Its also a sad commentary that Mac stood in front of those students and brought no greetings from his church, he never mentioned his church, he never mentioned what a privilege it is to be pastor at FBC Jax, never mentioned one good thing about our church and the people of our church or the many benefits derived from being a preacher at a great church. Mac may be one of the most ungrateful preachers alive today. He has spent a great deal of time at late talking about the Lindsay's...one huge contrast between Brunson and Lindsay is that Lindsay was always grateful for everything God did for him and his church. Mac's only expressions are just how bad things are and how tough his life is as pastor. We hear it most Sundays ("you oughta be preacher for a week"). But the reality is that Mac has been given so VERY much - so much money, power, prestige, perks, privilege - so much more than 99.99% of the preachers in the world - yet he views himself as a martyr and victim and takes great pains to making sure others view him in this same light.
Its also a sad commentary to look to Atlanta at the 3:16 Conference..while Mac is singing "woe is me and woe will be you too" to SWBTS students, great respected preachers are taking up the complex issue of Calvinism in Atlanta (read about it here at Burleson's blog). Hunt, Vines, and Patterson are there preaching on very important doctrines in the SBC to preachers in the SBC...while Mac "Eeyore" Brunson is over at Dallas filling the minds of future SBC preachers that there is no more difficult life to live than that of the abused mega church pastor. Wow, isn't that an important topic in today's church: not the abusing pastors, but the abused pastors. The fact the Eeyore is over at SWBTS saying "Oh..well...we're all just going to be attacked and there ain't nuthin' we can do...." while big-time preachers are waxing eloquently about deep and controversial doctrinal matters tells us that Mac has definitely been relegated to the "back of the bench" at the SBC. Good thing. Might be time to demote him back to the minor leagues where he belongs so he can get a fresh perspective on what ministry is and what humility and grace and love is all about and perhaps get back to the basics.
I know I'm rehashing here topics previously blogged about, but in this article I want to clarify for Mac, the staff at FBC Jax who read this blog on a daily basis, and the students at SWBTS: Despite what he says, he is NOT suffering at FBC Jax, and has much to be grateful for. He does face opposition, but its not because he is "baptized into the holiness of God" as he declared. All leaders of large organizations, and even small ones - face tremendous challenges as leaders! It comes with the territory! Its nothing new! Good leaders deal with opposition through love, grace, steadfastness, and keeping their eye on the goal - but one things great leaders DO NOT do: is complain about how tough they have it.
Just How Good Has Mac Had it at FBC Jax?
Mac has it very good at FBC Jax. He earns a huge salary that is somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 per year, his wife is on staff in a position that has no title and no stated hours (I'm assuming that is because she is "co pastor" and we can't call her that) - his son was put on staff IMMEDIATELY upon Mac's hire in a Director's job earning $50,000 as a 24 year old just out of college with his first full time job (and no seminary training). This was a newly created job, smacking of gross and overt nepotism. Mac has a huge personal office suite (built for him upon hire in 2006) and library larger than the average church member's home. He preaches on average two times per week max, sometimes just one - and he often stretches one sermon on Sunday morning into two by using history lesson fillers to stretch the time. He travels the world preaching and earning stipends and selling books. His wife travels with him to most locations despite them both being on staff. His wife is a trustee on the IMB and travels to those meetings; often times coming back to tell untruths to the FBC Jax staffers about certain individuals she doesn't care for at the IMB.
Mac sponsors Holy Land trips and uses the church's website to market them. He has been allowed to utilize his own preferred church marketing firm (The A Group and Maurilio Amorim) that was hired "single source" without competitive bidding (this was part of the negotiations to come to Jax) to consult with Mac on the direction of the church and to help him with his own private website and image branding. In addition to hiring a church marketing firm, Mac has been allowed to hire a promotions firm out of Atlanta to handle the coordination of and selling of advertising space at the Pastor's conference that was graciously left in the hands of Mac from Jerry Vines. 99% of the church doesn't know about the promotions firm, so Mac is able to credit the raising of funds from the advertising of the pastor's conference and the smooth running of the conference to the skill and hard work of his son...when it really was a promotions firm in Atlanta. But his son deserves some credit, as he "oversees" it.
Mac's salary and income allow him to live in a 5000+ square foot, 6 bed, 4 bath home valued at over $1 million in an exclusive, gated golf community in Jacksonville. His position as mega church pastor allowed him to be given a $300,000 piece of land just two weeks after arriving in Jacksonville on which his executive home was built, and his position as mega church pastor allowed him to be given a one-year's stay RENT FREE at a beach front condo 1 hour north of Jacksonville while his million dollar mansion was being constructed. His land gift and year's free condo stay were not for love and affection, but simply because he had the position of "mega church pastor".
