"...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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Memo To Maurilio

As the Watchdog website winds down in the last few articles before putting down the pen for at least temporarily and hopefully for good, just a few last messages to be shared.

One of them is for Maurilio Amorim, the FBC Jax church marketing consultant, and trusted advisor of Mac and Debbie Brunson.

Maurilio, since you posted 40 or so "twitters" while here at our conference, the Watchdog will post a few "twitters" here for you to read, some advice that might be helpful to you coming from a layperson at one of your biggest clients:

- First, we do like your website design. Nice work on the FBC Jax website. We were only sorry it took 2 years to get there, but maybe that was our fault and not yours.

- while you are hired by and serve for the pleasure of the Brunsons, keep in mind the paychecks your company receives for your services here say "The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Inc." This means your clients are the people of FBC Jax, not the Brunsons. Never put down your clients in public. Never. Even when "attacked" or put down yourself. Its not about you, its about your client.

- as a "consultant", you should never be about "you". A good consultant is willing to work behind the scenes, willing to never get one ounce of credit for anything. Its about your client and the best interests of your client. Your intent should not be to make yourself and your jokes wisecracks known, but to help your client achieve their mission. Your twittering during our conference did NOT help us, it drew attention to yourself, often in a very distasteful manner.

- For as long as you are a consultant of a church especially, lay low. Know that the source of your consulting fees from our church is NOT the generosity of Mac and Deb Brunson, it comes from people who sit in the pew, who are told to tithe to the church out of love and obedience to God. Many of them are people of very humble means, much less than yourself - and they wonder why God's man needs to hire a marketing consultant at all, and even more so when they see that consultant "twittering" about a very lavish lifestyle (at least as compared to them) that they lead.

- As you twitter about the expensive hotels and meals, the Armani suits and Kenneth Cole shoes, while making fun of "polyester suits" of the southern baptists, the six-head showers and Vegas vacations and trips to the spa and personal trainers and yoga class, the fat guy "spilling into" your seat on the airplane, how some think you look like a "movie star" - it all wreaks of "elitism" and some of the people in your client's churches WILL begin to get upset about how their money is spent on such a consultant. Your pastor/clients who maybe life your same lifestyle might not mind your elitist twitters, but people in the church pews might. I'm not saying to not enjoy those things if God has blessed you financially, just don't twitter about them!! However, you're probably as safe as anywhere at FBC Jax since the people here have no say in any form as to how the money is spent, but the lay people in other churches who actually might sit on a budget or finance committee might just be looking closer at A-Group expenditures, especially during these difficult times. Lay low, my friend. Help the churches who have hired you, and stop the elitist twittering.

- definitely don't make jokes that might be interpreted as "homosexual". Your twitter about having a "man crush" on Tim Tebow was quite disturbing. Especially someone with your polished and well-groomed "look"...some might actually believe you. Much truth is spoken in jest, as they say, so stay away from the "man crush" remarks (you made that remark about Tebow twice now on your twitter).

- the brand that is most important is the brand of your clients, not your own. You should have been there to hear Jerry Vines speak, even it that would harm your brand to be seen listening to the old "fundamentalist" Jerry Vines. As Mac said, we should honor and respect those who have come befor us and laid the groundwork for today's ministry. The pastor of your client church, FBC Jax, has great respect and admiration for Jerry Vines, and if for no other reason than for respect for Mac, you should have sat and listened to Vines, maybe even twittered some kind words. If you were going to twitter during J.D. Greear's message about how great he was, then by golly stay for Vines too. And your twitter coming forth from the Chart House restaurant during Vines sermon was a slap in the face to Vines, Brunson, and the people of FBC Jax who PAY YOU your consulting fees.

- the fact is: if you can't stay and listen to Vines and Johnny Hunt, if that doesn't fit your "brand" and you don't want to be seen listening to them, then you should choose your clients more carefully. Maybe FBC Jax is not a good fit for you. Mac has called us a "hotbed of legalism", so maybe your services are better used in more modern, seeker-friendly churches where the people will buy into the church marketing concept of growing a church. Perhaps aligning yourself with Mac and FBC Jax might not be in your company's image.

