"...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

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mac Brunson Sermon: Setting the Record Straight on Youth at FBC Jax


At the 2010 SBC Annual Meeting in Orlando, the FBC Jax combined youth choirs and orchestra did a magnificent job at the convention. They sung and played very well - the music was top notch, not overly contemporary like some of the music at the convention. Jonathan Welch and the new guy did great in leading the youth.

After they sang and played, their pastor Mac Brunson made the following statement about the youth at the beginning of his sermon, complimenting them on their ability to share their faith:

"That high school group is going to be in Argentina - about 150 of 'em - middle school is going to be in the inner-city of Atlanta working with a church plant we have going there - I just love them - and I want to tell you something - that group of young people there, they know how to witness. Now listen, they can tell you about Jesus Christ, and I'll tell you how they do that.

Because of the leadership of Homer Lindsay and Jerry Vines - not because of Mac Brunson - but pastors before me, the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. And because those pastors saw to it, we have a generation of young people that will knock on doors and tell people about Jesus."

Well, I understand the desire to drop names like Jerry Vines and Homer Lindsay at the convention, but really, I think the credit for the training of those young people doesn't go to Vines or Lindsay.

No way. It to goes to an entirely different set of folks, folks that Mac might have given credit to if he had more time to speak - so I'll take the opportunity here.

If anyone is going to be commended for helping to produce the quality of youth at FBC Jax, it goes to the youth ministers at FBC Jax: starting with Bob Barton and Calvin Carr whose service started way back in the 80s. These two guys poured their lives into the youth at FBC Jax for several decades, and established a youth ministry of excellence - emphasizing personal evangelism, teaching the kids how to share their testimony and the gospel. The successors of Barton and Carr - Dan Elkins and Chris Eppling seem to have done a solid job as well carring on their work.

It also goes to the hundreds of dedicated lay leaders and workers who work tirelessly with the youth. They teach Sunday School, go on camps, work in the youth music ministry Sunday and Wednesday nights - not getting a paycheck or wanting a paycheck and taking vacation time to serve - but doing it out of love for the kids and the Lord.

I'll never forget the two people at FBC Jax who I admire the most and served under for 7 years: Walt and Maggie Bowden, who have been 6th grade Sunday School directors for close to four decades. While the mega church pastors get the big pay checks and all the accolades and standing ovations, people like the Bowdens and others at FBC Jax will be the ones getting the applause of heaven when they arrive for their steadfast service and sacrifice all these years. Sure, no wealthy FBCJ donors are lining up to give them a land gift or free beach condo rent, and maybe they didn't get to sail down the Danube or go on any Holy Land trips...but they took different trips: their trips to Lake Yale and Hilliard ministering to youth the past 40 years surpass anything that a FBC Jax mega church pastor has done or will do for the kingdom.

Credit also goes to the hard-working parents who saw to it to get their kids in a top-notch ministry. Anyone who knows what it is to attend a downtown mega church, knows it is a committment to haul everyone down there 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more, for all the special ministries the kids are involved in.

So I just wanted to set the record straight...and I think Jerry Vines would agree, and Homer would too if here were still here...don't pat them on the back for what the youth have accomplished or will accomplish for the Lord in Argentina...thank the unsung heros, the past and current youth ministers and dedicated lay workers and parents who have toiled for years in the youth ministry at FBC Jax.

Mega church pastors might not notice, but Jesus sure does.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

