"...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, July 28, 2009

The Transformed Media Landscape

Maurilio Amorim has an excellent blog post about how the Internet and its new social networking tools are radically changing communication - both between humans and how humans interact with organizations. Maurilio embedded a very thought-provoking video presentation by Clay Shirky, an expert on social impacts of Internet technologies and author of "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations". Shirky's talk starts off explaining the current explosion of Internet social networking and how it fits into the historical context of the old style communication that we all have grown up with in the 20th century.

For those of you that are skeptical of the usefulness of blogging and Twittering and Facebook and texting, or if you think its all just a "fad", of no social value, or something to be avoided, this video is for you. I have embedded the video below.

I am going to share some thoughts about this video, and in this and a few upcoming articles I want to discuss some of the points Shirky makes about how organizations respond to this media transformation.

One of the more interesting points Shirky makes is that most media (TV, print news, phone, music, video) is migrating to the Internet, and the Internet tools now available makes all of these media forms less just sources of information, and increasingly sources of communication and coordination. With the Internet, we not only get information and entertainment, we get the ability to connect to groups of people around these media and their mesages - as if in the 20th century you bought a radio and got a transmitting station along with it, or bought a book and your own printing press was provided. Media is now less about sending single messages, as it is now an environment for "convening and supporting groups".

Shirky uses the May 2008 earthquake in the Sichuan province of China as an example of this media transformation and the consequences for the consumers of information (who are now the "producers" of the information) and "organizations" (in this case a government) who wish to control messages. As the 7.9 earthquake was happening, citizens from China were reporting real-time, through Twitter and texts and uploading of video, what was happening. Social connections and the Internet allowed for the sharing and coordinating of information about what happened in just moments. In less than 24 hours donation sites were opened, and aid began flowing.

This is quite amazing, since in decades past, it took the Chinese government months to even admit that an earthquake of that magnitude had even happened, and the immense suffering. The government controlled the information. But no longer; in fact, according to Shirky, the Chinese central government learned of the earthquake from its own citizens' reporting before the official Sichuan media announced it!

But in the following months, as the Chinese citizens in Sichuan learned of the government corruption that allowed schools to be constructed to less than code, resulting in mass building collapse and the unnecessary deaths of thousands of their children - the citizens began reporting this through the Internet. Finally, the Chinese government decided it was time to shut 'em down - they decided they did not like THOSE messages and they decided it was time to censor their citizens' media reporting. The government tolerated the reporting of the event, but could not tolerate the expressions of anger and dissent from their citizens over a government corruption scandal. However, their media "filter" methods didn't work for such large volumes of outgoing information, and so quickly, they couldn't "filter" the messages - they had to decide to "shut down" entire incoming Internet services like Twitter. They had to turn it off completely, and began arresting protestors.

So take a look at this video, and in the next blog post I will share some of my views on this "media transformation" relative to this blog and other issues.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Johnny Hunt Concerned that Logan Was "Ushered from the Property"

....Hunt says they don't even do that at his church to his "men caught in adultery"...

The Florida Baptist Witness reported this week that Johnny Hunt still has questions about the firing, or "resignation", of Clark Logan, former VP of the SBC Executive Committee. Hunt is particularly worried that Logan may have been "ushered from the property".

According to news reports in early July, Morris Chapman, EC President, asked for Clark Logan's resignation after getting approval from his board of trustees in a 5 minute conference call on June 30th. The reasons for and the circumstances surrounding Logan's resignation caused Johnny Hunt to publicly call for Chapman to provide answers. It also set off a round of discussions on the Internet, including Twitter, critical of Chapman's actions.

Quite interesting that Hunt is using social networking sites to get his answers. He even admitted that he had not spoken privately with Chapman about the Logan departure, but still called for Chapman, through Twitter through the media, to give answers to his concerns. It seems Hunt and other prominent SBC pastors and leaders don't have a problem airing grievances with their fellow denominational leaders now on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook, even though they have not personally spoken with that person. If pastors are openly criticizing denominational leaders on blogs and Twitter, could it be these pastors will no longer criticize bloggers who openly question THEIR actions? When WILL all of these pastor Twitterers stop "unjustly criticizing" Morris Chapman, at least until they go to his office to meet with him personally?

