"...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, September 12, 2008

Mac: Coming to Jax was "Terrifying" and "We Were on Trial"...

This week we were once again treated to another explanation from Mac about how poorly he was treated when he got here to Jax. Yes, according to Mac it was "terrifying" and like being "on trial". Unbelievable. I've never heard a pastor continually tell his congregation how terrible they are, how unloving they are, and how poorly they have treated their own pastor - like Mac does. He did it in July and now again. And when one examines the facts, its just a bold faced lie. Its revisionist history from a supposed historian. He wants sympathy I suppose; I can't figure out why else he engages in this nonsense.

Here is the quote from Mac on Sunday 9/7:

"When we [Mac and Debbie] came here...do you know how terrifying it is to walk in and be pastor of a church? In a place...not unless you're a pastor do you even understand what I'm saying. You walk into a place, you know nobody, you're on trial, people immediately begin to point out your flaws. 'I don't like this', 'Why did he do that?', 'Why did he preach out of that Bible?', 'Why did he say that?', 'Why did he say this'?, 'Why does he dress like that?....the least thing we can do, the LEAST thing we can do is to hold back judgement and express love"


The above statement comes just before the invitation, after a sermon where he is telling his congregation that their gifts of the spirit are useless unless they have the fruit of the Spirit, which is love.

Some comments on Mac's little explanation of how tough it was when he came here:

- his comment is absolute rubbish, and anyone who was here the first 6 months of Mac's tenure knows it. Any pastor, of any church, is going to have detractors. Mac knows that. All preachers know that. Especially the new guy. Make no mistake, the church was 99% behind Mac Brunson when he came here. Sure, there were people who didn't like him using the NASB instead of the KJV (I myself didn't care). But he was loved by the people when he came. We trusted that our search committee, hand picked by Jerry Vines, had selected the right man for the job. We were behind Mac Brunson. Those that were here when he preached in view of a call know it, and Mac and Honey know it...and for sure the search committee and lay leadership of our church know it more than anyone. Besides, true leaders lead...they don't complain about their detractors, they don't lash out at their criticizers...they just, well, they just lead. (see also "George Bush"). So Mac, shut up about how tough it is or was. Take the money you're given, live the high life in Deerwood, and just cry on your closest friends' shoulders like Paige Patterson and Maurilio Amorim about the abuse you've had to endure. And if possible, leave open the possiblity that whatever abuse you feel you've had to endure may have been your own doing.

- Why must one be a pastor to know what he is talking about? Would he please get over the idea that being a pastor is the loftiest, most responsible, weighty position in the world? Why does he continually say that we can't understand how tough he has it? A person in a position of leadership, even in a business organization knows that he will be second-guessed, he will be mis-read, and people will be skeptical - even moreso in the secular world than in a church where a good number of the people worship the pastor. These megachurch pastors are given six-figure salaries, wonderful benefits, have grown men kissing their ring finger and telling them how great they are and how the preacher is "God's man"....and in Mac's case: we built him a $100,000 personal office suite for wife and secretary and dogs before he came using the most prime space on our entire campus...a member gave him free rent at a multi-million dollar ocean-front condo for he and his family until their million dollar mansion was built...his wife and son were put on staff...and he was given a 2-month long paid vacation before he ever showed up to start his job, and we allowed him to bring his own church marketing consultant with him from Day 1. We paid big money to promote Mac on Father's Day 2006 by holding a service at our minor league ballpark: "Sermon on the Mound" we called it (should have been "sermonette on the mound"). Now you tell me...does that sound so "terrifying"...does that sound like he was "on trial" when he came here? Come on Mac, you lose more and more credibility every time you try to poor-mouth us about how tough you have or had it!

- Mac's statement is consistent with his view of our church ever since he came here, and it explains why he treats us as he does. I wrote last year about how Paige Patterson told the student body at SWBTS that Mac was under attack ever since he came to our church by "recalcitrants", and likened his treatment by FBC Jax as wanting to "kill" Mac Brunson. Mac is a liar. He lied about his treatment at our church to Paige Patterson. He then slandered us to the pastors in North Carolina earlier this year that we are a "hotbed of legalism". He lied in the FBC Jax pulpit about Sheri Klouda, a former church member of his at FBC Dallas and he will not apologize. Mac Brunson and Debbie Brunson were treated like king and queen when they came...and yes, when you draw a $300,000 dollar salary, and you run an organization as big as our church, you're going to have a very small percentage of the people give you a hard time - it comes with the territory and with the large salary. Ask Jerry Vines.

