Take Mac Brunson for example. His trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this week to preach at the "nationally-acclaimed evangelist" Phil Waldrep's Celebrator's Conference is the worst example of this greed and excess.
Mac safely makes $300,000 salary, but with wife on staff and all the perks and bennies he is likely earning $400,000 per year from his church in Jacksonville.
Yes, $400,000 per year. That's $33,000 per month. That's $8000 per week. Shall I make a pie chart?
Why then, if his job is so darned important that we must pay such a huge salary, should he be allowed by his congregation to take time off from his pastoral duties WITH PAY to preach at a 4-day conference to collect more money? I might understand it if he were traveling to conduct a revival at a much smaller church where he wasn't paid - maybe a love offering is taken - in which case we as a church are then allowing the Lord to use our pastor to bless another church and advance the kingdom as he seeks to save souls. But this kind of conference where the attendees are paying hundreds of dollars, Mac likely knows what his payday is going to be based on the attendance and fees - it just stinks of greed and excess. It stinks! But man it must feel good for Mac!
"Guard against greed. It will do you in."
Mac Brunson, warning pastors in his book "The New Guidebook for Pastors"
Reading that quote from his pastor's guidebook that seminary students are required to purchase, we can say Mac is TRIPLE DIPPING. Leave your church to preach a 4-day conference, then sell books WARNING OTHER PASTORS OF GREED!! You gotta love it!
You say, "But God is perhaps calling him to preach at this conference." Interesting isn't it, how these mega church pastors are called to where they get big paychecks. And interesting isn't it that God called Mac during his December 2005 camel ride to leave Dallas for FBC Jax with a hefty salary, but God didn't call him to go to a church of 300 paying $30,000 per year! Is it God's call or man's quest for wealth? After 2 1/2 years of Mac, we know the answer now.
"You're just jealous" you say that Mac is in demand and that people want to hear him. Heck yes I'm jealous, as I've been looking my whole career for an employer who would allow me to take time off from my salaried, full-time job with pay AS I DECIDE...and go earn money in other pursuits. I'm jealous that I can't double dip like that. And Mac knows he is a "brand"...the more he attends these conferences the more books he will sell, and the more demand he will create for his preaching. And he'll sell a few books at his books table, and he'll sign them for the attendees. What a gig. God love ya Mac.
What a gig indeed. The conference website says attendance is limited to 1200, and the average cost is around $250 per person. If 1000 people come, that is $250,000 in revenue. The registration includes the cost of lodging but no meals are included. Its likely that Waldrep is clearing $100,000 after his expenses. So what do you think Mac's take is? I would say around $5000 to $10,000. Just a guess. Can we at least assume that Mac pays his own airfare and lodging, or does FBC Jax pay for that? And are we paying Honey to attend with him? Do we really want to know?
Should not a pastor earning about $8000 per week to pastor a church like Mac is, give that money back to the church if he is going to take time from his pastoral duties to collect another check for speaking at a 4-day conference? Mac knows its wrong, and knows we wouldn't like it, as he doesn't even tell us on Sunday that he is leaving out of town all week. How can he with a straight face tell us just after he went on a 2 week European vacation tell us he's heading up to Pigeon Forge to preach at a 4-day senior adult conference?
Why do we allow this nonsense?
What does this say about the man who does this?
I've known pastors to be fired by their congregations because they let "side interests" distract them from their main job for which the church hired him.
Its time God's people stop this abuse. Yes, it is abuse of God's people. No, Mac's not texting and bedding girls like Darrel Gilyard or fondling boys and girls in his office like Bob Grey...but its abuse of another type. Like Gilyard and Grey, he is abusing his power and privilege to take advantage of the congregation. Not sexually, but financially. Not suggesting a moral equivilency here, but want people to wake up and open their eyes that a pastor that keeps his pants on and doesn't try to seduce church members still is capable of abuse of another form that for some reason the church is willing to accept. Oh sure, the Jacksonville Sherrif's Office won't be investigating Mac like it is Darrel Gilyard, but praise God, Jesus didn't put up with such sin. He reserved his harshest actions and emotions to be displayed in the house of worship, against greed in the in the house of worship. Thank you Jesus for setting the example for us.
And our church is run by men who know how to run large corporations and handle huge budgets at work, and not a one of them would allow an employee to do what Mac does. They have too much respect for and accountability to the organization and for the shareholders to allow such shenanigans.
But its OK for the preacher to do it.
What a terrible testimony.