Apparently Hunt still has not received satisfactory answers, as this week he is calling for greater clarity and accountability on Clark's "resignation".

One of Hunt's concerns expressed this week is that Clark Logan may have been "ushered from the property" after his resignation. Says Hunt:

"I thought, if that’s true [Clark escorted from the property], again, I don’t have the answers, but it leads to greater questions. What in the world did he do to be treated like that? … I have 160 employees and I’ve had men caught in adultery that were not treated like that."

Now that is interesting on several fronts. Firstly, maybe Johnny Hunt doesn't know this, but it is standard practice when a person resigns or is fired to have someone escort the person to their office, collect their belongings, and then to "usher" or escort that person from the property. No big deal, really.

Secondly, this raises a series of questions in my mind.

If Johnny Hunt persists, and keeps asking these questions of Chapman and calling for accountability and openness, will he be called a sociopath for his persistence? Will Johnny be issued trespass papers from the SBC EC offices if he doesn't stop this? Will Mrs. Hunt be given trespass papers for Johnny Hunt's blogging and Twittering and his unjust criticism of Chapman? Will the E.C. trustees pass a "trustees resolution" to "aggressively confront" this "unjust criticism" because their leader "...[has] come under severe but false criticism and ridicule by means of a blog site on the internet which publishes to the world." (excerpts from FBC Deacon's Resolution)

If Hunt is troubled about Logan's poor treatment by being ushered from the SBC property, what would Johnny Hunt say about a church banning a Christian woman from her SBC church who's only "offense" was that she was married to a blogger critical of Mac Brunson? If Hunt is not ushering his adulterers from the church grounds, I assume he isn't doing that to their wives either. Do you think Hunt has issued trespass warnings against any women in his church for the "offense" of being married to someone who is blogging? Of course not.

No one would ever expect Johnny Hunt to Twitter and ask Mac Brunson for answers as to why Yvette Rich was banned from her church by falsely charging her with church misconduct. And would Hunt or any other SBC pastor dare to Twitter and ask Mac the same question about Yvette that Hunt asked about Clark: "What in the world did she do to be treated like that?" After all, she is nothing to Johnny Hunt, and that might embarrass his good friend, Mac Brunson, to call him out for having his church file trespass warnings against her with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

That said, I do commend Johnny Hunt for standing up publicly for his friend Clark Logan, and asking for answers from Morris Chapman, and continuing to call for accountability, using the media and social network sites. Go Johnny, go.

But where are the friends of Yvette Rich at FBC Jax, that knew her for years and years, that served with her and know of her love and sweetness and dedication to the Lord? Why are they not standing up to hold Mac Brunson and John Blount and A.C. Soud accountable for wrongly filing trespass papers against her for "church misconduct"? Where are the women in her Sunday School class and that have served with her for years? My gosh, where is Marilyn Kilpatrick and Debbie Brunson, and other women staffers - why aren't they standing up for Yvette and demanding accountability? Or do women not have a voice in their own church as to how male leaders treat women in the church? Where are the deacons who know in their hearts that Blount and Brunson and Soud were wrong to go to the sheriff's office to ban a female member for the "sin" of associating with her husband? Are the deacons cowards and afraid to stand up to Brunson and Blount and Soud? Or maybe they value their position and prestige in the church more than standing for what is right?

As Hunt says, he doesn't even treat his adulterous men in that fashion. And I wonder if FBC Jax has issued trespass papers against their adulterers, even the FBC Jax deacon convicted of child molestation a few years ago - was he trespassed? Was his wife?

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Disappointed and Saddened, Too (But Not Surprised)....

Interesting to hear the church leaders say they are "disappointed and saddened..."

Yeah, me too.

