"...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, March 23, 2010

"The Crystal Campus" - How Does One Know If It's God's Will?

As we begin our look at the proposed FBC Dallas $140 million dollar campus overhaul, which I affectionately call the "Crystal Campus" - after Robert Schuller's "Crystal Cathedral" - we will first consider the question:

How does a Christian know that building such a grand, glorious structure is the will of God for FBC Dallas? Is it possible that God in heaven is actually leading them to do this, and this is what God intends for their congregation to spend their time and treasure on? If so, how would one know that it is? How would one know that it is NOT?

For those of us not members, it might not be a question we have to concern ourselves with. Some have said this blogger should mind his own business. There is an element of truth to that - after all, it's not our money that will build it, and it's not our city. However, it is instructive to consider what the FBC Dallas members are BEING TOLD as to why this IS God's will. What is their pastor telling THEM, and does it square with the Bible, and with what other SBC churches have done in the past?

So, just what is Robert Jeffress telling his church? How would his church know that this is the will of God? It might be the will of God, and it might not be. So how can they tell? Below is an excerpt from a sermon on criticism that Jeffress preached in February:

video

Jeffress uses the following logical argument:

"Let's say for sake of argument, there really is a God, OK? Just for sake of argument...and let's suppose that God has a plan for First Baptist Church Dallas. Do you believe God has a plan for this church? I mean if there really is a God who creates, it means there's a God who has a plan....and let's just imagine 4 or 5 years ago part of His plan for this church included the building of that Criswell Center that we enjoy today. Now how would God go about making that building a reality?"

Jeffress then discusses several options, including God just making the building appear. But now he gives the church the template for how God does these sort of projects. I'm not sure this is found in scripture, however:

"Doesn't it make sense that if God wanted to do that [build the $40 million Criswell Center] God would first of all speak to the shepherd of the church, Dr. Brunson, and put it in his heart, give him a vision for what God wanted to do here. And then he would work with Doug and his committee to plan and design this building, and then he would work in your hearts to give and support that vision. That's how God does his work."

"That's how God does his work", so says Jeffress. Jeffress puts forth the plan God has: 1. God tells the Pastor about the huge building project; 2. The pastor works with the architects and planners; 3. God then tells the people to give the money. Jeffress uses Brunson's Criswell Center as an example of how this has worked in the past. Fine, but this plan didn't work. Because apparently God did NOT work in the hearts of the people to support that vision, because the church still owes $10 million dollars on that project.

Jeffress continues:

"And let's continue, and suppose God continues to have a plan for this church. Do you think God has a plan, continued for First Baptist Church Dallas? I think He does. I don't think it's God's plan for this church to fall into decay and obscurity and irrelevancy in the city of Dallas. I think God's plan for this church to continue to be a lighthouse for His truth, to lift up the name of Christ in this city and in this world. And let's say that that really is God's plan, and part of that plan means creating this new campus, so that future generations can enjoy what we've enjoyed in these present generations."

Sounds good, but I am not sold that creating a $140 million campus is what is needed to keep a church from being "obscure" and "irrelevant", and certainly its not needed to "lift up the name of Christ." I remember when Mac Brunson was selling FBC Jax on the idea of a school, he kept telling us that it absolutely was necessary to build a school for the church to reach the lost of Jacksonville. He even said that "knocking on doors" doesn't work anymore, because no one is home anymore, and thus a school was necessary. A school might be a good idea, it might not be. But don't sell it on a false premise. And by the way, I see that Mac has changed his mind on the "knocking on doors", as their church is having a city-wide door-knocking blitz to invite people to church this week.

Same with this "Crystal Campus"...it MIGHT be a good idea, might even be God's will. But is it really NECESSARY to accomplish God's will in the church? If they do not build it, will the church "fall ito decay and obscurity and irrelevancy?"

Now Jeffress wraps it up:

"Doesn't it make sense that if per chance, that were God's plan, He would speak to the shepherd of the church [Jeffress] and give him that vision for what to do in His church. That He would move in the hearts of the people to rise up and support that work?"

So the answer is: God spoke to me, the shepherd, and I worked with Doug (whoever Doug is) and the planners, and now its time for you all to allow God to work in your hearts and "support" (meaning give money) to make the new campus a reality.

Let's suppose, per chance, God didn't want a church to do something, but the pastor got it wrong, and led them into a project that was not His will. That is possible, for sure. How would the people know?

Let's look no further than their Criswell building. This was a $40 million dollar project, and the people were told the vision by Brunson. There was some opposition to it, as it included the demolition of a building that some considered historical. Some opposed it because they were worried about incurring debt to build it. These objections were overcome, and they built it based on pledges and cost proposals, and people were told it would be built debt free.

Did the three step plan work?

1. God spoke to Brunson and gave him the vision;

2. Brunson worked with Doug (whoever Doug is) and the planners;

3. God worked in the hearts of the people to support the vision.

Steps 1 and 2 worked, but I submit step 3 didn't work. The project was sold to the church as a project that would be paid for by pledges made.

But today, FBC Dallas still owes $8.7 million on the Criswell Building. God apparently didn't tell the people at Dallas that this was God's will, else they would have given the money, right? I mean, if this is how God does His work, as Jeffress said, why didn't God complete step 3?

I can tell you how First Baptist Church Jacksonville did it. They did steps 1 through 3. But there was a 4th step, that most pastors today don't like to consider:

Step 4: When God works in the hearts of people to support the vision, and when the money is given, then we are pretty sure its God's will and that God DID speak to the shepherd and we'll build it.

When the money was in hand, they built it. I'm not saying that this is the only way to build, or that no debt should ever be incurred. I'm just saying that is how Homer Lindsay, Jr. did it. And let me tell you something: he could have told us to build it BEFORE we had the money in hand, and everyone would have said "Amen". But he didn't do it. We knew God was in it when we had the money in hand, and they did not go into debt to build the Ruth Lindsay in the 1970s, or the new auditorium in the 1990's, or the Children's Building and Pastor's Suite in the 2000's. Cash money. Our Pastor's never said: "Give a million in two weeks", and they never made light of our of our debt-free status we maintained for decades. Our pastors knew that debt would siphon off money that could be used for ministry and put it in the hands of the bankers.

I think its a pretty good sign that God is in something, when the people of God have given the money for a project. That confirms that it is NOT just a pipe-dream of a pastor, but that perhaps the Holy Spirit worked in people's hearts to cause them to open their wallets.

FBC Jax knew that it's cash that builds buildings, not pledges. Pledges are good, but show the pastor the money if you want to build it.

FBCD right now not only doesn't have the money, they are in the hole to start with. FBC Dallas has not only $8.7 million in debt from the Criswell Center - now almost 4 years since they've moved in - but on top of that they have another $6.8 million from a land acquisition in the last few years downtown needed for the expansion, and add to that another $4.1 million in debt from the engineering and planning for the current proposed project, and they are in the hole almost $20 million dollars right now. And about half-way through their fiscal year their giving is about 10% below the budgeted amount.

But they're being told to avoid falling into irrelevancy and obscurity, they need to build a $140 million dollar campus.

And they have to do it NOW, while the construction prices are low, in this "narrow window of opportunity."

So that is, in general terms, what the people are begin told about why the "Crystal Campus" is God's will for their church.

Next, we'll look more closely at the particulars of this project, and how it was that God told the shepherd, Jeffress, that this project was indeed the direction for FBC Dallas.

161 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you assuming that because the Church still owes 8.7MM on a building valued in excess of 50MM that it was not God's will? The church was not forced to go ahead on the project with debt. It was a hard thought decision and was brought before the church with only a few no votes. Just offer that for clarification, someone on the outside reading your post could conclude that we had no say on the matter. In fact, there were alot of us that pushed Mac to go into debt to get started.

Anonymous said...

Dalls 8:12 "A lot pushed Mac to get started". And I assume a lot DIDN'T. You are still in debt arn't you. Thus, Watchdogs point...How do you know it's Gods will?

Anonymous said...

WD: We were very blessed to have the Lindsay's (Sr.& Jr.). They didn't spend it if we didn't have it. Quite a good policy, especially in this day and age! There are no more preachers around today like the Lindsay's. When Dr. L., Jr., died I believe FBCJ died with him. It certainly is at best on "life support". Just for the record The Lindsay's rejected the idea of a school. Dr. L. Jr., said you can have a school or a church, but not both. He felt that a school usually "took over" the church.He wanted the young people to go into all of the public schools and become witness where they were. It worked then. He also felt that "witnessing" door to door in our communities was the best way to reach people. But, as you have heard now of course, "No one is home".

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 8:12 - just so I understand: before construction ever started, you decided to go into debt? Did the church really vote on being 9 million in debt on that building now 4 years later? I find that hard to believe.

I'm just saying follow the logic of your pastor. He said "this is how God works". He laid out a 3-step process, and step 3 did NOT work the last time. God did not move in the hearts of the people to pay for that building.

And now you're being asked to do build again, else you will fall into "obscurity and irrelevancy", and you must do this in order to spread the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:12 a.m.
JUST FOR CLARIFICATION FOR OUTSIDERS READING THIS POST:

You stated "was brought before the church with only a few no votes"

Reason:
This is because only "few" now attend the mid week services since MB was hired. Members who speak up know they become the black sheep of the church if they don't agree with the "lot of you" and (you know that too).

You stated "alot of us pushed Mac to go into debt to get started"
Reason:
Members also know the "lot" of you are the YES MEN who will agree with anything MB wants. No matter, the "lot of you" can pay off the remaining debt - the pews are more empty than filled these days. Pushing MB to go into debt didn't work!

Truth is current members have lost their desire to care anymore what the "lot of you" do as you are going to justify and do what you want. We will just quietly stay out of your way and give you the freedom to do what you are going to do anyway.

