"...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

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can Someone Justify This Greedy Double Dipping by Mega Church Pastors?

Why do mega churches allow their pastors to earn a huge paycheck from God's people at a local church, then to take off on a preaching circuit many weeks a year to collect preaching stipends to pad their already fat wallets?

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!

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"Guard against greed. It will do you in."
Mac Brunson, warning pastors in his book "The New Guidebook for Pastors"
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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.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

My parents left the church over this stuff. They got tired of giving and sacrificing only to watch the pastors live very lavish lifestyles.

Anyone know of any truly godly pastors out there who don't always have their hand out?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Sure, there are pastors everywhere in Jax who are true to their calling to pastor their sheep and are not using their churches as a family-full-employment-agency in order to enlarge their family's net worth. And as far as mega churches go in Jax, FBC Jax is falling and falling fast.

Quite a number of churches in this area are growing fast and reaching people, and FBC Jax is dwindling. And the problem is NOT that we don't have a satellite yet. For us to think that if we can get a satellite opened we'll start growing is like a poor person looking at a rich person's Lexus and saying "If I could just get that Lexus, I'd be rich like that guy."....totally backward flawed logic. Churches in this area that have satellites have them because they GREW AND REACHED PEOPLE FIRST and the satellites were a necessity for continued growth.

Anyone thinking about looking at other churches, let me warn you: when you start visiting churches and you hear a preacher, as non-elequent as he may be compared to Mac, when he begins to open the word and lovingly teach the Word not in theatrics or emotion or anger - but in love, sincerity, compassion and truth with a desire to help you grow - you will look in the mirror when you go home and ask: "How could I have been such a fool to stay listening to Mac Brunson for so long?"

Anonymous said...

I do not recall in the Bible when Paul was requesting a financial gift that it was for HIM!!!He took the gift back to Jerusalem and gave it to the poor saints. Thats a mark of a real pastor. When Paul was about to lose his head did he request money for a big feast or new apparrel. No he requested the books, the parchment, and an old cloak. Its about time these modern pastors got back to basics. God first, others second, you last. Its not too late!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey WD how about the property up at Hilliard? I suggest Mac have a three or four day revival up there and invite all those living around there for a camp ground meal and old time gospel revival. No charge, just free and its only an hours drive close by. Several of the choir members can attend and sing for free. Its cooler now and people will not be hot or uncomfortable. The deacons can serve the food at the tables because thats what the deacons were called to do initially, serve tables. Thank about it. It could be so successful that Mac could hold church up there twice a week while Jim handles the services down here.

RM said...

I have been a pastor for a long time and this is no new argument or discussion. The problem you have is that some committee in your church gave Mac the green light to take these gigs when they hired him. Trust me, they cover their hind ends on this issue. Then they have the "blessing" from the church to go and preach.

I have also known pastors who did outside preaching engagements and then gave the monies to their wives or to their own church for a special need.

But then that is only some--and probably not Mac.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought. When you work for a corporation and attend two weeks military training you have to return that military paycheck back to the company to which you work. If you attend jury duty and get $15 a day, then you have to give that money back to your employer as they do not allow you as an employee to take what one could call "double dipping". I suggest all preachers return any funds that they make on the side to the church to be given to the poor. That way the preacher would more than likely stay home where he BELONGS!!!

Anonymous said...

WD - my diagnosis. The trustees and lay leaders and staff at FBC Jax are looking to serve Mac and not Jesus. They want the approval of Mac and not Jesus. They want to go on trips with Mac, be Mac's friend, as this satisfies them. Only Jesus satisfies my soul. Not some other man. So sad to see Tom Stimler posing alongside Mac in Europe. Yet how many others in the church wish they could have done the same thing? Too many I am afraid.

Anonymous said...

WD - I am sure every hotel bill, every meal receipt, is all being turned in to Tom Stimler to sign off on. So that breakfast at the Apple Barn will be paid by all of us. Those leaves are spectacular at this time of year, too. Mac is no dummy. He is riding the gravy train and only Tom Stimler can stop him. I would love to see those credit card statements like Two Rivers was able to see. Mac and Honey and Tom Stimler would be ASHAMED if they ever came out. But Jesus sees. And HE will demand an accounting. (I was hungry...)

As for me...I WILL NOT give another penny to Mac, but will give to "the Lord's work" in other areas of need.

Anonymous said...

In all churches I am aware of they have set rules for times a pastor can be gone.

One church I attended allowed the pastor:

* 4 weeks vacation per year
* 3 weeks for revivals
* 2 weeks for conferences
* 2 weeks for conventions

That's 11 weeks per year. I thought it was much until I understood the breakdown and began to see it was time well spent to encourage the pastor.

The pastor reported to the personnel committee his calendar and all seemed to work smoothly. We did have one family that got upset because he used some of his weeks of earned vacation as speaking engagements. They even tried to make an amendment that vacations had to be approved and could not give financial gain.

Praise God it failed.

Anonymous said...

If we have to depend on Stimler to protect the financial interest of the church, we are in big trouble. He is the one on vacation with the BIG SPENDER, and the one that might have to approve some expenditures. Wouldn't this be called a conflict of interest? And in the case of future decisions, can he be truly unbiased?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 4:54

Well said and congratulations of your bold and courageous stand.

God Bless You.

Anonymous said...

from a blog on SBC Today.