WD: You are partly correct. But, the people you talked about were inspired by Dr. Lindsay!!! Especially Barton and Carr. Both of these men were taught and mentored by Lindsay from their youth up. And I think they would admit that. I know because I was around for many years and at close quarters. Lindsay was a unique person. That church was what it WAS because of the leadership of SR. Lindsay and Jr. The people in service learned from both of them. They were true Godly pastors that were true shepards of their church. Jesus was first, always. Those that served under them had a true calling from the Lord and followed it. All of the people you mentioned deserve the praise you give them, but, I can tell you they did it for the Lord. And Lindsay taught them first to love the Lord and how to serve the Lord. There was also a forgotten figure by now. Rev. Fred McCormick, who is with the Lord now for many years. Fred was one of the most Godly people around. He under the direction of the Lindsays, started the first bus ministries at FBCJ. Hundreds if not thousands of kids from all parts of Jax were influenced by this selfless man (Fred) who gave himself to the ministries at FBCJ. Fran Hawk led the training union dept., where many served and truly taught these kids the BIBLE. Many are dead now, but, I am sure they heard "Well done good and faithful servant." We will only know when we get to heaven what these men/women really did for Jesus. But, it was truly the "Miracle of Downtown Jacksonvlle" then.

Single and Sane said...

What a tribute to the people who are often overlooked, but who are faithfully doing the work to expand the Kingdom of God!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 9:10 - excellent point about Carr and Barton being mentored by Lindsay.

But the boots on the ground work that makes a difference in the lives of young people is that done by the lay people. People who don't want any recognition, who don't seek out any fame or demand any fortune for their service - they don't want a position or a paycheck like some. It is an honest, sincere labor of love.

Anonymous said...

And lest anyone forget Vines, Lindsay & faithful lay people were those who were faithfully in attendance, unlike Brunson who is nothing but a traveling evangelist.

All these people deserved the credit Brunson gave them (somehow he never fails to insert their names in his messages)

Here we fly away again - Argentina next on the Brunson travel agenda. Another lovely vacation for them.

Anonymous said...

According to the Bible it's the responsibility of parents to be the spiritual teachers of their children/young people. All the church should do is augment or build upon what's done at home. While I agree with the praise for pastors and youth pastors, hopefully some praise should go to parents as well.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, you are just reaching now. Why do I think if Mac would have praised the Bowdens, you would have said, "What about the Lindseys?"

I have a small background in counseling, and I would say you are obsessed. You have left FBC Jax and are planted by God in another church, but you have this unreasoned passion to focus on FBC Jax's choir, pastor, guest speakers, staff, teachers, past conversations, etc. Don't let "sociopath" become a self-fulfilled prophecy for you.

The Youth Choir, their leadership and parents, Pastor Brunson and FBC Jax should all be encouraged for the trip to Argentina - that is a dark country needing the light of Christ. The spiritual development of the students should be the focus, not who got left off the list.

C'mon Watchdog, keep us informed on criminal leaders and lying University Deans, but you're fixation on Brunson is a little troubling to me personally.

Todd

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks Todd for your psychoanalysis... :)

Sorry, I like to write about these issues - both at FBC Jax and in the SBC and elsewhere in evangelical Christianity, and I have many readers who apparently enjoy reading about it as well.

Yes, I have been "planted" in another church, after we were removed from our church of many years. But I have and will continue to write about my experiences over the past several years in the context of what is going on in the SBC and other mega churches.

Agree about Argentina...that is wonderful that they are all heading down there to minister. Not meaning to draw anything away from that at all.

In this article I wanted to express appreciation for the unsung heros of the mega churches - the lay people. The rock star preachers get all the bennies and back slapping, but I thought I'd use my blog to express appreciation for all those ministers who don't need a paycheck to serve the Lord.

Yep, I'll keep blogging about the same issues outside of FBC Jax, but occasionally I will blog about FBC Jax, Brunson, and whoever else I like, as it is part of my story and I've much more to tell.

Glad you're reading...

Anonymous said...

WD:

Thanks for shining some much needed light and recognition on our faithful lay leaders !

The Bowdens are wonderful godly servants, as are the Duncans, who served with Rev Barton in Middle School for many many years. The current Middle School minister, Dan Elkins, also served under Rev Barton. There are so many more, too many to mention here, but they quietly keep serving the Lord, week in and week out.

I personally think it is long overdue that Mac acknowledged the foundation laid by the Revs Lindsay and Rev Vines, but especially the Lindsays.

Those many decades of faithful service by the Lindsays and the lay leaders are what enable Rev Brunson to be a part-time speaker today.