If it's a hard decision to make to go into debt, then that's a good sign one should sit back and re-evaluate, especially when it's something that is just a desire and not a need.

Have a good day everyone! :>)

Anonymous said...

Whenever a church decides to go into debt it cannot be the will of God. God's word declares owe no man anything. Even Ezra and Nehimiah collected an offering and entire families rebuilt the walls. Just because a preacher says its God's will ain't necessarily so. There are a lot of empty church buildings all around us. Are we to assume every edifice that was constructed was God's will? The best way to spread the Word is individual to individual and who gave us that commission....JESUS. You can't improve on perfection. Remember back in the 1960's when FBCJ used school buses to go out into the city and bring in hundreds of kids who had no means of transport. It worked then and many came to the Savior. There are plenty of buildings already on the campuses (new age term) and numerous preachers that could hold Bible classes for 20,000 people if need be. Three auditoriums, huge dining room, and many many class rooms. Most empty,most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Another Dallas commenter here. To further evidence the current financial situation at FBCD, I submit the text of an email sent out to church members just last night from Walter Guillaume, the Executive Pastor at FBCD whom Jeffress brought with him from FBC Wichita Falls:

Who would have thought there would be snow the first full day of spring?

This week as you go through your busy day to day routine, please remember your tithes and offerings. The cost of the church's ministries continues despite the weather conditions.

If you could not attend this past Sunday, you can catch up online. Click here to do so. [link]

Thank you for your faithfulness to God and our church.

[signature of Walter Guillaume]


If a freak sping snowstorm so hinders the church financially that it is compelled to send out this sort of email begging members to "catch up," what business does the church have building a $130 million building?

Or perhaps this is how God's will works -- God sends a snowstorm, people stay home from church and don't give that week, he presses upon the Executive Pastor's heart to send an email, this compels people to give money online... nevermind, I think I understand now.

How absurd.

SAB said...

Vision.....
You should note that in the OT only the prophets received the visions, not the priest. There is also discussed in the OT that there were False Visions
Allen

"The Real " Doug said...

If I were this Doug (whoever he is) that this man or salesman speaks of, I would tell him;

Forget about building the (1) 140 million building......

Expand the mission field and Let's BUILD 14 CHURCHES at 10 million apiece!

But then if I were this Doug, I would ask....

who would willing to give up some of the 1/2 million dollar + compensation plan he receives?

Imagine that, sponsoring 14 separated churches and allowing real pastors Shepherding and teaching the real meaning of Christianity.

Naaaah, not in these Southern Baptist Convention times!

It is not like your Grandma's Church America.

Anonymous said...

Great picture of Robert and his sidekick Mark Lovorn.

Anonymous said...

If the Criswell building had in fact been "God's Will" and God being perfect would have not made mistakes right? Well the Criswell building has an entire floor of unused space because....poor planning. The floor above the now Center Stage where the 9:15 service is now held is directly below the unused floor. Too noisy to put classrooms up there. Now if someone had listened to God then God might have mentioned that the men should put the executive offices on the next floor (nobody is there on Sunday) and then put the classrooms on the next floor. So lets be clear, not only is the Criswell building not paid for but also much of it has wasted space. The church cannot even finish what was started and many of us gave generously.

And for the record, watchdog is the only person willing to confront this mess.

Anonymous said...

In fact, there is an entire "shell" floor in the Criswell building that was built and purposefully not finished out, so as to allow room for expansion in the future should the need for more space arise. Interesting that no mention of that has been made at this time, but rather an entire new campus is "required".

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 12:03 and 11:37 - Jeffress has mentioned that extra floor...but in the context of downplaying the remaining $8.7 million in debt. Its not really debt, since it represents that extra floor for expansion.

Its not "debt", its "investment"!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03 here. OK, so its an "investment." Why not capitalize on the investment already made before going into further debt to make new "investments"?

In other words, its not an "investment" if you never use it. It's just empty debt.

Anonymous said...

"...how would one know that it is? How would one know that it is NOT?"

Prayer.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 12:42

Sure, prayer is involved.

But that is not what Jeffress said.

He said God would tell the Shepherd, the Shepherd would tell Doug, and Doug and the committee would plan it and God would move in the hearts of people to support it.

So I suppose you mean "prayer" is how God works in the hearts of people.

And what happens during the prayer, that would lead someone to know it is God's will, and worthy of financing, or that it is not God's will?

Or should it just be a matter of obedience, and people should trust the Shepherd?

Anonymous said...

Church planters went out in the 1940's as information it is no longer in vogue. Got to have something "fresh", "new", "daring", "market driven". In other words, UNSOUND!!! In other words Baptist stimulus package.

Anonymous said...

I don't see much difference in the govt., in Washington and most of these churches today. Don't dare question or challenge, just obey!! Everyone in charge is much "smarter than we are". Just be willing to be led and fleeced.

Anonymous said...

Not my original thoughts but I certainly agree with this comment I read elsewhere:

Dr Jeffress, who appears to be more enamored with himself than Muhammed Ali, is intentionally doing this to distance himself from the church's previous two long-term pastors, Truett & Criswell, so that he will not be forced to measure up. By effectively wiping nearly every last vestige of their ministries from the face of the map, he can create FBC, Dallas in his own image, just like he did at Wichita Falls - he wanted a big room suitable for TV, and got it. In fact, if you look at THEIR new "worship center", it looks a LOT like the (wrongly name) new Criswell Building.

The SAD thing is that, once built, it will look like everything else around it - at least now, when you see it, you immediately KNOW what the Sanctuary is FOR. That will be lost with the this monstrosity out of a bad JETSON'S cartoon...

Anonymous said...

"The SAD thing is that, once built, it will look like everything else around it - at least now, when you see it, you immediately KNOW what the Sanctuary is FOR. That will be lost with the this monstrosity out of a bad JETSON'S cartoon..."

What is around the area of 1st Baptist Dallas that the new building will look like and be lost among because of looking like everything else?

The post office two blocks down from main sanctuary?

Energy Plaza across street from post office (basically)? Lincoln Plaza?

Maybe the Dallas Museum of Art?

Please tell us how it will look like everything else around it. It won't. If it looks anything like the sketches, it will stand out from all the other buildings and be a very attractive draw.

I wonder if you know what you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

It will look like all the other modern buildings. Architecture will be lost. More historical buildings will be lost. It will look like the office buildings in its architecture, not like a place of worship. And yes, it will fit in grandly with the arts district just a couple of blocks away. It will no longer look distinctively like a church, except that the original sanctuary will remain since it is a protected historical building. It would have been possible to build a wonderful building that fits in with the architecture of the sole remaining structure instead of building a crystal palace. Of course, if any of us "commoners" could have had input we could have said these things. Now that the "pastor" and his “elitist” committee have decided what is God's will for us, our words are like whistling in the wind.

Anonymous said...

$10MM in the hole? Lets add $120MM or whatever? Sounds like the ObamaPlan to me...!

Anonymous said...

Jeffress's weak attempt at the "hard-sell" is a total snow job.

Good luck with all that FBCD

Anonymous said...

monstrosity out of a bad JETSON'S cartoon..."



YEP. sure is garish, isn't it? But your description really nails it.

Anonymous said...

Yes don't you know that prayer is really a chain of command?

Anonymous said...

Yes don't you know that prayer is really a chain of command?

Anonymous said...

"Now that the "pastor" and his “elitist” committee have decided what is God's will for us, our words are like whistling in the wind."

What has God said to you concerning FBCD? How do you know this new venture is not of God?

Is it debt? Well we could raise the money and tell the world, Hey! Look what we did!

Is it the modern style? Are you willing to go back to the style of buildings and tents Jesus worshiped in? No pews or air conditioning?

It is that people won't recognize it as a church? I'll be glad when we quit depending on buildings to reach people and realize it is our job, not a buildings? I sure do wish God would not have been so ornate in designing the temple. It sure would have helped those of you who want to keep the preacher poor and the building blah.

Anonymous said...

I would like for this building project to have been a church decision, not a pastor telling us this is God's will and expecting us to support it on his say-so. God has indeed spoken to me about this project. I will not be contributing to it. I will remain as a member of the church for now, also God's will for me at this time. To maintain architectural integrity does not mean that we go back in time. FBCD has historical buildings and it would be quite easy to build in accordance with the architecture of the sanctuary. I am firmly convinced that the only reason we're keeping the sanctuary is because it is protected.

Anonymous said...

I regret to inform you that believe a building is the draw. Its not. Its the people in it. When did you last visit the UN Building? Throwing money is all some people desire to do including those in Washington DC and you see what good it has accomplished!!!!

Junkster said...

It is discouraging (and somewhat annoying) that Christianity has gotten so far away from the concept of the priesthood of the believer that people just readily accept this strange and false notion that the pastor stands as some sort of intermediary between God and the church, so that it is seen as the pastor's role to hear from God on behalf of the congregation, then tell them what God wants them to do. This is so far removed from biblical Christianity (and so close to Popery) that Christ and the apostles would recognize it.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 5:48 - how right you are.

God can use a wonderful building, but there is no question its the church members and their love for the Lord and for lost people that makes the difference...a building really won't matter that much.

If FBCD doesn't build their Crystal Campus, it won't make them irrelevant or obscure...if the people in the old buildings are ministering the love of Christ, and are dedicated, God will use them just the same.

I worked one year in 4th grade at FBCJ when the new Children's Building and Pastor's Suite (formerly the Children's Building and Welcome Center) was opened in 2002. I was absolutely amazed at the dedication of those workers in 1st through 5th grade. The organization and dedication to teaching kids about Jesus was amazing. It didn't matter whether they were in that new building, or the previous one that was 50+ years old...they were the same ministers and the "draw" was the ministry done, not the beautiful building.

