"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The "Remaking" of the FBC Jax "Brand"...

Continuing some thoughts about the satellite ministry concept and the FBC Jax "brand".

From a marketing perspective we can say that our "brand" - the "FBC Jax brand" - has lost market share BIG TIME. The population in metro Jax is growing fast, and thus our stagnation means we've gotten a smaller and smaller slice of an expanding pie. Other churches have come in and seen growth in numbers and in locations in the past 10 years while FBC Jax has been mostly stagnant in worship attendance and Sunday School attendance.

Certainly since Mac arrived, we've tried to re-make our brand somewhat and give it wider appeal (maybe what some would call PD), but the changes have been mostly superficial - we tried the kids dropping robes in choir, we had our choir members wear pastels for a sermon series, we feminized the ushers for a few weeks making them wear aprons (some just a bit too "snug"), tried more contemporary music (but not too much), we've had Jim Smyrl "boldly" stand in the pulpit Wednesday without a tie and criticize those who didn't like that he didn't have a tie - why we even have our deacons "tieless" on Wednesday nights! We even brought in a preacher who was more "redneck" like Jacksonville - we were told he drives a pick-up, eats Krispy Kreme, carries his own groceries, and picks his teeth with business cards. All somewhat moderate attempts at remaking our brand image.

But the sad thing is this: what little changes we've made to our brand to perhaps give it wider appeal and maybe to undo the image that the unchurched in Jax have had of us as being overly-strict, a group of Christian that blindly-follow-the-bossy-preacher, a church more interested in money than souls, a church for movers and shakers....it turns out that the actions of the pastor and our lay leaders (and the exposure of these actions by nosey bloggers) during Brunson's first two years have served perhaps to negate these changes and ironically have actually served to PERPETUATE the image of the "old brand" of FBC Jax! Those who have been members for a long time have heard so many of the stereotypes of our church: that its only for the rich and powerful, that the more money you give the closer you can sit to the front (yes, I've had serious people ask me that in years gone by), that to join the church you have to submit your tax returns, you had to agree to sign a pledge that you would agree to tithe, that Homer Lindsay was like the Bakkers and Swaggerts building the church to make himself rich and build "shrines" to himself (who can forget the "Homer Dome" comments), and even that our church bought up all the "liquor licenses" to try to dry out Duval County in the 1970's and 1980's. Oddly enough, the past two years have served to CONFIRM some of these wrong stereotypes in the minds of our "market" rather than shatter them.

Now comes Mac Brunson - a new day, right? He'll be the one to lead us to shatter these old stereotypes of our church, to make the necessary changes to show Jacksonville what we're REALLY all about. Unfortunately what our church was NOT but was thought to be, has now turned on us and we NOW are what we WERE NOT but the city wrongly thought we were (might have to read that again). The city sees the new pastor not driving a pickup, but he and wife are driving luxury automobiles. They see him not coming into town to roll up his sleeves and get to work winning the lost, but he came here to live on Amelia Island in a luxury multi-million dollar beach front condo his first year. During the first year when Jacksonville was sizing the new preacher up to see what he's all about, the city finds out that perhaps part of his "calling" here to Jax included a $307,000 land gift given by one of our church members. The city sees a man start building a million dollar mansion within WEEKS of moving to Jacksonville. The city now sees that part of the deal was jobs for wife and son with no stated ministry responsibility, which looks like so many of the televangelists that turn people off! They see him sign up for duty on the crime prevention steering committee, but blow off all but 2 of 7 meetings. Those that are listening to him on TV hear a man screaming about people not bringing bibles, preaching the tithe as doctrine and a requirement for God's blessings...and the city says: SAME OLD FIRST BAPTIST JACKSONVILLE. Angry preacher, going to tell me that I have to give 10%, all the while he's getting rich off the deal, and wants me to dig deep. They're hearing that he ram-rodded bylaw changes through creating a discipline committee without any explanation...and oh yes even less detail now on the financial matters. Why he even saw fit to build a new office suite for $100k in the prime location of our church property - the new children's building. Our "market" looks at this and says No thanks, looks like its not a "new day" at FBC Jax like the A-Group logo says - instead in the minds of our market, its "the same old day" down at the old church.