And all of the above was given to Mac because he has title of "mega church pastor." Whatever perks Homer Lindsay, Jr. had, whatever gifts were given to Vines or Rogers or Criswell, however large Vines or Jeremiah's salary was/is, however much leeway Lindsay had to run the church...it was all given to them out of the love and respect they EARNED through years and years and years of service to our Lord and to the church at which they served. All the privilege and power and prestige heaped on Mac was not earned...it was granted upon his arrival. Hence the spoiled rotten attitude of Mac. He didn't have to earn it.
I shall continue expounding on how wonderful Mac has had it at our church:
The bylaws of our church were changed in December 2007 so as to grant Mac more power and to remove the congregation's ability to call for a church meeting unless approved by the trustees. The bylaw changes granted Mac the sole power to appoint trustees...a discipline committee was formed and Mac went on a 2 month kick mentioning and threatening "church discipline" in many of his sermons to try and intimidate the bloggers. But my point is that Mac has it so good that these granting of extra power to him was all done without him having to give one word of explanation to the church...the proposed by law changes were kept in the library and could be "signed out" but not copied nor removed from the library. So less than 1% of the congregation reviewed them before they voted. And apparently his deacons and trustees were behind him 100% with no stated opposition. Students at SWBTS: try making significant changes to your church's bylaws without holding a meeting to allow members to read them, to ask questions, or at least without you EXPLAINING what the changes are and why they are necessary. Try what Mac did at YOUR new church, and you will be out the door so fast it will make your head spin. But not so with Mac. He has it very good!
When Mac arrived we spent tens of thousands of dollars to introduce Mac to our community where we rented out our minor league municipal baseball statium for a "Sermon on the Mound" event. It was a dud, as Mac gave a weak sermonette to our friends and family we invited that were sorely disappointed.
We also graciously allowed Mac time off his first year to keep his speaking committments; we also allowed him to vacate the pulpit so he could finish his book manuscript, the "Pastor's Guidebook" in which he tells pastors not to do precisely the same things he himself has done as a mega church pastor - like accepting gifts, living in executive homes, driving luxury cars, and using one's pulpit as a bully pulpit - all things he tells pastors not to do, but he himself does. How twisted is that: we allowed him time off to write a book about not accepting gifts and living in large houses at the very time he was accepting gifts and building a huge house. There's a word in the Greek for that: hypocrite.
When Mac arrived we allowed him to immediately begin advertising his Holy Land trips. We raised money for his son's wedding reception before Mac even showed up for his first day on the job. Envelopes were passed around all the Sunday School departments to collect money to give to Mac's newly married son...church resources were used to print up flyers announcing his son's wedding reception...we not only didn't know Mac yet, but we certainly didn't know his son, and we weren't told that when we hired Mac it was the trinity of Mac, Honey and Trey.
Mac wanted a school, so we are starting a school. He didn't have to raise funds for it, didn't even hold a business meeting to vote on whether we should or should not (try that at your church, SWBTS students). He did hold an unannounced business meeting to take $500,000 from our church funds to start it (but the truth is he had started down the path way before he asked for the $500,000). Mac wanted to put himself on national TV, so he was allowed to hold a special offering under the banner of "Media Evangelism" - but it was just a way to market an effort to raise the $180,000 to put himself on nationwide TV on the INSP network. The special offering was on Easter Sunday, and he never did announce how much was raised - but lo and behold in a few months there was Mac on the INSP network. He asks us to give to special offerings but doesn't even show us the respect of telling us how much we did raise, or to even thank those of us who did give.
So SWBTS students - I say all of that to say: Mac ain't sufferin'. Yes, pastors suffer. Somtimes through no fault of their own, sometimes because they misbehave. But Mac ain't one of the "sufferin' servants". And he had more than the 6 months of bliss he quoted you, and more than just a "few months" that Paige Patterson said Mac had before we tried to "kill him". What he painted for you as a man of many sufferings as a mega church pastor...its like so many other things that Mac does - its all a marketing and image ploy to garner support from you and others around the SBC for the mess he has made at FBC Jax. And it is a mess. And he now seeks to dupe you into believing its because he's such a holy person and he is therefore being attacked by the devil. How sad.
In the next articles we'll analyze the foolishness of many of Mac's statements in his sermon that day.