Having said that, the FBCJ Children's Building and Pastor's Suite was built with cash, and I think that was pleasing to God. It enabled Mac to come into a situation with no debt to start the new era at FBCJ, it allowed a large spacious pastor's suite to be built, and the building is now used for a Christian school.

Anonymous said...

If we only are able to raise lets say 80 million, does that mean that God only wants us to build an 80 million dollar building?

Anonymous said...

Two things at work with Walter's "special" email (re Anon 10:14am): 1) so many have left FBD that barely 2000 attend all 3 morning services combined. That means $ has left too (however, the 4-5 heavy hitters who will get this thing done are going nowhere, no worries); 2) many of those who remain and who are all pumped about the new campus are now giving to that at the expense (pardon pun) of the church budget.

Thus, every little setback like a random Sunday snow day hurts, and thus, the sweet message from the EP. And he doesn't think twice about how it will be received.

Anonymous said...

All those who worship in a 120 yr old room please step forward. If you don't, you're missing context.

Anonymous said...

"Truth is current members have lost their desire to care anymore what the "lot of you" do as you are going to justify and do what you want. We will just quietly stay out of your way and give you the freedom to do what you are going to do anyway."

Anon. March 23, 9:39 a.m.:
I am assuming you are still a member there. If so, why in the world would you want to stay in a church like that?

Anonymous said...

Where are the Hunt's? They always bailed Criswell out.

Lydia said...

"If it looks anything like the sketches, it will stand out from all the other buildings and be a very attractive draw."

Draw for what?

"wo things at work with Walter's "special" email (re Anon 10:14am): 1) so many have left FBD that barely 2000 attend all 3 morning services combined.

When Joel Gregory wrote his book back in the late 90's, he said FBCD was touting 29,000 members in all it's literature and press releases.

But his guy he brought in from BBC as an administrator was determined to get good figures and could only count about 9,000 coming to ALL three services combined.

Lydia said...

"This is so far removed from biblical Christianity (and so close to Popery) that Christ and the apostles would recognize it."

Actually it is Popery. The SBC has been sliding that slope for a while now. Jefferies was speaking ex cathedra. Amazing how many folks buy it.

Anonymous said...

I have departed a mega church after many years of spiritual growth, service, and sweet fellowship. What happened to our church is a carbon copy of what I read about FBCJAX and FBD and I am amazed. There seems to be a new breed of pastors on the scene who
are so greedy to forge their own legacy that they are insensitive to the desires of those in their congregations. People leave, they never rebuild the church to what it once was, and yet they still don't seem to get it. It's almost like they have a grandiose image of themselves because they've managed to be called to a mega church. Maybe the time of the megas has past. More and more people seem to want to go back to the basics of what church used to be.

Anonymous said...

And then there's Robert, who said God told him when he was a student at Baylor that he would one day pastor First Baptist Dallas. From what I understand from members at First Wichita Falls, they feel used, a stepping stone to FBCD. After all, that's what God promised him, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Folks, God's 'will' for each of us and the Body is outlined in the Word.

We tend to take this "God's Will' stuff way to far. The Holy Spirit will guide us if we seek Him. Even in whether or not to buy socks.

But I have to ask, where do you see the push to build grand monuments to God for the Body to meet in the NC?

As a matter of fact, God saw to it the grandiose temple was destroyed in AD 70. We are now the temple and wherever we meet, He is there.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:10 - We worshiped in the 120 year old room for many years and served in many capacities throughout the church, so we have plenty of "context." We loved worshiping in that room, in CenterStage, or anywhere the church family gathered. It was a joy.

But we are no longer a part of FBD. It's very hard to leave a church you love and that your life has revolved around for over 30 years. Yet at some point you have to stand for truth and not compromise by tacitly sitting there Sunday after Sunday.

We still have many, many friends at FBD. We grieved deeply over leaving, but more deeply over what the church has become under Dr. Jeffress' leadership.

Our life is so much more peaceful since we have left. We have more family time, especially Sunday afternoons and evenings. In other churches we have visited, we actually worshiped - something we have been starved for for over 2 years.

Anonymous said...

"but more deeply over what the church has become under Dr. Jeffress' leadership."


What has it become? The reason I ask is that I left that church several years ago for several different reasons. I was wondering what it has become like these days and how it is any different than before. I guess I am just curious about how it could any worse?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

It is so sad for those of us who remember what our churches once were. We see what is taking place and wonder "how we got here". I think God has removed His candlestick from these cold, empty citadels a long time ago. The churches are dead. But some hang on and continue to give money, which benefits the "leaders", and basically not much more. I don't know why people stay in these edifices. Either they don't see what's happening or they feel some sort of "guilt" if they arn't in "CHURCH"!! Some stay for social reasons, and the fact that their parents attended "said" church, etc., etc. Many just don't want to face the facts. It "ain't" Grandma's church anymore! Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Anon. March 23, 9:39 a.m.:
I am assuming you are still a member there. If so, why in the world would you want to stay in a church like that?

March 23, 2010 7:14 PM

Assumption right - I believe for the most part many have given a variety of answers of why people hang on - some have patience to wait, giving time to take it's course and some have the gift of discernment and quickly identify
probems faster than others.

There is a large body of members who now get the real picture and as the 1:05 am blogger so well summed it up:
" It "ain't" Grandma's church anymore! Very sad." . . .Yes, it is sad ad the church now belongs to Mac Brunson and his country club buddies! So be it - will be their monies holding down the fort - no longer ours!

Anonymous said...

I know I am old fashioned, but preachers have always told me to check out what they are saying with the Book. In other words, just because a pastor says it and says its in the book, we should not blindly believe him but check it against the Book. (Lindsay, Jr. and Vines said this quite often, even though they were trusted without question.) So, when it comes to using "God's money" for elaborate buildings and going into debt, this layman will just say this: Nowhere does Jesus instruct his disciples to build a building to reach anyone, or to minister to anyone or to glorify himself. Period. It's not in the Book, it's not God's will, and nothing Jeffress can say or try to rationalize logically will put it in there.

The Catholics believed that and Mac has seen the empty Cathedrals in Europe. No, it is not God's will. That is how we know.

Anonymous said...

Is it debt? Well we could raise the money and tell the world, Hey! Look what we did!
___________________________________

Right! Nothing! We spent $140 million on ourselves, look at what we did for ourselves. Ignore those homeless and poor, Jesus said the poor would always be with us. Let's honor Jesus, not by ministering to those He loves who are in need, but by erecting a golden calf, er I mean building.

Anonymous said...

I sure do wish God would not have been so ornate in designing the temple. It sure would have helped those of you who want to keep the preacher poor and the building blah.
___________________________________

You are right. NOT. Where was an ornate temple built in the New Testament. What happened to that Old Testament temple anyway. (It was an ark for awhile, then a tent, then in sin, Israelistes demanded a king and an ornate temple. Jesus talked about the temple being his body, broken and then rebuilt in three days. The people didn't get it. Just like they don't get it now. Sad.

And keepting the preacher poor? Really? Do you know any poor preachers in the SBC? Gaines, Brunson, Cross, Floyd, Young, YOUR local pastor? Tell me about one poor SBC pastor and let's see what needs he has.

Anonymous said...

March 24, 2010 8:56 AM :

Here's why I think some people hang on in churches that have gone bad: 1.)power; 2.)position; 3.)fear of leaving the familiar; 4.)denial; 5.)business connections;
5.)thinking they can wait it out.

None of these reasons are Christ-honoring. All are of the flesh.

Anonymous said...

"We still have many, many friends at FBD. We grieved deeply over leaving, but more deeply over what the church has become under Dr. Jeffress' leadership.

Our life is so much more peaceful since we have left. We have more family time, especially Sunday afternoons and evenings. In other churches we have visited, we actually worshiped - something we have been starved for for over 2 years."

March 23, 2010 8:51 PM :

I could have written this almost verbatim - except it would be about leaving BBC in Memphis. This generation of mega pastors seem to be on the same page. In their eagerness to wipe out the legacy of the pastors they replace, redesign the churches in their own image and build their own legacies, the result is discord and discouragement among the people they are supposed to be shepherding. They may preach the Word but are they themselves living out the Word? Are they examples unto the believers?

There is great personal loss in leaving a church where one has invested so much of one's life, but there is also great gain: relief once the decision is made,
and peace of heart and mind in separating from what you know is
not pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Anon.9:01 AM: You would be surprised what preacher told me that he did not have enough information on a subject, as he was unable to study it, because "he was busy building a big church". I quote verbatim!!!! My answer to him was where in the bible does it say "Build a big church"? No reply of course!!!

Anonymous said...

I believe whoever said "they pushed Mac" have it right. Whenever a man pushes rather than letting God lead, then it isn't from God but rather from man. You can take that to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Is it God's will to get on a blog and slam preachers you don't like? I guess all of you got clear direction from Him to slam the pastors of FBC Jax and Dallas and BBC?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56.. So its ok for pastors to slam members who disagree with them or refuse to believe in tithing. You can't always have it your way!!! And finally who gave you the authority to slam those of us who dissent? Is it still a free country in America ?!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56 We will quit "slamming" the preachers (?) when THEY GET IN THE WILL OF GOD.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's ok for anybody to "slam" anybody else. I was just wondering if you were in God's will for writing all these things about these men not being in God's will. Just an honest question. From your response I think I know the answer.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that we start talking about " a free country" when someone questions whether or not we are in God's will for blogging about what we don't like about a particular pastor.

It wasn't the freedom that we have in the USA that's in question. Our Christianity has nothing to do with what country we live in. I was talking about one Christian blogging about another. You see my life is no longer my own, it was bought with the blood of Jesus at Calvary. Jesus didn't die on that cross so that we could argue about what a pastor does or doesn't do or whether or not another church could / should build a new building.

