"...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

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Nepotism Continues....

Tonight we were treated to a sermon by Mac's son-in-law, a recent graduate of Southern Seminary, still working to complete his dissertation. I mean no disrespect in this article to Barry, Mac's son-in-law. He gave a pretty solid sermon from the gospel of John on servanthood. The criticism here is directed toward Mac himself, and none at all towards Barry.

We were introduced to Barry in the summer of 2006 when he preached in Mac's stead on a Sunday night, unannounced, and then last year when Mac (or Honey) had the absolutely brilliant idea to have Barry ordained to the gospel ministry here in Jax - not at his home church or his church where he and his wife currently serve. No, gotta have it where Daddy Mac is the big time celebrity preacher. According to Mac, Barry is soon going to begin a one-year mentorship at FBC Woodstock under Johnny Hunt as Barry completes his PhD dissertation. Membership in Team Brunson does have its privileges, doesn't it?

But my point is: how does a young, recent graduate of Southern Seminary get to preach at FBC Jacksonville, on the night that new deacons are ordained? Out of the many, many graduates at the SBC seminaries, who gets selected to preach for Mac Brunson at FBC Jacksonville? Why the one who is married to a relative of Mac Brunson, of course!

Just a warning to the people of FBC Jacksonville...after Barry completes his mentorship, you can bet he will be coming to serve at FBC Jacksonville. He might be well qualified, he might not be, but that is not the point. The danger of nepotism is that positions are filled not through a process of defining a position and requisite qualifications and experience and then interviewing to select the best qualified - but rather it is filled according to the whims of someone of power in the organization. In fact, if no position exists for a family member, they will be created.

Have you wondered why from the very beginning of Mac's tenure at FBC Jacksonville he has included his extended family, including son-in-law Barry, in all family photos and birthday card greetings to FBC Jax members? Why would Mac ordain his son-in-law where no one knows him and where he is not a member? Yes, Mac is a proud family man, but I believe that it is part of a marketing plan to sell the "Team Brunson" concept to the church...that when we were told about "Team Brunson" back in March 2006 when we voted on Mac we were voting for "Team Brunson". And "Team Brunson" as we are discovering includes 'em all. All part of the plan so that we'll all say "Sure, Barry is a perfect fit for our church...why Barry was ordained here, his son was dedicated here, and why he's even preached here on multiple occasions."

Sad, isn't it, that Pigg, Howard, Barton, Carr, and others weren't good enough to keep, but Mac's relatives, of course, will earn the mark of approval from Team Brunson and will be hired as soon as possible. Our church exists now as the "Brunson full-employment agency" apparently. While it was great to have a provision in our bylaws that gives the pastor exclusive authority in all hiring and firing when Lindsay and Vines were here, it is backfiring with Brunson here.

Yes, I am jumping the gun here in predicting Barry's arrival at FBC Jax, but I'm bringing this up so that perhaps some in the church will let Mac know that the blatant nepotism is over...that the hiring of son and wife is as far as we will go. This is very problematic, in that the bylaws specifically state the pastor has sole and exclusive authority in the matter of hiring and dismissing staff members. There is no "personnel committee" as in most baptist committees that provides oversight to the hiring/firing of staff members. So as the bylaws are currently written, Mac can hire every single family member that he desires - according to the bylaws of the church.

After Barry's sermon the four new deacons were ordained, and just before concluding the service in the typical angry-Mac fasion he delivered another warning to the deacons that they are NOT to be involved in anything at the church but serving...he screamed angrily (paraphrasing):

"Deacons have been set apart as servants...NOT BUSINESS MEN [yelling that very sternly and angrily]...but servants to the church..."

This was his follow-up to his warning that deacons are not to be "worriers", and that if they "worry" about anything in the church the are "not trusting Jesus", and worrying deacons should be removed from the deacon board.

One minor detail: Deacons are charged in the bylaws with the general welfare of the church...which MIGHT just include business matters if they deem it necessary to be involved in such matters - whether Mac likes it or not. Its somewhat ironic that Mac likes to take his initiatives to be rubber stamped by a vote of the deacons, but then declares they are not to be businessmen! If they are not to be "businessmen", then why bring matters to them for voting as Mac does? Answer: Mac wants "yes men" only to serve as deacons, and to rubber stamp any and all initiatives that he brings before them.

This all reminds me of the immortal words of Mel Brooks: "Its good to be da king."