The trustee system works fine. It is the trustees that are broken and need to be fixed.

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that double dipping cannot be justified, but that may not be the case. Dr Brunson may give away large amounts of what he makes for the purpose of minstering to others---WatchDog no one expects anyone else to give out their salary information and extra side job earnings---it is left to the indivdual and God---shouldn't we extend that same curteousy? Yes Double Dipping and using it all on yourself is wrong, but is that really the case here? Can you say that 100%?

Junkster said...

It doesn't take much looking to notice how market-driven many churches have become these days. And it's getting harder and harder to find a church, particularly a large church, that doesn't give at least the appearance of being very focused on material things and being some kind of successful business enterprise.

Just my opinion (and one that won't be popular with some), but the more I think about all this, the more it strikes me as the natural progression of the whole mega-church concept. The existence of local churches composed of thousands or tens of thousands of members is a very recent phenomenon, unique to our modern age – something made possible by technology, easy and relatively inexpensive transportation, mass media communications, affluence, etc. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, and great resources have been made available by bringing so many believers together, united in a common fellowship and purpose. But along with success, popularity, and significant financial and other resources, whether of an individual or of an organization, comes influence and power. And with power and money come pride, greed, and corruption. It is just the nature of living in a fallen world, and Christians (pastors and congregations alike) are by no means immune. (That’s why we are warned in Scripture over and over about the deceit of riches, the love of money, and the need to be focused on service instead of positions of power.)

I’m sure that some who read this will dismiss what I’m saying, and claim that the problem isn’t with the size of the church, just with the character of its leaders and/or its members. But my point is not that big churches are inherently bad, but that truly godly men and women of character are fewer and fewer these days, and even those who start out good can too easily be corrupted – slowly, over time – so gradually sometimes that they can’t see what has happened.

Still not convinced? Check out how many times members or former members of Bellevue Baptist Church, FBC Jax, or FBC Dallas have written of their churches on blogs as being the “flagship church of the SBC” (which one is/was really the “flagship” anyway? – a fleet can only have one). It would be hard to think of another term that displayed a greater sense of inappropriate pride, even arrogance. If the members of a church think of their church as somehow better than other churches, it's no surprise that the pastors would think far too highly of themselves. And that sense of pride (“Look at me, look at what I am, what I have accomplished”) is what’s really at the root of the worldly focus in today's churches.

When will the churches be healed and restored, and receive godly leaders? When the members repent of their own arrogance, greed, apathy, self-reliance, and devotion to the things and values of this world more than to God. Not before. May God have mercy on us all.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 9:11

It matters not what Mac does with his money. I don't care if he gives 100% of his preaching fee to some charitable organization. If he is being paid to pastor FBC Jax, and he is, and he gets paid about $8000 per week...he should return that stipend that he earns to his employer, the church. Its very simple.

If he gives 20% to charity and 20% to his family and 60% to the church....that is still wrong. Its not his money to give, since he is already paid. An employee who serves on jury duty may be paid by his employer while on said duty, but is expected to return any pay he receives for his duty back to his employer.

But not for the rich mega church pastor. After all, he is "God's Man" and is worth of "double honor".

Anonymous said...

As a pastor of a small, rural Baptist church, I have no desire to engage in any debate about issues related to your pastor. (I personally have an agreement with my church how often I can be aware and these trips are approved by our deacons each time.) In fact, I wasn't aware of your blog until a member of my church brought it to my attention.

Her concern related to your comments regarding the senior adult conference in Pigeon Forge where Dr. Brunson was speaking. You said, "Its likely that Waldrep is clearing $100,000 after his expenses" implying that Mr. Waldrep personally made this amount.

As a pastor who regularly attends these conferences, I have personally investigated the finances of Brother Waldrep and his ministry. I have found he is very honest and transparent. All funds go to the Phil Waldrep Evangelistic Association, Incorporated. The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA) and has the organization's highest rating. When I asked Mr. Waldrep about his personal compensation, he gave me his salary (confirmed to me by ECFA) as $91,000 total compensation, plus his insurance. His ministry's audited financial records are available through ECFA or through guidestar, the website that hosts all financial records of non-profits in the United States. If you don't believe me, you can research it for yourself at www.ecfa.org or www.guidestar.org. (Because of my past experiences, I didn't take Mr. Waldrep's word for it. I checked things myself.)

Also, our church has been involved in mission work in New England. I personally am aware of the retreat his ministry sponsors for pastors and their wives at no cost and the churches his ministry has purchased or built - Barre Baptist Fellowship in Barre, Vermont and Mountain View Baptist Church in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

My only concern is that some may read your remarks and draw an incorrect conclusion about Mr. Waldrep. Please, don't brush him as guilty because he is friends with your pastor.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering - did Dr. Vines and Dr. Lindsay give back their pay when they went preaching around the country? Or does Dr. Vines give back any of the $150,000 each year we STILL pay him EVERY YEAR as part of his retirement?

I don't like ANY of them keeping it but if it bad for Mac, it is bad for Jerry and Homer!!

Anonymous said...