It just seems like a double standard on this topic. People don't like the way a preacher acts, so they feel their only recourse is to sink to his level? Is this really what Jesus died for? Is this what he was beaten for, wore a crown of thorns for?, was crucified for?

Even if everything you say is 100% true, are you telling me that these crusades against these pastors you don't like are justified?

Anonymous said...

Attn: 1:29: Chapter and verse please! When you have celebrity preachers that have taken over the churches for their own agendas and for financial gain, that fact becomes that JESUS IS NO LONGER the Head of the church nor is He the one that is edified and worshipped. Many want to believe that He is, but we are in the Falling Away of the church. We are in the Latter Days in the church of Laodicea. People are ignoring this fact as they continue to support this Laodicean age. Most true Believers recognize that the "church" (generic) has let the people down. They no longer preach the Saving Doctrine that so many of us remember. But, worse than this they (churches) have let Jesus down. As our Savior we are to follow Him, worship Him and tell others about Him. I am afraid that this is not the main agenda of many of todays preachers, and unfortunately, preacher followers. I don't take making money off of the fact that someone is a preacher lightly. I don't think anyone can fail to recognize this truth. At least no one with spiritual discernment.

Anonymous said...

Romans 2:3

"And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"

Anonymous said...

Well stated 2:11 pm.
When a preacher feels he has the authority to foot stomp, point his finger and yell at his flock, isn't he likewise throwing some jabs and slams? Please, give us a break!

I'm glad for this blog - a lot of wisdom by people has been expressed from those who have personally experienced what many of us are now going through - un-be-known, these particular bloggers (not slammers have been encouragers to a lot of us.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys..but I think you are missing the point I am trying to make. I am in no way saying these preachers are right or wrong. I'm just asking are Your actions any better than theirs?

You think I'm taking their side over your side but I'm simply asking if your actions are any different than their actions? They use a pulpit, you just use a blog.

Doug said...

Anon 3:26PM you state;

"I'm simply asking if your actions are any different than their actions? They use a pulpit, you just use a blog".

As I have stated many times - and my motto -

The Internet, The Great Equalizer!

That is exactly what they want -

Silence from all and not accountability to anyone!!!

Those days are over!!

Anonymous said...

I'm simply asking if your actions are any different than their actions? They use a pulpit, you just use a blog.

March 24, 2010 3:26 PM

I see no difference in either one of us; we both are expressing our opinion. At least the WD doesn't bann us from being on his property.

Anonymous said...

Nope...y'all are still not answering the question. This whole topic has been about whether FBC Dallas' plan for building is God's will. I was asking all of you who are critical of Brunson, Gaines, Jefferes knew that it was God's will for you to be critical of them?

If you are so certain that these men are out of God's will, then you must be equally certain that you are in His will to be critical of them and their efforts right?

Anonymous said...

I think what we have here is called a dialog. Watchdog brings us a topic and we as readers can respond. Very open communication. Some more opinionated than others. Some very thought provoking. Is asking questions to be taken as hatred or dislike of someone? Isn't being a good steward of our blessings being careful with them? Why have the churches become a place of fear of asking these questions?

Anonymous said...

Nope...y'all are still not answering the question. This whole topic has been about whether FBC Dallas' plan for building is God's will. I was asking all of you who are critical of Brunson, Gaines, Jefferes knew that it was God's will for you to be critical of them?

If you are so certain that these men are out of God's will, then you must be equally certain that you are in His will to be critical of them and their efforts right?

March 24, 2010 4:14 PM

___________________________________

Correct. I believe I am in God's will 100% when I shine the light on a child molestor who poses as a pastor. Or on a preacher who preys on young girls. Or on CEO charlatans, wolves in sheep's clothing, who preach false doctrines and manipulate the Word and the sheep for personal financial gain. You call this being "critical", the Bible says we are to be fruit inspectors. We are to use our spiritual gift of discernment. Ours is a reasonable faith.

I could quote you several verses about not remaining silent and about standing on conviction and about sins of omission, and about defending the cause of the oppressed, etc. But you would not be persuaded. Was it God's will for abused children to come forward and expose Bob Gray? Was it God's will for Tom Messer not to criticize Dr. Gray, but instead have him appointed to Germany to work with more innocent children? Was it God's will to expose Daryl Gilyard? Is this being "critical?" If so, then yes, my being critical is God's will. If we stay silent, who else will speak up?

Jesus modeled how to engage the temple money changers, and the pharisees. He was angry, overturned tables and called pharisees white washed tombs and a brood of vipers.

Is your beef with our dissent? Or is it with the manner in which we dissent, which is blogging? Would you prefer we write letters? Or call meetings? Or make phone calls?

Layman

Anonymous said...

Is asking questions to be taken as hatred or dislike of someone?
___________________________________

Bingo! As a matter of fact, this is exactly what spawned this blog. Some simple, sincere questions to the pastor were met with deacons calling long time faithful members "attacking" and "sowing discord." Those members were accused of hating the pastor, and of attacking "the Church" of Jesus Christ.

If questions were allowed and respectfully answered, no blogs would be needed. They won't answer questions, so they get blogs. This is their choice. And perhaps, since there is no way they could ever answer some key financial questions, this is their only option. Having a blog about you is much better than having the people know of all the financial abuse going on. Then they might stop giving to support the family business. So we blog on. And they continue to hide behind their lawyers.

Doug said...

You ask, am I in GODS will?

I can not and will not answer for others, but I will for me. As I told Mike Everson ( the former Executive of the Ga Baptist Convention and the one whom I to know as a TARE, and I said it to his face - man to man......

I believe it is GODS will for me to expose him and all his backscratching buddies who have been and are deceiving the unknowing"...

What if Ester had not warned others about the KINGS?

Proverbs 3:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

AND HE HAS!!!!

Anonymous said...

"I'm simply asking if your actions are any different than their actions? They use a pulpit, you just use a blog."

There is much more danger with the pulpit. Remember, we are discussing a pastor who claims God told him His will for that church and he is to pass it along for the sheep to give for the building God supposedly told him to build. And people actually believe the Holy Spirit speaks to the pastor alone because of his title.

All this pastor has to do is to tell the people that bloggers who dissent are sinful and they will believe it and think that reading such blogs are sinful.

He wins either way because people do not seek the Holy Spirit in their own lives.

Matt

Doug said...

There are a bunch of Hamans in the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist State Conventions,

and we must continue to expose them,

- one by one if that is what it takes!

I know I will...

Anonymous said...

What a change from the faithful preachers of days gone by, to the preachers/pastors we have today.
I remember hearing Dr. Lindsay, Jr say over and over again, "I'm not building a church, I'm building people."
Just for the record I am not an old-fuddy dud who wants to live in the past. I am 36 years old, grateful for our heritage, loving the present but fearing for our future.

Anonymous said...

Just learned the former church our family has left has installed an ATM machine. Is this the latest thing in churches? If so, it is another indication of money having top priority.

Anonymous said...

I find all this discussion interesting. I am one who served on a mega church for many years and realized the power and egos that dominate their staffs. Remember, I said I used to serve. I am free now. I know why Barna and others are proclaiming that in the next generation only around 1/3 of Christians will be involved in an institutional church. Believers are leaving en mass. They are returning to the early church models: home churches and the like. The institutional church is blinded to this...but that does not change the facts.

Winning people to Jesus is not the end. It is discipling those who are won. The high divorce rates and family fragmentation of Christians is evidence that we "WON" a lot of people..but matured very few. Building, programs, and the like mature few.

To me these discussions are irrelevant. The business model church is what it is. If one can see them as no different than McDonalds or Burger King (in a corporate sense) then it does not matter what the institional church does. It is a business and businesses do what the Trustees (Board of Directors) and CEO deem important.

If you want to grow, mature, and make a difference, you might need to leave the institutional church, lovingly and quitely, and go to where Father is leading people en mass. First century models that disciple people well.

A church in Jacksonville that is seeking to find a balance is Chets Creek Church. I am not a member. There are many others outside of the Baptist denomination. 86% of SBC youth leave the church. Their own numbers. Evidence is in the outcomes.

Anonymous said...

"What a change from the faithful preachers of days gone by, to the preachers/pastors we have today."

So many have a self-serving attitude instead of a servant spirit. God did not call them to be little gods but to be His under-shepherd. He did not call them to badger their people about money. He called them to love and feed His sheep. Thankfully, there are still some devoted servants of God laboring in his vineyards, staying true to His Word; men of integrity.
There just don't seem to be as many of them anymore.

Anonymous said...

Several thousand baptist churches did not baptize one young person last year. What does that tell you?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:53 You are correct. The progressive nature of the Last Days are upon us. Things have gotten worse and worse as spoken by Daniel, Paul, and John. There had to be a "falling away". There has been this slippage for quite some time. With the earthquakes, volcanos, sunnamiis, famines, etc it surely is here. Another sign is wars worldwide. It is just a matter of time when Jesus will return and take His Bride away and some will remain and go through tribulation before they get saved. Praise God if you read the Bible and trust Him you won't have to go through that event. Strange isn't it that most pastors stay away from what the Bible teaches!!!

Anonymous said...

At the end of the presentation, you really have no choice but to stand clapping.

I love FBD and I support building the new children's building, but I think he is going a bit overboard on the tear down everything but the sanctuary (which Thank God, he can't touch)and the new Criswell building.

Not all of us can afford to give 10% of our net worth above the 10% tithe already given.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03. Are you stating that as members you are required to give not only the 10% OT tithe but 10% of your NET WORTH as well!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not Anon 12:03, but I can confirm that the statement is correct. Members are being asked to give 10% of their net worth to go toward the new building campaign. Additionally, large (11x17) full-color book/DVD packages have been sent to FORMER MEMBERS asking for money as well, with a letter from Robert Jeffress addressed to the "extended First Baptist family".

