Apparently Maurilio Amorim, the owner of the A-Group, was in Jacksonville today, as he blogged (actually he "blogs" and "twitters" - "twitters" is a way to blog in small real-time snippets throughout the day) that he was flying to Jacksonville, and having lunch at the Deerwood Country Club. Don't know if he was meeting Mac Brunson and discussing FBC Jax business, but I can't imagine Maurilio has too many clients that live in Jacksonville at Deerwood Country club.
But the fact that Maurilio is in town just reminds us of one huge difference since Mac came to FBC Jax. Apparently our staff of over 20 God-called, full-time, seminary-trained (most of them) ministers are not enough for us to develop our own church growth strategies. Do we really need to be paying a very wealthy church marketing executive who lives in Nashville to be helping us plot our church course?
Sorry Jim Smyrl to engage in "idle chatter" here...but people of FBC Jax do you want to know where your tithes and offerings are going? As we saw tonight we have to collect nickels and dimes and dollar bills at the conclusion of our service to gather up the money to help the poor African-American church rebuild across town because we don't have money in the budget apparently to help them...but by golly gee whiz we have plenty of money to pay Maurilio to be our marketing consultant.
I don't fault Maurilio one bit, and none of this is meant as a criticism of him in any way. He operates a profitable business that apparently is in high demand, and he is a Christian and by all appearances operates with high morals and ethics. But those of you at FBC Jax who don't like to think of your tithes and offerings going to an out-of-town marketing firm might be interested to know what kind of a lifestyle you help support when we pay the A-Group to be our marketing firm.
As I already mentioned, Maurilio "twitters". This means throughout the day he posts about his life - where he goes, where he flies to, where he vacations, where he eats, what shows he goes to, etc. If you visit his "twitter" site at: http://twitter.com/maurilio you will be able to see that he lives pretty well. Activities that he gets to engage in:
- vacations in Las Vegas
- stays at the Palazzo resort
- enjoys private Kineses work outs at the Canyon Spa and Gym
- dines on French food at the Paris Hotel
- spends $100 dollars for steaks at his hotel
- goes to the Blue Man Group show
- spends $700 for tickets to the Cirque De Soleil show.
All of this and more is on full display at his blog and twitter site, so I'm not attempting to expose anything, and not being critical of Maurilio. Just wanting people at FBC Jax to know that our pastor deems this marketing firm to be an absolute essential part of our church strategy.
Just how much money do we spend on the A-Group? Is that money well spent? Just what have we gotten from them that has helped us win a soul to Christ? What have they done for us that our own staff or even local firms here in Jax couldn't have done for us? Call me old fashioned, call me a recalcitrant and a trouble maker (and Smyrl may call me a boiling, festering cancer), but the thought that we need to hire a jet-setting marketing executive in Nashville to help us with strategies to reach our city for Christ is completely foreign to me. I wonder where like-minded men of FBC Jax are that know better.
I guess what makes it even more disgusting to me is just the brazenness of it all. Mac likely had lunch with Maurilio at Deerwood Country Club today, and we likely picking up the tab for the lunch and the Maurilio's travel expenses - and Maurilio's precious executive consulting time - and then Mac drives across town to ask us to throw some dollars in a bucket to buy electrical supplies for the church across town because we can't put it in the budget. I wonder how much would have been put in the bucket if we had first given money to the African American church and asked people to drop some dollars in the bucket for Maurilio's consulting time.
So again: if you don't think its wise to use God's money to pay executive marketing firms, there is only one way you will make a difference: that is stop giving to the church that is deciding to spend God's money in this manner.