But not surprised, not one bit.

Here is the leadership of FBC Jax's statement regarding this lawsuit:

"The congregation and leadership of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville is disappointed and saddened that Mr. Rich has chosen to seek resolution of His disagreements with the Church via the Court of Law. Despite numerous efforts by the church to facilitate resolution privately and in accordance with Holy Scripture, Mr. Rich has been unwilling to participate. Having made every effort to settle this matter biblically, the Church stands ready to have the matter addressed according to law, though this is not, and never has been our desire."

I'm saddened by this statement. I'm saddened to hear they are still misrepresenting the facts. Even sadder that they seem to think their congregation and those in SBC-circles around the country will buy it.

Let me provide a few responses to their statement:

1. This lawsuit has nothing to do with my "disagreements with the Church". Nothing at all. Perhaps they didn't read the lawsuit. It has to do with fraud, misrepresentation, and abuse of process...and it has to do with defamation, a pastor using his position and power to tell a malicioius, purposeful lie to the newspaper about my mental health to justify his church's actions. THAT is what this lawsuit is about.

2. "Despite numerous efforts by the church to facilitate resolution privately and in accordance with Holy Scripture"....I'm not sure what "numerous efforts" mean. There was no effort, unless you call showing up at my doorstep with trespass papers for me and my wife, and demanding that I appear before six leaders of the church with no representation, without given the chance to read the bylaws of the church, and not being told the basis of their allegations. Maybe one of their "numerous efforts" was their decision to not allow my wife entrance on the property to watch our daughter sing in her ensemble. They are claiming their process was "in accordance with Holy Scripture"? Not even close. They never, ever...not one single time...attempted resolution in accordance with Matthew 18.

3. "Mr. Rich has been unwilling to participate" ...bald-faced lie. Who wrote this? Do they even know the facts? After they received my identity from the JSO and demanded I appear before their committee of 6 leaders, I sent John Blount an email agreeing to meet with them, with three simple requests that could have been met in 5 minutes. Also, when offered the chance to meet with the deacons in February, I agreed! But John Blount told me they would not allow my wife to come, and they would not let me speak freely to defend myself from the charges against me. Also, a prominent pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention approached FBC Jax with an offer for a reconciliation meeting in March, but we received no response.

4. "Having made every effort to settle this matter biblically.." If this does get to court, maybe they will have to make the argument how their actions were according to the Bible. Their efforts were not biblical...but then again maybe they have some Old Testament scripture of how to deal with sinners they are referring to. I assume "biblically" means in accordance with Matthew 18, which they most certainly did not use.

5. "the Church stands ready to have the matter addressed according to law, though this is not, and never has been our desire" That last statement, "never has been our desire." Now that is TRUTH. I agree with them. They never thought they would have to defend their un-biblical actions in the local media, much less a court of law. But here we are.

For those of you new to the blog, here are some previous posts that will help, as they contain hyperlinks of documents and correspondence:

"The Subpoenas: Unmasking the Baptist Bloggers Under Force of Law"

"The Search for the Watchdog's Identity"

"The Story of the Watchdog Blog"

And, I recommend that you listen again to the Deacon's Resolution read by A.C. Soud on February 25, 2009 - keep in mind that this resolution was read and passed before the church leaders knew that it would be revealed publicly what actions they took with the JSO to find my identity.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lawsuit Filed Against Brunson, FBC Jax

A lawsuit against Mac Brunson and FBC Jax has been filed today in Duval County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges defamation, fraud, misrepresentation, and abuse of process by Brunson and the church administration for actions taken last year leading to a criminal investigation under false pretenses, and then the resulting statements made to the media.

The following is my official statement regarding this lawsuit:

"First Baptist Church, its chairman of the trustees A.C. Soud, and Senior Pastor Mac Brunson have made it clear through their words and actions, that they will 'aggressively confront' what they deem 'unjust criticism' of their church leadership. Unfortunately, as part of that 'aggressive confrontation', they may have used our legal system and local law enforcement to investigate me under false pretenses and to find my identity by obtaining subpoena's of private and confidential information.

