The councilman's name is Daniel Davis (picture at right) - and he said government will have to step up and help fund the center because of "sorry churches" in our city who don't "fulfill their mission", and are instead "building magnificent structures" and "tripping all over themselves to witness in foreign countries" but not doing what they should at home.
I'll lump FBC Jax in with the "sorry churches"...and I think reporters like Ron Littlepage and city councilmen like Daniel Davis don't even realize the extent to which what Davis says IS true.
Millions of dollars, TAX EXEMPT dollars...are spent on things like huge pastor and pastor wife salaries enabling them to live in exclusive neighborhoods and drive fancy cars and put their son on staff, spending money on 3000 square foot lavish pastor office suites for pastor and wife and dogs...all while neighborhoods just up the road are in need of the love of God and the resources of God's people.
OK, let's assume that FBC Jax needs to spend its $15 million budget primarily on buildings, salaries, and overseas missions. Where are the efforts to reach people in the poorer, crime-ridden areas of Jacksonville? The pastor is hot and heavy to broadcast video of his sermons in a branch church in southern Duval. He and Jim Smyrl are trying to convince hundreds of families to give up their Sunday nights to start home churches to evangelize their neighborhoods in southern Jacksonville so that next spring they can be used to start a satellite church in the wealthiest part of our county...but what if he used his influence to start a tutoring program for underprivileged kids like he told us over a year ago? What portion of our 15 million dollar budget is being used to help the poor and down and out in our city? Not much, not much at all. And I realize this didn't start with Brunson. However, his actions since coming just make it all the worse - spending money on projects that don't help the needy, BUT ALSO are not even in step with the mission and scope of our church!
This is why the news of our pastor accepting a $300,000 land gift from one of our richest members just three weeks after arriving here is so troubling - that certainly didn't help the needy in our community or further our church's mission. To accept such a gift so early in his tenure here in our city just sends a terrible message to the people of our city that we're all about enriching a man instead of helping God's people. Or that our pastor earns a $300k plus income along with his wife being on staff and we used $100k and 3000 square feet in our children's building to construct a lavish office suite for pastor and wife and dogs. Didn't someone ask "how does this office suite further the gospel or help those in need?"
We gullible sheep sit and watch as the pastor uses our church resources like his own source of project capital - taking $500k out of our church budget (not special gifts...OUT OF OUR MINISTRY BUDGET) to start a school in the fall of 2009 that will benefit only a very few in our congregation that can afford tuition to the tune of $8000 per kid...holding a special offering on Resurrection Day to collect $150,000 to put himself back on national TV...using our church website to market "Holy Land" trips to the very wealthy in our church...all things that might, MIGHT be worthwhile activities...but they don't help many people in our community and they are not within the mission statement of our church.
So dig deep people of FBC Jax that have been told you must tithe to experience God's blessings...because FBC Jax needs hundreds of thousands every week...you are the revenue source to keep it going. But not to worry, Mac "Jeremiah Wright" Brunson is praying that the federal government doesn't come here if a hurricane hits us, and he is "praising Jesus" that you all didn't get a raise last year because you're all so stupid you'd just use it to get further in debt. Mac's hurricane relief comment just shows what a blow-hard he is...if he thinks the church should "rise up", then why isn't he leading the charge?
Keep calling out the "sorry churches" Daniel Davis. But the only way these pastors and lay leaders will be held accountable is when God's people stop forking over 10% of their income while they carelessly watch the pastor and lay leaders spend it on the pastor and his family and on projects inconsistent with the mission of the church.
Maybe we need a "Sarah Palin"...someone to come in and stop the wasteful spending and hold "the good ole boy network" at our church accountable for the abuses at our church under Brunson.