Very well said l0:l8: Every church in every church age has fallen or at least become ineffective because they have left their "first love". Pride slips in the door, takes root and erodes the the spiritual values that have made them successful. People began doing their "service" in the flesh for reasons other than to serve the Lord, and the church falls victim of it's own self importance. This is exactly what has happened at FBCJ. The preacher thinks he doesn't owe accountability to anyone but God. His decisions are never to be questioned by the church body,or any individual. If that is the case, then stop asking the church body (the one you don't answer to) to finance any of the "programs" just because it is demanded of them. If someone owns a business, then they certainly know how much they pay their employees. The church employes the preacher. They are entitled to know how much they pay the said preacher (and his family). Also if they expect the money to be freely given then account for where every dime goes in a CLEAR manner. We may all "give to God", but man spends the money. People want to believe and trust their preacher. But the preacher must earn that trust by being open and above board. To thumb the nose at the people does not help the situation. Regardless of the demands, the guilt trip preaching the hiding behind the trustees, being the preacher is still a position that demands TRUST from the people. The trustees cannot help the preacher in this area. The people have a right to know all. They pay for it. Church has become big business. Until the preacher, the deacons, trustees, and the congregations themselves get some humility, and turn back to the Lord and start doing the Lords work{getting people saved} then it's going to get worse and worse.

2 Chronicles chp.7 vs.l4 " If my people, which are called by my name,shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Anonymous said...

Wow! Four days straight of Mac Brunson at that conference, maybe we should be paying them.

Anonymous said...

There is so much more to come. FBC Jax has sold its soul.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Someone posted here before that we are paying Vines $150,000 per year, and I assume its the same Anon.

Can you tell us:

Is this figure money that comes out of our operating expenses? Or is this money that comes from retirement investments made on behalf of Vines?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lindsay rarely left the church to preach other places. And I mean rarely. He would occasionally go to the SBC convention, not always. Rarely took two weeks vacation and never took two weeks at a time. The only time he was absent for days at a time was when he was ill. Ditto for his Dad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:31:

Be sure you do not take any time and facilities at Hilliard away from FBC Jax 2009 Pastors Conference, seminary students get free accommodations during the pastors CONFERENCE. praise GOD.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 11:09

Dr. Lindsay (Sr. or Jr.) didn't go around preaching. Checking thier records, they preferred to stay 'AT CHURCH' more than any pastors you know!!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

To the Anon defending Phil Waldrep:

I do commend Phil Waldrep in being a member of the ECFA. I have blogged previously about this organization and even have said our church, FBC Jax, should join it and disclose publicly its revenue and expenses.

I have no bone to pick with Phil Waldrep. I'll take your word for it that he limits his salary at $91,000 - I really don't care what he earns as he is not my pastor and as far as I know is not a pastor of a church. He is not taking money from church members and is not preaching to them in a legalistic manner to guilt people to give a MINIMUM of 10% of their income to his ministry, then turning around and taking $300,000 of it to live a lavish lifestyle. He is not double dipping, since it is his ministry and he does as he pleases. So I will hold Phil Waldrep up as a positive example as compared to pastors like Mac Brunson that not only take outlandish salaries from the tithes of God's people, but then turns around and takes a week to earn supplemental income by preaching a 4-day conference that has - get this: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MINISTRY OR MISSION OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.

Now, since you brought up Phil Waldrep, readers can view the self disclosed revenue and expenses of Phil Waldrep here. It looks like his ministry in 2007 had revenues of $3.1 million, with "administrative" expenses of nearly $831,000. According to the ECFA, these administrative expenses are defined as "This measure reflects what percent of its total expenses a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity’s administrative expenses by its total expenses yields this percentage. ". So I'll leave it up to the readers of this blog to decide where the $831,000 administrative expenses goes.

Thy Peace said...

WD, from my reading of their expenses, it looks like ALL the fees paid to speakers are coming out of the "Program Expenses". The "Administrative Expenses" pays Phil Waldrep's salary and his staff salaries, building expenses and the office expenses. By reading of the expenses, I can not tell how much evangelism they are doing and how much of this money is being contributed to it.

So my reading of it is, Pastor Mac is getting his fees from the Program Expenses. Since this Program Expenses would cover these conference costs - renting, travel, speakers, lodging, food, insurance and so on.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I don't want this to break out into a discussion of Waldrep's ministry.

But you are right, the Waldrep Ministries expenses are broken down into "Program" and "Administrative". So Phil's salary, his overhead, other employee's salary (his website says he has 5 other employees) and benefits, come out of the $831,000 admin costs.

The "Program" expenses are the costs of running the ministry, which would be the costs of putting on his events, travel expenses, etc. So yes, whatever Mac earns is included in Program expenses as Mac must be paid speaking fees by Waldrep.

On a positive note - if you look at the Waldrep ministry revenue streams, only 6% of it comes from "cash donations", while the rest is "Other", meaning from fees charged for his conferences. So this means unlike churches, and unlike the televangelists, he doesn't solicitic cash donations from people ("Give to God by giving to me" like churches and televangelists do), he provides a service to people in conducting these special events. Mega churches like FBC Jax on the other hand, generate their revenue by a heavy-handed pastor preaching the legalistic doctrine of "bringing the tithe into the storehouse" (e.g. "you MUST give to God 10% to be obedient, and oh by the way the Bible says to give it to God which, guess what, means GIVE IT TO ME)....that MIGHT be acceptable if the money is then spent on Christian ministry to help people and spread the gospel and NOT enriching a man. But in the case of FBC Jax the revenue is generated by preaching tithing, then the church turns around and takes "God's money" and pays the pastor an outlandish salary, and his wife, and his son.

Thy Peace said...