Then when they found my identity, they never once contacted me according to scripture and their church teachings, but had trespass warnings delivered to me and my wife and placed on file with the local law enforcement agency, effectively banning our family from our church home of many years. Both Mr. Soud and Mr. Brunson then lied about me and attempted to defame me not only within the halls of the church, but also to local media covering the story and on their website.

Their actions sent a powerful message to me, and all other members of FBC Jax, that they were willing to use any hardball tactics necessary to confront any criticism. This lawsuit, I believe, is the appropriate means at this time by which to respond to their tactics. I desire through this lawsuit that an equally powerful message will be sent to influential church trustees and powerful pastors who seek to squelch dissent of their members through unbiblical bullying and intimidation tactics.


Of particular concern to me and my wife is the manner in which Mac Brunson has chosen to use his leadership position and influence granted to him by the good people of FBC Jacksonville, a Southern Baptist Convention mega-church, to get rid of us and to discredit me in retaliation for my persistent, public criticisms of his leadership.

Simply put, FBC Jax and Mac Brunson used the law enforcement system last fall to find my identity and ban me and my wife from the church property. We are now using that same legal system to try and find the truth of what they did and more importantly, why they did it, and then to ask a jury to hold those parties accountable for any wrongful actions."

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Few Good Websites

Readers, you will see under my favorites I have added a few new links to websites that might be of interest to readers of the Watchdog. Three in particular:

1. Wartburg Watch

2. Provender

3. Purify the Church

These are excellent sites concerning spiritual abuse and cults. Wartburg Watch updates their blog almost on a daily basis, and is a site to keep your eyes on in the coming days.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brunson SBC Sermon Now Available Online

Readers - you can now go to the SBC website and view Mac Brunson's sermon delivered June 21st at the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention, Pastor's Conference. There was a delay in the SBC posting the Pastor's Conference material on 316, presumably to allow them time to earn revenue through media sales, which is understandable since the Pastor's Conference is not funded by the SBC as the regular convention is.

I highly recommend this sermon for viewing by those who have followed this blog for some time.


If you don't want to watch it, here are some excerpts:

"...why aren't our churches growing? Because it may be they don't like us [pastors]. What they see, they don't like, and if they don't like what they see, they won't listen to us and our witness is essentially nullified."

He doesn't say why they don't like the pastors. Do these pastors know the media storm Mac and FBC Jax have created by the way they responded to the Watchdog blog? So many of the non-Christians and Christians are very offended by the actions of FBC Jax.

"..what's the mind of Christ on all of this...why are we not able to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ...they don't like us. And I want to tell you something [very expressively, and pointing finger], if you walk out in this the hallway and listen to the conversation, you'll discover we don't like each other very much either."

Apparently, according to Mac, pastors are arguing and expressing dislike for one another out in the hallways of the convention. I hadn't heard that.

"So he [Peter] comes and he says 'From the government to your workplace to your marriage' he says 'This is the way you are to live out your life in front of these Gentiles, in front of the world. So that what they see, they like, and when they like it, they will listen to what you've got to say.' "

Then Mac gives five characteristics, attitudes that should characterize pastors, taken from 1 Peter 3:8..

1. Harmonization

"...[yelling] Why can't you find something to agree on? Why can't you just get around Jesus Christ? My stars, I couldn't believe all that I've read in the weeks prior to this, can we not agree on the Great Commission. [arms flailing]. Isn't that something we ought to be able to agree on? [scant applause]. Lord help us, there ought to be a harmonious spirit, a like-mindedness, when it comes to Jesus Christ and the Word of God and the gospel, and missions? Hold forth the word of life, can you agree on that? That's in da book by the way, if you didn't know it."

There is no disagreement on the Great Commission leading up to the convention, but on the document called "Great Commission Resurgence". It is interesting that a call for "harmonization" is made with yelling, arms flailing and head bobbing.