Rev Brunson is standing on the shoulders of some mighty men of God. At least I can give him credit for finally acknowledging this!!

Sheri

Anonymous said...

"The Youth Choir, their leadership and parents, Pastor Brunson and FBC Jax should all be encouraged for the trip to Argentina - that is a dark country needing the light of Christ."

Sorry to report, but they are not going to a country any darker than the USA . . .it's in an area of beauty and it's in the heart of local Word of Life Missionaries who do a far better job of spreading the gospel than we do here in America - and might add that their pastors and wives do not live the millionaire lifestyle of Brunson. It's reversed - if any is to be ministered too, it will be the Argentine national believers. They put us to shame!

Anonymous said...

LOVE Anon 12:34's post! RIGHT ON TARGET.

This is a truth that the church does not teach strongly enough. I have too many friends who thought that all they had to do was take their kids to church every time the doors were open, and their kids would turn out to be spiritual giants. Most are disappointed in how that turned out.

Spiritual training is first and foremost the parent's responsibility, and the church's responsibility is to come alongside them and encourage them in the work.

Anonymous said...

That new guy is the Rev. Charles Darus.

stt said...

The current middle school and high school group are the last of the youth that were directly influenced by the teachings of Dr. Vines and Lindsay.

It is good to continue the deep rooted tradition of evangelism at First Baptist Church.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:00,

Actually only 2% of Argentina are Evangelical Protestants, it is a very lost country. Luis Palau is from Argentina and he grieves over the lostness of his nation. So please don't make it sound like that FBC Jax choir is going to a evangelized country. God bless Word of Life Missionaries, but I am certain they will applaud any help, especially by students!

Somewhere you were misinformed!

Todd

Anonymous said...

You are right. Lindsay and Vines deserve no credit what so ever. They had no biblical authority over anyone, including the teens. They were just men whose job was to be pastor / preacher. No more no less.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit who gets the credit. Not any mere man.

Ben Patrick

Anonymous said...

"Agree about Argentina...that is wonderful that they are all heading down there to minister. Not meaning to draw anything away from that at all."

I have to disagree with this. If they are taking what they have learned at FBCJax to another country that would be sad. They would be teaching these folks to follow men instead of Christ.

Kenneth said...

It doesnt matter what Brunson says, you won't like it.

Anonymous said...

You don't know how right you are Kenneth. What's to like? The REAL FBCJ has been over for a long time. Exactly what is the church of Laodicea going to teach anyone in Argentina? They don't reach anyone here!

Anonymous said...

Kenneth said...
It doesnt matter what Brunson says, you won't like it.

June 20, 2010 10:22 PM

===================================
Wrong!
If Brunson and his hinchmen would offer a public apology and lift the bann on Mrs. Rich coming on the sacred grounds of FBCJ Bloggers would like that very much!


It's a terrible situation - to bann an innocent woman to come on what, ten or more city blocks of Brunsons Holy ground. Not that she ever would!

One thing for sure more people are listening with respect for the FBC Jax Watchdog than they are to Brunson - thank you, but unlike Brunson they do listen to what he has to say!

Anonymous said...

Actually only 2% of Argentina are Evangelical Protestants, it is a very lost country. Luis Palau is from Argentina and he grieves over the lostness of his nation. So please don't make it sound like that FBC Jax choir is going to a evangelized country. God bless Word of Life Missionaries, but I am certain they will applaud any help, especially by students!

Somewhere you were misinformed!

Todd
___________________________________

Todd, you are full of it. Argentina is well evangelized and has its own evangelical associations, including baptists, methodists, assembly of God, et al. The rest claim to be Catholic, and many of those trust in Christ, just like evangelicals.

South America, countries like Brazil and Argentina have been "reached" except for pockets of lostness. Brazil sends out more missionaries than the US does!

Sorry. This is not some long awaited mission to a dark and lost South America. The kids will be going to live and work with already established churches. (And hopefully some IMB missionaries who have been there for decades.) This is no different than a missions trip to New Orleans. Except it is so much more exotic. And do your research, Argentina is as close to Europe/Spain as you will find in South America. A beautiful country to visit, to live in, and to take a nice summer vacation to. Just be sure to hand out some tracts and the church will pay for it.