- as Mac's trusted advisor, and as a consultant that has worked with pastors to develop their "stage presence" (you twittered about that recently), please help Mac. Help Mac know that if he is going to pastor a mega church, especially a multi-campus mega church, 90%+ of the people will never know him personally and thus his "stage demeanor" must be in line with his personal demeanor. If he is angry and condenscending in the pulpit, then his people will assume that is how he is out of the pulpit. Please help Mac in this area...or help Deb help Mac.

- Finally, Maurilio, please take a look at the strategies you have implemented at our church and pastor's conference. The embarrassing low turn-out from pastors and church members at the Pastor's Conference this year should cause you and Deb and Mac and Trey to take a hard look at what direction you are taking the church. One of the things that made the conference a favorite of so many over the years was its uniqueness. It was geared toward conservative, Southern Baptist pastors (yes, some polyester wearers), who enjoyed hearing from the Vines, Hunts, Rogers, etc. and who wanted to hear how FBC Jax was growing the church. News flash: conferences like the one we just had are EVERYWHERE. Implementing a PR firm with a promotions plan to sell advertising was a BAD MOVE. It made our conference look like any other non-denominational conference held in convention centers every week.

That is all, I suppose. Stay humble, Maurilio, even though you are enjoying success now.

25 comments:

Thy Peace said...

"As the Watchdog website winds down in the last few articles before putting down the pen for at least temporarily and hopefully for good, just a few last messages to be shared."

God bless you Watchdog. If you retire as a watchdog, even temporarily or permanently, make sure you backup your blog. Blogger lets you backup cleanly.

How do I import and export blogs on Blogger?

How do I create a backup of my entire blog?

God bless you Watchdog and may Our Lord Jesus Christ guide your steps.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: You can't shut down. How will we know what's happening. I guess you realize what many others don't. This church is a "latter day" church and will eventually be irrelevant. Whether it be a "business opportunity", a "social meeting place", or to those who are there to legitimately serve and to be blessed this church is failing. I would suggest to the "real" members who want to be blessed, find another church. IF YOU CAN. Many are following this "latter day" scenario. But it's a fact "it ain't here"!

Watchdog, thank you for your concern, for your perserverance, and "general doggedness". Bless you and yours. Please don't be gone long!!! We count on you.

Concerning by-law passage: There wasn't time for "Roberts or anyone elses rules of order. You can't get anyone (when taken unaware) to raise a point of order (priviledge) or even raise their eyebrows in 2.2 seconds.

Finally, Kevin. You sound like a genuine preacher. Maybe we need you. Please keep in mind for your future congregations, sheep need to be LED GENTLY. Genuine love for the people works wonders. Beating them only confuses them and eventually MAKES THEM MAD. Something many preachers don't know. So glad to hear you all are ok, and survived the storm. Will continue to pray for all those suffering in your state. Blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. Watchdog you can't retire. Maurilio will "tweet" with joy today.

God bless you and thank you. Come back soon.

Anonymous said...

I guess Mac is God's Man. You just proved it. No doubt he has been praying for your demise since day one. Way to capitulate.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: Remember what Gen. Macarthur said "I shall return". That is my prayer for you and sooner rather than later!!!

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: Can we hear what the group of 200 replied? It would be very interesting to read who said what.

Anonymous said...

murilo is hard-hearted and hard of hearing. He is so in the flesh and of the world, your advice will fall on deaf ears and an empty head.

End this thing, fine. At the end of the day, the bottom line to many people is: good riddence to FBJax and good riddence to the SBC; your witness to the world is a sick, twisted disgrace, "straight outta hell" as Mac the Fake would say.

Anonymous said...