2. Identification

Speaking of sympathy between brothers:

"It meant a robust sympathy. I identify with you. There is this identification in what you are going through. I don't just pass you by and say, "Aw, too bad, that's sad." It means I stop and I get involved with you in whatever it is you're going through, in your hurt, in your joy, in your pain, in your happiness - whatever it is - I come with this identification, you are all after all a brother in Jesus Christ."

Peter is speaking to Christian brothers in general. Does the above apply to Mac in how he deals with a blogger? Or does it just apply to the pastors he is preaching to and not to Mac?

3. Brotherly Intention

"...this concept of what I will do for you. I will do the things a brother does for you...I'm your brother. I'm going to get in there and get in there and do what needs to be done when there is a hurt. We're brothers in Jesus Christ. "

4. Compassion

"...where you feel...and what he is saying is this, he's saying for us, he says we're to feel, we're to be this for one another. To feel that hurt, and to feel that pain with one another."

5. Submission

"He says to be humble in spirit, it is this submissiveness; this is what I do, I come and I submit myself out of deference to my brother and my sister in Christ. This is how I live in the world with my brothers and sisters. I come and it doesn't have to be my way all the time. I don't have to always have the last word, I don't have to always be right, I don't have to always be first, I don't have to always preach at the conference, I am to submit myself to my brothers in Jesus Christ. That's such a foreign concept to us. "

Then he gave the story of a successful advertising agency started by two women who wrote a book on their success, called "The Power of Nice."

About that, Mac says:

"They wrote a book in 2006 that tells you exactly how they did it, and its called 'The Power of Nice'. You oughta try it, its one of the fruits of the Spirit. And if the world would see us, preachers, dealing with one another, in a Christ-like way, they might like what they see. And if they like what they see, they might listen to what we say."

Then Mac goes on to discuss the preacher's witness to a watching world.

"When somebody treats you with evil, he says you don't turn around - when they do something to you, that at the very core of it, it is bad - you don't turn around and do something back, that at the very core of it is wicked and evil and bad. Now let me tell you something pastors, you cannot get into this 'emotional tennis' with angry people. You can't get into this emotional tennis match - they say something, they do something, there is a backlash, there is a retaliation, there is payback, and you go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Let me tell you what you gonna do: you're going to destroy your witness."

I wonder how this applies to a pastor wrongly calling a former church member "mentally imbalanced" and a "sociopath". Was that his emotional tennis retaliation? Or is he exempt from his own advice when going against a blogger?

"Let me tell you, when somebody does something to you, and you turn around and do it right back to them, its going to cost you more than that in your witness and your testimony."

I'm assuming this is Mac speaking purely out of experience in his public comments concerning me.

"Not paying back an insult for an insult. Somebody insults you, 'well I gotta get right back, I, I, gotta say something", and you know what, there's this emotional itch, we all have, its called the flesh. We've got this emotional itch that says 'I've got to say something back, I've got to defend myself. NO YOU DON'T. No you don't. Brothers, let me tell you something, you, you don't have to defend yourself. You're not your own. You were bought with a price and you belong to Jesus, let Him handle it. [followed by pregnant pause, then very, very scant slow applause]."

Yes, Mac says don't return insult for insult. Mac tells his pastor friends to just let Jesus "handle it". There is so much in Mac's sermon to his pastor friends that seems, in my opinion, to contradict his very own words and actions as Pastor of FBC Jax.

So which is it: hypocrisy, or Mac telling his pastor friends in so many words, "Don't do what we did."

Whatever it is, for sure the SBC pastors very much liked what they heard in Mac's sermon, as they voted to give Mac the honor of preaching the convention sermon at next year's SBC Convention in Orlando.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bully Pastors Put on the Gloves...

Just wanted to share with my readers some recent events that have occured that fit into the theme of this blog, that serve as another example of abusive, bully mega church pastors. Pastors who hit their critics first, then talk later (maybe).