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you for stating the obvious. I mentioned to a friend of mine that Lindsey and Vines would never give the pulpit up to someone who is unseasoned, recent graduate, and green behind the ears. I thought our pulpit was sacred? AND you
are right dear Barry will be on staff before long. One happy family. I also ask you where are the people, this was another dismal Sunday night service. Can we afford to run the lights, AC, and media for the number of people who show up? NOW we can all fit in the RLA with plenty of room.

By the way, WD. thanks for pointing out the obvious on the whole discipline committee. Unbelievable, who decides what sin is egregious enough cause the discipline committee to deliver these love letters? I hurt for the family that is going thru this; you give your life to Jesus in service thru a church that you think loves you and cares for you for more than 20 years and the church decides to send the dogs after you for what? Maybe speaking their minds, what about the other egregious sins that are going on in our church... sins that are far worse than this. To the discipline family, FBC doesn't respresent everyone; know I am praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. What makes YOUR pulpit more sacred than another? I am not saying I agree with letting just anybody preach there, but you brought up it was "sacred" so why is yours more sacred than the one at the local baptist church in someone's neighborhood?

Thy Peace said...

I have seen lot of comments in the BBC blog site about this very subject. I am sure some of them will comment here too. It appears this practice is very common in US politics, film industry and SBC and it's Churches (Mega). It's probably very prevalent in other areas too.

Wiki: Nepotism
Nepotism is the showing of favoritism toward relatives and friends, based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability, meritocracy or suitability. For instance, offering employment to a relative, despite the fact that there are others who are better qualified and willing to perform the job. The word nepotism is from the Latin word 'nepos', meaning "nephew" or "grandchild".

Amazon: In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History by Adam Bellow
"It's not what you know, it's who you know." At one time your name alone could guarantee you admission to a prestigious university, a cushy job, and lifetime security. The practice of nepotism, universally abhorred but also universally practiced and accepted as "the way things are," has made a comeback. Today it is evident in politics, with the return of the political dynasty (obvious in the 2000 Bush-Gore election), and in Hollywood, where a new rash of thespian offspring are making inroads in the film industry. This in-depth look at nepotism and all its implications takes a very broad approach, arguing that nepotism is a basic instinct rooted in the social biology of animals and humans, and that it may be a necessary and even positive force in evolution. Bellow examines the phenomenon throughout history, from tribal societies through ancient Greece and Rome and early Christianity, to today's New Nepotism that pervades politics, business, the arts, and sports. Bellow himself is an example, being the son of novelist Saul Bellow. He unearths the rich history of the practice, which alone is worth the read. David Siegfried

Thy Peace said...

Sorry, this is somewhat Off Topic, but it's ALL related.

Trouble at Southwestern Theological Seminary
(7). While SWBTS staff and faculty are being laid off and salaries reduced, the Pattersons continue to maintain a large personal staff. Mrs. Patterson has an assistant and a research assistant. Dr. Patterson has an executive assistant, secretary, personal assistant, and four interns. The Pattersons also have a large staff at their house. They have employeed at least one chef, though it is widely believed there are at least two chefs, possibly more, on the payroll. There are a minimum of four hostesses/servers, a director for the Presidential house, two people who are paid to walk their dogs, and other staff paid to clean their cars and do other household chores and errands for the Pattersons.

As a Christian, we are asked to LOVE everyone. So I also love Pattersons and Brunsons in the same regard. Questioning is not the same as injecting venom.

The current economic tsunami will reveal lot about us as Christians.

New BBC Open Forum said...

This is just megachurch business as usual. Charles Stanley hired his son. Steve Gaines at Bellevue hired his daughter's fiancé (now his son-in-law), brought his buddy from Gardendale whose mother-in-law just happened to be on the pastor search committee who called Gaines, and created a new "pastor intern" position for his son who is in seminary at the same time longtime staff were being laid off. I know of a church where the pastor "planted" a mission church over 40 years ago, just so his then recent seminary graduate son would have a church to pastor. One of the pastors of that church who succeeded the dad hired his own then recent seminary graduate son. This stuff goes on all the time. You shouldn't be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Well Watchdog, I got news for you, it happens all the time! JH at FBCW (I am a former member) endlessly paraded inexperienced and often dreadfully nervous "kids" he was mentoring at the time for the often under-attended Sunday evening services. By the way, don't let the attendance numbers fool you, there was never more than a couple thousand people sitting in that cavernous 7,500 seat gospel dome on any given Sunday night. I digress....