This is why, at fbcjax and other churches, you should have people running the finance committee and the trustees and deacons to come from working class and not from the rich. Here at fbcjax, if the rich are in these positions of power in the church, it is very easy for them to justify the salary of Pastor Mac and his earnings outside of the church. But for average workers, that would be hard to justify.

So that is why, my preference is for all the church positions to be filled by humble people and people who are used to make a living on average salaries. I understand lot of these people who make average salaries, are so harried in life anyway to make ends meet ... they have little time to contribute their time to church activities. Where as the rich do have lot of leisure time and they can afford to do it.

But from my watching of fbcjax, it does look like lot of the members are very committed to contributing both their time and donations to the church. Example: Choir, Orchesta, Sunday Scool Teachers and so on.

So I wonder, why then most of the upper level positions then are not filled by average men and women. Then this compensation for Pastor Mac and his outside earnings would be corrected.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The problems at FBC Jax have nothing to do with whether the trustees are "rich" or "average". That is not the problem. At all. Has nothing to do with it.

The problem is transparency, or lack of transparency.

Whether we talk about corporations, government organizations, or churches or other non-profits...where the spending of the money is hidden from the givers of the money, there will always be abuses. That is the problem.

Corporations must disclose their revenuses and expenses publicly in excrutiating detail. Including the salaries and perks and stock options of all officers.

But in mega churches like ours, we have ZERO access to detail on expenditures. We are told only in very broad categories....the detail we have received since Brunson came is even less than it was previously, which wasn't all that good.

If the people of FBC Jax knew in detail the salary of Mac Brunson, his relocation package, his benefit package, his housing allowance, his medical insurance, the salary of wife and son....we would be outraged. The giving would suffer. So they can't release it. The argument is that it is private information and none of our business.

So until we know that, salaries will be large, houses will be huge, pastors will take time out to earn even more money at speaking engagements, wives will be put on staff, sons will be hired for director level jobs at age 22...there is no transparency.

I would hope that one of the outcomes of the Grassley commission is that 501(c)3 organizations must file annual financial disclosure statements, and such statements must be mailed to each and every contributor to the organization. The level of detail would be specified by law, and would include detail of all salary and compensation records for the heads of the organziation and any family members working within the organization.

Anonymous said...

By law, employers are NOT required to pay employees for the time served on jury duty--but they are required NOT to fire those employees, or to re-hire them if they've fired them. Counties/cities pay jurors for their time; some employers require that pay to be given to the employer--but NOT the better employers, who desire to promote employees' faithfulness to civic duty and not squelch it.

Maybe FBCJax can be one of those employers who withhold a week's wages from its employees if they opt for more than a set number of times serving other believers/people in other locations (e.g., withhold a week's $8000 from its senior pastor for his Pigeon Forge service); doing so probably would keep most of them at home most of the time.

it is written said...

Too Thy Peace::The problem is not whether they are working class or rich it is whether they love and are devoted to Jesus Christ.The Bilblical qualifications for being a Pastor or Deacon are very strict(1Tim.3:1-13;Tit.1:5-9)but unfortunately it appears that Brunson,the Deacons and trustee's of FBC Jax are sorely lacking in this area and the results are evident!!

Anonymous said...

Pride is a terrible sin. It leads to disobedience to God (take Saul for a starter) who did only what Samuel the prophet was to do. Then it led to jealousy (he was enraged over the singing of Saul has killed his 1000 and David has killed his 10,000. Then it leads to murder as Saul then tried to kill David.

I see a lot of jealousy today in churches. The big preacher wants to be even bigger and the little preacher wants to also become larger. Answer for all of these types of ego: John the Baptist said I must decrease and He must increase. This is what made John the Baptist the greatest man other than the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the teacher and we can all learn from this humility of John. Looking for the praises of men is an absolute joke because when you are no longer in the limelight God will reveal to you, you are just not so great!!! The only good in man comes from JESUS!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So Mac preaches at 9:00 am. What does he do the rest of the day?

Anonymous said...

Senator Grassley(no commission) is the ranking republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Max Baccus from Idaho is the Chair.

All 501(c)3's DO file a public statement. Its a Form 990 and you or anyone can ask the organization for a copy. You can find many of these posted now to a 501(c)3 website.
The EXCEPTION is that no Churches have to do so.
The IRS can audit a Church if it violates Code sections but there are significant restrictions on doing Church audits.

Anonymous said...

A church has no right to limit the excercize of their pastors spiritual gifts.

If you're in a church where you can't fully participate you need to leave. Spare the church, spare him, and spare yourself.

This is childish and ridiculous.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - you must be a double-dipper too, eh? I'll try that on my boss when he complains that I took an afternoon off to work a side job. "Hey boss, you have no right to limit the exercise of my God-given gifts."

You're close, but just 180 degrees backwards. Here's what you should have written:

A pastor has no right to get paid by his church while he is working to earn supplemental income not related to his church's interests.

If he is in a church that is not paying him enough such that he needs to double dip, he needs to leave. Spare the church, spare himself, spare us.