Last month I received a letter from the lawyer of an SBC mega church pastor, an SWBTS graduate, who claims I defamed this mega church pastor on my blog in 2008. He accused me of "unlawful conduct" because of my blog post, demanded that I immediately take down the offending posts, else will face a lawsuit with massive damages and legal costs. Even said I would have to pay the mega church pastor's legal costs, which would be "substantial".

I will show restraint and not use this pastor's name here, but I'll use the tactic that many preachers use when referring to someone and trying to not get in trouble for using their name: "If I said this pastor's name, you would immediately recognize him." But I will confirm its not Mac Brunson.

The letter accused me of "defamation per se", and that I must immediately take three actions to avoid the wrath of this mega church pastor and his lawyer: 1. I must cease and desist any defamatory remarks about this pastor - which is hard to do since I never began or continued to make defamatory remarks; 2. I must remove the Internet posts on my blog that he doesn't like (which occured over a year ago), that he claims are defamatory; and 3. Enter into a written agreement that I will "refrain from further defamatory activity" against the mega church pastor.

And get this...his lawyer, unbelievably, claims in this letter that his letter is "copyrighted" - yes, the actual LETTER he sent me....and that I am not authorized to "publish this letter, in whole or in part, in any manner. Any unauthorized publication of this letter will potentially expose you to substantial damages for copyright infrigment." There, I just did. So I guess I will be sued for copyright infringement also.

Three words for this pastor and his lawyer: Fair Use Doctrine.

My first reaction was to post the letter and this pastor's name, and let my readers know of yet another attempt by a pastor to go after a guy who dares have a blog analyzing and offering opinion on events in the SBC. But I didn't. Not out of fear, but in restraint. I had our lawyer reply to this pastor's lawyer.

Needless to say I didn't comply with this attempt to bully and intimidate me into removing posts that I believe are truthful and based on other media reports. The response from my lawyer to this mega church pastor's lawyer denied that defamation has occured, and we sent copies of 4 news articles that confirm information contained on my blog. I have even talked to the editor and author of the previous news accounts that I used for my information, and he confirmed he has multiple sources and stands by everything he has written. He confirmed he has not been contacted by this pastor about defamation from his news articles - in fact he has had a standing offer to this pastor to respond to his writings in his publication, but the pastor has not taken advantage of these in the years since the articles appeared.

So the pastor doesn't go after the news media outlets who initially reported the story...but he DOES go after a blogger who dared to comment on his situation! Amazing.

What does this pastor want? I believe he just wants me to take down a post on my blog that seems to be a top hit when his name is Googled. That's fine. Perhaps he could have first tried to call me to kindly ask that I remove the post, since he had my name and address. I have absolutely nothing against this pastor and he has never been the focus of this blog. It would be nothing for me to remove a post if he nicely requested it instead of using the tactic FIRST of wrongly accusing me of illegal behavior and threatening me with a lawsuit and legal fees.

But this apparently is the new modus operandi for some megas against their critics...hit 'em hard first, talk later. Intimidate. Threaten legal action. It appears to me that Mac and his trustees decided it was best FIRST to hit me and my wife with trespass warnings - kick our butts out FIRST, then maybe talk later if its on their terms only. Not a phone call or a visit. This pastor, now...decides his best course of action is to first get his lawyer to make demands and threaten a costly lawsuit unless the demands are met - and throw in the special "my letter is copyrighted" twist to keep the letter off of the Internet. Seems to me that they want to bully, but boy, they don't want anybody to know about it.

What's next? I don't know, but I fully expect this mega church pastor to sue me. I certainly don't think such a threatening letter would be sent unless they intended to follow through with the threats. And if and when I'm sued, I'll defend myself and I'll keep my readers here abreast of events, and maybe even go ahead and post the letter for everyone to enjoy - along with the links to the articles that I used that show clearly I did not defame this pastor.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Great Commission Resurgence and the Mega Churches

At the SBC annual convention in Louisville, there was much talk about the Great Commission Resurgence declaration. The GCR is a document crafted by Danny Akin, and signed by over 4000 SBC ministers, expressing a desire for the SBC to return to evangelism and missions. The most controversial aspect of the GCR is Article 9 calling for an overhaul of the "bloated bureaucracy" in the SBC.

