell you the truth it isn't one bit like Starbucks cozy setting. It would be more like, say, walking through a line and getting a cookie...

Anonymous said...

Check out www.worshipexpo.org... It took place last September 20-22 in Tampa, Fl. Does this sound like a business or not? As you can see Team Brunson was there.

Looks more like a rock concert to me. They state they are into worship style and worship philosophy, networking, small groups.

Is this the philosophy of the new emerging church?

Purpose Driven, Purpose Driven, Purpose Driven!!!. Wake up people.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone find out what the offering was for Brunson's tv ministry on Easter? It was certainly loudly promoted to give.
Now they don't have the courtesy to tell us how much money was given to him.

I guess after its given, its only his business not ours.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:46 - I often think that many people who post here are not seeing the issues at all and your post just confirmed it. You summed it up: The blog is all about "Pastor Bad, Watchdog good." Unfortunately, not everything is so simple and black and white. Someday you will grow to understand this. Until then, leave it to the grown ups to discuss that althought the pastor is "good", he still makes mistakes and his actions need to be questioned and adapted at time. And the Watchdog is not "bad" because he blogs about his concerns. But I do realize that we as Christians as a group have a hard time engaging our society because we tend to think and communicate in such black and white, good vs. bad thinking. The problem is, what we like and what we prefer ends up being "good" and what we don't like, or we have convictions about is "bad" and those that disagree with us are evil, or lost, and we criticize them. Mac is obviously a good man. But he is also arrogant, stubborn, has the love of money, is fleecing the congregation and is not being held accountable. Therefore, he is unable to lead this congregation as perhaps he could have. That is my opinion. No judgment as to him being "bad", that is ridiculous. He is good. Very good. Better than I, for sure. But still, he makes the blog necessary.

Anonymous said...

I know that Homer would not be happy with third at anything EVER. Thanks for the interesting posts on the new marketing campaign. I just wonder does the pastor ever stop by the jail, hospitals, or nursing homes and minister to the people there?. If he doesn’t I know someone who did and still does.

Pastor Rod H. said...

I was baptisted by Dr.Homer L.and I rememeber his warm character and his Christ exalting preaching,believe me Dr.Mac is no Homer.Will some one please explain to me what possessed Dr.Brunson to have the Day of Faith at 1st Baptist that included unbelievers,atheist,agnostics and other religions.I imagine that the prophet Elijah should have consulted with Dr.Brunson before confronting the false prohets on Mount Carmel and the vascillating Jewish people[1Kings 18:21].It appears to me that Dr.Brunson is attempting to use worldly lures to draw people instead of lifting up Christ and "He will draw all men to Himself"[John 12:32].I have listened to Dr.John MacAutur for some 12 years and comparing his idea of ministry to that of Dr.Brunson I would say that the latter's ministry is more like Rick Warren's(Purpose Driven Church).Watchdog faithfully continue to do what you are doing and make sure it is motivated by your love for the purity of Christ and his word and His Church.People who admire men more than Christ will always attack the messenger.Paul said a time would come when people would reject truth and embrace error,they will chose men because their ears are itching[2Tim.4:3-4;2Thes.2:3].Watchdog as and outsider looking in your church is looking more and more like the world...God help you.But please don't stop giving the warning believe me some people are listening.

Anonymous said...

Please explain to me why Dr.Brinson allow the Day of Faith which included atheist,agnostics,unbelievers and other relgions to use your facilities.I am sure that Elijah and the Apostle Paul would have approved of that[1Kings 18:21;2Cor.6:14].Watchdog continue to warn the people who will listen because you guys seem to be in big trouble.Pastor Rod H.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Rod - I never criticized Mac Brunson for the day of faith at FBC Jax. I did criticize the church for making a false claim on its website that crime dropped after the day of faith from the previous year, when in fact statistics showed it actually rose significantly. While I am aware of the purpose driven movement, that is not what I have ever been critical of Mac Brunson about. He might or might not be - there are parts of things he wants to accomplish that fit under the purpose driven movement, but I don't think he's wholesale purpose driven. He could lead in these directions, but unless he addresses these concerns of what I refer to as abuses, he can't lead in any direction - whether purpose driven or not.