Please do not stop. Your blog has opened my eyes and many others. I admit that there exists Mac's truth, Watchdog's truth and the TRUTH.
I had been unsatisfied with FBC from the angry Mac to the simplistic chants that they call music now. I used to feel that FBC was a house of GOD. Now, it has the feel of "Let's Make a Deal".
I stumbled onto your blog and I believe it was God's will. You have voiced many of my concerns and alerted me to MANY, MANY things of which I was unaware.
Thanks for your work and for your devotion to FBC. If you did not care about this once wonderful church, I suspect you would have just quietly left.
When I think of what would happen if Homer (Sr or Jr) were to visit our church, I picture Jesus and his reaction to the moneychangers in the Temple.
We have no other source of truth. Team Brunson has silenced all critics but not by their performance. They have surrounded themselves with sycophants.
Please do not stop.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,

Well done good and faithful servant. You have successfully exposed Mac Brunson and his family and friends, trustees, discipline committee puppets, deacons and "judges" for what they truly are, self-serving opportunists who have robbed a church of its' honor, heritage and standing in the spiritual community. Their propensity to leave Jesus out of everything at FJCJ will follow them wherever they go. People talk, and memories are long, very long.

God Bless you, keep you, and I sincerely wish you much happiness hereafter.

I do wish you would not end your blog with that "hollywood" picture of M.A. grinning from ear to ear as the last picture you post. Looks like he just took another church for more money than he could spend in a days time.

My pastor did not attend the conference this year, as he had a heads-up on what is going on in Jax. The heads-up was via this blog, so again thank you.

Esther

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

This post is not the last post. Just a few more things to be said, and for the time being, the Watchdog will head out to the country and just be a regular old "dog". No more watching.

Anonymous said...

WD... Take us to the country with you! You have so represented so many members and what we are thinking and feeling regarding the current state of our churh. Can you appoint an assistant or someone you can continue?

Were you forced to put your pen down or what?

Please give us some insight on this!

Thanks.. WD

Anonymous said...

WD, this is my first post on your blog. I have followed for some time.

There are times I could write in agreement with you. Often, I disagree. In this short post, I will not attempt to do either. I will simply point out a few things you may or may not see.

While your effort to implore Maurilio to use better judgment is noble, I hope you realize that he is one of many that you could point your finger at. I've been around long enough and on the inside enough to tell you that the majority of pastors & musicians that come to the pastors conference do not stay for all sessions - even Jerry Vines. Jerry preaches at many conferences. Charles sings at many conferences. Maurilio speaks at many conferences. It would surprise you to know how many times the "greats" slip out the side door to head for Ruth's Chris.

Your argument regarding Maurilio twittering from the Chart House is a bit over the top in my opinion. Was it wise for him to twitter about it, probably not. Should better judgment be used, I guess so. Is he out of step with everyone else who makes a living speaking & singing at conferences, absolutely 100% not. Just trust me on this one as someone who's been really close.

Don't be so quick to assume and/or make a judgment about someone's character by whether they stay for the former pastor's sermon.

And for the record, I do not know Maurilio and have never met him. I know plenty that run in the circles, however, including Jerry Vines.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 2:25 - not much else to be said, really as it pertains to Team Brunson. Time to move on. No, the pen is being laid down by the Dawg, it is not being taken from him.

But still have a few more posts to make so don't tie the dog up yet.

And the Dawn might not be gone for good, time will tell. A long break will be nice though.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Anon 2:43 - thanks for the post.

I'm well aware of how some of the big shots come in and preach, and hit the exit. Mostly these guys are very busy and need to hop on a plane...or, OK, go to Ruth's Chris.

But this is not the same as Maurilio. Maurilio is no big shot, except in his own mind. He's not even a "speaker" at the conference. He is a PAID CONSULTANT of the church. We paid him to be here. We paid for his hotel. Airfare. Do you think he was in town for free? Consultants charge for their time. Cripes, we very likely are paying for his "crusted salmon" he Twittered about during Vines' sermon.

My opinion here: it is no mistake that Maurilio is not there for Vines, but twitters something kind for most other speakers. Its no mistake that he IS there for Matt Chandler and calls him a "breath of fresh air" but hits the exit for Vines. Maurilio jokes about "polyester suits" as he packs his back to come down here.