Double dipping is wrong and immoral.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an article. You claim Mac is "double-dipping" when you don't even know if he is getting paid or not to preach at this conference. Actually, he probably is getting paid. But if he is, you don't know how much. You only guess and assume. Your logic and argument is based only on assumption and guesstimation rather than facts and truth. And so with your false claims, you paint the picture of Mac being a greedy, self-enriching, lavish-living millionaire preacher, am I right? That's what you've said on your blog..so I should be right when quoting you. Your writings remind me of Obama's TV add misquoting Rush Limbaugh saying he thinks Spanish Americans are stupid. You take things out of context and twist them to fit your personal agenda. One that is not productive to the kingdom of our Lord. Your rants and raves are amusing and sad at the same time. I'm getting a little sidetracked here...back to my comment.
A pastor is called to preach the Word and to minister to the Lord's sheep. Pastor Brunson preached two great sermons this past Sunday didn't he? Then why are you complaining he isn't tending to his local flock? It makes no sense.
I think the Pastor should be able to preach in other places while pastoring his local church. Pastor Brunson is doing just that.
I think the only one double dipping here is you Watchdog. I think you live life on both sides of the spiritual aisle. You claim your a christian and live like it at church but yet you go and dip on the wild, backslidden side behind your computer. Who's double dipping, you are Watchdog.
I think you need to lay off of the ice-cream and take a good sip of some Kool-Aid. Especially, the grape flavored Jesus kind that used to be water. That's the best.
And remember Watchdog, the Lord said you can't serve two masters. So you can be a dissenter or a disciple. Which is it my good friend?

-Animal Control

Anonymous said...

Enriching the body of Christ (Ephesians 4) is in his church's interests.

No, I am not a "double dipper". Actually I am a bi-vocational pastor, and I'm glad God uses men like Brunson to minister to the entire body.

And I still think the church, your pastor, the world, and especially you would be better off if you left.

Anon ~ 12:34

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

OK, so you're not a double dipper.

But you want to be, right?

Wouldn't it be great to earn $300,000 at a church? And wouldn't it be great to take a week off from your pastoral duties to earn another $5000 to $10,000 preaching a conference?

Come on, admit. That is what you aspire to.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12-34 :~(

What's the other than pastor part of your bi-? Is it church marketing or financial consultation, or better still: both.

:(

it is written said...

Anon 12:34 Please refrain from making ignorant blog's when you can't see or comprehend the facts that have been clearly presented.The truth is,THE CHURCH,DR.WATCHDOG, and THE FBC JAX CONGREGATION WOULD BE FAR BETTER OFF IF BRUNSON WOULD TAKE HIS ILL-GOTTEN GAIN AND LEAVE.Oh by the way I'm Pastor as well and by the way Jesus stated "You will know false prophets by their fruit".And Brunson is bad fruit!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Anon 12:34 would benefit from reading the current post at Grace and Truth to You: Personal Opinions Given as Mandates from God.

I did detect a mighty, angry roar from Anon 12:34's posts. Is anger part and parcel of pastor presentations in today's environment?

Anonymous said...

Nay, the other part of Anon's bio is selling Holy Land tours to pastors.

Two Masters huh?

Anonymous said...

12:34 Appearently you have not been here before.

Mac came here and said that our church is legalistic. So he set out to change everything that we are and do. He has changed visitation, music, sunday school, the bible that he preaches from: KJV to NASV, EXPOSITORY TEXTUAL PREACHING TO EXPOSITORY STORY TELLING PD.

Then there is the $400,000 SALARY.

12:34 You need to do some background reading here before you make a statement like that.

Mac is solo recking crew!!!

Anonymous said...

Nope. I pay my bills and I'm happy preaching for nothing but I don't mind others making a lot. Double honor, right?

Don't misunderstand I'm not a fan of Brunson's preaching by any means, being a die hard exegete myself, but I still think if others want to hear him that should be in God's hands not yours, and that's really the only thing I was concerned about here.

(Let me interject here that most of the preaching that is referenced here from Brunson seems to be out of his book "Why Churches Die.")

Also someone said I was angry; Have you considered this whole website?

And I still think you should leave the church but do it for the right reasons; lack of expositional preaching, abandoning KJV, etc, etc.

Also, I pastor a church that was VERY legalistic and I hardly think FBC Jax could ever fit that mold.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that last post was mine. (12:34) The other part of my "bi" is working in a builders supply store for $10 bucks an hour.

Anonymous said...

When Dr Lindsay Sr recommended his son join him as co-pastor and the church took a vote after a good discussion everyone in attendance knew what Jr's salary was to be.

When Dr Lindsay Jr brought Dr Vines in as co-pastor everyone knew they made the same salary. Thats the way it should be done. Open and TRANSPARENT. This policy leaves no one in the DARK, there are no surprises. The salary of the new co-pastor was common knowledge.

Today in most mega churches its a secret except to a select few. That should never be. Everyone knows Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, the widow threw in her 2 mites, Abraham paid a certain price for Sarah's tomb. If the Holy Spirit can instill within those holy men of God to write down these little figurative amounts it meant something then and it means something now, otherwise why were they written down?!!! These amounts were clearly revealed.... Is the church today better than the lst century church in not divulging these things?

Anonymous said...