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure more people are listening with respect for the FBC Jax Watchdog than they are to Brunson - thank you, but unlike Brunson they do listen to what he has to say!

June 21, 2010 10:05 AM

One thing to say PLEAAAAAASE more on the blog than listening to Brunson. Don't be stupid, between his church members, radio, TV and convention groupies this little blog does not compare. It's sad that this gets that much attention regardless of what side you are on, If you are a DAWG fan the issues discussed are sad. If you are a Brunsonite it is sad that this is even here.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Willie Nelson who sang "On the Road Again"? And recall all of those Bob Hope movies "The Road to Singapore", "The Road to Madrid", "The Road to Mandalay", "The Road to Rio", etc, etc, etc. Some people just like to go to different places and enjoy themselves. Fortunately, most of them pay their own way. There is fertile ground for witnessing in Jacksonville. We have been told that no one is home here. Are they going to be "home" in Argentina? I think it is more about looking good on the mission field, to other preachers, and to tithers than actually accomplishing any good. Are the teenagers paying their own way? I personally don't think it is safe to take a group of young people out of the USA. It isn't safe in the USA really.

Anonymous said...

June 19, 9:10 am said:
"They were true Godly pastors that were true shepards of their church. Jesus was first, always."

Bingo! That's the answer to so many of our churches today -
especially the megas. We need pastor/shepherds who put Jesus first. Not self-serving men who climb the corporate ladder of
churchdom and rule from a bully pulpit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:34,

You write that "I am full of it." What a lovely, noble statement you make - you sound like a real winner.

If Argentina is "reached" as you put it, then why do 100's of Evangelical organizations send 1,000's of short-term and long-term missionaries there and send $100,000's of dollars in mission efforts in Argentina each year. It is because it is a very dark nation spiritually. I would bet $100 you have not been to Argentina on a mission trip. I'll give you the name of a missionary in Argentina you can send that $100 to! Or call the Luis Palau Evangelical Association and ask them the condition of Luis's home country.

Teaching our students to go into all the world to share the gospel might sound like a frivolous trip to you, but it sure sounds very close to Jesus's command in Matthew 28 to me.

For the record, the students did raise their own money and pay their own way. Same goes for the sponsors. We should be so proud of them and commission them off in the name of Christ and with love.

Email some missionaries on the ground in Argentina, talk to these associations that you write about and see what the spiritual needs are in the country. You say Argentina is close to Europe/Spain? You just spoke with a forked tongue! You think those are well-reached areas with the Gospel? You have scales my friend over your eyes.

Todd

CheezeWhizChurch said...

I never even heard of Mac Brunson until I came upon Watchdog's site. He may seem like a big player in Jacksonville, but the blogger outing issue is bigger, and some of us from other states tune in regularly to see what Watchdog has to say. The issues of megachurch power, bullying church leadership, spiritual abuse, SBC meltdown, church marketing, intimidation by church leadership, treatment of women in the church, church tracking and monitoring, other individuals in comparable situations as WD, as well as the legality issues are a pretty big draw. I notice people from all over the nation showing up on Watchdog's Feedjit reader by the hour. And I wouldn't even have ever heard Brunson speak if not for clips WD has linked to.

Anonymous said...

Mac has won more people to Christ than you will ever dream of winning. His knowledge of the Bible far exceeds your brief exposurer to Scripture. Those of us that know the Truth are excited he is our Pastor and we know this Church is the lighthouse to Jax because of Mac! Keep knocking him down...He gets up Stronger!

Thy Peace said...

Keep knocking him down

You are probably correct in all your statements but for this. It was Mac Brunson himself who knocked himself down.

I am talking about the FBC Jax Watchdog issue. I believe Mac Brunson could have easily diffused FBC Jax Watchdog issues by either being transparent and/or loving FBC Jax Watchdog in spite of his criticisms or opinions.