I specifically recall hearing sermons (on several occasions) from Hunt's son-in-law, also the son of the FBCW vice president (oops, I mean associate pastor) after he returned from Liberty and finally on many occasions whatever Johnny sound and look-a-like minister he was training. I recognize the invaluable training exercise this might be for them but it was often difficult listening and felt a little like watching someone's child struggle through a piano recital at which time all were expected to rise and applaud at the conclusion as if Beethoven was in your presence. It's just so silly.

It is a sad state where today's SBC church has landed and just like the current economic troubles, I am not sure we have seen the bottom yet.

If Barry is looking to learn how to behave like a cult of personality (or mega church pastor), he appears to be well on his way. What better connections and resources to tap into then Jax or Woodstock! But the unfortunate reality will set in when he attempts to use what he learns on today's generation - who by the way are just about sick of the celebrity pastor who travels the globe on speaking engagements in private planes and 6 figure salaries while his "sheep" wonder the halls for a leader who long ago left them for the higher calling of fame.

What would happen if the mega church pastor stayed home? What if they focused all that God blessed energy on the community in which they use as the name on the very church that catapulted them to fame? I bet there would be no place for this blog or others and there just might be fewer malcontents as myself who are troubled at what we see as a church losing touch with reality.

Barry would be best served going to the nearest homeless shelter and spending time with the ones society has ejected from its sight. I have been on these types of trips and I have never felt the presence of God and His gracious angels more then walking amongst these forgotten souls. We can learn all we need to know about leading God's people from an experience like that.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Mac needs to read the bylaws. They say:

He is to preach the whole gospel.

He is to serve the people for Jesus' sake.

Its in the bylaws.

Serve the people for Jesus' sake...not the sake of the family so they can get jobs....not the sake of more money and Holy Land trips and land deals.

We need a servant leader, a shepherd of the flock, once again, at FBC Jax.

Again, I call for an answer to the following, which is very much related to this whole nepotism concept: What role does Mrs. Brunson play in our church? She has an office in the Pastor's suite, she serves in official capacities within the SBC as a representative of our church. If she is on staff and earns a salary, what is her title, what are your job responsibilities, what are her qualfications? If she is playing a significant role in running our church, if she attends staff meetings, if she exerts any influence in a leadership capacity...can someone tell us where in the bylaws it says she has any authority?

The Watchdog will continue to ask the tough questions.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Indeed, business as usual...but in most cases the nepotism is years gone by is done by long-time pastors, men who toiled for decades in building the church and maybe were granted that privilege. But Gaines and Brunson are breaking that mold. Mac is the worst, putting his wife and son on staff on DAY 1, while staffers with decades of proven skills and dedication were sent packing, er, I mean were "called" somewhere else. Now we'll watch as likely Barry will come on staff, followed by Wills. No recession in the Brunson household, that's for sure! Full steam ahead! "We are family"

Anonymous said...

This is why I no longer attend any church. Don't try to tell me for one minute that these men are interested in the things of God. They have the bottom line, "Wall Street" mentatlity. What's in it for me and my family. And it appears that the "followers" are completely "brainwashed" into believing these preachers are "just wonderful". Well let them attend and profess loyalty, and have the priviledge of PAYING for all of this Nepotism, I'll pass thank you. These guys set themselves up as demi-Gods and expect everyone to act accordingly. Giving "place" to them as well as paying for their very lavish lifestyles. Well it appears that maybe the economy will do what the members and the "yes men" won't do. Sooner or later so many family members are going to break the bank and the entire church will go broke. But sadly, No One will do anything about this. Team B will do exactly as they please, thus the reason for the secret by-law changes. The trustees, deacons and leadership should be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen. But they are trying to save face and pretend that everyting is fine. FBCJ is in a bad place now. I pray for those that are trying to hang on looking for better days. But am sad to say I think it not likely to ever be any better. How sad. Dr. Lindsay would never have believed this.

I have a new slogan: OUT WITH THE LEGACY, IN WITH THE DYNASTY.

Anonymous said...

Brother Dog - now you finally figured it out. I will do what I want, spend what I want, hire whomever I want, interpret scripture however I want, arbitrarily discipline whoever I want, and fire whomever I want. Why, because the by-laws give me the authority and because there is no man or women at FBC Jax who can do anything about it.