So the purpose of this blog is not to criticize the direction of his leadership of purpose driven or not purpose driven - I suppose I don't mind people bringing this up and discussing it, but my concern is that he stop the abuses that I've outlined here.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I do have to add I was also extremely critical of Mac's decision to host the "Time to Stand for Israel"...not because of it being ecumenical or purpose driven, but I didn't see how hosting it was consistent with our church's mission of spreading the gospel, in fact that it might serve to confuse people in our community of our stand that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and that the funds raised were going to an Israel hospital at which abortions are performed, and that it appeared he was hosting it at the insistence of "prominent deacons". Also, strangely he tried to maintain some distance from the event by saying "we are hosting it not sponsoring it" (if we wouldn't want to "sponsor it" why would we host it)...and to make matters worse, the man didn't bother to explain it to his congregation except the Sunday before the event. And his explanation was that "Jesus was a Jew" and that Mac supports the Jews. That was it. I posted quite a few articles on this explaining why this was a terrible decision to host it, but he never addressed any of those concerns to his congregation. Consequently the attendance at the event was very, very low, not even 1000. But this was just an example of how he chose to use our church facilities for something that HE thought worthwhile, but really an objective observer would say had no business being held at our church.

I argued the same position of the Jews for Jesus that these events held at churches that don't present the Jews need for Jesus do a great disservice to our Jewish friends by confirming them in their lost state. Then a few weeks after the event Mac bragged as only he can, about how everytime someone at the event got up to spoke they had to stand in front of all the names of Jesus.

Just a classic example of Mac's poor leadership...unless you are a staunch Mac Brunson supporter, and that event is EXACTLY WHY you DO support Mac Brunson - he's doing very "innovative" things to reach out to the community. But I saw that event as a terrible decision. And the low turn out I think bears that out.

Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to stroll through Liberty Baptist Church in Lynchburg VA. They have what is called "main street". It is open 24 hours with coffee shops, reading areas, book nooks...

I thought it was a great idea if the church is going to be relevant to our present culture with the truth. 3 meetings a week is not going to get it any more. Every church must ask if they are willing to do whatever it takes to reach a lost world for Jesus.

Those who choose to do so will succeed, the rest will survive. Along the way some of those churches will have members who will oppose basically everything the pastor does to reach the world.

I will be the first to say that there are many pastors out of touch when it comes to reaching our world for Christ but there are more members per capita (IMPO - of course) who are clueless to such thinking.

Thanks WD for letting us know Mac is inviting people to church. I guess it could be worse, he could be doing the opposite. But then that would be a stoning reason, too.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:02 - we are all for Mac inviting people to church. You seem to be trying to change the discussion to something we all agree on. If you have read the blog, it is not against Mac inviting people to church. It is about his arrogance, fleecing of the congregation, not being open, not being honest with us about what is going on, treating us as if we are out of touch fools who don't bring or read our bibles. He seems to only be putting up with us only because we give the money. His use of the A-group, nepotism, his greed (see Land Gift discussion, million dollar home, etc.)showing up for only 2 of 7 steering committee meetings,all show poor leadership and lack of sincerity or love or commitment to us and the city.

To repeat what the WD pointed out: We are not criticizing or questioning what he is trying to do, or any changes, or purpose driven or not, or what car he drives, or his salary or any of the stuff he tries to paint himself as a victim about. We are concerned with the way he makes it all about him and changed the by-laws to give even more authority with less accountability. He misleads in his reasons for wanting to start a school downtown ("People aren't home anymore, this is the best way to reach people.")collecting special offerings for budgeted ministries to make up for what he has fleeced us out of already, saying he has the smarts to do something else, playing audio of Homer when he wants us to give, but not playing tapes of Homer about door to door evangelism and why we never thought it necessary to start a school. He seems very angry and bitter and defensive when anyone questions his abuses, and on and on. Every week, he gives us something new to blog about and be concerned about.