I'm all for the GCR, and the Article 9. Definitely a must.

But I'm skeptical of the sincerity of many of the men who are supporting it. The seminary guys like Akin and Reid and Mohler, I think they are very sincere. They see what's wrong with the current SBC structure; they see young ministers leaving the SBC as they see money wasted at the national and state level with little accountability back to the churches.

But it is almost comical to see mega church pastors pontificating about the GCR, and how we need to refocus, and streamline the SBC to see how we can reach the masses.

Do most of these mega church pastors REALLY care about sending the gospel to the ends of the earth? Is that their primary focus as ministers?

Or are they more concerned about themselves, their wallets, their personal brand, and their own mini-kingdom back at their church? Oh sure, they fly up to Louisville to lecture everyone how we need to refocus on Jesus' Great Commission, and they tell us how much they care of the lost people in Africa and China. They are all for a restructuring of the SBC so that funds are better used, but are they willing to allow for an overhaul of their personal kingdom at THEIR church so funds can be better used?

No way. You see, many of these mega church pastors, who are also our leaders or good buddies with the leaders in the SBC, are more focused on other things. Things that have little or nothing to do with the "Great Commission".

Things like:

- signing their next book deal and writing their next book, and getting their pastor buddies to help them market it;

- some have turned their church foyers into a market place, using Christian events as an opportunity to create "promotions packages" to charge ministries large fees to showcase their ministries to attendees;

- they use church funds to hire marketing firms to help their church branding and personal branding, and to help coach them in their sermon series selections;

- they purchase globs of local TV advertising time to make up for the failure of their people's personal evangelism, and the TV advertising ends up stealing sheep from other smaller churches who can't afford TV time;

- they take church funds to put their sermons on heretical networks like TBN and INSP, further promoting their national appeal;

- some of them even use their positions to grant well-paying positions to their family members and family members of their buddies;

- using church resources to promote cruises and trips with their wealthy church members who jump at the chance to get close to and travel with the celebrity preacher;

- preaching at their buddy's church and getting a handsome honoraria, and then returning the favor to their buddy;

- they accept huge, mammoth salaries well in excess of the average church member, and they keep the details of their compensation package from the very people who give the money;

- they live in executive homes, driving expensive cars, while beating their sheep up to give more and more money, some even mocking their church members that they didn't get a raise and they need to live more frugal lives;

- many of them accept gifts from their preacher-worshipping congregants; some of them very large gifts that an ordinary preacher or minister would never get, all because they are "God's man";

- they use church resources to construct lavish office suites and personal libraries at the church, larger even than some member's entire homes;

- they take "missions trips", but only when fully paid for by the church - while they urge church members to go on missions trips that they must pay out of their own pockets, using their vacation time at work;

And to fund it all, many still preach a legalistic tithing message, to guilt people into giving 10% of their income through "storehouse tithing" doctrine. Some won't even teach the storehouse tithing, but will just tell their church that they are obligated to "tithe". And we can't ignore that these mega church pastors live high on the hog while they expect the truly called vocational missionaries to go to foreign fields for literally a pauper's wage. How many mega church pastors would be "called" to their church if they were paid what they pay vocational SBC missionaries?

Great Commission Resurrgence? Sure. Article 9 calling for restructure of the SBC? Go for it.

But let the Article 9 restructuring start at the mega church.

How could that happen? Easier than you think. Why is there a push for this GCR in the SBC? Because smart men looked at the numbers. Membership down. Missions giving, down. Baptisms, down. If the mega church sheep would wise up and invest their Kingdom dollars elsewhere where the return on the investment is real ministry and missions, that will get the attention of the mega churches REAL FAST.

And then maybe we'll see a GCR at the mega churches.

But don't hold your breath.