"...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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Celebrity-Preacher Driven Ministry

As a follow-up to the previous post, I want to offer one more ministry model that Jim Smyrl left off his article on TDM...its called the "Celebrity-Preacher Driven Ministry". Yep, CPDM.

When Mac first came to FBC Jax, his mantra for the first few months was "We don't come to church to worship a pastor or to hear from a preacher, but to worship and hear from God." Fine and true, although one might assume he said that to tell us that was what we WERE doing before he came along. And now that he was there he was going to put a stop to the evil of preacher-worship and celebrity preachers at FBC Jax.

Only problem was we really did NOT worship our pastors, and they did NOT behave as celebrities. We really DID come to church to hear from God - fortunately our pastors were preaching the Word of God every single Sunday.

Three years into Mac's tenure, we can look back and see the obvious contrasts - that while our previous pastors were NOT celebrities, Mac really does behave as though he is a celebrity, in many ways.

I suppose Vines and Lindsay were "celebrities" if by that you mean "beloved pastors". The people loved these men. Not because they were perfect, not because they had the title of "Pastor, FBC Jacksonville". And not because they expected or demanded special status. They were beloved because they proved themselves over many years to be loving toward the people, faithful to God in their call to preach Jesus and the Bible, and faithful to do right by the church called FBC Jacksonville. They were hard on sin, soft on people...and people loved them and God blessed their ministries.

Whatever love and admiration the people of FBC Jax gave them, they earned - they didn't have to demand it. They didn't come riding into town with a $300,000 land gift in their hip pocket, jobs for the family and a brand new $100,000 "pastor study" in the choicest of church space...and neither Vines nor Lindsay came into town to staying at Amelia Island for a year in an ocean-front condo while they built their million dollar mansion as Mac has.

So really, who was/is the "celebrity" preacher?

Mac has come here and used his position to give special status to his family, as though they are the "first family". We now have a 24 or 25 year old Director whose primary qualification is that his last name is Brunson. His wife also has a special position in the church. Some of you might say that Homer, Sr. gave Homer, Jr. a job - that this was nepotism. No, Jr. went away to seminary, earned his doctorate, and "earned his stripes" so-to-speak as a pastor before coming to Jacksonville. Hear me: Homer, Jr. didn't seek out this position, he didn't negotiate a deal for he and his wife and son...in fact his dad had to convince Jr. to give FBC Jacksonville a try.

Homer or Vines never held a "special offering" to raise money not in the budget to put themselves on national television.

Homer or Vines never used their position as our pastor to advertise for "Holy Land" trips on our website. Vines did travel and preach on "Christian cruises" once per year, but he never advertised them to us on the website or in the church bulletin! Even when Vines retired he was very careful to not use the pulpit to promote his "Jerry Vines Ministry" launch - with 20+ years at the church he could have and no one would have said a peep, but he knew how unbecoming it was for a pastor to use his position as pastor of a mega church to sell and promote and advertise themselves or their ministries. Vines had wisdom. Vines had class.

Once the transition to "celebrity" is made, the next logical step is to view events as promotions and revenue opportunities. And then to advertise to SELL the promotions packages - what arrogance - sure, we're going to charge you money to put you on our I-mags and to mention you on the "stage" - we can sell you a little bit of "celebrity" status if you have have the money to pay for it! Homer or Vines never sold advertising and promotions to our Pastor's conference - such a thought would be very foreign, to charge ministries $750 for a table and $12,500 for a "platinum promotions package" including "emcee recognition" and video displays and "banners in prominent positions" and "premium booth space". I would submit that doing such things would not even be a consideration for a "Jesus driven" ministry, but in a celebrity driven ministry, why not sell a little bit of "celebrity"?

For Brunson, envelopes with requests for money were passed through all the Sunday School classes for several weeks to collect money for a "money tree" for his newly married son before we even got to know Mac OR his son.

The birthday cards sent to members have Mac's entire family even though his children are grown and have families of their own. I'm glad he has a wonderful family, but one must think they are a celebrity in order to put their out-of-town daughter and son-in-law and grandchild on birthday cards going to members of FBC Jax. I mean really...does son-in-law Barry really need to be wishing FBC Jax members "Happy Birthday"? Get real.

We held special baby dedication services for Baby Broc. We held a special ordination service for Mac's son-in-law. Celebrity status - you get special baby dedications and ordinations. Never would other staff members, and certainly never would the plebe - ever get a special baby dedication or ordination service for their relative. But if your pastor is a "celebrity", it makes perfect sense to do that! But wait, maybe we can market this, and for a handsome donation one can get a special Sunday morning baby dedication.