This is the frustration Mac has faced. He and the A-Group knew to get FBC Jax back growing again the "brand" was going to need some modernization. But Mac has sensed opposition to many of the modernization techniques that he knows are necessary. Some changes have been made, but other changes have been resisted. He has resorted to blaming his congregation.
So what to do? 1. Spend $500,000 to start a school that has a brand name that carries lots of baggage, and 2. Start satellite churches even though our growth is stagnant and we have plenty of excess capacity in our downtown location.

Part 3 tomorrow I'll discuss in more detail the phenomena of church satellites.

43 comments:

Robert L. Peeples said...

You're like the former White House press secretary Scott McClellan of FBC Jax.

I know why you see everything in our church from this viewpoint expreessed on your blog. It's because you want the church you attend to fit your needs and abide by the rules you think should churches should govern themselves by. You're trying to make church all about you when it's all about JESUS CHRIST!

Anonymous said...

You people who are criticizing Watchdog for his valid concerns about the direction of your Church are unbelievable.Veiwing your vitrolic attitudes toward what appears to be genuine and troubling actions by the pastor is beyond understanding.Watchdog you are very wise to conceal your identity base on the hostile responses by your fellow Church members.And believe me if they knew who you were they would treat you like a leper. I notice no Biblical support to refute any of the accusations you have so clearly portrayed.All I am witnessing are baseless insults and crude humor. I will again ask Mr.Robert or Mr.Brett or anyone for that matter;Why did Dr.Brunson allow the Day of Faith to be held at your Church facilities knowing that atheist,agonostics and those of other relgions,most being opposed to Christ as God and Savior or those who do not believe one is saved by faith alone in Christ alone? Would Elijah(1Kings 18:21)or the Apostle Paul(2Cor.6:14-18)have condoned such a decision? There are seeds of ecumenism among other things seeping in at FBC,which reveal only the tip of a far greater problem.Watchdog keep at it many will listen. (et.al. Paul Revere).

Robert L. Peeples said...

Anon 4:23am,

If the day of faith is the closest thing we can get to the real issue of faith in our city, don't you think we as a church have the responsibility of taking charge and leading our city with this event? What you're saying is you would rather not have atheists or agnostics in our church. I think it's great that we were able to bring them into our church! They need it! Any opportunity that we have to get lost people into church is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: You are correct in your analysis. One thing to remember is the topic of CHANGE. Mac wanted to set our minds at ease with no ties, aprons, choir dress.etc. After 168 years of tradition Mac and the A-Group have taken us to a new level, DOWNWARD. What has this achieved?

Less baptism's.
Smaller number of people attending.
No growth.
Lack of transparency. What's he doing and why?
People on the inside and on the outside looking at perks and BIG MONEY.
Mac talking down to congregants.
Mac telling members they are mean spirited and legalistic (which shows a great deal of ungratefullness on his part, after what he has been given).
Replacement of long time staff who were called here to serve until he arrived.
Mac's unhappiness with things.
Mac's sermons always about him.
Mac's use of Old Test 90% of time.
Mac's constant history lessons.
Long time members leaving.
PD is all around us which they call church transition, I call it church destruction.
Can't accomplish anything without school or home cells and we know church visitation is an old way which has to be replaced (even though it worked for years and years).This a trend toward Calvinism as they believe God will save whom He wants to save.

I have yet to hear from any Brunson supporter what any of these changes has done FOR the cause of Christ. We are now in a decline and in reverse regardless of what "figures" you are given.

I suggest that these Mega church pastors revisit whatever semi-annual or annual meeting they meet to pray and return to the past as soon as possible.IT WORKED AND THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT...LEAVE THE BRANDS TO THE BLUE JEANS OR SOME OTHER IDENTITY NOT THE CHURCH. ITS SUPPOSED TO BE GOD'S HOUSE NOT SOME BRAND....

I suggest a good dose of humility before the Lord would maybe save our churches.We are talking about lost souls hanging in the balance between heaven and hell.

Preach the WORD.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:23,

Hostile responses? . . .What am I part of the FBC mafia? You don't know me obviously. I can not speak for others but I for one don't care to know the mutt's identity, unless he's buying lunch.

Maybe treating people as lepers is how you would react but you can not speak for me. Again I go back to my Saviour and Grace . . . with that in mind who am I to treat others as if I am more worthy?

It hurts you calling my light hearted comments "crude humor". Please tell me this is not the worst you have experienced? If it is the mutt comment that offends you read a couple threads ago as to why I use that term . . .I have found my humor to be quite entertaining . . .of course I am bias.