Maurilio called the WD a "fundamentalist". Maurilio has a general disdain for conservative, ok, "fundamental" baptist churches. He wouldn't be caught dead in them under normal circumstances, except he just happens to have one as a client. I'll let you in on a little secret: Maurilio thinks we're a bunch of country bumpkins down here, that needs his expertise in making our church into something great. The thought that our church needs Maurilio to show us the way...I can't even think of an analogy that would do that one justice.

Him not being there to hear Vines, then sending a Twitter DURING THE SERMON was either a huge mistake in judgment, or it was a message to FBC Jax - I ain't there, and I want you to know I ain't there. It was very disrespectful to his client Mac and FBC Jax who paid the man to come down here, whom we pay HUGE dollars to market and promote the conference, that he didn't sit to hear Dr. Jerry Vines, the guy who established the conference that Maurilio and Mac have just run into the ground in a ball of flames.

So, no pass for Maurilio.

And don't get me started on his "man crush" remarks.

Mac needs to fire Maurilio, hire a local firm to do our web design, and he needs to trust God, and rely on his STAFF and even the talented lay people (not his wife and son) to help him put the church on the right path. No more Maurilio, please.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, God told Israel to set a Watchman on the Wall when Nehemiah and Ezra went back to rebuild the wall. You are our Watchman. Stay at it, I know it takes time, but you will be rewarded for your efforts. Remember, Dr Lindsay said one time, after a good faithful member died...who is going to stand in the gap. God bless you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Well Watchdog, old friend, you have done your part to alert the country of not just the likes of Mac; but also the modernistic movements that are plaguing churches all over the country. Readers have had an opportunity to see what can happen to a TRADITIONAL church when the pastor and a CHANGE AGENT set out to make wholesale changes in their church.

It was observed, by pastors, at the PC that FBCJ is indeed Seeker Sensitive, Purpose Driven, Pragmatic and more like a Community church. It has taken less than three years to make the change-over.

What next for FBCJ? The first thing that will happen is that Mac and team Brunson will rejoice at Ruth's Chris tonight. They knew that eventually the Watchdog would get off of their collective backs. I mean, who wants to Blog on FBCJ the rest of their life. So the team, for the present, will feel like they have won the battle over the DESENTERS.

But rest assured, Mac and the team will continue to have problems. It is in their MAKEUP. They can't help themselves. They probably will go from one problem to another.

Some have questioned whether Mac is anointed or has the heart to be a pastor. I will leave that up to the Lord.

I have learned long ago that when you can't help a person like Mac, give him to the Lord for corrective action. Only the Lord can make the changes that Mac needs. If Mac won't change, that is his problem.

For the members at FBCJ, if they are still there, they must be satisfied with what they have. If they are unsatisfied with what they have become they may have to move on. God will have a place for them. After all, the steps of a righteous man are ordered.

We love you Dog. Well done!!!

Anonymous said...

Please do not shut down. We need to hear what's happening because everything you say is exactly what's going on at FBC Dallas and I'm sure in many other churches. Maybe eventually people will start speaking up and put a stop to some of this. (By the way, Mac told someone that he never reads the blog. That's probably true because the truth hurts, but I'll bet Trey and Courtney read it!)

Anonymous said...

Question: If Mac never reads the blog, then how could it be "dogging him" as Jeff Brumley claims. And assuming it "bothers" him, how could that be if he does not read it? And why the sympathy towards poor ole Mac from others if Mac is not even reading the blog. Ignorance is bliss is this case. If Mac never reads the blog, then no reason for him or others to be offended by what they don't read. As far as Mac knows, this blog is all about how great he is. So why the effort to shut it down by the discipline committee? :)

Anonymous said...

Could someone please give me some names of other churches they have found in Jacksonville that would be good to visit? Jacksonville is a huge city, so if you could suggest churches from different areas, that would be so helpful!

I am so grateful to have been under Dr. Lindsay's preaching. He truly loved the Lord and his congregation more than himself!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:58
Don't expect to find another church like FBCJ used to be. You went there because it was the way it was. Most of the SBC churches, here in Jax, are at some stage of Purpose Driven. The pastors are trying to fit in with the modern changes. They are having a hard time with the transition. Their heart may be right but with all of them going that direction many don't want to be left behind in the change-over. Then too, the style of only preaching the gospel [sometimes], has, I'm sure, caused some good pastors problems. The power seems to have gone. There are, still, some good pastors out there.