Now again we are treated to the Brunson's including their extended family on their Christmas greetings, featuring a picture of "the Child", Baby Broc. I'm happy for Mac that he has a grandson. I'm also happy that he's proud to be a grandfather...but are members of FBC Jax to be overjoyed at the sight of his grandson who lives in Kentucky? Is there something special about HIS grandchild that he should be featured on our church website? The greeting makes it seem as though its Mac and Deb's 4th child, for crying out loud. Mac is our pastor. He has a wife. Wouldn't it be enough for Mac and his wife to give us Christmas greetings?

What empty nesters their 50's and 60's that has grown children and grandkids sends Christmas cards out that includes their grown kids, their kids' spouses, and the grandkids names on it? I have never in my life ever seen such a thing. And what is with the "Doc" and "Honey"? Let's see, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc....and "Honey"? Isn't it "Mac and Deb"?

But the Brunson's do it. Perhaps they view themselves as "celebrities". Just a guess, but I will bet this was not Mac's idea, if you know what I mean. But since women are more "sensitive to the Holy Spirit" as Mac says.

The Lindsays and Vines knew that while they were beloved, they didn't abuse that love by showcasing all of their family members in our church or promoting their families! They kept their families private.

I love babies in general, but like most members at FBC Jax I'm not all that interested in "Baby Broc" in particular. If they are presuming that we care to see Baby Broc and are filled with joy at his sight, they must assume they are celebrities, and that anyone associated with them is of interest to us. Like the baby of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - we don't care anything about that baby but that its parents are celebrities! Oooh...let me see the little baby!

By the way, I found it a bit uncomfortable Sunday when Mac declared to us that his daughter was expecting another child, and he said "...its another boy, thank GOD, we got another man coming...the 'man-child' is coming".....as though there is something inherently wrong with a girl baby?

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just keeping hearing John the Baptist saying "I must decrease and He must increase". These mega church pastors all believe they have arrived. Its status, money, and perks...its that simple. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out...however, a lot fall under their spell.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: You are 100% correct on how Lindsay Jr. came here. I was there during this time and I voted on him coming here. There was time given by Dr. Lindsay Sr., open in the service for anyone having questions or comments. There were a few questions asked, and Dr. L.Sr., answered each one. Then a unanimous vote was taken in favor of calling Dr., L, Jr. God was in this move as we were truly blessd, twice Sr.Lindsay Jr., was a little reluctant to come as he had started a church in Miami, and it was growing. But, after much prayer he knew God called him here. Jr., led this church to love Jesus and to know His Word. As an aside, both men were asked several times to become president of the SBC. Both turned it down more than once. Why? Because they did not want to take time from their calling, our church. I heard Dr. Lindsay Jr., say he had no time for politics, within the convention. Here were two men that could care less about celebrity, and the praise of the world. They just preached about the Savior they loved and wanted the rest of us to love Him as well. I have seen NO preachers since them that come close to their committment to the Lord, their calling or the people. All they wanted was to do Gods work as "local" pastors. Both men were easy to know and to talk with. They had no egos and looked upon each of us as equals. I am so thankful to have been a part of FBCJ, then. I grew spiritually. The longer I am here on earth the more I see what a gift, and special miracle it was to have been under their ministries.

Anonymous said...

TDM...Jesus told his disciples to go and spread the gospel first at Judea and then the other parts of the world. They did what he commanded them to do. They were not celebrities, FAR FROM IT, and most were either crucified or had their heads chopped off. One even was boiled in oil, but God protected him from the fire in order to bring us the last Revelation.

The canon of scripture has been complete for almost 2000 years. It needs to further explanation, no correction, no substraction. Just preach the Word as Jesus commanded and real BELIEVERS WILL SHOW UP UNDER SUCH MINISTRY.

Anonymous said...

HEAR ME!! What the church needs is a sheep driven ministry...not a pastor led ministry and certainly not TDM, PD, etc,etc. Jesus is the only model...A shepherd...Wasn't He the one who left the 99 and went after the 1 who strayed. I love and follow His example, not some "NEW" approach that will fade like a flower shortly. Anything other than SERVANT STYLE leadership and strong Bible preaching will fail. Just look around at the churches that have closed their doors. They brought the world in and have suffered the whirlwind.

RM said...

I do like your new term. Quite true...

Seems like a lot of people are bordering or worshipping Homer Lindsay and that's not good either. All pastors are human. I can assure you that Jerry Vines was political since I sat in numerous meetings with him. I don't think Mac is overly popular among his "fellow greats" so that should be some consolation to you since you are stuck with him.