Yes, you read that right -- Jeffress is seeking to raise money for the new building from those who have already left the church, many of whom left precisely because of the new building!

Anonymous said...

He is encouraging everyone to give 10% above the 10% already given.

I believe he is trying to encourage people not to redirect tithes that normally would go into the church budget into going for the building fund instead.

Anonymous said...

I heard that they raised almost half of the money before they even presented to the congregation.

If approached by the pastor before presenting the official project, what would one do?

Anonymous said...

"Several thousand baptist churches did not baptize one young person last year. What does that tell you?"



I actually think it is a good thing considering the state of the churches. Baptism does not mean one is saved. But I think if you looked at the numbers of those Baptized, you might be shocked to find that a good portion are very young as in 5-8 years old.

What is worse is that many of the mega's ARE baptizing. Some kids might want to be dipped in the fire engine baptistry.

Anonymous said...

" Additionally, large (11x17) full-color book/DVD packages have been sent to FORMER MEMBERS asking for money"


If that is the case, that is TACKY! Unbelievable. But not really, these people will stop at NOTHING. No matter how classless.
I am a former member and I haven't received anything. Yea they probably looked at my puny tithe amount and figured I wasn't worth it. ha ha

New BBC Open Forum said...

Have we ever determined if there really is (or ever was) a fire engine kiddie baptistry at Ronnie Floyd's church? I've heard the rumors, but people who are supposedly members there have denied it, and no one has, to my knowledge, ever produced a photo of it. You would think something this noteworthy would have resulted in a photo of it being posted somewhere. Is this real or just another of those Baptist myths? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Anonymous said...

4:42 -

Anon 12:51 here. Maybe so -- if they are willing to target former members, I wouldn't put it past them to look at tithe amounts.

In any event, I am a former member and I received mine last week. Haven't viewed the DVD, but I did flip through the big book with all the photos and little tag lines. It's just evidence of the fact that Jeffress et al are living in their own little world.

The tag lines from the book are laughable. I know where they are coming from having been a 25+ year member, and knowing how the powers-that-be think about the "icon" that is FBCD. But to an outsider, it would come across as ridiculously arrogant and condescending. Of course, it comes across to me that way too, as I couldn't take that sort of thing any longer.

Anonymous said...

"At the end of the presentation, you really have no choice but to stand clapping."

I had a choice. Neither I nor my husband stood or clapped at the end of the presentation.

Anonymous said...

"I heard that they raised almost half of the money before they even presented to the congregation."

That would validate the fact that this project was conceived in secrecy. Was Robert afraid to let the church take an active part in the conception? Was he afraid he wouldn't get what he wanted? How did the wealthy folks in the church know to give him money before the presentation? And, did Robert break confidences by telling the congregation the names of those who had give the large amounts?

So many questions; so few answers.

Anonymous said...

I haven't received mine but I'll check my mail today, It'll go from my box to the trash.

Anonymous said...

I was initially appalled at the money spent on printing such a book and DVD, and postage to send it out (about $3 I think). But then I did the math. If they spent $10/package on printing and postage, and sent it to 2000 former members, that is only $20,000. Sounds like a lot until you compare it to $130,000,000. Then it becomes a rounding error.

Anonymous said...

I did not stand either. I sat when the presentation was over and I also sat when Mac Brunson gave his tearful "I have to leave because its God's will sermon" years back. I refused to be part of the mockery of our church.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I would stand or not but I sure know if I made that kind of money I'd get a hairpiece and Botox, too. Amen brutha!

Anonymous said...

A building project was announced that it was in the planning process over a year ago so it shouldn't have been a complete suprise to anyone.

Major contributors were approached by the pastor before the final presentation to the congregation.

All contributors have remained anonymous as they should.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Sorry, but the main contributors are not "anonymous".

Jeffress announced who the three main contributors are, gave their full names, and announced that their pledges represented the three largest gifts ever at FBC Dallas....they and a few of the other prelim givers added up to over $60 million.

Anonymous said...

"Major contributors were approached by the pastor before the final presentation to the congregation."

I'd have to go back and listen to the sermon again, but I believe Robert made it seem that these donors approached him first, not the other way again. Their contributions were supposed to be a confirming sign of this project being God's will.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog-

This is COMPLETELY off this subject, but thought you might be interested in knowing, if you do not already know, that Dr. Vines is starting his own Fall Bible Conference at FBC Atlanta with Dr Stanley and Rodney Brooks and many others. Looking at the line-up it is eerily similar to the way Pastor's Conference used to be. Check it out at www.jerryvines.com. Could this be his rebuttal to how Dr. Brunson is now running the Pastor's Conference of FBC JAX?

You do not have to post this comment, feel free to delete it. But I thought you might be interested in looking into this and seeing what you can find out.

Anonymous said...

1. Churches in the South budget based on 52 Sundays' giving because they can---the folks are present that many weeks to tithe; folks in the North may miss several Sundays, and churches there might be wise to budget based on 50 weeks or even fewer.

2. Check the Bible: God---who didn't have to---"raised" money and other treasures for projects in a variety of ways; and He still can, so caution is wise in talking-down some ways versus others (no one blogging here is an expert, I'm sure).

3. Churches can be led by their senior pastors to overbuild new auditoriums. I know of one that---at least so far---did so (at about $3800 per seat, that's 3,100,000 unnecessary dollars---at least so far [still paying on the loan]).

4. Otherwise, at 40 square feet of space required per person for 3000 people and at today's construction rates (new construction---not remodeling way-outdated buildings like those owned by FBC-Dallas) totals closer to $175 millions. So, the Dallas project could cost much more---but not make any less sense to do.

5. If I were a betting man, I'd bet there's enough money sitting in the pews this Sunday at FBC-D to pay for the project fairly easily. There was at FBC-WF where Jeffress served before, and he knew it (he wasn't wrong; it's done---$21 million in no time; I'm thinking: God did that).

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:34-

5.) "If I were a betting man, I'd bet there is enough money sitting in the pews this Sunday morning at FBC-D to pay for the project..."

A simple question really, Then why don't they?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:34-

2. Check the Bible: God---who didn't have to---"raised" money and other treasures for projects in a variety of ways; and He still can, so caution is wise in talking-down some ways versus others (no one blogging here is an expert, I'm sure).

-----------------------------------

Chapter and Verse please where God EVER financed the building of a temple.

Also, if the money is sitting in the pews to pay for the crystal campus, why has this money not been used to pay off the existing debt on the Criswell Center?

Anonymous said...

Bible Conference at FBC Atlanta:

Well, I see the "show" is on the road again. Another "good ole boy" back slapping, entertainment time for all.

Anonymous said...

If you don't first succeed, try try again. This is the new marketing guide. It could also be God's will.

Anonymous said...

How dare a man blog about a Pastor selling a distorted gospel?

1 Tim 1:4-7
These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

2 Pet 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

Galatians 1:8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 Timothy 5:20
Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.
Revelation 2:2
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

Forgive me - these are of course strung together out of context, but look with open eyes and you will find a strong current of encouragement in the bible to stand and REBUKE the false teacher. If the man is a sincere disciple of Christ - he has nothing to fear but God. If he is indeed leading the flock astray into self absorbed worldly religion, he has nothing to fear but God.
-Tim

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:37 am-

I am by no means a Jeffress fan. Nor do I approve of the way Gaines handled the issues at Bellevue and I have some concerns for how Brunson has handled some things at JAX, including how he handled the watchdog. However, I find it unfortunate that some on here have taken the actions of a few preachers to make them now cynical of most if not all preachers.

I do not see Drs. Vines, Stanley, Reavis, Allen, Hill and Rodney Brooks just being a part of a good-ole-boy backslappin'. All of these men have always been very generous and courteous to me, and I pastor a VERY small church (smaller than most Sunday School classes) I am certainly not in the "good-ole-boy" network. Yet they are always gracious with me.

Having said that, I do realize that these men are just that, men! I have never placed my faith in any of them, but rather in the Jesus that they preach about!

Anonymous said...

Pastor of 10:15: That's great that you have been well treated. However, some of us commoners have had a different experience!!! It does have a way of changing the perspective, believe me!

Anonymous said...

So let me see if i can sum this up:

You go to a church that has a pastor that in your opinion is out of God's will and has shady leadership practices and doesn't preach the Bible correctly on many issues (specifically tithing). The leadership is blindly following this man to build new facilities on borrowed money, both of which makes you upset. I haven't seen it stated, but I would imagine that it's very hard to have any sort of meaningful worship of God due to the issues mentioned above.

You have either been asked to leave because they found out you are blogging about all of these things or you blog in secret so you don't get caught.

Can someone please tell me why they stay at a church like this? Or even why you still get upset when you have already left and they do something you don't like?

I'm just trying to understnand your perspective. I don't have dog in this fight.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me why they stay at a church like this? Or even why you still get upset when you have already left and they do something you don't like?

I'm just trying to understnand your perspective. I don't have dog in this fight.

March 26, 2010 12:37 PM

-----------------------------------

Some people stay because they are long-time members and they consider the rest of the members their church family. Unless you are a believer and have experienced the support and fellowship of people with which you have worshipped, fellowshipped, prayed, served..., you may not be able to understand. Your church family is just that, your family, and you are often-times closer to your church family than your biological family.

Another reason for staying is that pastors come and go. Some people stick it out because they know the pastor will not stay forever and they love their church family.

As to continuing to blog about churches where you are not even a member, the problems and issues that are talked about here are universal. Most of these issues occur in most churches and people here can discuss these issues and maybe blow off steam, or find support in their thinking, knowing they are not the only one dealing with this stuff.