To the crew,
I, as a rural Baptist Pastor, recently found this site, and have spent some "junk food" reading time perusing the posts and the meta. Though I don't really get the back story, a few things are glaringly evident as an outsider. Thought you might want to know,
Obviously a majority of the pejoritive comments are authored by either non- Christians, or by very immature Christians. Before you go to the standard "Kool-Aid" reply, which is predictably weak, and exposes a lack of imagination and argumentation, recognize that a mature Christian would be obedient to Christ's instructions in Matthew 18. Obviously, you have not done that. Instead you have chosen to hide behind this improvised confrontation releasing your foam in this pajama polemic. Go ahead and stop forming a response playing on the vocab, that too is weak. Also, if you spent the time pouring the Word of God into your life that you spend pouring the flesh into this blog, you might find yourself approaching this in a different manner. Also, the blatant misuse and absence of sound textual arguments on all fronts reveals your true agenda; advancing your kingdom, and not Christ's. We will all stand before God friend, you, me, Mac, and everyone else. And you will be alone. Your sins will be your prosecuting attorney. I would hate to see a hard copy of this blog rolled up under God's arm.
Matthew 12:36, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment".

Anonymous said...

Why Churches Die, Mac Brunson's book. Have you read it?

You will find that Mac speaks of all the bad things that CHURCH MEMBERS do to hurt a church.

He NEVER speaks about what BAD PREACHERS do to cause churches to die.

Of course, all the trouble at FBCJAX HAS BEEN CAUSED BY THE CHURCH MEMBERS. RIGHT? RIGHT?

Paul warned us about false teachers.

Mac would have us change to be like Rick Warrens Church or Bill Hybels's Church. Why, we even sent some of our music leaders to Bill Hybells church to see how they did music. Those pink and blue lights in our church? That idea came from Hybells church. Check out our ROCK BAND room. Bill Hybells!

We even belonged to the WILLOW CREEK ASSOCIATION.

WHY CHURCHES DIE? And why are we and countless other churches dieing? They are dieing because good churches are being CHANGED TO MODEL THE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH. Good preachers are becoming seeker friendly, PURPOSE DRIVEN, COOPERATIVE INSTEAD OF SEPERATIST, ECUMINIST, nondenominational-Community Church MINDED.

One of the things that God HATES IS, A LIAR.

GOD HELP US

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:01 - thanks for chiming in.

Thank you for your spiritual diagnosis, but I do reject it.

Glad to know that you can ascertain spiritual conditions of bloggers here. You obviously are one of the pious pastors who think you have special insights into people's spiritual condition - and by golly you can diagnose people's salvation by reading anonymous posts. You're good! The fact is we are discussing here abuses of a pastor at our church. Yes at times we make light of things and have some fun - but I find it very interesting your ONLY comments have to do with presuming to KNOW that people here are not Christians - which is something that you really DON'T know. But you choose not to discuss AT ALL any of the abuses of Mac Brunson that are chronicled at this blog. Perhaps you'd like to weigh in on the topic of double dipping? Or are you only here to blog about the lost condition of the bloggers?

But we understand, we've heard it for an entire year. Meanwhile the abuse continues.

Anonymous said...

WD: I do not know if you remember, but Jerry Vines once said the deacons were there at his discretion not the reverse. So, I assume that Mac has taken that statement Jerry Vines said and used it for himself and made it a part of his guidebook.

Some of these pastors believe everything they do is God ordained....they will be accountable for what they do down here on earth regardless of what they say, the bylaw changes, nepotism, spending, spending, spending, having total permission of the trustees in all areas, and especially what is contained in the preachers CONTRACT!!! Having the trustees permission, is one thing , having Gods permission is another.

God is keeping PERFECT accounts of those who are supposed to be looking out for the flock: PASTOR AND DEACON!!!! Some of them may hear Jesus say "depart from me I never knew you". Jesus says this even after those WHO say they have healed people and done wonderful works in His name.
Like the man said, check the fruit.

Annon. 12:34: You give bad advice. Do you not read in the scriptures where Paul confronted Peter and had to get him to see He was preaching ERROR. Paul didn't persecute Peter he just gave him some Godly wisdom plus he was with the Lord even more recently than Peter. This is why a church must not have secrets from the congregation it only brings concerns about their church. Get it "their church". You have no basis to tell anyone what they should or should not do...you are not the Holy Spirit and it is He that guides each of us to the truth and how we as individuals are to worship God in and out of church since all born again Christians are Priests.

Maybe you haven't thought of this before and are letting your flesh speak rather than the spirit? Also, what goes around comes around. WD stay at it. Some of these guys can dish it out but they are little whipped puppies when it comes to being on the firing line. They get their feelings hurt and cry like babies when some of us get their NUMBER!!

Oh how they hate to be in the LIME LIGHT when it shines on them in a negative fashion. Their behind the scenes hirings and firings and removal of those that are against them is pure PD. No opposition is their major THEME. That way they can go forward with whatever they want and everyone just pats each other on the back and they think they are doing God's business. How sad. No wonder this is the last church age, there couldn't be a worse one. We sure have come a long way from the church of PHILADELPHIA.

Anonymous said...

Before Mac Brunson came here the deacons told us that all of these big time preachers were making 2 3 400,000. That Mac was negotiating his salary.

Our country's financial industry is in ruins now because of the GREED OF THEIR CEO'S, making millions.

It looks like our BIG TIME PREACHERS HAVE NOW BECOME GREEDY.

These CEO'S ARE BEING FIRED. IS IT TIME TO FIRE SOME OF THESE BIG TIME PREACHERS?

Deacons, are you holding your pastor accountable ?

Anonymous said...