Times change and methods of "calling" a preacher differ with the times. Not sure where that term even came from since it sure isn't Biblical.

I'll be sure to alert all of my preacher buddies about the new term, "CPDM". I think it will catch on quickly since there are so many of them.

Robert L. Peeples said...

As I began to read your article, I knew you would mention the land deal. Watchdog, you didn't dissapoint. You always harp on the same things over and over again. It's old. Why not be positive and mention the Soles for Souls effort and the wonderful results from that outreach? Is it because you do not want to veer away from your bashing style of blogging...or has your heart become so cold and deceived to evil that you know no good if it were right in front of you...I fear both.

Another issue; What happened to Church Discipline-FBC Jax Style Part 2? You had an article called Part 1 but you have not posted a second article. Inconsistency is a sign of weakness and a lack of discipline Dr. Dog. I come to read your blog for entertainment and to get the scoop on your confused, uninformed opinions so don't waste my bellsouth internet bill on inconsistency and a lack of entertainment.
I will end on a good note.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you politically correct nutjobs out there.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Good to hear from you Robert! Merry Christmas to you as well.

Ahem,I love your little dig about inconsistency with the Watchdog.

How many blogs have you started and stopped in the last year or so? Too many to count, my friend, but that's OK, since no one reads them.

And "Part 2" of the Discipline FBC Jax style has been written but has been on hold for a few reasons that I don't care to explain to you, one of the policitally correct nutjobs - see you at the Christmas Eve service tomorrow night?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Oh, and I don't mention the Soles for Souls because I know Mac is paying church marketing funds to promote those and other happenings around FBC Jax, and putting those on the FBC Jax Website with the 80 second around FBC Jax...so I let Mac and his promoters and marketers handle the FBC Jax promotions. Makes sense, doesn't it Robert?

RM said...

I hope you boys get to sit together tomorrow night and make up and get on with growing your church. It would be a great Christmas present for all of us.

Anonymous said...

RM: Agree Vines was most definitely political. Plus, he had started bringing in Purpose Driven a couple of years before he left. The Purpose Driven Life was taught twice during our training union hour. He did state from the pulpit, upon some concern about PD, that Warren was a friend of his. I believe he had additional plans leaning toward PD, but the "powers" at that time were somewhat reluctant to venture too far into "change". My Guess. I believe he knew Brunson would change things tremendously here, as he stated from the pulpit, in jest, "things are really going to change at FBC, when Mac comes".

it is written said...

Robert Peeples the more you blog the more clueless you are shown to be...I have just one question for you....Has Dr.Dog given any legitimate discrepancies concerning Brunson in your HUMBLE opinion?...A simple yes or no will suffice!!...PS..Excuse me I have one more question for you..How much money is too much to pay Mac to preach what supposely he has been compelled BY GOD to DO?

it is written said...

Anon 12:42 you are absolutely correct to the fact that Vines had began to lead FBC Jax into PD well before Pope Mac came in..

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

In defense of Vines...I believe whatever direction he would take us, whatever initiatives he would implement, he would clearly explain them, lovingly, why we are doing them and what he hoped to achieve. He would never say "YOU HAVE GOT TO GET THIS". He never viewed himself as having to define a movement, or defend his ideas by insulting our intelligence by telling us how the new methods were THE method that we MUST do. Like Lindsay, he knew that new ministries and new techniques could be tried. Just as an example: shortly after Lindsay died, Vines changed our mornings back to two services, an 8:00 am and 10:45 service. He explained it, and we did it, but after a number of months, we went back to one service. He knew that we were about Jesus, and he was open to new techniques to reach people for Jesus but if they didn't work we would try something else. Contrast with Mac and Jim - these know-it-alls have the answers of exactly how to and how not to do ministry...and if you oppose them, or even dare to express "worry" about their WONDERFUL ideas, you are open to ridicule from the pulpit.

It is a new day at First Jax!

I have said repeatedly, that even if Mac were not Purpose Driven or TDM or any driven....he STILL would have a problem leading his church in ANY direction because of the manner he came here and his lack of transparency, his lack of servant leadership, lack of humbleness, his lack of love expressed for his congregation, etc.

This blog started not as opposition to PD or TDM or color of the carpet...it was about the abuses of Mac Brunson that would be harming his ability to lead REGARDLESS OF WHAT DIRECTION HE WAS TO GO.

it is written said...

Dr.Dog...I whole-heartedly agree with you base on your and my on observations that Mac is a mess(MAC THE MESS)..Add PD or TDM to the mix and you have the recipe for a TRAGEDY!!

it is written said...