Anonymous said...

Todd - talk to missionaries anywhere about Spain and Argentina. They are "lost" only because they are predominantly Catholic, in evangelical eyes. The folks love Jesus, they don't persecute protestants, they have a beautiful and safe country. And yes, I have been there as well as much more difficult "mission fields." This is a unique, once in a lifetime, nice summer vacation for the kids and leaders going. Period. It will be winter down there and beautiful, safe, and those Catholics, like the ones in Spain, will be cordial when you hand them a tract and tell them their Catholic heritage is "living a lie" and they need to adopt your views to be saved. You crack me up Todd.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with this. Parents, teachers,ect are the ones responsible for raising their children correctly! They deserve the praise. I disagree with the youth pastors though. Bob Barton and Rev. Carr were both very exclusive in whom they associated within the youthgroup. They brought legalism a whole new name. Then you have a young youth pastor named Dan Elkins who is then brought in. Very legalistic and shaky, however, He has matured with time into quite the youthpastor! and Chris Eppling is a breath of Fresh air. This man has turned the youth group around. He fights legalism and has not given in to the former regimes (Jerry Vines, and lindsey) ways. He has built the ministry around thr Gospel and much with the help of Jim Smyrl who I do not always agree with, but respect highly for standing on the word.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6/22 3:39 pm: That would be LindsAy with an A. Are you sure you know much about the Lindsay ministry/years? Every GOOD thing that MIGHT(?) remain at FBCJ, was probably Lindsay inspired. Who do you think mentored and trained the very men you admire? The ones you found fault with were the most protective of what the young people were taught. Knowing full well what the "world" was trying to teach them. I don't know much about Elkins, so I leave him out of my comments. But the others were all brought up under Lindsay tutalage. I think we will look back one day and be thankful for them.
I remember back in the RL auditorium during the 80's when Dr. Lindsay was thinking and praying about pulling out of the SBC,... someone!!!! (my opinion).... talked him out of it. I wish he had followed his heart then. I think FBCJ would be in a better position now.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Brooklyn Tabernacle

www.brooklyntabernacle.org

Just go on their website. All of the associate pastors, all the deacons and ministry workers. The only people mentioned, like on every page is Jim and Carol Cymbala. Strange?


Go here and read a long topics forum on the abuses of Brooklyn Tabernacle. PJC sounds like Mac Brunson. Fired pastors (dozens) without every letting us know. Placed son in laws and daughters in leadership and they are not even qualified, demoted those who previously served faithfully for years. Spend 1 Million Dollars on Marble in a church hallway. Spend millions on new building, promised to build a gym for youth center collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, never built the gym. Lives in a 3Million dollar home, has a 800,000 vacation home in Florida. Lied in his books about testamonies of members. Anyone who questioned him was fired immediately.

http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/TAK4NFJGFF607I3ED

Anonymous said...

Oh WD. Still you continue on in your ridiculous diatribe. Hmm.. that is sad. Think of all the people you could be sharing Christ with. But instead you sit and complain and slander the people of a church that works hard to follow God's call on their life to share Christ with others. Not only do you drag the name of Dr. Brunson throuh the mud, but you add others to the list. I sit here and I read not only the blogs you post, but the comments people leave. Some compare the church to the church of Laodicea, and they couldn't be more wrong. Or how about saying we aren't reaching anyone for Christ...WRONG...we are. God is working through the people of our church and you and your blog do nothing but tear it down. Lets play the Jesus card...How do you think Jesus would feel about the feelings your blogs stir up towards Christians? Hmm? I know that you have probably been hurt by the church and so many other things...but truly what good is this doing? How many people have you heard of coming to Christ through this? How are you letting yourself be used by God in this? There are so many people around us who need Christ, who are going to be eternally separated from Him because of sin, yet you continue this writing...This saddens me. Maybe you need to move on from yourself and all these negative feelings. Get over the politics, and comments and whatever ridiculousness there is. Most of what I have seen from your blog is negativity. How is any of this glorifying Him? How is any of this reaching the nations?