"...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

Friday, November 12, 2010

Church Members Have No Idea Where the Money Goes, and Mega Church Pastors Use This to Their Advantage

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.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

no idea why you would post somthing like this.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I want church members to start thinking about where their money is going.

The pastor says "a portion" of their money goes to help children at the BCH. When people hear that, they don't understand just how absolutely tiny and miniscule a portion he is talking about.

If a person really wants to help the Baptist Children's homes, they would give a portion of their money directly to them, and not to the church. Even a measely $25 directly to them...think of how much money would have to be given to a church that gives 3.5% of its money to the CP, in order for $25 to get to the BCH.

You would have to give $17,000 to FBCJ before $25 would go to the BCH. Or, just give FBCJ $25 less and give that directly to the BCH.

That is my point. Money will continue to be spent by mega churches with very little transparency, until people wake up and understand the ridiculousness of the numbers. With the Internet, we now have the power to give our money directly to organizations and not just blindly fork it over to a wasteful, multi-tiered organization where beaurocrats eat most of the money leaving just crumbs for ministry.

Anonymous said...

WD, I agree with your overall point but I don't think it's accurate to say that if you give $100 directly to the home that all $100 goes to orphans. You would have to examine the home's budget. The home itself probably spends a large percentage of its budget on salaries.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

True, Anon.

Would be better to say "going directly to the FBCH".

But the point still is, if you want $25 to go through FBCJ and the FBC to get to the FBCH, you need to drop $17,000 in the offering plate at FBC Jax. The numbers say that $25 of that will get to the FBCH.

Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong with posting this article. I personally want to know where and how my money is used. We do this with our personal budget.

It is troubling when one knows how money really goes first off the top layer to support 6 figure staff members - FBCJ stopped the designated gift giving.

One thing we do know is that Mac Brunson spends a bundle on his world travel and promoting self.

So be it, our tithe goes directly to worthy organizations that are good financial managers.

Thanks W/D - some of us do appreciate reading what we already know.

Lynn said...

Great post. Maybe people should look at the church's budget like they do their family budget. It should all be laid out on the table. Then, in your family, you can plainly see, "Wow, I didn't realize we were spending so much on coffees or eating out. Do we really think that's a good longterm use of money in our family? Maybe we should move some of that into a different category."

Lynn said...

One more thing. The key is ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. A preacher can get up there and say "We give to the orphans." What does that tell you? Not much. They may give one penny or thousands. What else do they use your money for? They don't say. Are the orphans a priority? They don't say.

A lot of deception takes place when people simply leave out information that would give you the true picture of a situation. You have to conclude that they're worried you might not like the true picture.

As a parent, would we be concerned if our grown son or daughter said, "Yeah, I just trust this organization. I give them a good portion of my paycheck and just trust." Would we not encourage them to be more discerning?

Dr. Fill said...

Anon 8:31,

Salaries at the "hands on" level of orphan care bear no comparison to the mega church collection agency.

Anonymous said...

Think about this: There are four churches in a 10 mile stretch of Kernan Boulevard between Butler Blvd and McCormick. Imagine how many there are near you, and how many there are all over Jacksonville. They all have pastors and staff and buildings and overhead. They are all asking members for more money for operations. Think of the millions and millions and millions of dollars all over Jacksonville being generously given by faithful Christians every week in each of these churches. Now think how much of that money actually goes to any purpose other than their own salaries and overhead.

The problem is not that God's people are not giving generously enough. The problem is these churches all want more staff, higher paid staff and better buildings, renovations and programs.

And Jesus will say "I was hungry..."

Anonymous said...

If you are a member of FBCjax, I encourage you to go in personally to the office, ask the see the budget director (some mega's call them the CFO) and tell him you are a member and would like to see the current year's detailed budget. If they ask why, just say you are a member and want to see the budget.

See what happens. But be prepared to be labeled a troublemaker.

If you ever do see an actual budget, I can promise you it is not the detailed one. (Remember, many items are buried) There is only a small group within each mega that sees the real detailed budget.

But ask yourself why you do not have the right, as a member of the royal priesthood in your local body, to see the budget?

Matt

Anonymous said...

Whats worse is when so called Christian organizations show children starving and seize the moment to encourage giving to their group. You might wonder just how much of the millions that some of these fellows rake in and put into their rich homes and bank accounts. Sixty minutes had one on their show several years back and the CEO was a multi-millionaire raking in monies that never or hardly ever paid for the children who could have used it. Another sucker born every day it seems. I believe like Lynn stated ask questions, but more importantly make the leaders put it down in black and white...its called ACCOUNTABILITY.

Anonymous said...

Each individual is accountable to God for how they use their talents and how they spend the money that they have been given stewardship over.

How prudent is it to give to an organization where you have "no idea how we spend your money?"

Anonymous said...

Really makes you want to give more money to ministries doesn't. If my money is "going shopping", I will take it, thank you. Keep shinning the light WD, people need to see these facts. TOTAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRUTH from megas and churches please! That would be something new from them.

P.S. Which would you rather have your money used for: a marketing firm, or the Childrens Home and other worthy charities?

Anonymous said...