You ask,
"Why did Dr.Brunson allow the Day of Faith to be held at your Church facilities knowing that atheist,agonostics and those of other relgions,most being opposed to Christ as God and Savior or those who do not believe one is saved by faith alone in Christ alone?"

Why did Christ sit with the tax collector's, gentiles and the unchurched? Oh my he even spoke with the Harlot.

I can't speak for Brunson or his desires but could it be that he had a gameplan? Maybe . . . just maybe? Come on you can say it . . .

I will ask you as I have many others. I might be wrong with my assumptions can you say the same? That your premise could be faltered? Think for a minute . . .

PS. Do you actually use words like "vitrolic" (actually spelled vitriolic) in your everyday conversations? I mean doesn't spiteful or harsh carry the same weight? just asking

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

Anonymous said...

One thing I just cannot figure out.

How does Mac reach Jacksonville and the surrounding area when he is in Branson, Pigeon Forge, Schroon Lake, North Carolina, Georgia, and wherever? I do not recall either Dr Lindsay or his dad running all over the country. They were pastors of a local church. Can we get back to that mold or is that archaic? Just thinking.

Gullible Sheep said...

Usually when people don't like a certain brand of whatever product they are purchasing, they don't buy it. They stop buying that brand of soda, cheese, or whatever. So if you don't like what the church is doing or how they are approaching the city in terms of evangelism, then move on and find another brand of church. Go to a church that you think is doing a better job ministering to the city of Jacksonville.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robert and Brett for your clear and candid answers.But unfortunately the Day of faith was not a gathering for evangelizing,but a day for all who attended to pray to God for the crime and murder rate in Jacksonville to cease.Now tell me gentlemen does the God of the Bible hear the prayers of those who reject His Son,and are we to join in joint prayer with rank unbelievers? Again I reference Elijah(1Kings 18:21)and the Apostle Paul's command(2Cor.6:14-18).Brett Christ accepted anyone who would humble themselves,acknowledge their sins and believe in Him for salvation.But those such as the Pharisee's who were Christ rejecters,there is no evidence in scripture that He ever prayed corporately with them.As a matter of fact Jesus scolded them with these words "I SAID THERFORE TO YOU,THAT YOU SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS:FOR IF YOU BELIEVE NOT THAT I AM HE,YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS". There response to Jesus challenge was this "Who are You?[John 8:24-25a].The tax collecters,harlots and other sinners sought Jesus out for forgivness,but the Sanhedrin(rejecters) turned Him over to be crucified. We are in the last days and both you and Mr.Roberts are prime candidates for the ONE WORLD RELIGION OF ECUMENICALISM. Also thanks Mr.Brett for correcting me on my spelling,that is a word that I often use in conversation but rarely use when writing or blogging.Watchdog may the Lord be with you and sustain you because you're going to need it. IT IS WRITTEN!!!

Anonymous said...

Watchdog Gullible Sheep is absolutely correct.FBC IS DONE.This is happening more and more not only in your mega-churches but all thru out Christendom. Anon 9:59 is correct as well,"many long time members" have abandoned the ship and I believe in the near future you will have to leave as well(think about Lot Gen.19:15-16).But remember your allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ.CONTINUE THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!!! IT IS WRITTEN

Robert L. Peeples said...

Anon,

Could you please explain this one world religion of Ecumenicalism.
I know that the world will seek universal peace and that maybe we are in that process now. I know that there will be an Anti-Christ but I have never heard of Ecumenicalism. Could you please further explain this phenomenon.

TB said...

I posted the 2007 numbers yesterday and you still complain about a lack of openess. Nothing will satisfy you.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:21,

First off if you and I ever meet don't use such fancy words . . . I'd leave :)

Secondly, please respond to Robert and myself seperately. I am sure he is a fine man but i prefer to stand on my personal statements not as a group.

You have stated many opinions in your post.

Obviously you are using 2 Corinthians to explain we should not be unequally yoked . . . You and I agree.

One day of prayer is not a yoke. Yokes were instruments to BIND them together . . . that has not happened. You speak as if you have the evangilizing market cornered . . . I have seen God reach people in my life through many means I am sure you would not find acceptable, but it happened.

The Elijah comment and verse I really don't see the correlation. There is no "faltering" God is Lord in my life and in my church (my opinion).

The Harlot at the well did not seek God out, he went to her. Zacheus God called out . . . went and ate with him, you think he prayed before they ate? Through out God's word he reached out to those you are willing to discard. Why you would have tossed me out along time ago . . . thank God for true Grace!