RM..I will ask you did you know Dr.Lindsay Jr?..If you knew him then you would understand that it is not worship of a man(As we admire Paul who was just a man) but admiration of a person who exemplified what it meant to be the undersheperd of Christ..When you compare MAC-THE-MESS by how Dr.Lindsay Jr.was you WOULD understand why people blog with such compliments!!..I WILL SAY AGAIN THAT DR.LINSAYS WAS A GREAT MAN AND SERVANT OF CHRIST who lived and served as an example to the people NOT THEIR LORD!!!

Alabama Pastor said...

Mr. Dog,

You do yourself no favors by griping about trivial things such as a picture of a baby on a Christmas card. When you get into petty stuff, it takes away from the weight of your potentially legitimate grievances.

Being an interested outsider who has no dog in this hunt (other than the fact that we all should be working for the cause of Christ), I'm just telling you what it looks like to me.

Merry Christmas!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Bama: Sure, I understand I would take grief for that as being "petty", but I disagree and I don't believe it is at all petty but very relevant to the topic. The topic is "Celebrity Preachers", and putting their grandkid on our church website and on their Christmas greetings to the church is evidence of "Doc" and "Honey" viewing themselves as celebrities at FBC Jax. Major deal? No. Any harm done to anyone? Of course not. But it is relevant in the discussion of celebrity preachers.

Last year's card took the cake: it was their new grandbaby in a diaper in a manger like position, with Mac, Debbie, and the entire clan wearing Santa hats looking at the baby as though HE were the Christ child. Poor taste, very poor taste.

And I want to know what preacher sends Christmas cards out with their entire grown, out of town children, spouses, and grandkids listed as "Team Brunson" or "Team Whatever". And what pastor puts the picture of their grandkid on the Christmas card? What empty nesters list all of their grown kids and their spouses and grandkids on holiday greetings? If you Bama Pastor send a birthday card to a member, do you list your grown, out of town children on the card? And what pastor holds a special Sunday morning baby dedication service for their grandkid and parents who are not members of the church?

Brunson understands the power of "branding". From DAY ONE he has branded his entire family under the banner of "Team Brunson". It was on the opening video given to us to introduce Mac. It was the title of the picture on our website the day we voted him as pastor. The message is: when you hired Mac, you hired the entire family. Son is on staff, wife is on staff, and son #2 will be on staff and son-in-law will also be on staff. "Team Brunson" - branding and marketing. Even the Holy Land trip...its marketed as traveling with "Team Brunson and Charles Ryrie". "Team Brunson" needs to take me to the Holy Land? Does that include all of his kids? Why would I be interested in traveling with "Team Brunson"?

I am very happy that they are proud of their grandchild. But to presume we all want to see him featured as a celebrity baby on our church website...that is arrogance. If that is petty, then so be it. Its the truth.

Let me guess Bama Pastor: your father-in-law doesn't or never did put you and your wife and your kids on his Christmas cards. I'll bet if you have grown kids and grand kids you don't put them on your birthday greetings to your members...and did you or would you hold a special one-baby baby dedication service on a SUNDAY morning to dedicate your grandchild who lives out of town? I really would like your honest answer to those questions. If the answer is NO to those, ask yourself, why does Mac do it? Because he is a celebrity mega church pastor.

it is written said...

Dr.Dog...Read the article in the Florida Times Union newspaper page A4 on Rick Warren and you'll see the reason I and many others think this man and his PD philosophy is so dangerous

Anonymous said...

Alabama Preacher:

If you are looking for some meat in your quest for information, let me direct you TO THE POINT.

http://www.cuttingedge.org/News/n1506ch13.html

This is just an introduction to what is at stake not only here at FBC JAX, but in the whole world.

RM said...

Since there are some influential and "great" pastors on both sides of the Rick Warren PD thing perhaps we could all just calm down and learn to sift through things to find pearls of truth. I have taught his materials numerous times (as did Jerry Vines) but I'm a big boy and know how to leave out things that I find wrong or disagreeable. Churches today are changing their methods everywhere we look so we'd all better go with the flow or we'll end up with empty churches--that doesn't mean we have to dilute the message--just be open to new methods.

And do it lovingly...

Alabama Pastor said...

Thanks for responding, Dog.

To answer your questions:

First of all, my wife's father has not been a part of her life since she was a small child, so that question is moot.

Secondly, I'm in my thirties and my children still live at home, so the other questions are moot.