In talking with some of the dissenters who have been out visiting other churches; they say it may take some time before you can find a church.

Most of the fundamental churches are independents. Most of them still use the KJV. Their style of preaching is more like Dr. Lindsay's. These usually, here in Jax, are small churches. The members are warm hearted strong christian. You will get a good dose of doctrine and Jesus in their sermons. Some of these churches trying to be like FBCJAX have some of its characteristics.

I would mention some names but it is best that you find where the Lord wants you. This will take your effort. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

"One of the things that made the conference a favorite of so many over the years was its uniqueness. It was geared toward conservative, Southern Baptist pastors (yes, some polyester wearers), who enjoyed hearing from the Vines, Hunts, Rogers, etc. and who wanted to hear how FBC Jax was growing the church".

Watchdog - as a Pastor in another state, long time lover and supporter of FBC Jax, I agree that so many came to hear all those guys - I CAME to hear all those guys and to hear from God through them. However, I have to say that the last part of this statement is the problem: we DID come to hear how FBC Jax was growing the church. God didn't quit growing Jax when Mac came... the decrease began under Vines. Why doesn't anyone see this?

I don't say this in a finger pointing, "it's Vines fault" way, just pointing out the fact that the "decline", at least numerically, at FBC Jax didn't just happen. It's been happening for years. It didn't begin when Dr. Lindsey died either - it was happening then too. I can't prove it, but those "in the know" have known for years and have tried to stop it (remember the 2 services attempt?). Rather, the issue became obvious after Dr. Vines left.

As a pastor who has had to lead THROUGH some changes as my community changed I must point out that while your intentions are to stand firm for God, the disunity you are spreading is not damaging Mac as much as it is damaging the bride of Christ known as FBC Jax. I for one am very sorry to see that. You used Jerry Vines message to imply that God is writing "Ichabod" on FBC Jax. If he does it will be because the very people who don't want to see that happen will be at fault because their divisiveness has overcome, therefore making your efforts to be a lighthouse to the city useless: who wants to attend a church where the very essence of who Jesus is cannot even by ememplified by it's members? Especially one the size of yours? God bless You and your desire to see God glorified; I hope you read this in the spirit it is intended.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Pastor in Another State - thanks for your post.

Yes, I do understand what you are saying about the decline beginning before Mac. However, I think it more realistic to say the church was not really decreasing under Vines, as much as it was stagnant...and I would say that it probably was stagnant and not growing (numerically anyways) even during the last few years of Lindsay. There was the prominent deacon debacle in 2002, and before that there was the blunder of the Russian church and the moral failure of the leader of that ministry, which broke Lindsay's heart and was a black mark on our church.

Even David Allen acknowledged that our church had reached a point of stagnation, when he preached in advance of Mac's coming about the "the cloud" was getting ready to move again when Mac got here. And we all knew it was true.

Here is the point I've made over and over again on this blog:

Our church knew we were stagnant, that Vines was filling the gap between Lindsay and the next leader who would take us to new ministries and new heights.

And the key point: When Mac came, the church, almost universally, trusted Vines and trusted the search committee that they found the man. We all believed Mac came to lead us again to grow and that as David Allen preached, the cloud would once again begin to move.

But something happened.

It became very apparent to SOME, that Mac was angry. He was abusive from the pulpit. He put his wife and son on staff. Took a $300,000 land gift weeks after his arrival from one of our members for love and affection, even though he hardly knew the man. He started promoting Holy Land trips, vacated the pulpit without notice to work on book deals, lived on Amelia Island for a year, wasted no time in breaking ground on a million dollar home. When some members expressed concern over an SDA minister coming, a few deacons bullied members who even raised the question. When anonymous emails were sent, Mac started his 2 year long pity party, involving Vines in the 07 PC, and getting Patterson to stick up for him, he began to talk us down behind our backs.

