In the clip below, you'll see Mac Brunson admit that his church members have no idea how the money is spent that they give to their church, but tells them that "a portion" of what they give to FBC Jax goes to the Florida Baptist Children's Homes.
True, but a bit misleading. Yes, First Baptist Jacksonville members, a portion of what you give to your church does make it to the Florida Baptist Children's homes. But it is a tiny, tiny, miniscule portion. In fact it is only 0.15%, or about 15 cents of every 100 dollars given.
Where do I get the 0.15% from? Well, based on the explanation given by Brunson, we can follow the math: according to the 2010 Florida Baptist Convention budget, 4.2% of the $35.4 million in Cooperative Program revenue goes to the Florida Baptist Children's Homes. According to the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville 2009 budget, 3.5% of their receipts goes to the Florida Baptist Convention. So of your money given to First Baptist Jax, 3.5% goes to the Cooperative Program, of which 4.2% of THAT goes to the Florida Baptist Children's homes. 4.2% of 3.5% is about 0.15%, or 15 cents of every $100 dollars.
Or stated this way: to get $25 through FBC Jax and the Florida Baptist Convention to help orphans at the Florida Baptist Children's homes, you need to drop $17,000 in the plate at FBC Jax.
How much would 0.15% equate to in an annual mega church budget? Well, 0.15% of the FBC Jax 2009 $15.7 million budget would have been $23,550.
That is great. But it is miniscule compared to the humongous $15.7 million in receipts.
FBC Jax spends more than 10 times that on senior pastor salary and compensation. They likely spend much more than that on marketing and consulting fees. If FBC Jax is like most churches, they spend about 35 to 40% of their revenue on staff compensation and benefits. The professional ministers get 40%, the orphans get 0.15%.
$40 dollars of every $100 to the pastor and his staff. 15 cents of every $100 to the orphans.
And really, that is fine, if that is what the church wants to do. But as Mac says, most people who are forking over thousands of dollars to their church have no idea how the money is spent. They're not supposed to, either. As the story goes, by not knowing or asking, church members are demonstrating how much they love and trust Jesus by giving large portions of their finances with no transparency on how it is spent.
My point is not that churches like FBC Jax should give more to orphans. I'm saying it is disingenuous to dangle the "Florida Baptist Children's Homes" to your members as though a significant portion of what they give goes there. If a family gives $4000 per year to FBC Jax, only about $6 of that goes to the Florida Baptist Children's Homes after your church takes their cut, and after the Florida Baptist Convention takes theirs.
It is time for church members everywhere to wake up, realize God wants THEM to decide where their money goes. God gave the money to YOU, not to the church, to use for His Kingdom. Just as many churches are now reducing their cooperative program giving as they give more money directly to mission efforts of their choosing, so should Christians begin directing their money where they feel Jesus' ministry is being done. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can direct your funds to those ministries of your choice; including the Florida Baptist Children's Home where they have a web page for you to give directly to their ministry before the deacons, trustees, pastors, and Florida Baptist executive whatevers get their hands on it.
If you want to give all of your Christian charitable gifts to your church, then do it, that is fine.
But if you believe in the work the Florida Baptist Children's homes are doing, then direct some of your funds directly there. Make $100 dollars of your $100 dollars go to the orphans if you like, rather than just a measely 15 cents of every $100 left over after it filters through the church and the Florida Baptist Convention.
Don't be bullied by pastors and denominational wannabes into giving a certain percentage or to a certain ministry.
Give generously and not under compulsion. Invest your charitable dollars wisely - in ministries that are doing what you know Jesus would be involved in if he were here.
And stay away from charitable organizations who don't want you to know how they are spending the money - until they allow you to see where the money is going in detail.