If you want my honest answers, however, then I would have to say, "No, I probably wouldn't do those things." But I'm not a grandfather, so it's hard for me to give a credible opinion. I know many non-celebrities and non-pastors who ARE grandfathers and they don't need an excuse to show others pictures of their grandkids.

Dr. Brunson may very well be, as you describe, "a celebrity mega church pastor." I don't know because I'm not there and I've never even met the man.

But you, my friend, seem to have made yourself out to be one of those disgruntled church members who nit-picks every little thing the pastor does to the point that very few people in the congregation take him/her seriously. Lovingly dealing with legitimate problems in a Christ-like manner is the responsibility of all Christians, but continuously ascribing sinister motives to everything a pastor does eventually comes across like a barking chihuahua. After awhile, people begin to kind of tune out the dog (no pun intended) and just accept the fact that he's going to bark.

I will admit that there are things you've blogged about that have made me cringe as a pastor. But I'm sure if all of my dirty laundry were aired before the entire world, it would make a lot of other pastors cringe, as well. Ask yourself one question: Has this blog accomplished anything useful for FBC Jacksonville?

I really would like your honest answer to this question, just like you wanted honest answers from me. If the answer to that question is "NO", then I would suggest you find a more constructive way of building up the body of Christ.

BTW, I have no doubt that you are a good and decent person, and I want you to know that my comments are made in love.

God bless you, Dog.

Alabama Pastor said...

Anonymous,

I wasn't on a quest for information, and I certainly didn't need to read another anti-PD thesis. Most of Dog's complaints seem to have little to do with the whole PD thing, anyway.

My only goal in commenting was to give Dog an outsider's perspective. I admit that being a pastor may make me a bit biased, but I'm trying to see both sides fairly.

it is written said...

Jesus said: "You will know them by their fruit"..The Bible(N.T.)is replete with warnings of men who will infiltrate the Church for the sake of filthy LUCRE(HOW MUCH IS FBC PAYING HIM)..After reading Dr.Dogs concerns..After talking to many of my current and former friends at/of FBC Jax..After my own observations of Mac's actions since he has arrived..I personally have come to the conclusion that Mac at best is spiritually immature and at worse a flat out fraud!!!!

RM said...

I used to think that Rick Warren was vaguely smart (not right but smart) but after seeing how Hussein Obama is using him I'm not so sure... I don't think he even realizes that he is being used by the master manipulator.

Anonymous said...

Ala Pastor 3:22...As a member of FBCJ for many years I would like to say that the Watchdog with his blog has awakened a sleeping giant. Christians who have an uneasy attitude that something is amiss have found a voice in this blog. Its like the sleeping giant, when he wakes up he won't go back to sleep. He will put on the whole armor of GOD and quench the arrows of the enemy. Like It is Written said it is dangerous. Unfortunatley, a lot of those in attendance don't have spiritual discernment. This unfortunately is what keeps these mega church preachers in the lifestyle of the rich and famous!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Bama - fair enough.

Answers to your questions - I don't view myself as nitpicking. If anything, I'm repetitive as RP points out - still talking about the land gift and significant things Mac has yet to address to his congregation openly and honestly. I'm trying to stay on point about the significant abuses, and to some extent trying to give analysis as to why he is doing these things. I'm analyzing very important issues at our church, I believe - mentioning the grandkid on the card may be a stretch, but its a small point to a major issue - celebrity preacher status. This is relevant because it helps to understand the things he has done to this point! Why would a pastor dare to accept a $300,000 land gift within days of arriving at his new church? Why he deserves it, of course. He's the PASTOR!!! Why would his young 20-something son have a Director's position? Because Mac is a celebrity and we should be honored to have his SON as one of our prominent staff members.

Barking chijuajua? Maybe.

Tuning the watchdog out? I doubt it. The church reads the site each and every day multiple times. The Brumley article increased daily readership by about 40%. My guess this is why the timing of the trespass warnings - to intimidate who they thought was the watchdog, to get the site shut down before Brumley's article ran.

Dirty Laundry? I don't view these things as "dirty laundry". The topics here are things he is doing IN THE OPEN FOR ALL TO SEE!! Dirty laundry is talking about speeding tickets, or things in his private life totally separate from the church or something irrelevant from his past...the topics here are hardly "dirty laundry". If you, bama pastor, take a huge gift from one of your wealthiest members, that's not your dirty laundry. Blatant nepotism? That ain't dirty laundry. Changing the bylaws and not explaining the nature and purpose of the changes. That ain't dirty laundry, my friend.