If possible, it is best to talk with the pastor directly about problems. But, most of these mega pastors are not "pastors" at all, but rather "speakers" and "CEO's" that travel the globe and write books they peddle to other pastors that are paid for out of other church budgets. And that is why this blog, my friend, is so popular.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:37. Possibly they just don't like what has happened to their church. Sort of like what has happened in the country. Just because we are citizens doesn't make us all over joyed about what has taken place in the last year. Everyone is not so easily fooled. Church members also may know when someone is just after their wallet!!!

Anonymous said...

"If I were a betting man, I'd bet there is enough money sitting in the pews this Sunday morning at FBC-D to pay for the project..."

I'm not necessarily opposed to the building, although I detest the look of the auditorium (cannot bring myself to call it a sanctuary). I am totally against building until all funds have been raised and the building can be built without debt. If Robert can get that much money together before the presentation, why not just ask for the rest of it the same way. Or, even if all of us gave some to go with the massive amounts from the wealthy, the project could still be completed debt free.

Anonymous said...

11:44-
In case you weren't aware of it, I did not come out of the womb a pastor. I was once a layperson as you, the first time I met most of these guys. I have also been a full-time pastor.

Now I am a simple bi-vocational pastor, who loves Jesus, loves the congregation that calls me pastor and loves the community that I have been called to pastor in.

My perspective either as a layperson, full-time pastor, or bi-vocational pastor has not changed. I wll agree, that many of these newer generation mega-pastors unfortunately has changed from their predecessors.

Anonymous said...

They do not care what you or anyone thinks.

If these guys want something, they will find a way to do it.

Whether it is GODS will or MANS will, they will do what makes them feel good.

I quit

Anonymous said...

Dear Folks: The FBD Campus is a hodgepodge of old buildings, many of which are, quite frankly, unattractive. You couldn’t throw enough money at them to make them suitable for church in the 21st century. The church is committed to ministering to a growing downtown community. In order to attract a younger generation to whom we can minister, one must “change with the times”. What is being proposed is a facility that will be able to meet the needs of the congregation for generations to come. Some have posed the question: “How do you know its God’s will to build?” Well, wouldn’t you say that having $63M in hand before having a “Commitment Sunday” is a pretty good indication that God is involved? There’s not a preacher alive that could twist arms that hard! Only God could impress people to give like that. No one is being told what to give. However, the church is conveying testimonies of what some members are being led to give. Some are pledging to give 10% of their net worth as that’s what the Lord is leading them to do. Dr. Jeffress has pledged that FBD will only build what we raise.

Anonymous said...

"If possible, it is best to talk with the pastor directly about problems."

March 26, 1:29 p.m.:
If only that were possible. In the larger churches today, the pastors will not listen to anything they consider negative thinking. And if you question any decision they make, they consider that negative thinking. So, those on staff and in lay leadership become yes-men in order to keep their jobs, and positions in the hierarchy of the church, and those in their congregations have no voice at all.
When people's concerns are ignored, resentment builds, and churches begin to crumble from within.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The question is: does the church have $60 million cash in hand from the three large donors, or $60 million in COMMITTMENTS over the next three years?

If I understood Jeffress, it is committments, not dollars. Big difference.

If your largest donors have "committed" to give $60 million, that leaves you with at lest $70 million to go. And what is the probabilit that this project isonly $130 million?

Anonymous said...

"You couldn’t throw enough money at them to make them suitable for church in the 21st century. The church is committed to ministering to a growing downtown community. In order to attract a younger generation to whom we can minister, one must “change with the times”.

One wonders what "attracts" those in China or Yemen to Jesus Christ since they will assuredly be persecuted.

Matt

Anonymous said...

10:09,

Who says they won't, brother?!

Anonymous said...

10:31,

What business is it of yours? Ask them yourself!

Anonymous said...

1. Lots of churches around the world probably meet under banana trees---but probably not churches sustaining 2000-3000 in attendance.

2. Is it "debt" when an amount of money is owed, or when an amount of money cannot---for whatever the reason---be repaid?

3. The dumb part of a loan, if there is one, is the interest owed on it---but only from the borrower's perspective. If a peson borrows money without understand about "interest owed," then it IS dumb! From the lender's perspective, it's one way to earn an income---one about which nothing at all is wrong.

Jim said...

Anonymous 5:09 I was overjoyed to hear that FBCD "is committed to ministering to the growing downtown community." I assume a state-of the-art homeless shelter, an urban free clinic and facilities for other social services will be part of the $130,000,000 building campaign. It would be blasphemous to expend all those financial resources without any provision for "the least of these" (Matthew 25:40)

Anonymous said...

Question: Is it necessary for a church to have I-Max screens,
state of the art sound systems,
coffee shops and plush decor in order to draw people and win them to Christ?

Another question: Would the lost be more impressed with a church that had the basics for safety, space and comfort for people but
by-passed the excesses in order to give more to missions and those within and without the church in need?

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Jeffress has pledged that FBD will only build what we raise."

They will build what they can raise in pledges. If they believe pledges can be gathered for the full amount in 3 years, then let's wait three years to build. Then we will have the money in the bank, money which will be earning interest instead of money for which we will be paying interest. There is nothing wrong with waiting and paying cash.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:14. Now thats a real good idea, but I bet it will be ignored.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:14

No, waiting 3 years is not an option. According to Jeffress and the committee who has studied this, God Almighty has given the church "a narrow window of opportunity" to build NOW with construction costs being low. Of course, construction costs being low are a reflection of the overall depressed economy, which hurts everyone's income and net worth, so it really is not a "narrow window of opportunity"...if construction prices rise, it would be when the economy has improved, and more people are employed, and presumably their net worths have increased.

One of the all-time classic sales pitches: "you have a narrow window of opportunity, you need to buy it now!"

FBC Choir Member said...

"Is it necessary for a church to have...
state of the art sound systems[?]"

Yes, because it's a large building and a crappy sound system wouldn't be able to handle it and because cheap sound systems can't accurately reproduce musical sounds.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it odd that when Spurgeon preached to 5,000 people three times on Sunday mornings he did not have a sound system. Worked back then it could work today if the acoustics were placed in the building correctly. Also, cuts way down on the expensives. But, I suppose that would not be cutting edge, fresh, or new!!!

Anonymous said...

And we cannot forget that our First Baptist Academy that cannot even make ends meet with reduced enrollment will enjoy a new facility and gym. More money for the pet projects. Never mind the numerous ministries that have been eliminated or silently killed through budget cuts.

And we have been told what to give....

Anonymous said...

Just thinkin' ....

Rather than hyper ventilating about this, consider:

1. let the folks that want to contribute, contribute
2. For the folks that do not, well then, do not
3. wait till the end and see how much money they do raise, then choose one of two options
a. ante up more money, or
b. do not ante up more
4. leave all this behind and find somewhere else to worship. I am sure there are many churches in Dallas other than this one.

As I learned way back in college economics, people vote with their feet (and wallets)...ie with you feet, leave, and with you wallets, either open them up or not.

Have a wonderful Sabbath tomorrow. Think of what is good...

Anonymous said...

Rather than hyper ventilating about this, consider:

1. let the folks that want to contribute, contribute
2. For the folks that do not, well then, do not
3. wait till the end and see how much money they do raise, then choose one of two options
a. ante up more money, or
b. do not ante up more
4. leave all this behind and find somewhere else to worship. I am sure there are many churches in Dallas other than this one.

As I learned way back in college economics, people vote with their feet (and wallets)...ie with you feet, leave, and with you wallets, either open them up or not.

Have a wonderful Sabbath tomorrow. Think of what is good...

March 27, 2010 10:35 AM

Why do folks assume that discussing these things means one is hyperventilating? These are important discussions about the Kingdom and whatIS the Kingdom of
God.

This is not about economics. It is about WHAT is the Body of Christ and WHO is the Body of Christ.

Why would anyone want to see people remain in ignorance and following wolves is beyond me.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

10:35 - I agree completely. And that is exactly what Jeffress and his committee are doing. I credit them for being as open as they have been, and committing to allow members to make a pledge, and then committing to come back with a proposed project scope within the amount pledged. So it is possible that if committments are significantly below the $130 million mark that they will maybe build a new children's building and put off the sanctuary, for example. Still fraught with risk during these days of recession, and when the church already has significant debt.

I think it is worthwhile to analyze and discuss the process of this capital program, arguable the most ambitious ever in the history of the SBC to raise $130 million for a complete downtown campus make-over. How are they doing it? In these days of church marketing and CEO-style management of churches, the process FBC Dallas uses to accomplish this project should be examined closely.

Think about it, from this perspective: FBCD is trying to accomplish in ONE project, what a church like FBC Jacksonville accomplished over 30 years in about four projects, AND during a period of explosive church growth. In the 1970s, FBC Jax built the Ruth Lindsay auditorium. Then in the 1980s they build a new pre-school building and parking garage. Then in the 1990's they built the new worship center. Then in 2000 they build the new Children's building. All with cash. Now they are renovating the worship center to include senior adult space (which has long been promised to the seniors).

So the Crystal Campus project is basically trying to do in 3 years, what FBC Jax did over about 30 years.

If FBC Dallas can pull it off, that truly will be the "Miracle of Downtown Dallas".

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 11:16 - I agree. "Hyperventilating" is being kind. Most pastors consider a blog discussing their capital project and analyzing their words to be anti-Christian, to be gossipping, and "unjust criticism". Some consider such analysis and criticism criminal and will contact law enforcement to find out where the criticism is coming from so that they can exercise their church discipline process against the offender.

Anonymous said...