Where is the line drawn is the real topic . . . That goes back to the whole reason I started posting. You need God's guidance to truly know that (my opinion).

Those other beliefs are in direct conflict with my beliefs and they carry no more weight in my walk than does comments from you. That to me is what God has called me to do. Know what you believe and stand firm . . . nothing rocks that for me and my family!

As for me being a part of a one world religion :) I struggle not to use some of my light heated humor to explain but lets just leave it at; and you know this because?

Have you any idea who is in me? Do you really think a child of God, tuned into his Saviour (reread this), could "falter" into that? Unless you are claiming that I really don't know my Saviour? Are you prepared to make that claim?

That would be a grandiloquent statement. Since you like fancy words I threw one back at you :)

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

Robert L. Peeples said...

Yes, TB. Sad....but true.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Mr.Peeples,ecumenicalism is basically the setting aside of religious differences for the sake of unity.This has become a very dangerous world,with the increase in all types of crimes,the threat of Islamic fundalmentalism,the constant banter for homosexual rights and many other vices,the last thing we need is battle between the worlds religions. Now if all religions will just put aside their differences and join forces in a united fight we could solve humanities problems.The problem for you and I as Christians is that we can no longer state the exclusivity of Christ over all other religious doctrines.To do so would be intolerant and would destroy the unity that supposedly will help solve all are problems and bring world peace.When ask by His disciples what would be the sign of His coming and the end of time Jesus stated three times to be on alert for religious deception[Matt.24:5,11,24].The great Apostle Paul wrote "But the Holy Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in the latter times some will depart from the faith,giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach"[1Tim.4:1]Paul also command Timothy to be diligent to preach the Word "For a time is coming when they(people) will not tolerate sound and healthy teaching,but after their own desires will they heap to themselves teachers who will tickle their ears; And they will turn away theirs ears from the truth,and shall be turned to fables"(man made fictions)[2Tim.4:3-4].Also Paul mentions in 2 Thes.2:11-12 that the worship of Anti-christ will be a result of mans rejection of God's pure truth. "And for this cause God will send them a strong delusion,that they should believe a lie; That they might all be damned who believed not the truth,but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Finally the grand Apostle John reveals in the the Book of the Revelation that a coming False Prophet(The second beast) will lead a one world religion forcing people to worship the Anti-christ[Rev.13:11-15] Also Revelations chapters 17-18 reveal a massive one world religion head-quartered in a city with seven hills.There is so much more I could reference from the Bible but it would take much more time.Needless to say as Jesus warned his disciples in Matt.7:15 "Beware"(the word means to guard your Mind).Mr.Peeple I encourage you as the Apostle Paul commanded in his closing words to the Thessalonians "But test and prove all things[until you can recognize] what is good;[to that] hold fast"[2Thes.5:21].Thanks Watchdog for allowing me to blog.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Thanks again Mr.Brett point proven.[Hosea 4:6].

Robert L. Peeples said...

Thank you IT IS WRITTEN for going into further explanation of Ecumenicalism.
I must differ on one of your points however. I think the war we are in and have been in for the last several years is evidence to the world that there is a battle between religions. Islamic fundamentalism and western christianity or ideaology (I think) are the two religions at the center-fold of this war against global terrorism. Sad thing is, there will always be global conflict. So in my opinion, I think the war between religions has already started. We may not be full steam ahead into it, but I think we are well on our way. Does any of this make sense?
But this is why this upcoming election will be interesting. Perhaps one of the most important presidential elections are country has faced. And God forbid if Barack Hussein Obama gets elected. I'll stop right there with the politics.

But thank you for your commentary on this universal movement of Ecumenicalism. It is quite interesting and scary too.

Anonymous said...

Hey "IT IS"

I don't know if you can hear me way up on that soap box but I'll try to speak up.

You are the kind that scare me! Relax my God is in control. How did we go from remaking a brand to Brunson being the Anti Christ?

I am glad I could make your point for you . . . and at the same time make my point. It's called perception and each of us have to look in our hearts to find the direction we feel God is taking our families. It's not lack of knowledge (wow you went into Hosea for that one), we just disagree. It's OK we can disagree but still be one . . . right?

You and I disagree but that means I am "rejecting God's pure truth"? No I am rejecting your assumptions about this church . . . not the end times.