As far as what has been accomplished? I don't know. I've read the indictment of the watchdog sent to the member issued the trespass warnings...and apparently the church staff believes the watchdog to be single handedly destroying the church and the fellowship of FBC Church. I will be posting a follow up article on that letter very soon, and on the bylaws that were changed under our noses without any of the pastors or trustees bothering to explain them. That is not "dirty laundry" - they are important issues at the church.

Many of the readers of this are like yourself, out of towners...perhaps some will read this and be disgusted at what they read of what Mac has done. Sure, they may view me as an irritant, a recalcitrant, no good, dirty rotten scoundrel headed for a heart attack and a devil's hell. But if there's a grain of truth to what I'm blogging about, then other churches - not pastors - LAY PEOPLE - need to take note of how these new mega church pastors operate. There is a new breed of pastor today, who has his eyes on a mega church status. They will do what they need to achieve it, and once there they will milk it for all its worth for themselves and their family, all on the backs of well-meaning Christians. Some will work hard to build a mega church themselves, some will take promotions to take over another mega church and want all the perks and pay and status that the previous pastor who labored for decades enjoyed. We see it with Mac, we even saw it with the pastor at FBC Ocala who single handedly split a wonderful church because he wanted to be the celebrity dictator pastor and there were some men who dared to stand up to him and his wiles. So he left and within hours took hundreds from that church (some of them the most wealthy members, reportedly) and started himself a new church! He could have humbled himself and realized the church was not about HIM and what HE wanted to do with the church, but that the church was about JESUS and loving people. But he couldn't have what he wanted the way he wanted it, so he left.

This new breed of pastors are brutal, cut-throat, arrogant, not an ounce of humility, and their egos barely fit into the massive auditoriums in which they preach. They desire book deals, and book deals for their wives. They require humongous "pastor suites" for themselves, their wives, and a secretary and their dogs. They want to go on preaching circuits to earn huge honoraria. They will use their position and a percentage of the millions collected by their church to live a life of "royalty", luxury, and hob-nob with the movers and shakers. They will use God's money given by sacrificing Christians to build a brand for themselves, and they will intimidate any opposition into submission or they will throw them out of the church. They are not at all desireous of bringing their congregations along with them by loving them, but will demand followship. They will use their pulpit as a bully pulpit to accuse people of being warriors, and "doing the work of Satan" if they don't follow in lock step with the pastor. They will grant special privileges to those who give more, and who brown nose and are yes men. They will travel to Europe with trustees who handle the finances.

They are less interested in humble, servant leadership to lead a flock...than they are behaving as privileged CEO's.

Its happening, and I hope that if no one listens to me at FBC Jax, and if they find who I am and tar and feather me and throw me off the roof of the Lindsay auditorium....that some folks at other megas or soon to be megas...will read this blog and put in measures to reign in these abusive pastors, and put constraints on them that will minimize the changes that they abuse their congregations. I hope they will not decide to hand the reigns of a mega church with tens of millions of dollars of budget over to a man that no one really knows. I hope they will guard their bylaws carefully and not let a pastor change them clandestinely to take even MORE power than the previous pastors had! I hope churches will implement strict nepotism policies, and will require any changes in church governance to be fully explained to the congregation and a valid vote taken once people understand the issues. I hope churches will implement a budgeting and reporting procedure that allows any member to inspect financial records and salaries so that pastors will be more moderate in their compensation packages as they know their members will know them.

So probably nothing ultimately will change at FBC Jax. Maybe, by some small chance, this blog will help open the eyes of other lay people at other churches about these pastors.

Sorry for the length of this post, but those are the long-winded answers to your questions, Bama.

Anonymous said...

RM: I take it back you have bought into PD. This attitude of "if you don't get on board with OUR program and try these "New Things", then you will have empty churches. I would be afraid of that attitude, as it limits the work of the Holy Spirit, who does NOT need a program to follow. Not to mention to follow these new methods or else, doesn't say much of the preaching ability of preachers. If I were a preacher I would hope I could preach Gods word without compromising with a program and methods, or movements. What it says to me is... when one thinks they must follow a program, a method or a movement, is this... he doesn't rely on God to give him the message to preach, and that the preacher has no confidence in himself or God.

And since you did NOT know Dr. Lindsay, I hardly think you qualified to judge whether he was as exceptional as many of us KNOW he was. He was also a gentleman. I never heard him speak against a woman, dead or alive.

Anonymous said...

Alabama Preacher

For a preacher in his 30's you show good sense. Many preachers like Mac Brunson and RM have ventured into the PD waters without looking at "another anti- Pd thesis" The fact that you are concerned about this METHOD OF CONDUTING CHURCH, shows me much about you and your future serving the Lord. You may not have made up your mind concerning PD, New Age, Emerging, Neo-Evangelism or any number of "METHODS". The question is are you a BAPTIST.