The mega I'm a member of just went through a building program with the new building opening up this past summer. Money is tight this year. Servicing the debt is a huge expense along with the huge impact on utilities, the effect on the church programs is obvious. It makes you wonder if this was truly the will of God or the will of the Pastor and the yes men leaders. You wonder especially when you hears stories of professionally financially savy folks providing input that the economy is starting to turn for the worst and the church should consider delaying the start of the building. Those "negative" folks were visited by the fellowship committee and asked to leave the fellowship. We also had to hire an executive pastor to be what I consider the enforcer so the pastor's hands are clean from doing the dirty work required to convince the "negative" people they need to leave

The church we were part of in past years would lay out the plan and start raising the money. At 50% in hand the preliminary work, design, permits etc was started, at 75% collected the construction was started. At completion it was paid for! I guess this is too slow for those who are too impatient to wait for their monuments to be built!

Anonymous said...

"We also had to hire an executive pastor to be what I consider the enforcer so the pastor's hands are clean from doing the dirty work required to convince the "negative" people they need to leave"
March 27 12:05 PM

Sounds like a carbon copy of the mega we left. Are they teaching these strategies in seminary or do these guys get together and egg one another on?

Question: Are you planning on staying at your mega knowing all that you know? And if so, why?

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that some of these mega speakers just walk into another large mega church and unfortunately cannot fill the shoes of the former pastor, that was a genuine bible expositor, and pastor, but can spend, spend, and continue to spend. One assumes that makes their ministry important, rather than being a true Bible expositor like the former pastor!!!

Anonymous said...

" and unfortunately cannot fill the shoes of the former pastor, that was a genuine bible expositor, and pastor, but can spend, spend, and continue to spend."

March 27 3:30 PM:
The reason they 'spend, spend, spend' is either because of pride or insecurity, they think they have to wipe out any vestige of the former pastor's legacy and make the church their own. It's all about them; not what's best for the church.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anon 1:53
Your question:
"Question: Are you planning on staying at your mega knowing all that you know? And if so, why?"

We were just talking about that this morning. Right now our child is fully involved and the youth pastors are not yet tainted. When he reaches the age to make his own decisions (not too far off in the future) then we will leave, the exit strategy is being formed even now. Also we have a lot of friends and some ministries we feel we can contribute to via this church.

But it was funny that today my spouse spent a couple of hours helping do some menial chores for a co-worker which we believe is more of an actual witness to somebody then hanging invites to Easter service on doors around the city as a lot of people were doing. But I honestly believe that there are some that feel we were the slackers for not participating in the door knocking.

Your question is valid and should be asked of many. For us leaving (voting with our feet somebody said) is the only option for us. I've seen up close the grief created when a family member asked a simple question in a mega church meeting one time and the powers that be were ready to lynch him and the grief that the Dog here has gone through that I don't believe it is worth it to try and save these people from themselves.

Anonymous said...

anon 8:22PM
You said "But I honestly believe that there are some that feel we were the slackers for not participating in the door knocking."

Do you know it or believe it? I didn't participate either but I am not paranoid nor seeking attention.

Anonymous said...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

" I credit them for being as open as they have been, and committing to allow members to make a pledge, and then committing to come back with a proposed project scope within the amount pledged. So it is possible that if commitment are significantly below the $130 million mark that they will maybe build a new children's building and put off the sanctuary, for example."

Don't believe this for a second, its a ploy to get the rest to give/commit all they can (match others giving), and when they are short, they will say God is leading them to BORROW the remainder.

Here's some ideas of How to Shear the Sheep

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2156527/Church-Stewardship-Ideas

http://kluth.org/40Day/40DayBookletInfo.htm

http://kluth.org/videopreaching.htm

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:22 talk about trying to save from themselves: Have you ever thought about what Jesus meant when He said let the dead bury their dead? He put pure wisdom right in front of those listerning and some today still don't realize the true meaning of His words.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:53 pm. Well said.

Only whats done for Christ will last and it certainly is not big buildings or budgets!!! Jesus said a glass of water is far better and you would be rewarded for providing that. There is no rewards given out for buildings of any kind whatsoever in the scriptures. All buildings will be destroyed when Jesus returns.

Anonymous said...

"And we cannot forget that our First Baptist Academy that cannot even make ends meet with reduced enrollment will enjoy a new facility and gym."

It's my understanding that FBA will be housed in the refurbished Spurgeon Harris Building. If you go to their web site at fbacademy.com you can see the artist's conception. Looks like the 505 building will finally be gone and the area will become the playground and drop off area. If the teachers have to take their kids to the new building for PE, that means a long walk and lots of time. And you have to think about how difficult this will be in bad weather and will children as young as 5 years old.

Anonymous said...

Another sad FBCD member here. I have been reading the WD for years now, and your attention is very appropriately focused on FBCD. Most of the member comments above are dead-on. Jeffress is a heavy handed CEO who only pays attention to the top few percentile of givers. I know for a fact he meets routinely, one-on-one with big givers. We give more than most but not in the 6 figure range so neither he nor the staff have time to acknowledge us little peeps. The little peeps however are awake, and quickly losing interest. OK by me, I have never been into sucking up to the preacher.

Brunson started off well at FBCD but his anger got out of control and the brow-beating grew to be overwhelming. Somehow we all knew he would leave and we could go on to more peaceful times. Jeffress is different in that he is cold and calculated. Not a people person. Only interested in the church as it is a good brand and platform for his media broadcast and ego. He is only interested in growing the church in that it will protect his media perch. Thus he will try every gimmick aside from the one thing that works. Building relationships! There, he will struggle. Not comfortable enough around people. Strange but true.

It is true that most organizations are a reflection of their leadership. The membership has steadily declined and Jeffress writes off the people who have moved their membership as people who left years before he arrived. It couldn't at all be because of him? We were told that the children's department would "explode" starting in October - of last year. Last Sunday evening the preschoolers sang and it seems to get smaller every time I see them. Pitiful actually. The children's dept seems to grow smaller and smaller too despite plenty of polished six figure staff who are loyal - to Jeffress.

FBCD is not withering because of old buildings. It is withering because the leadership is negative. People are sick to death of showbiz, and media hype, and consultants, and 'campaigns' and celebrity, and spin. The last place they will tolerate it is in the churches. And I, for another, am one of them. I am sick of seeing vain leaders rip and tear at great institutions in the name of running from the ghost of a past leader. The pastors at most megas today are not pastors. They are well coached religious executives surrounded by an elite circle of admirers and handsomely paid yes men. Oh, and the 'snow storm' last week that cratered the budget was three inches of wet snow on the eastern side of the attendance zone that fell while the temparatures hovered around 32. For those of you in Florida, this means the roads never even freeze. And by noon the temps were in the forties and most traces were gone. Walter's boss should be ashamed for the directive on that e-mail.

My family has not yet voted, but the exit stratgey is in place. We are starved and I just don't know how much longer I can participate with a straight face.

Dear God, please send a revival of grace, humility and servanthood to our church leaders. Bring us all closer to you.

Anonymous said...

Dallas 2:48 AM: How accurate your conception and analysis. Strange are the personalities of these celebrities. The question of whether or not it is Gods will to build more edifices to man, should be enlarged to question whether these "ego-ridden prima donnas" were ever God CALLED to the ministry in the first place. Answer that and you answer most questions and problems plaguing our churches today!

Anonymous said...

Dallas: I think most mega members have experienced the cold calculating, career driven pastors, at one time or another. Some are better "actors" than others and can get by with a pretense of smiling and caring while plotting how to "get rid of someone they don't like, behind their back. They must survive against everthing. Their "ministry" is tantamount. And as you say they are surrounded by an elite circle of admirers and yes men. The problem comes for them, as you say, when they must live up to the ghost of the pastor that has passed. Most of todays mega men can't do it. The are plagued with the ministry that God ordained and blessed in the past pastor. We were blessed with the Lindsays. Dr. L., Jr., was a very shy person one on one. But his kindness to everyone was sincere. Even with this shyness while taklking to people, when he started preaching Gods Word he became a lion in the pulpit. He preached as the saying goes with Holy Boldness. Truly a God Called preacher. Most people knew that his decisions were based on much prayer and time spent with Jesus. If he did not have an answer immediately he waited for the Lord to move, then he moved. We all loved him, trusted him and MISS him. Yes, it is very hard for the others to live up to the ghost of pastor past.

Anonymous said...

"The problem comes for them, as you say, when they must live up to the ghost of the pastor that has passed.:

Does anyone see the problem with this thinking? Why is this? Because we focused too much on the human who proceeded this human?

Why is the Body about the personality and actions of one human?

We focus on the human instead of Christ.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Dallas 2:48 was saying that Jeffress (or other current mega pastors) have to live up to the legacy of former pastors like Criswell, Lindsay, etc. 2:48 said "I am sick of seeing vain leaders rip and tear at great institutions in the name of running from the ghost of a past leader."

In other words, this current brand of mega pastor uses building projects as a way to distance himself and establish his own legacy; to remake the church under his regime so that it might become known as "Jeffress' church" rather than "Criswell's church." It's not a pressure put on the current pastor by the membership, as Jeffress or Brunson might want you to think. The majority of the membership is willing and ready to embrace some changes. Instead, it is a pressure claimed by the current pastor as a justification for the changes he wishes to enact -- as 2:48 aptly said, guys like Jeffress and Brunson enacting their agendas "in the name of running from the ghost of a past leader."

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:42. You are right in the sense that a former pastor who was humble and called of God to perform a work may be difficult for the pastor who replaces him. We don't live in the Kingdom of Heaven yet, therefore, we within the last two hundred years have selected a leader driven church establishment. Sorry to admit but many arn't doing a very good job.

If anyone focuses on a human...maybe it is because that particular human is focused on the LORD and HIS WORD!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

If anyone focuses on a human...maybe it is because that particular human is focused on the LORD and HIS WORD!!!!!!