Attn: 5:03, l0:0l: I have noticed ANGER coming from a lot of the PREACHERS. Could it be because they are less than stellar "servants", than they claim to be? Could it be they have been "found out"? Could it be that "fooling the flock", is not as easy as it once was? Could it be that paying the price of becoming a mega preacher has become quite a price to pay? Has it occured that the congregations of churches are angry because thay are being lied to but are unable to do anything about it, because a so called man of God has a contract, that can't be broken without a big "payoff" or a church fight(split) or because the trustees that may have aligned themselves with the said preacher would be embarassed to admit they made a big mistake?!!!

Thy Peace said...

I always learn important things from WD and It Is Written. Today I am learning lot of scriptural points from other members here who are anon's. I do not know, where the rural pastor gets the feeling that lot of the commentators are Non-Christians.

The subject matter here is very serious, though the commentators sometimes have to make fun, otherwise it's too depressing.

In the past two days, I found out there is another church called Mars Hill Church in Washington State, that went through similar trials as fbcjax. Their Preaching and Theology Pastor Mark Driscoll, did similar things as Pastor Mac has done or is doing (except for sexual theological remarks made by Driscoll).

Please see this link and search for Driscoll to see all the comments.

Personal Opinions Given as Mandates from God

The above is Pastor Wade's blog article.

The other comment, I wish to make is this: About 6 months ago, Pastor Mac for some reason was under the impression that WD was an employee of fbcjax and possibly in a teaching position. My guess is, they were trying to read between the lines of this blog's posts and comments. Anyway, his comment about this raises important questions. He said, since [WD] is being a given a job by Pastor Mac, he [WD] should be grateful to Pastor Mac and not criticize or smear him, since Pastor Mac is the Employer.

How wrong can Pastor Mac be? Since when is Pastor Mac the Employer of ALL the emloyees at fbcjax?

What this tells me, is Pastor Mac is thinking he is CEO of fbcjax. Same thing happened at BBC (Bellevue).

This corporate mindset has to be broken. I am finding this thinking is becoming very common in lot of churches and Christian organizations.

From the teachings of Jesus, the whole world is turned upside down, in the Christian realm. A leader is a servant. This is what I believe the Bible teaches me. That leaders are to be servants. I also believe this to be true in the non-Christian world too, in order for a true leader to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts:

(1) Nowhere does the Bible make a church's deacons the supervisors of the congregation's pastor. The only thing the Bible specifically indicates that deacons are to supervise is their group ministry to the most needy member/s of the church, for the sake of the congregation's fellowship. The concept of stewardship is taught in the Scriptures, but the position of local church trustee doesn't appear in the Bible (is related to corporation law instead--and does seem to have some legal authority attached to it that way).

(2) Unless spelled out differently in a printed job description, the senior pastor is responsible organizationally to the entire congregation. However, he cannot have 100+ or 1000+ bosses; so, churches usually supervise their pastors via a committee, or by way of the deacons (again, not an assignment they have biblically but possible in congregational polity), or while sitting in a business meeting (of course, many deserving--and undeserving--pastors are "had for lunch" informally each Sunday afternoon). Wise senior pastors will appreciate the oversight; wise congregations will not "lord it over" their pastors.

(3) The senior pastor is given to the local church by God in order to equip those saints for their works of Christian service; the saints are, due to their own personal relationships with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, already to be highly motivated intrinsically to serve Christ--simply needing further instruction in how to do so and the pastor being trained to provide that equipping. If the senior pastor has the privilege of serving with other pastors on staff, he is able to equip the saints of the congregation primarily via those other pastors, though he will preach and provide pastoral care.

(4) The problems experienced by a local church can have lots of causes. Their senior pastor CAN be one of those causes; various means should be used appropriately to deal with the matter when it's the case. Redemption and further progress of the whole should be the objective. Emotions and personal feels don't have to enter the picture at all--even when it seems they are due and "righteous indignation" seems the way. A more matter-of-fact approach seems more helpful.

(5) My hope and prayer for FBCJax is a resolution soon. It seems a good place to start, in order to address the matter officially as a body, is with determining whether or not the congregation's present bylaws were established by violating the previous bylaws of the church (e.g., too little notice given of a vote regarding changes, or etc.). If so, then it would seem the previous bylaws still are in effect and can be used to address the matter. Notice can be given formally, then, by whomever to the congregation's moderator that matters will be brought up from the floor during the church's next business meeting--although there is a willingness to address those matters prior to that meeting and more in private. Taking this approach avoids passive-agressive feelings/actions and represents more emotional and spiritual maturity--and indicates that, at the least, the minority in the congregation (at least in so far as it's known at the time) understands its biblical responsibilities: to support the body still, to maintain a clear conscience well-informed, to stand on its convictions unless other truth is learned.

(6) A bad reason for a Christian to leave a church: because he was mad. A good reason for a Christian to leave a church: because his concerns got him on his knees in prayer and, on his knees in prayer, he heard his Savior say, "Follow Me to another church where you can serve Me as I desire."

(7) Biblically, at the end of the day WD and others concerned must be able to take their senior pastor out for a hamburger--and enjoy the time together as brothers in the Lord. So, to be careful appears good counsel. God will have His children, one way or another, behave as the siblings in Christ He died and rose again to make us; voluntary good behavior is the more pleasant way, I believe.


Again, just my random related thoughts.

Anonymous said...

