"Emcee recognition and thank you from the stage"
"1 Premium Booth Location"
So part of the $12,500 "Platinum Package" promotions includes getting the "emcee" (I didn't know we had an "emcee" - master of ceremonies I assume - at a pastor's conference. I thought we had a pastor, a music minister, etc.) to say a few words from the "stage" (I didn't know we had a "stage" - I thought it was a pulpit on a platform).
And if you have $12,500 we'll give you a "premium booth location"...that idiot, that plebe that only has $750, we'll stick him by door number 6 on the east end of the RLA. But you, the guy with the deep pockets - we'll put you right outside the doors of the main sanctuary. Wow.
So in this 2nd installment of "What Would Jesus _______", we'll ask the question: What Would Jesus CHARGE? That is, if Jesus were the Senior Pastor of FBC Jacksonville, what would he charge ministries, if anything, to come into our church to have access to the people of our church and our visiting pastors?
Remember the context: the Times Union posed the question "What Would Jesus Blog?" implying that if Jesus were here today he most certainly would NOT be blogging anonymously, and he wouldn't dare to hold the mighty mega pastors accountable. How DARE Jesus say ANYTHING calling into question the integrity of Mac Brunson! So Mac and the Times Union ask "What Would Jesus Blog", so we shall use the same measuring stick against Mac and his ministries, to see how they measure up to the standards of Jesus.
When I see that we are marketing and selling "emcee recognition and thank you from the stage" that tells me we are at FBC Jacksonville willing to sell the very words uttered in the sanctuary. That scares me.
Were Jesus' words for sale? Could kudos from Jesus be bought for a price? Would he put ads in the middle of his sermons and his illustrations? In short: WHAT WOULD JESUS CHARGE?
Imagine Jesus saying any of the following:
"Hey Peter - if you donate 5000 shekels to my ministry, I will in turn give you a PREMIUM spot at the Last Supper...and me, the EMCEE of the supper, I'll even say a few words of what a great guy you are!"
"Hey Andrew - which package would you like? For 10 pieces of silver I'll walk on the water for you, and for an extra 5 pieces you can 'upgrade' to my 'premium package' and watch me moonwalk on the water. "
"You moneychangers in the temple...which of you purchased the Platinum and Silver packages? You plebe that bought the Bronze packages, how dare you set up shop in the 'premim' locations of my Father's House reserved for the Platinum and Silver moneychangers. Only those who paid the $12,500 are allowed THIS close to the temple!"
"Hey Lazarus, no problem recognizing you and calling your name and raising you from the dead. It was the LEAST I could do since you gave me that sweet land deal in Galillee."
"Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light up a lamp manufactured by Smitty's Gospel Lighting and Fixtures, sweep the house and search until she finds it?"
Just a hunch, but I don't think Jesus would have said those things.
Jesus wouldn't blog? OK. But would Jesus use his resources to hire a marketing firm in Nashville and would he use his resources to hire a promotions firm in Atlanta to develop a promotions plan to charge ministries for having advertising access to his followers? If not, why is Mac, "God's man", doing these things?
Doesn't it all just stink? That our church is engaged in this sort of "marketing bonanza"? Doesn't it make you uncomfortable? Shouldn't perhaps the church stay away from this kind of activity? If we're hosting an event IN OUR CHURCH....how can we justify charging huge sums of money for advertising space? It does not cost us anywhere near $750 to allow a ministry to put a table up in our foyer area to showcase their ministry, nor does it cost $12,500 to provide the services listed above - even if we think those are things we should do. "Pay for Play", as they say.
Does this not concern anyone? Is this not just a dangerous line to cross? You give me a certain sum of money, and I'll say certain words from the platform that you will like and will benefit you. Show us the money, and you tell us what to say on the platform. Is that what our church is about now? Are we that BRAZEN that we will do this and openly sell it? We promote certain ministries based on their ability to pay for it? We're auctioning words and kudos to the highest bidder? Who has $12,500? Well if you fork it over we'll promote your product or ministry out the wazoo for you...we'll treat our members and our pastor guests as though they are a "target market" to be advertised to. Want to sell your "Bible on CD" series? Pay us and Jim Caviezel can come here and promote it and our sheep will think its a "testimony" and not a "commercial". Ouch. I feel duped. I thought it was a testimony. It was a commercial.
Come on people. Were you a bit alarmed at how Trey patted the Soles 4 Souls guy so hard on the back this Sunday that his fillings nearly came out? And did that ministry pay for that recongition given by Trey from the platform? I wonder: did THAT ministry pay us for putting a ":60 video promotion from the stage?" Why not? If we're charging ministries for promotion time at the PC, why not charge this ministry? Or do we only charge certain ministries for the privilege of promoting themselves? If that is so, what is the criteria? Who decides who pays and who doesn't pay for promotion time? Does Mac and Trey decide which ministries have to pay to be promoted, and which ones get the promotions for free?
This is what our church was always accused of doing in decades past. Don't you remember rumors in Jacksonville that the more money you give the closer you can sit to the front and other phony charges having to do with money and privilege in the church? We have become what we were falsely accused of in the past! Now apparently if we give enough money to the church we get our business or ministry recognized, you can purchase words of promotion, and you can even purchase "premium booth space". If we give enough money or land to the pastor, he'll promote our relatives' business during one of his sermons.
I warned FBC Jax last year that hosting a non-evangelistic fund raiser for Jewish hospital at our church because certain deacons wanted it, no matter how noble the cause may or may not be...was just not a line we should cross and it opens us up to all sorts of shenanigans.
We are now seeing those in our face - selling marketing and promotions in our own sanctuary.
And no one seems to care.
It must be of God, if "God's man" is behind it, right?
While I am sickened to watch this governor in Illinois be exposed for his "pay to play" schemes, I can't help but be reminded of our own "pay to play" scheme - if you want recognition at our church for your ministry, you're gonna have to pay to play, baby. What is so odd about this governor is not just his schemes, but the BRAZENESS of him willing to do it and talk about it. We are no less brazen when we develop promotions plan to "sell" to ministries the privilege of having marketing and advertising access to the people of FBC Jax and our visiting pastors.
Let it be said:
THE EYES AND EARS OF THE GOOD PEOPLE OF FBC JAX AND OUR VISITORS ARE NOT A COMMIDITY TO BE SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER BY MAC AND TREY.