Some would have you believe that you'd "better go with the flow or we'll end up with empty churches'.That mentality is for weak minded, compromising preachers who believe man can lead a church better than the Holy Spirit.

We have seen the Holy Spirit at work at FBC JAX IN TIMES PAST. What we have here now is a preacher who has gone PD, Seeker Sensitive and more. He says we are not, but all evidence shows we are. We are not fools.

PURPOSE DRIVEN IS A DISEASE THAT IS INFECTING CHURCHES EVERYWHERE.

Your heart is right preacher. Preach the word and you will never have an empty church.

Alabama Pastor said...

Thanks for the honesty, Dog.

I will keep you, FBC Jax, and Team Brunson in my prayers.

Once again, I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Watchdog 4:20: You should hear me applauding your comments. AMEN brother. This is the REASON FBCJ is in the position it's in today. It's like finding out someone you love and care about is very sick. This church is very sick, because of it's current leadership. I keep asking WHY did this have to happen to this great church?

Alabama Pastor said...

Anonymous,

I appreciate your kind words, although I'm afraid I may have unintentionally misrepresented myself. I am not necessarilly anti-PD or pro-PD. I've read "The Purpose Driven Church" and honestly found things that I agreed with and other things that I disagreed with.

The PD method is just that: a method. I believe there are parts of it that have merit and can be used effectively, but none of it will be of any value if the pastor doesn't do what you implored me to do: PREACH THE WORD!

So I don't believe that PD is a disease, but I also don't believe it is a cure-all for churches who are wanting to grow. But I agree with you that nothing can replace the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of the living God.

it is written said...

RM..Thats the danger with Rick Warren is he's smart and not Biblically wise..Rick is no more than a false minister disguising himself as a minister of rightousness!!..Jesus once said "WOE UNTO YOU WHEN ALL MEN SPEAK WELL OF YOU" And friends and foes(saved and unsaved)alike speak glowingly of Mr Warren..Warren is a compromiser of Biblical truth PLAIN AND SIMPLE and that makes him extremely and spiritually dangerous...This is what makes one wary of anything that he suggests..This truly AMAZES me that the Bible warns over and over that not every man that professes to be a Christian is one, yet we seem to be oblivious to these warnings..Has 2 Thess.2:3 fallen on deaf ears?..Have the repeative warnings of false leaders arising by Jesus Christ Himself gone unheeded?..Have the repeative alarms of the New Testament writers been ignored?...Where are the true Pastors who will stand up against these Pastors who are spiritual frauds?..If we will not heed the clear warnings of Scripture CONCERNING FALSE TEACHERS in the last days then God will have NO mercy on those who WILL FORSAKE HIS REVEALED TRUTH[Hosea 4:6]..

it is written said...

Dr.John MacAuthur Jr.condemns the PD movement and it sure has not diminished his minitsry..MacAuthur Jr.does it the old fashion way HE PREACHES THE CLEAR AND UNDILUTED TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE!!..A besides that the way of truth has never been popular therefore you can't always judge the success of A MINISTRY by the numbers.."The gate is NARROW and FEW there be that find it".."Many are called;Few are CHOSEN"..

Anonymous said...

Vines not a celebrity? That man had an ego that rivals any TV evangelist! You obviously don't know Jerry Vines...It was, is and always will be all about him!
When Dr. Lindsay passed away so did the the loving church. Dr. Vines could not even come close to filling his shoes, thus attendnace began to drop off.
Finally there is a pastor who desires that the ministry of FB not be so inclusive and an island to itself, but Dr. Brunson has made FB a visible and communmity-friendly church.
And the music - Sunday night was THE BEST music that the church has had in 30 years. Finally the choir and orchestra have been challenged to excellence rather than the weekly oom-pah music we endured week after week under the previous mini-me - who would never have attempted anything that great and challenging.
Hats off to Dr. Brunson for brining a man whose love for the Lord overflows everytime he leads worship.

Anonymous said...

2Ti 2:2 and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.

When you read books by John Philips or Warren Wiersbe you can trust in what they say.

When you read books by Rick Warren, he has twisted God's Word so many times that you can not trust him.

If you can not TRUST the man. You can not TRUST THE METHOD.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:52: Robert Peeples or his friend is at it again. Perhaps it was Gabriella.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Let me set the record straight for Anon 6:49pm and others who may be confused now.