Brunson tickles your ears? Have you heard him? Just read the complaints through out this blog he does little to tickle anyone. To me he challenges me ( as Lindsay jr. did) to have a personal relationship with my Saviour.

What "seducing spirit" have i fallen to? Now I am going to have to sleep with my lights on tonight.
I reject your perception and I reject those religions that don't line up with my personal insight that God has lead me to.

That includes southern baptist, independant baptist, any other baptist, presbyterian, catholic or snake dancing churches you speak of. I have a Saviour who allows me to stand on my own, through the gospel . . . it is exciting to feel that power God gives all Christians.

I do know where you are coming from though. I spent my early years in a church where members thought FBC was "out there". So your mindset and rehtoric is very familiar to me. If it serves you well God Bless ya . . . but your a bit carried away (my opinion)!

See to me it is all where your starting point is . . . I can introduce you to a pastor in Jacksonville that we would all know. He is much more "hard core" than you could ever dream but we love each other and have great fellowship everytime we are around . . . in spite of our differences. The reason is our differences are not on the core beliefs but on outlining ideologies.

Just an idea!

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

Anonymous said...

Notice that Mac's defenders focus entirely too much on themselves. One current contributor, in his grandiloquence, said "I" referring to himself 15 times in his blog. Me ...me..my..my..I..I..really does make for a very narrow viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

As you see, blogger "It is written" is probably a serious student of the Bible and studies the ENTIRE Bible. As in his accurate answers, and explanations he uses New Testament scripture. I am not surprised, that some are not familiar with doctrines in the New Testament. We only get the Old Testament through the narrow lens of history. This is not very helpful in understanding the world today from a New Testament perspective.

We are a New Testament church and there is so much more to preached than we are getting.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:32,

Hey thays MY word. I would like you to get your own please.

You are right though I do focus on me. That is exactly MY point . . . focus on you and you'd be better off. At least that is what I think.

MY's - 2

Me - 1

I - 3

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers: over the next few weeks I will be wrapping up the FBC Jax Watchdog Blog. I have a few more posts to make, includeing a grand finale that you won't want to miss, and then I'll be hanging up the blog. I will have considered my task completed.

One of my final posts on this blog will be a message to other mega churches who down the road have to make a pastoral transition - what lessons we have learned from the Brunson transition period. If there are any former members of FBC Dallas who also learned some hard lessons during the Brunson era, I would love to hear from you privately as I put this post together. I recall from one of the previous blogs some church members at Dallas who said that they learned quite a bit about changes they had to make at their church after the Brunson's left to prevent some of the problems he left them with. You can email the watchdog in the "profile" section using the email hyperlink, or feel free to send me your thoughts as a post with a "Don't Post - Your Eyes Only" first line and I'll read it but not let it through for others to read.

So those of you who want to get your licks in on the Watchdog or do your defending of Mac Brunson, be sure to do it in the next week before I cut off comments and make my final posts.

Anonymous said...

As you see from the Wednesday night sermon: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, are recommended viewing and entertainment for us simpletons. Not recommended to us was that we study the Word in the Bible; I guess that is left for the Greek Scholars.

Anonymous said...

I saw on TV about facebook.com. Pretty interesting.I put in Brunson. You will find Mac Daddy Brunson, I'm the MAN! Debbie and Trey.
It shows all their friends and profile. Pictures from Greece.
Comments on this blog are coming from TWO of their FRIENDS!
Hard to believe a high profile Pastor would be connected to a internet new age way of life. Go FIGURE!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:26,


I'm feeling you . . . new age internet, to new age religion! I think you are onto something.

You got so excited to share your little detective work you got it wrong and made it appear as if Brunson was lifting himself up.

The name of the group is "Mac Daddy Brunson, IS the man" It was started by young people in our church who appreciate Brunson. thats how they talk . . . lol . . . I am going to miss you guys!

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship



By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

Anonymous said...

This departure, is indeed, sad news. I want to be one of the first to "THANK YOU" for your fairness and accuracy in reporting the problems at FBC Jax.

You have faithfully given of your time, effort, and energy to the benefit of us who have no voice.

The conclusion is, unless some of the leaders do something to rescue this church, it will fade into the mundane. I think we have seen the "Glory Years", pass during the Lindsay era 1940-2000. The numbers certaily reflect it, not to mention the sad discontent of the members.

THANK YOU, again, for your fairness to all who blogged here,and your equally fair assessment of our church and leaders.