- Mac makes no attempt to try to understand his congregation. He only wants to be understood, but doesn't want to understand us. If he doesn't feel enough love, than we are an unloving congregation. If he feels there are people not happy with his leadership style or direction because they are sending him questioning emails, then the congregation is a bunch of complainers. Its never possible in his mind that the problem is with HIM. Its always the congregation. A pastoral transition can be difficult for a congregation, and the first year or so was very tough. And to see him come in and start taking liberties with our church with jobs for family, unannounced absences from the pulpit, complaining how we are stuck in the past, yelling at us because not enough people volunteered to pray with the pastor...all of this is tough on us too. But in Mac's mind, like many of the big names in the SBC that he's buddies with - if there's a problem in a megachurch, its the people and never the preacher's fault.

- His view of the congregation as treating him poorly, and being complainers and stuck in the past and unloving toward people...is how he in general views congregations I'm convinced. Mac wrote a book "Why Churches Die"...and the book is basically a thorough examination of all the possible ways a church congregation or church members can screw up a church. In fact the introduction of the book is entitled "Church Would be Easy Without People".

So Mac, everybody knows you were treated well when you came. And they know now, through this blog, why you're having difficulty leading FBC Jax. Its not the congregation, sir. Its you. Take a long look at yourself Mac before you look down your pious nose at us. If you were a truthful, discerning man, you would lavish praise on your congregation for how they are treating you, and how they treated you when you came and you would lead us in love and not in harshness and demanding our followship. But you can't do it. You must desire us all to line up and kiss your ring and follow you in lockstep and never question your authority, else in your book we're mistreating you.

12 comments:

Thy Peace said...

When I watched the ovation Dr. Brunson and Mrs. Brunson receive for their 2nd anniversary, I knew MOST of the church loved them. It was one of the longest ovations I had watched.

Maybe, Mac's idea of people questioning him, is coming from his reading of Watchdog's posts. Maybe he should give that up. Then he will become more positive.

I do not know, how many bad emails he gets. But I bet most of them are positive and that he is doing such a good job.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Way overstated Thy Peace. It was not one of the longest standing ovations. It was a courteous ovation. The people of FBC Jax have class and respect and restraint, and they showed it.

Believe me, if Mac is feeling heat, its not the blog. There must be more people who are directly emailing him with names, and he's getting frustrated.

gabriella422001 said...

anyone know of any churches in jax that are different from this...non baptist please? Names of some?

info said...

Gabriella,

Are you looking to go to a non-Baptist church??? There are many great smaller Baptist churches in the area worth checking out. Since I don't have any experience in non-Baptist in the area, I can't name any though, sorry.

William said...

Actually, I thought the quote from Mac about a pastor's feelings and fears about going to a new church was pretty accurate, although having an employment contract, a hefty salary, and the like would certainly ameliorate my fears. It is difficult to come up with a lot of sympathy for megachurch pastors going to new megachurches and megasalaries. Completely different universe.



William

RM said...

Since over 50% of our Southern Baptist churches run less than 100 in Sunday School, this isn't a huge problem in reality.

Personally, I agreed with everything Mac said about his first Sunday. All pastors feel that same way when they walk into a new church for the first time--or they should.

Now that I have said that, let me also say that my fears would subside a great deal if I got the deal that Mac got when he came to Jacksonville!!! I don't even know of many pastors who have a signed employment contract. All they have is a call from a church that feels like they have selected God's man to lead them.

And maybe I am naive, but I think that's enough. God is quite capable of taking care of His church and His man for the job.

You guys have a pathetic mess in Jacksonville. Its gonna take a lot of prayer and God's intervention to fix it...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

William and RM: anyone that comes into a leadership position in any large organization is going to have those fears. Its not unique to pastors, not by a long shot.

But Mac mentioning that was not primarily to tell everyone how tough pastors in general have it. It was to tell us how incredibly terrifying it was for HIM to come to our church...and not unfounded fears did he have when he came, but that he was attacked and second guessed, and put "on trial" when he came to FBC Jax. Not true, he had 99%+ support from his congregation...until a small number of recalcitrants about 9 months into his tenure added things up and realized this guy was fleecing the sheep.

Compare to Vines - Vines had many detractors at FBC Jax, especially after Homer died. But he knew the majority of the church supported him thus his expressions about us to our faces and to others outside the church were that we always treated him with respect and love, that we were a loving congregation. Vines could have concentrated on and talked about those who didn't like him and gave him trouble, but he had too much class...and too much WISDOM to lower himself to speaking ill of the people of God when he knew that most of them were loving and supportive of the pastor.