From Anon 10:01,
Please forgive me for not making my previous post clear. I said by the fruit of the posts it appears as if the writers are EITHER lost or immature. Now, I am curious why the team took the ball and ran with it as if I said they were all lost. Hmmm. Anyway, First things first. Your deflection, though amusing, is still deflection. Have you, then, as a Christian, approached your Pastor in light of MAtthew 18? That is my question. Please deal with that one before we move on. And btw, I noticed how quickly your "Kool-Aid" drinkers jumped on my post and began judging me. That might just get rolled up under God's arm as well. And yes, I'm praying for you and the church.

Thy Peace said...

Anon 6:34am: "Biblically, at the end of the day WD and others concerned must be able to take their senior pastor out for a hamburger--and enjoy the time together as brothers in the Lord. So, to be careful appears good counsel. God will have His children, one way or another, behave as the siblings in Christ He died and rose again to make us; voluntary good behavior is the more pleasant way, I believe."

Amen. Amen. Amen.

If only WD and others, can show Pastor Mac about the good double decker Angus beef burgers, rather than the mayonnaise sandwich that is doled out at fbcjax.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:20

Your argument about Peter and Paul in Jerusalem is horribly applied to this situation. Yes Paul did confront Peter when he erred.

However, he did not develop a blog (or the 1st century equivalent) and criticize him, or demean him in the presence of the world as Watchdog is attempting here.

No I am not the Holy Spirit and I can not tell watchdog where to attend church. However if he can't trust the church leadership with his money (as he has continuously proven on his blog and would readily admit) then he cannot trust them with spiritual matters.

Plain and simple, right?
~12:34

Anonymous said...

Ann:2:23: WRONG. No computers in lst century. Doesn't matter since the problem is an unresponsive preacher, that will not be accountable. I suggest the Peter and Paul analogy fits perfectly. Also bible literate readers are familiar with Peter and Paul. If you should happen to be a preacher, then it would explain why your sympathy is toward the preacher, and against the bloggers who only want a place to voice their concerns because the preacher doesn't listen and at this point doesn't appear to care.

Anonymous said...

9:12 AM

I thought about typing "Subway sub sandwich" for its greater health benefits, but opted for the old stand-by: hamburger.

The real point is, I think: to consider the matter learned from, to apologize for all the wrong responsible for, to forgive for all the wrong received, to consider the matter one done from this point forward, and to maintain the relationship that THE LORD JESUS GRACIOUSLY LET HIMSELF BE HAMMERED ONTO A CROSS FOR before the Lord Himself gets more involved.

But, again, just my own random thoughts.

Anonymous said...

For those new to this blog that have decided to ask us about matthew 18. This has been addressed over and over again. Confronting this pastor according to matthew 18 gets you black listed, lied about, visited by deacons, and silenced by lay leaders and staff. If that doesn't work, you are asked to leave the church. If you try to fulfill matt 18 by some genuine concerns emailed anonymously (to avoid the above) then Dr. Vines comes in and spits at you.

No my new friends, blogging is the only way to get heard in this atmosphere. Jesus always provides a way. Thank you Lord Jesus for this blog. Amen and Amen.

And amazingly, some two plus years later...some readers still think the main issue at FBC Jax is the bloggers. Incredible!

Anonymous said...

Refusal to obey scripture (Matthew 18 and otherwise) is sin.

Do right, even if it hurts you. Jesus did.

Anonymous said...

I have known Mac Brunson for almost twenty years. He is a man of God who preaches the Word.

So what if he makes $400,000 a year.He has spent more time in his educational pursuits and his years of experience as most medical Drs.
If uses his time away to preach, it is his business. Knowing Mac, he probably gives the money he makes speaking, to misssions. He has a heart of gold. Plus, him speaking at other venues gives visibility to FBC and when people move to Jacksonville they may visit at FBC.
I never heard this criticism of Jerry Vines, even though he drove a Lexus. Besides, Jerry also preached the Word and has a right to drive what he chooses.
You see, I can't be jealous of any of God's men. I'm grateful to be alive as I am a two time cancer survivor. You need to get on your knees and pray and get an appreciation for the life the Lord has given to you.

Anonymous said...

ll:l6 I sympathize with you in regard to your Cancer problems. And am always happy to hear that someone survives that terrible disease. But, in the matter of understanding these mega preachers you are way off base. Kool aid is not a way to go. You mentioned a heart of gold.... that I believe!!!! But whose gold????

Anonymous said...

If ANY God-honoring ministers DESERVE a salary of $400,000 annually, then ALL of us do! Otherwise, the Lord hasn't made YET any pastor who DESERVES to be given a salary as large as that, nor does one need it. Other ministry staff members ALWAYS get the short end of the stick, too--though we save our senior pastors from LOTS of trouble they create for themselves and the church. Take care of OTHER ministers on staff, too, if you want to be a church which truly may be considered an ethical one!

Anonymous said...

6:0l A.M.: I agree with you. I am not a staff member, but have attended FBC a long time and I know how hard most of them work. The younger pastors never made much money, the staff in general does not make much. But the pastor expects total loyalty, obedience, absolutely never question the pastor, wife or son. This is a sad situation. I imagine it is difficult to work for this preacher, unless you are in awe of him. But in this day and age people are just trying to keep a job. People should pray for all staff members in all churches, they have a hard job putting up with "The Great Ones".

wdwd said...

It is far more diffictult and a far mor worthy task to light a single candle than it is tocurse the darkness.