God bless you, my unknown friend.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, sorry I failed to address my THANK YOU directly to you. I now do so.e

Robert L. Peeples said...

Watchdog,

The end of this blog comes as a suprise to me and I'm sure to others. I was always under the impression that as long as Pastor Brunson was pastoring the people of First Baptist Jax, you would always blog about him and the church.

For a long time, I have been an avid contributor to your blog. I always enjoyed exchanging ideas and opinions in the manner in which we did so. But my goodbye is different from the others because I was always on the other side of the fence when it came to issues raised here on the blog. Nonetheless, I think I speak for all Brunson supporters who commented on your blog when I say that even though we all had our disagreements, you're still a brother in Christ and you hold a special place in each of our lives. We all hold the same title in the name of Christ regardless of our differences about church leadership. I wish you the best Watchdog and I'm sure I will email you from time to time.
Keep in touch and God Bless,

Your Friendly Gullible Sheep and Brother In Christ,


Robert Lemuel Peeples

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

FBC Dallas Readers: just curious. Mac Brunson preached at the SBC convention in 2005 (pastors conference I believe). In his sermon he shared that 2004 was the absolute hardest year in all of his ministry, that if he was given a "crack" to go somewhere else he would have left Dallas. Jokingly said he thought about trying crack it was so hard.

What was so hard about his 2004 year at Dallas to cause him to say that?

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason said:

Watchdog - I just saw your post regarding your plans to stop blogging or at least to stop allowing comments so I wanted to repost my comment that was posted under the previous article. I will let it serve as my final comment here also.

To Robert and Brett - I appreciate you posting your views. I learned from them and only wish others had engaged in similar dialogue about many of these issues. I agree we are all brothers in Christ and should treat others as we would like to be treated...especially when we don't agree on one or two issues.

My final post...how many more ways, and how many more times need I say it?:

Voice of Reason said:

Brett (and Robert) and kingofbleh -you make some good valid points. Despite all the rhetoric on this blog, I believe if we fellowshipped together we would agree on 99% of the topics. However, it seems we will always differ on whether our congregation specifically, and the SBC membership in general, is in position to be abused and fleeced by rock star pastors and influential lay leaders who empower them while they handle budgets in the tens of millions with no accountability or transparency to those that give the money.

Perhaps we should have demanded it of the Criswells, Rogers, Lindsays, Vines, Falwells and others, but didn't. We loved them and trusted them so much, and it appears they were trustworthy and did not abuse our trust. Now, the Jerry Suttons, Bob Reccords, Frank Harbers, Steve Gaines and Mac Brunson, to name a few, have inherited these ministries and have done things that made us wake up and ask for some accounting and transparency. These men circled the wagons and took offense instead of understanding the concerns, all while enriching their own wealth and family.

I agree, Matthew 18 would be the best approach. But in mega churches, that kick out members who ask for accountability (see Two Rivers Baptist), a blog was the only way to be heard.

Perhaps the blog has run its course now. I don't know. But if it has, new measures must be taken to persuade these leaders to be more responsive to those that give the millions. Just my thoughts.

Gerry Gerber - aka "Voice of Reason"

oc said...

Robert said:

"If the day of faith is the closest thing we can get to the real issue of faith in our city, don't you think we as a church have the responsibility of taking charge and leading our city with this event? What you're saying is you would rather not have atheists or agnostics in our church. I think it's great that we were able to bring them into our church! They need it! Any opportunity that we have to get lost people into church is a good thing."


Well that all sounds really sweet and totally PC. Now let's all sit around and hold hands and sing "Kumbaya". But the church is for the saved, not for the unsaved. So it is up to us to go out and give them the Gospel, and after being saved they are to be baptized and join the local church. Look at the end of the book of Matthew for instructions. Furthermore, it's dangerous to live your Christian life on what seems right to you. See Proverbs 14:12.

oc.

oc said...

Oh yeah. Forget my last post. If what Mac says is true about you, you don't don't open your Bible anyway. My apologies.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Thanks Watchdog for your courage and concerns.You've have gone far,far beyond your call of duty.May the Lord's peace be upon you my brother in Christ.

Anonymous said...

voice of reason,

So you are a member or at least visit regularly FBC? What do you see as the reason for this blog?

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

Anonymous said...

About "kids dropping robes in choir":

I'm a member of the High School Choir and the reason we went back to robes is because the choir didn't like not wearing them not because of any outside influence. The director asked for our opinion on the issue and probably 80-90 percent wanted to go back to robes so we did.