And even though it is "God's money" that I am spending, God is in heaven and is not a physical being that receives and spends currency. So, I being "God's man" have the privilege of spending every penny given to God.

The Catholic church was right again...we have men (professional clergy) who are God's representatives on earth and act in his place and stead. Get used to it, brother. But please go away, your insights might cause some to question my authority and that would be "divisive."

Signed,

DMB, Jr.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Click here to listen to Mac's latest declaration of what deacons are and are not supposed to do...and see that his declarations might not jive with the bylaws description of what deacons are supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

It has always been about control. If you want something to be done your way, put someone on the staff who will do it your way. What better way to do that than to hire a relative. Pay him or her and give them job security and they will move in lock step with the pastor.

The pastor can hire anyone he chooses. Mrs. Brunson does not have a job title, that we know, but I'm sure she has one on the payroll description. Wonder, what is that?

Mac will hire as many family members as he desires. Even his dog? Call his dog a GUARD DOG AND PAY HIM. We would never know.

The big problem begins as they downsize the Trustee numbers. Then the pastor becomes the President of the Trustees and the wife becomes the Vice President.

How long will it take before the pastor basically owns the church?

Anonymous said...

As has been said here before. Many pastors have this kind of control. However, they don't abuse it and therefore, it is not a problem for most churches. (Lindsay or Vines, for example, never abused it as Team Brunson is doing.) Or, if some pastors are abusing it, the sheep just leave and join another church. Again, no problem. However, due to the WD, this pastor has to deal with his abuses being blogged about. This makes him very angry and bitter. His ability to lead is compromised and his receipts are down. He is questioned, and therefore becomes even more abusive. There is a tipping point. And it is closer than ever.

Keep on blogging brother. Your site is opening the eyes of many gullible sheep around the SBC. Hopefully, they will reign in these abusers and fleecers, or at the least, will not hire a person who demands such control over hiring and finances.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that even after reading your blog closely for over a year, those in leadership decided to give the pastor MORE power, MORE autonomy, and MORE support. They even changed by-laws to avoid ANY efforts to require any accountability in the future.

Stubborness, pride and arrogance is the only explanation. Even if they disagree with your method of blogging, they should still have the wisdom to not allow any pastor to put himself in position as king and lord over the church business matters.

So instead of implementing a few measures that would increase accountability, and thereby, make the pastor look cooperative and innocent of the charges of abuse against him, they did exactly the worst thing they could do to him. They used questionable tactics to strengthen his power and then went after the laypeople that asked questions. Sad and shameless. But there is a God in heaven. And those men, as well as the pastor and his family, will give an account.

Anonymous said...

The pastor already owns it. He can hire more family, give them more raises, take more outside preaching gigs, and then when funds stay low due to reduced giving, he can sell off physical assets, then he can borrow against those he cannot sell, and then finally, when he has taken all he can, he simply moves on to the next church. Not a bad gig if you can find a church that will allow that to happen. But of course, we know that a church that was led by Dr. Homer Lindsay, Jr to love JESUS, and to love the BIBLE, would never let it happen. Some shallow churches who heard only sermons that tickled their ears, yes. But not those men who sat under Dr. Lindsay for decades. No way they allow this, right?

Anonymous said...

IF I WERE SATAN -

If I were Satan, I would put my man in place at FBC Jax to kill the work that had been honoring God there for decades.

If I were Satan, I would bring in some man who did not love the people, but who loved himself and his family more than the sheep

If I were Satan, I would have the new preacher negotiate a huge salary, put his wife and son on staff, use the church for personal gain, hire PR firms to promote the man and his family's brand above Jesus,

If I were Satan, I would appoint yes men to empower the new preacher to do whatever he wanted in the business aspect of the church;

If I were Satan, I would yell angrily at the sheep week in and week out,

If some with the gift of prophecy began to recognize that it was my man in charge and not God's man, I would use every resource available to expose these folks to harm and teach them a lesson and I would ban them from the property,

If I were Satan, I would try to implement any and every new program, school, or idea I could as long as JESUS was not the main focus.

If I were Satan...well you know what I would do. You have been blogging about it for over a year now. Any of it sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace @ 7:45 a.m.

You are not off topic when revealing the outrageous and lavish lifestyles of the "SBC Elite" (whether Brunson or Patterson and others), especially when everything is paid for by the average Joe. These folks seem to thumb their noses at the "average Joe" as though they are entitled.