I did not post the 5:52 comment. I do not think Rev. Vines had an ego so big it rivaled TV evangelists. That's so obsurd and ridiculous. Rev. Vines was one of the most humble and loving pastors I have ever had the privalege of listening to. He was not egotistical.

But anon 6:49, you are right about something. The music was great Sunday night. That was what they call a Modern Oratorio. I especially enjoyed the program as I had the unique privalege of singing with the choir and in the ensemble. Sunday night was truly spectacular. Dr. Whitmire and the many others that were involved in putting that whole program together did an excellent job.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Robert - I agree completely with every aspect of your post.

And about Whitmire...no doubt, that was a great hire by Brunson. We are indeed privileged to have Whitmire with us.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 5:52: How can you be so astute in seeing the Vines ego problem, and be soooo wrong in thinking Brunson has done anything good for this church.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:52 You nailed Vines. He had a very large ego. He said so many things in the pulpit you couldn't help but notice. Examples: "You got to pay me big bucks to hear me preach"....."Let me dumb it down for you".....Kicking Rodney's shoe and saying "hows that for preaching Rodney"....Commenting on his former professor at Mercer who had told Jerry he would never amount to anything; then saying in addition, "can you imagine that professor saying that to me and now I am the president of the SBC". Giving Mac the high five on getting high preaching fees....There are so many examples over his tenure here it would be too depressing to remember. He also took liberties with the Bible text, on occasion. But, nothing like Mac's fairy tales. At least Vines did not display anger publicly. And was dignified and polite. Vines had the making of a great preacher, but the ego ruined him. One tried very hard to like him.

Anonymous said...

If Dr. Vines is so "humble", why does he continue to take $150,000 a year "retirement" from our church?

Anonymous said...

$150,000.00 from FBCJ don't you believe it as the entire finance committee would have had to sign that check!!!

Is there anyway to prove this amount as I have heard a much smaller amount?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I think you're dead wrong about Vines and you're being very unfair. Go ahead and take pot shots at him now that he's gone. I know he wasn't perfect, but the contrast between he and Brunson is so wide and far that there really is no comparison.

1. Vines preached here for 23 years. I heard most every sermon the guy preached for years and years, and he was a perfect gentlemen. And your claim that "There are so many examples over his tenure here it would be too depressing to remember." is just a flat-out over-exageration, in my opinion.

2. Two of your offending remarks occurred AFTER he left and when he returned to preach, after Brunson moaned to Vines about how rough he was having it here. I give Vines a pass for those based on his 23 years of faithful preaching the word. Vines trusted too much - he trusted Gilyard when Gilyard told him he was reformed, and Vines preached there. He believed Brunson about how hard it was to pastor us stupid sheep, and PC 2006 Vines let us have it, but as I said, I do forgive Vines for that.

3. If you're going to dog Vines on this blog for saying so many hurtful things, let's have the direct quotes and dates. Every offense that I've levied against Brunson at least I've given the direct quote, and in most cases audio or video AND the context in which it was preached. Disagree with my analysis, but you can't refute what I've got Brunson saying HIMSELF, in his own direct words, both in the Jax pulpit and out of the Jax pulpit when he didn't think we were listening.

4. I never, ever heard Vines lie about someone like Brunson lied about Klouda. Never. I also never heard Vines use his speaking engagements at seminaries to defend himself against charges, and to poor mouth about how hard he had it as a mega church pastor! At every opportunity Vines was talking his congregation UP, never tearing us down. I have audio evidence, NUMEROUS TIMES, of Mac ripping into us and telling others how tough he had it as our pastor. Vines never would say a negative remark from the pulpit about a woman, certainly not a pastor's wife!

5. Brunson has been here for 2 1/2 years. 2 and one half years and all of these abuses...compared with 22 years of service by Vines.

6. And the $150,000 per year figure given to Vines since his retirement has been levied against him before on this blog. If this is true, let's have some evidence and further explanation. If so, it likely is in violation of our bylaws as this was not approved by the church. Is this $150,000 from some investment fund made as part of his retirement? Or are you saying that part of our annual operating expenses, part of our salary budget expenditures is $150,000 to Jerry Vines? Really?

So I'm not claiming perfection of Vines or Lindsay, but it is laughable to compare the things Brunson has said and done in his 2 1/2 years with either Vines or Lindsay. Just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

The following article has to be the boldest thing I've ever seen in ministry. Maybe this is what really needs to happen:

http://www.christianindex.org/5010.article

May his tribe increase.

Anonymous said...

Anon - great article, and true "Jesus" driven ministry. But how does that pastor pay his wife's salary and son's salary and live in a million dollar home by running his church that way?

Mac