Anonymous said...

As a pastor, and I believe this also applies to all Christians...

No matter how bad things may get, I know all will be well and work out for the good because I love God and this is His promise to all who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Fighting our opposition other than on our knees can become a stumbling block to others, no matter how pure we believe our motives are.

Thank you Watchdog for closing your blog. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

The supporters of Brunson are in error. Their error is based on their ignorance of the facts. We love the supporters for their faithfulness to their Lord but they have not done their homework. Here is some information that should clear the air of why Mac wants Change. Mac does not even know this himself. Nor do many other FAITHFUL preachers. They only seek gowth and stabilitly in their church and believe the PURPOSE DRIVEN system will give it to them. But at what cost. HERE IT IS MEN. www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/3-purpose.htm

Anonymous said...

Wathdog my last blog with the PD site was written before a read all of the preceeding posts. I found your post on the closing of this blog. It was inevidable. You and others have laid out the problems with the PURPOSE DRIVEN movement. If that information has not scared them into action then they have what they have. You have done your part in making them aware of these dangerous problems. Thank you for your keen discernment and your endevor to WALKE UP the Mac Brunson SUPPORTERS. Yours in the Lord Eagle

Robert L. Peeples said...

Voice of Reason-aka: Gerry Gerber,

You mentioned fellowshiping in your last post. Would you like to have lunch sometime? I have had lunch with other bloggers and would love the opportunity to share some good christian fellowship over a harty meal. Are you in still in Jacksonville?

Anonymous said...

Lack of discernment and 'willful' ignorance describes the people that are still at Trinity and it describes some of the 'Brunson can do anything he wants' followers on here. The similarities are astounding. Something I never thought I would see at First Baptist. Everyone knows Bob Gray was a dictator and current (in a more sly way) leadership is still following suit. It's sad that some of the sheep think it is 'spiritual' not only to follow a shepherd to the edge of the cliff but actually go over the cliff because they believe God has called them to follow a man regardless of the road he is taking them down.

Have you not heard? Do you not understand the scriptures? Discernment is a gift and one that will be taken away if you don't exercise it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the blog Watchdog. Your fight for right and for, as someone has said, a WAKEUP CALL. Your blog has been a good start. Because of the blog many in the church, and in other parts of the country, now have enough information to fight against the infiltration of the Purpose Driven movement into their churches. Some here in Jacksonville and Dallas have already seen this movement for what it is and have taken action to correct some of the problems. We here in Jacksonville are just beginning our fight from within. Not to hurt our churches but to protect our churches. You see, I have grown to believe that THE LORD IS NOT IN THIS MOVEMENT. Think about it, when in our time have so many of the brethren been at such odds with one another? Why should a new pastor come into our church and change it from top to bottom? If he didn't like what we were before he came, why did he come except for the money? If he wanted a Rick Warren,Bill Hybels, Robert Schuller, Reformed Church of America, Ecumenical Church let him start his own church. But don't bring that HERETICAL stuff into our church and think that we will roll over and play dead. We in FBCJAX ARE GROUNDED IN DOCTRINE AND WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE. Ecumenism may work in some reformed churches but not in this Spirit Led body of believers in Jesus Christ. Brothers the fight goes on.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Appreciate your kind words Anon, but read my latest post and you might have a problem with ME. I believe you might be a late comer to this blog and have missed my original intent for this blog.

I don't fear this "purpose driven" movement...I believe a church can change its worship style, even offer various worship style alternatives, all the while staying true to its core teachings and beliefs in the Bible. If by "purpose driven" you mean changing the message and the standards, I'm against it. As I've stated from the very beginning of this blog: I didn't start this blog because I was against changes that Mac Brunson was bringing to FBC Jax. I knew change was coming and I was ready to get on board. But when we saw Mac do the things he did to "abuse" our church through accepting large gifts, angry preaching, talking us down to outsiders, nepotism, ram-rodded by law changes, showing favoritism to influential deacons in hosting a non-Christian event at our church incosistent with our mission...that's when I said enough is enough, someone needs to stand up to this sort of behavior and call the man out. He didn't answer anonymous emails, and as people have reported here even those that had their names on them didn't get answers and some were blacklisted.

So that is it. This is why I would say I have LOTS in common with Brett and Robert and other anti-watchdoggers. Its just that we differ when it comes to calling what Mac has done his first two years as abuses.

Anonymous said...