Seems like the Brunson kids are catching on really quick!

Anonymous said...

I thought Mrs. Patterson was a home economics specialist and teacher. Suppose she has no time to practice what she preaches. She is entitled by "association" as was the person served trespassing papers by the FBCJ discipline committee!

New BBC Open Forum said...

How long will it take before the pastor basically owns the church?

I believe that ship has sailed, anon.

Anonymous said...

I recommend that everyone read Christa Brown's blog of December 8,08 entitled "Spending God's Money." Quite revealing!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Below is the direct link to Christa Brown's article:

Spending God's Money

Anonymous said...

due diligence-

What ever happened to accountability among the Trustees? Are they ever going to say no to the pastor? How much indebtedness are they going to approve? A half million here, twenty million there. Trips around the world. Speaking engagements more often and less time in the pulpit. Who is more important FBCJAX or Mac and his family? These Trustees need to get control of Mac or they will forever lose control of FBCJAX.

Secret Ballots: I think it is time to start voting by secret ballot. You can use voice vote for many functional things but MAJOR FINANCIAL PROGRAMS AND THE HIRING OF A PASTOR SHOULD BE DONE BY SECRET BALLOT. PERIOD! A N D, ONLY CHURCH MEMBERS CAN VOTE. PERIOD!

No more hiring a pastor by PULPIT COMMITTEE SEARCH AND THEN A VOICE VOTE of a mixture of Church members and the UNCHURCHED. That is how we got Mac Brunson. IT DID NOT WORK THEN AND IT WILL NOT WORK IN THE FUTURE. MAC BRUNSON CAN NOT BE TRUSTED. WE NEED A SECRET BALLOT VOTE.

Trustees, CHANGE THE BYLAWS. We need a SECRET VOTE.

due diligence!!!

Anonymous said...

Deacons not businessmen???Everyone that works is in the business world, whether he be a plumber, car salesman, lawyer, dentist, doctor, builder, lumber dealer, oil salesman, insurance salesman, bookkeeper, secretary, etc,etc, etc. The church needs businessmen, so that the financial affairs of the church can be properly accounted for and to reign in those pastors who like to spend, spend, and spend. Some businessmen actually know something about organization, planning, and executing. Otherwise, the church has no oversight group. If the pastor gets a rubber stamp on everything he wants done without question, then the deacons are no more than a RUBBER STAMP. If the deacons are using due diligence (what some pastors call worry) then the church will benefit from it. Some pastors want total control, not only of the money,but the hiring and firing authority, time off when they desire it, but also of the deacons and trustees. Thats why the pastor chooses who serves him. The deacons are there at his beck and call. Whenever a church delegates its total responsibility to the pastor then you have a problem with mismanagement, lack of accountability, no authority other than that of the pastor, no oversight on programs and spending, borrowing, and indebtedness. Shame on any church that allows a pastor TOTAL CONTROL. And forget that statement about trusting Jesus, His name is thrown in just to make the uninformed and those that lack spiritual discernment believe everything is just dandy. Suckers are born every minute of every day. Past victims could tell you a thing or two about these folks in a heartbeat!! If the U. S. Government had had some worrysome senators and congressmen maybe the economy would not have tanked. The Bible declares there is nothing new under the Sun, and that goes for everything. There have been and are currently pastors and churches(?) like FBCJ. I wonder what God thinks of these men and organizations?

Anonymous said...

Megalomania: a disorder of the mind marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.

Anonymous said...

Malcontent: dissatisfied with the existing state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "I specifically recall hearing sermons (on several occasions) from Hunt's son-in-law, also the son of the FBCW vice president (oops, I mean associate pastor)"

Dr. Hunt does not have a son-in-law that is the son of his associate pastor.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 7:05 and 7:14,

So I take it what you're saying is the people here are a bunch of malcontents blogging about a megalomaniac. Given those definitions, that works for me! :-)

Anonymous said...

anon 3:02

If I were God I would say..(or I guess He did say :) !

Matt 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

GOD WILL GET HIS GLORY! Lets make sure he is glorified because we are praising & serving him, not because he is judging us!

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous poster from January 5, 2009 8:04 PM - you are wrong. His name is Pete Hixson and he is married to JH's daughter, Holly. He is the pastor of Vinings Lake Baptist (whoops, forgot they dropped baptist like all the others) in Smyrna, Georgia. Just Google the above information and you can view the church web site and associated blogs, if you are interested.