Today's sermon was an absolute classic Mac sermon. Chock full of contradictions, confusing illustrations, incorrect interpretation of scriptures (the "church" in Rome was made up of satellite churches according to Mac) and huge doses of legalism...and then Mac told us that we aren't what we used to be, we no longer witness like we used to, we no longer love pastors like we used to, we no longer are committed like we used to be. And he doesn't do it in a loving manner, encouraging us to rally together but as a "Mac versus us" mentality. He ignores the fact that he's been pastor for more than 2 1/2 years and if we aren't what we used to be that he's part of the problem as the leader of the church!

Also, he announced that on our budget committment Sunday this month (our Chest of Joash service) we need to collect $900k for 4 things: a new chiller for the Ruth Lindsay Auditorium, new carpeting in one of our buildings, new wall paper in select locations, and roof repairs for the Children's building (which seems strange since its 6 years old - but maybe he mispoke about which building)....but are not those things in our operating budget? Do we need special offerings to do what should be budgeted expenses? And his challenge to us was that unless we raise the money we'll have to go into debt to do these things, and since so many of us don't like debt, then we better give the money. Newsflash to Mac: maybe the operating budget can be corrected? Can he do what other CEO's do and maybe cut expenses somewhere else? When we decided to put Mac on national TV, did we think that we had some other expenses that needed to be taken care of?

And the fleecing continues.

So Daniel Davis and Mayor Payton you are right about our "sorry church"...just look: Mac has a $16 million dollar budget and everytime there is a need: like maintenance of the buildings, or sending Bibles to the Middle East, Mac holds his hand out for more money, a special offering. The question: just what ARE we spending the $16 million dollar budget on if we don't have money for Bibles to send to the Middle East or money to do the maintenance on our buildings?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Whatever in the world has happened to expository preaching in our church where there is life application to where we are in life? How long must we suffer through hearing extended diatribes on historical facts...detailed information on the different Greek Gods and what their names were, and what they ate, and which Gods had the most power? Its amazing. A typical Mac Brunson sermon is like going to a restaurant wanting to feast on a gourmet meal, only to be fed crackers and butter. Sorry, but its the truth. How about some life application every now and then?

timeticker said...

Watchdog,
I've been reading some of your posts for a while. Some I agree with and some I think are a little over the top (I've never been a member of FBC but live in Jax). Seriously though, you need to find a new church. It's not healthy (or right) that what you mainly get from the sermons is new material for this popular blog as opposed to a blessing and spiritual guidance. The mindset of "I'll stay and protest and try to open eyes" is wrong. At least get a new church, and somehow keep up w/ what Dr Brunson is preaching if you so wish.

Based on previous posts, I realize this won't change your mind (this has been mentioned before) but I would at least consider it if I were you. You'll be thankful, I assure you.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks for the advice. I stay for my reasons.

But it is unbelievable to sit in a church like FBC Jax where the Bible has been faithfully preached by men who took the Word and applied it to people's lives to help them...to help them get saved, to help them be better husbands, fathers, obedient children, better employers and employees...I mean real life application every service...to where we have digressed to have to watch a show where a pompous man lectures us like a Bible history class, telling us irrelevant historical facts and information about Greek Gods...at the end of the service we're sitting there wondering...what was that all about...how did anything that this guy talked about help me or my family grow closer to Christ?

RM said...

I have listened to Mac's broadcast here in Texas the last three Sunday nights. He hasn't done any of the things that are mentioned on the blog so I guess they don't put those sermons on TV.

What I have heard (sermons about the OT heroes) is pathetic. There is no way I would stay and listen to preaching like that. There has to be some good churches in Jacksonville.

gabriella422001 said...

I thought fbc WAS a good church, but i'm not an acceptable person for the church (whatEVER) And now i wonder if there is any point in continuing to try to find a church. Oh well, heck, i guess I'll try...there's like what...about nine million churches in this city? I've just sort of lost my enthusiasm for church searching and attending...I can't go to too many more churches like this..Its getting old ya know? You look for a place that will make you be closer to God, not make you feel like God probably doesn't want anything to do with you either...and thats ALL i get out of the baptist church. Watchdog, I agree...its not healthy to stay in a situation you are miserable in...just move on. You will probably be a lot happier. There are too many baptists in the south.