So just because someone stands up for the Collins' means they are "linked" to them?? More assumptions. Just lovely.

Anonymous said...

Wow, how desperately sad this is. My family and I were members of FBC and our children began their lives within the walls of FBC. We left only to follow a call God had on our lives. In the little over 12 years since we left, we have been back and were welcomed back with open arms by loving friends in the couples, children’s', choir, and orchestra. We have served in dozens and dozens of churches in our tri-state area for various supply needs, interim, view-of-calls, as well as churches we have joined to support. We have worked very hard to not compare churches we have been in to FBC, because those are completely unfair and biased judgments. However, in all of these years, we have never experienced the love, support, and encouragement we did at FBC, nor have we experienced the same focus of reaching our neighborhoods for Christ than we did as part of our SS classes.

I/we loved Dr. Lindsey, Dr. Vines, Rodney, Edson, Ms. Freeman, Nancy...all those who were in the leadership roles at the time....BUT it was not those roles that made FBC what it was (I say only in past tense b/c we have been gone so long)...it was our peers, our SS classes, our SS teachers, our care group leaders, each of us individually that made the FBC experience what it was. Each church in which we have served, we have sought to bring the fellowship and focus of loving of Christ to others as we had learned there. Yes, Dr. Lindsey was the 'final say' - but I dare say if he had 'gone off the deep end about anything' - regardless of the years he had been there, there were enough people that would have addressed it - yes, even to Dr. Lindsey.

I say all of that to say, that the church is so much more than the pastor. They are somewhat of a checks/balances team that emanates what is going on within "the home". We were not merely "Sunday morning attendees" - we were deeply involved and just about the only day we were not @ the church for something was on Saturdays, and often we were with friends from SS as well.
I know we have been gone for a long time, and I know things change - but unless the love of Christ has grown dim in those still there - the underlying foundation is the same. I have sadly read these forum posts today.
Yes, we are given minds of our own and God has given us the freedom to make our own choices - but how sad and pathetic I find these bickering and childish arguments. What a disgrace we are to the presentation of our Lord with these qualms.
After I received my BA in Christian Education, I found I could not "serve" in churches because I was a woman. Having been taught and learned from observing "the best" - Dr. Lindsey, Guinell Freeman - and having the excitement and exuberance of Nancy Brant and Rodney Brooks - I found myself limited in my ability to fulfill the desire God had placed in my heart. BECAUSE I WAS JUDGED AS BEING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WAS TRADITIONALLY ACCEPTABLE.

FBC members are not mindless sheep who are blindly led. They are intelligent, educated individuals who work together to exemplify and proclaim Christ's love to an increasingly empty city. When Dr. Lindsey Sr. came to FB – what did he do? He cleaned house and re-formed his foundation – yes, the church was in a different state than it was when Dr. Lindsey Jr. passed and Dr. Vines retired – but, the principle is similar. New leadership. New ways of doing things. I do not know the new pastor nor have I heard him speak, but I believe in the fellowship of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville and I believe God has in no way let it fall into a place to bring dishonor to him.
How dare so much energy be expended on judgments and self-righteous proclamations!! Christ is a Lord of order, grace, and compassion. The modern day church(as a whole) is a blatant eyesore to the cause of Christ. Yes, God has specific, clear rules for us to obey - as we do with our own children - for their protection. However, (healthy) parents generally do not put down and attack the child's each move when it is astray. Love and healthy "tough love" are shown to help bring the child back. The father of the Prodigal Son waited with love for his son - he did not go out and chastise him repeatedly and degrade and judge him - he loved him and accepted him for who he was - despite what he had done.
How sad to Christ that the modern day church shows itself to merely judge "those dreadful sinners" and attack individuals - inside and outside the church. How ashamed will each of us be when we fall at His feet and explain why we each spent so much time tearing each other - other believers - apart - and often, even more violently tear non-believers apart. This is not the way our Lord reached out to others - except the Pharisees who spent all of their time doing just that.
Why are not the great outspoken orators who are posting here using that energy to build and edify the true Church – the Body of Christ? I found this blog by accident – and am sorely saddened by the vehement attacks on others. One of the other blogs had a reason to not continue such vile postings – this is not edifying each other, the Body of Christ, and oh my – how a non-believer would respond to such words. Leaders and leaders and leaders and members can agree to disagree – and draw the line when needed – the endless pointless attacks, gossip, and whining within these pages is truly saddening.
J