March 28, 2010 11:05 AM

Jesus Christ sent us the Holy Spirit, not just 'pastors'. If you are not a new believer, you probably do not need the third party mediator approach to understanding the Word. WE are all to study and share with one another. We are to check one another's teachings as in being Bereans. That includes the "pastor". Especially the pastor. He churns out sermons for a living and that can start to be a 'job' instead of on his knees each time asking for wisdom and truth. It could also be he is downloading them from the internet. And some are even selling their sermons to other pastors.

It is much safer for you to also study deeply on your own.

Anonymous said...

"It is much safer for you to also study deeply on your own."

anon 3:22
Thank you for stating a clear truth.

I know Dr. Jeffress and he would agree completely.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stating a clear truth.

I know Dr. Jeffress and he would agree completely.

March 28, 2010 4:38 PM

If that were the case, he would not be proposing such a monstrosity and you would not be supporting it. Quite frankly, you would most likely not be there at all if you were immersed in the Word with the Holy Spirit teaching you the truths. You would not be able to stand it there with the shallowness.

Who are you all trying to impress?

Anonymous said...

Who are you all trying to impress?

March 28, 2010 6:22 PM


The lost in Dallas.

Anonymous said...

"Your question is valid and should be asked of many. For us leaving (voting with our feet somebody said) is the only option for us.

March 27 8:22 PM:
As a word of encouragement - we had to make a decision to leave our mega after many, many years and it took courage and conviction to walk away from the church we loved, leave close friends who chose to stay, and leave the familiar. It took 2 years but we are now members of a small but growing church with a pastor who is humble, has integrity, loves his people and feeds us the Word of God with power and grace. We are finding we are enjoying the simplicity of a small church fellowsip without all the bells and whistles we had grown so accustomed to over the years. The majority of our congregation is made up of those who have left megas where they could no longer go along to get along. Spiritual conviction must take priority over the comfort of the familiar and even sometimes friendships. When God leads us out, He has a divine purpose and we just have to trust Him. Obedience always precedes blessing.

Anonymous said...

The lost in Dallas.

March 28, 2010 6:25 PM

It takes an expensive fancy building to do that? How shallow.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dog -

Somewhat off topic: I attended this year's Passion Play at FBCJ tonight, and it was the very best, most moving production the church has ever done!

As I looked around the auditorium, I couldn't help but notice that it was 90-95% full, as in the years right after it was constructed in the 1990's.

I was very, very encouraged to see so many longtime members taking part in the production, and how many visitors were present.

It reminded me that it's not the paid CEOs that make up a church. It's the faithful, hard-working members who give countless volunteer hours in service to our Lord !! They are the ones who will hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Anonymous said...

As I looked around the auditorium, I couldn't help but notice that it was 90-95% full, as in the years right after it was constructed in the 1990's.
___________________________________

It's called a "reunion" - former members bring their children to witness a wonderful educational experience. FBCJ is known for giving great performances. The shameful part is that attendance is only up when a costly production is exhibited - this is not a regular attendance count.

Sure the high costly CEO's are feeling their oats and hoping they will be able to keep it 90 to 90% full. Will they show up again?

Time will tell - but for sure the former members who came was for a courtesy visit only. The good old days are gone - to many great churches popping up throughout the city who have duplicated the talents of the downtown church - it's no longer the 90's.

Anonymous said...

It reminded me that it's not the paid CEOs that make up a church. It's the faithful, hard-working members who give countless volunteer hours in service to our Lord !! They are the ones who will hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."

March 28, 2010 11:52 PM

It's also the talents of Jim Whitmire who was unceromoniously
booted out of our former mega shortly after the new pastor arrived. Jim was part of the old and the old had to go, don't you know? This year our former mega is not having a Passion Play after several years of low attendance. They say they are regrouping, seeking creative ideas for something even better for future performances. I will say that now I am in a small church, the Broadway type productions no longer appeal to me. However, I do know someone whose blinded spiritual eyes were opened at one of those Passion Play performances and they were gloriously saved and that's what it's all about.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 11:52 - I agree. What a Passion Play. We watched it Friday night (on the Internet of course!). Way to go Whitmire and all of the choir and orchestra. Everything blew me away...one thing that always impresses me about Luke Whitmire playing Jesus is how they throw him around and he doesn't actually get injured. They violently throw Jesus down the stairs, and backwards to the ground. Amazing.

As I was watching it, I couldn't help but think of Bellevue where Whitmire came from, and they cancelled theirs this year for some lame excuse of "retooling" it.

Wasn't this year's Jax Passion Play a new one? Weren't new scenes and new music put in to it? And they didn't have to take a year off. Wow.

Again, my hat is off to Whitmire and all media and musicians and actors involved.

Johnny D. said...

"He's all knowing, all loving, all seeing! But somehow, he needs money! He just can't handle money!"

Anonymous said...

Anon from the first post 3/23 8:12

Been reading since I posted the first one and while I have seen alot of good points made most of it has just been critism.

I would say to those that are unhappy enough to post some of the things here that you really should search out another church. This is not meant as a my way or the highway but while there are groups of disenters for sure the vast majority is all for this.

I have yet to see a option provided, we are dying on the vine and mush of it is facilties. As pointed out here we have other issues just like any church of size but the building is a huge part of it.

Are we suppose to leave well enough alone and just let this entity die? I mean this, it is a real option. There are plenty of good churches in the area and maybe FBCD has lived out its life.

I do not believe all debt for a church is bad, we have a very healty balance sheet and to leverage a very small portion of it is being a good steward with the assets.

The building is nice as it should be, are we suppose to skimp on every dollar when building God's house. I realize many of you feel this is Robert's house for his own ego, you are welcome to your opinion and can even see how you would come to this however I am there and have been involved in a few of the conversations and decisions. He believes this is God's will for our church and so do we.

I have no issue with outsiders commenting on our program and I wish you all the blessings He can provide you.

Anonymous said...

"I am there and have been involved in a few of the conversations and decisions."

I am there too and no one has involved me in any conversations or decisions. I can't imagine how you got in on the conversations and decisions unless you are one of the big money people or you are staff who has Robert's ear. By and large, he doesn't care what any of the rest of us think. No one has asked, and no one is listening. I'm grateful to be able to blog here just to be heard even if it doesn't count.

"He believes this is God's will for our church and so do we."

Not sure who "we" in in this last comment. There is plenty of opposition but since no one is listening you are pretending it's not there.

Anonymous said...

I am not big money or staff, just a young family.

I have seen Robert deal with those that disagree and he listens to every word and has made changes because of some of the comments. He does not respond well to complaining, which is different than construction critism. There is a way to approach him that will turn him off. Have you even approached him?

Sorry, should have been more clear on the we, in that comment I was referring to my wife and I. However I am not aware of but a few that are not on board. I am younger and have young children with more coming which does define who I talk to and we are excited because the youth and childrens facilities now are depressing.

Anonymous said...

My perception is that Robert is more focused on the Young Marrieds than the middle age to older adults. But he's not alone is that. Every pastor we've had in the past few have done the same thing. I am now in the age group that would not be considered the "future" of the church, although I once was in the Young Adult group and raised children in the church. Believe me no one in authority cares what we think. Among my friends there is a lot of opposition.

I've been in the church long enough to have known Robert when he was in high school. And no, I have not approached him about this. I don't consider him approachable. I was in the elevator with him in CEB one Sunday morning. He had his "body guard" with him and spoke to only those in the elevator he knew, with not even a nod toward anyone else. Someone here who is in favor of the building said that Robert is not a "people person". Beats me why someone who is not a people person would want to pastor.

Again, I am not opposed to the building per se. I think has appeal (except for the auditorium, don't like it even a little and I agree that something has to be done about our current facilities. I disagree with collecting pledges and going into debt and with the fact that this whole thing was conceived in secrete. I am opposed to any man being the CEO pastor of the mega church corporation. That's not who Baptists are.

Anonymous said...

"There is a way to approach him that will turn him off."
March 29 8:12 PM

I'm sorry but that statement describing your pastor does not sound like a servant-shepherd. If he is not willing to hear out all his people, he is making a huge mistake. Who knows if the Lord is trying to warn him through some of those negative people he doesn't want to listen to.

Marcia said...

So FBC Dallas must do all it can to "attrack the younger generation -- that statement makes me just sick! I always thought that the purpose of a Bible-believing pastor and church was to attrack the lost to faith in Jesus Christ.

W.A.Criswell once said that the pastor is to preach the Word and the people would come back and back. He said -- what if I were up here preaching chemistry, history a liberal sermon, etc., in no time at all the place would be dead, empty, and sterile. (I can't remember his exact words, but along those lines.)

I just got mail from the church FBD in which Jeffress said "We have far surpassed what any Protestant mega-church has ever given to any project in the history of Christianity." Also, he said "This is a tremendous thing God has done. This will be more than one acre of environmentally-friendly green space, a fountain, multi-level parking, an educational building and a new worship center equipped with a sky bridge." Then the new mayor, Tom Leppert, added what he felt. "When you think about the Arts Center, you think about this investment and what we're trying to do to make downtown Dallas more livable." Well,I personally feel nothing but disgust about all this.

I joined FBCD back in the 70s and loved the preaching of dear Dr. W.A.Criswell, and the wonderful old church (not a monstrocity), the warmth of the people -- and the church was packed in balcony and the lower floor. The people were there because Criswell was preaching the gospel. He even preached out of the King James Version and refused to have "Rock music" in the church. I hate to say this, but Dr. Jeffress is nothing more than a charlatan, and try as he might -- he will never begin to be a soul-winning pastor like W.A. Criswell.

Should anyone be interested, please listen to Dr. Criswell's sermon, entitled "The Curse of Liberalism." It is featured in the Criswell Sermon Library. The Sermon Library contains about 3000 sermons. Well, he was for sure one of the very last Old-Time Religion Pastors. Oh yes, why is the word "church" being replaced with the word "campus"? Campus sounds so New Age. We are surely living in the Laodecia church age.

Marcia