Mac was handed a church debt free, that had a solid membership committed in following the new man of God into new ministries, but Mac couldn't measure up. He squandered his moral authority to lead by taking his land gift and the nepotism and the anger and back-stabbing.

Its a lot like we see in Obama. The job is just too big for the man. Its an ugly sight to watch a man occupy a position when he just can't measure up. They get defensive, arrogant, and lash out at their critics and wonder why they don't have followship.

I, too, hope you take my words in the spirit of one who WAS fully behind Mac when he came, I knew our church needed fresh blood, new ideas, new ministries to reach our city. But over the course of the first year or so, all of Mac's actions and his attitude and his arrogance showed he was not the man we thought he would be.

Anonymous said...

This is what i've been wondering all along Watchdog. You keep saying that the attendance has shrunk blah blah., but the first day I attended FBC Jax was the week after Jerry Vines had left. The congregation was way smaller then than it is now, so why do you keep saying this stuff? I've always known you were way off in your assessment of this situation. The pastors conference is down because we are in the worst economy since the great depression...so does it really take a genius to figure out why its down? You bend and twist facts to your advantage and always have on this blog. It is great that you have decided to shut this down. I hope you find the perfect church for you. Please, this time when you find out there are imperfections in your new church, don't start another blog. Thanks. There really is no perfect church.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon: Watchdog never made a huge issue on this blog that Mac has caused the church to shrink. I was simply replying to the pastor's claim that the church was already in decline before Brunson came. The church plateaued in the last decade or so, and that happened before Brunson came, so I am acknowledging that.

But my point is that Brunson came in with a generous, dedicated, loving, mostly UNITED congregation ready to move under new leadership.

I don't think you can deny that attendance is way down Wed and Sunday nights from where it was before Brunson came. Sunday a.m. attendance is about where it was when Vines left. Not that it matters, just trying to state the facts. And Sunday School attendance? Is that up or down?

Yes, perhaps PC attendance is way down because of the economy. That makes sense.

You mentioned the Watchdog shutting the blog down. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but perhaps the Watchdog was a bit quick to declare he was leaving soon. Just this afternoon received an email from the accused from last November that he has been notified after a month of silence the discipline process is moving forward in February against the man and his wife, that the matter of the blog and the accusations against the man and his wife are going before the deacons and then I think after that the entire church body. Rest assured, the Watchdog will stay around AT LEAST until that process has run its course so that light can continue to be shed on the actions of the Brunson Bunch.

You're right anon, no perfect churches, no perfect preachers. But believe me, lots of churches that don't have arrogant, abusive pastors, and that have pastors that preach the Bible verse by verse with love, humility, and power.

Anonymous said...

Hi Watchdog:

I don't think the extremely low numbers @the pastors' conf. can be attributed solely to the economy. The numbers were down last year too. And why would the economy keep the church members from attending? I remember running into people on Mon & Tues nights each year who had come straight from work in order to get a seat. The tone of the PC is just different now. Some of the speakers border on being liberal, especially Tommy Nelson. And what's with the nonsense of selling advertising @PC? Are we going to start having ads @services?

I still think the business of branching out to new locations & calling it "starting churches" is nothing short of BALONEY! It's the same thing that's going on in several churches around the country & let's face it, it's building name recognition for the pastors of those churches & that's what it is @FBC. No doubt in my mind about that.

As to Maurilio, it is so obvious that he is way beneath his preferred social level when he lowers himself to be around the average church member. The way he twitters about his disdainful encounters with people is enough to make a person vomit! I guess twitter comes from the word "twit" because he's nothing more than that.

I could hardly believe it when I saw that those discipline letters went out to those people. I guess the rest of us should find a new place before they track us all down & try to bring us before FBC as an example to others to SHUT UP! It has been so obvious from the beginning that the discipline issue mentioned from the pulpit was simply a vehicle to try to scare people into silence. And how different it could have been had he just responded to people from the very first e-mail! This blog would have never even been started.

You know what I think, Watchdog? I think when the economy gets really bad he will walk if it's suggested that his wife & son be taken off the payroll and most certainly if his pay is reduced.

Too bad I don't gamble because that's probably a pretty safe bet.