But instead of lovingly addressing these ongoing concerns, he attacks and his yes men circle the wagons and begin the process of intimidation and black listing those who dared put their name on any concerns. He thinks his cute little comments and mugging for the camera to emphasize his points will bully us. Overall, I think all of us can agree that the environment he created here really is not letting him lead. But he is too stubborn and arrogant to wisely, lovingly, and yes, humbly deal it. Instead he had Patterson and Vines and others whine about his treatment here. Simply put, the man is a real jerk with no leadership skills but his preaching gift has gotten him in way over his spiritual maturity level. Man is impressed with him for some reason. God is not. Ultimately, you reap what you sow. His days here are already numbered. His supporters are trying to prolong it, but like he did in Dallas, he will bolt after he has taken all he can.

So if you want to say we are saying he is "bad", or we don't want him inviting people, you are still missing the point. IMHO, he trusts others who he believes has more sensitivity to the Holy Spirit than he does and they are giving him bad, bad, wrong, and immature advice. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. He is not the only one, just turn on your TV on Sunday mornings and you will a bevy of slick religious gospel salemen (and ladies) competing for your dollars.

Anonymous said...

To the anon who posted about the Worship Expo....WHAT?!?!?!?!?

This is a worship conference where Pastors, Music Ministers, Children's Choir workers, Technical Ministries, etc. can go to learn, "network" with others (which simply means building relationships--oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Did you even look at the web site? You said the following: "They state they are into worship style and worship philosophy, networking, small groups."

What the site actually says is this: "With the ever growing diversity in worship style and worship philosophy there has never been a greater need to have Senior Pastors and Worship Pastors on the same page as there is today."

So really, before you start spouting off about things, do your research correctly. You have really done a disservice to the folks who might read this blog.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:02 - who ever suggested stoning him? Are you suggesting that voicing some concerns and allowing for discussion of this new man's leadership and his stewardship of the church's reputation and finances is the same as stoning him? Wow, another example of his supporters not seeing reality. This is a blog about the actions of the new man down at the church. It is not stoning anyone. That would be terrible if anyone desired to stone the man. Hold him accountable, yes. Stone him, hate him, slander him, lie about him, complain about his salary or car he drives - NEVER!

Anonymous said...

7:02 These places; coffee shops, etc., already exist they are called Barnes & Noble. Duh!

Relevance is a very poor excuse for bringing the world into the church. Jesus never addressed "relevance" in the Bible. He did say "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's". Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever".

There is no substitue for preaching the word. Many preachers can't preach maybe because they are "not called" in the first place. Thus, arises cheap theatrics, programs, and anything else to substitute. Many preachers have problems because they are preaching(?), in the "Flesh". From this comes an attitude of sales and marketing techniques rather than letting the Holy Spirit lead in convicting men of sin which brings the lost to salvation. WORKS will never subsitute for the Word of God (the Bible) and a real sermon.

Spurgeon had 15,000 every Sunday waiting to hear him preach and that was over 120 years ago prior to Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, McDonalds, etc. I guess you could say he left off the gimmicks because he was actually called to preach and didn't need them. He also had a group of men on their knees praying for him prior to giving his sermons.

Boy could we use him today.

Anonymous said...

Who knows what Spurgeon would be like today. Would he be a corporate CEO? Would he accept gifts worth hundreds of thousands, would he continually take up special offerings, would he put his wife and children on his payroll, would he start a school, would he be given all authority and no accountability by a bunch of yes men, would he use the pulpit to promote local businesses, would he raise money for Jewish hospitals? We can only imagine...