I've been to churches where a copy of the yearly budget it placed in the foyer on a table. Anyone, even a visitor, can grab it. The pastor's salary is on there. Now that's transparency. One question I thought of though..how do you know that FBC Jax doesn't also give directly to the children's home besides the standard % you mention? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I remember going to a membership class of a local church - still affiliated with SBC although it is more on the contemporary seeker oriented side. I saw the budget and asked the pastor about the salaries, etc. I remember him saying very clearly, "Well we don't post the salary of the staff. We don't ask you how much you make and we expect the same courtesy from you." Except that WE PAY YOUR SALARY!!! That always unnerved me and made me upset...and when things were tight financially, they had to let some of the part-time staff go, cleaning crew, other administrative people, etc. - but did anyone suggest that the pastor's salary be cut? No.... Still bothers me to this day....and this was a smaller church of about 300 attenders.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the money that the FBCH receives does not all go to caring for the Children. In fact, I would venture to say that relatively little actually goes to caring for the children. Where did all the money go, that was supposed to go to victims of Katrina, or the earthquate in Hattai? It certainly didn't go to help the victims.

Anonymous said...

DISGUSTING!!!! And the rest of the money goes to OVERPAY the staff.

Anonymous said...

"One thing we do know is that Mac Brunson spends a bundle on his world travel and promoting self."


...and his wife and his kids and their spouses and their kids....

Anonymous said...

"If you ever do see an actual budget, I can promise you it is not the detailed one. (Remember, many items are buried) There is only a small group within each mega that sees the real detailed budget."



Don't 'cha just LUV how the church is run like an illegal operation? TWO sets of books, the bogus one that YOU see and the REAL one that only the insiders see. Just call these churches the new Studio 54.

Anonymous said...

fbc has a monthly business meeting and discloses financial infomation. I do not see yr point. Pastors have families and need income. I have not heard o noticed anyone with valid complaints on thee income issue. we have deacon committe's to assure solid foundation. the pastors do not set their own salary. I just do not see your point.

John H said...

Anon at 8:31--

True, it's not all "going to orphans" because there are salaries at the Children's Homes to be paid, but most of those salaries are folks like house parents, relief house parents, and others directly serving orphans.

As for me, I'm glad I serve a small church, where everyone sees the same budget report, which details all of the information. Including that more of our income goes to the overall Cooperative Program than goes to me, both in terms of percent and raw dollars.

Of course, that's probably why I'll never be great enough to gain a hearing at the SBC, but such is life.

Keep in mind, folks: There are typically offerings that states or the SBC promotes that go 100% to each major thing: NAMB, IMB, Children's Homes, World Hunger, and the State Convention. Look into those for your giving if you aren't satisfied with what happens if straight in the plate.

Anonymous said...

What the deacons know and the Finance Committee KNOW is two entirely different things.

Anonymous said...

Just request the annual amount going to charity work or to assist members when they (widows, unemployed, sick, etc)need help and you will be totally amazed at how low the sum is when compared to other outside funding programs.

Anonymous said...

"Pastors have families and need income"

yer darn right they do. They NEED million dollar mansions. They NEED fancy vacations to exotic world locales. They NEED ..... more like they WANT.


"I just do not see your point"

And you never will.

WishIhadknown said...

“fbc has a monthly business meeting and discloses financial infomation. I do not see yr point. Pastors have families and need income. I have not heard o noticed anyone with valid complaints on thee income issue. we have deacon committe's to assure solid foundation. the pastors do not set their own salary. I just do not see your point.”

First, I would suggest typing your comments in Word so you can use the spell check function before posting it makes you look less ignorant, helps the reader and you can keep it saved for when blogger boo boo’s.

If everything is as honest as you believe then what not disclose it? The rest of the world does. Why would you support a church whose ethics and code of conduct is less than the fallen and sinful world around it? The church should be setting a shining example of openness and accountability. The world should look to the church as the example of full disclosure. The church should have nothing to hide. Failure to openly disclose gives the appearance of impropriety. If you have nothing to hide then why would you hide the information?

Deacon Committees are fine to a point but it is a bit like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Most of the Deacons in the larger churches have bought their position and used their networking abilities to obtain their appointments. Again, if you have nothing to hide then why do you hide?

Yes Pastors are entitled to fair compensation but no pastor should live in a million dollar home in a gated community. Such things just ought not to be.

Anonymous said...

I have not heard o noticed anyone with valid complaints on thee income issue. we have deacon committe's to assure solid foundation. the pastors do not set their own salary. I just do not see your point.

November 12, 2010 12:00 PM

Mega church pastors NEGOTIATE their salary and perks before they agree to come.

Even how many outside speaking engagements ...as in how long they will be gone per year, etc. Some are off a total of 3 months but not consecutively as that would not go over well.

If you ever find a mega church with a "pre set" non negotiable salary and comp package for their CEO Pastor, let me know. It will be a first.

Matt

Anonymous said...

"how do you know that FBC Jax doesn't also give directly to the children's home besides the standard % you mention? Just a thought."

All such items are in the budget. Ask to see it so you don't have to wonder.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Just a thought: When one lives in a gated community often there are association dues paid monthly to "keep up" said community. These dues probably are, on an annual basis, more than many charities get from some individuals living in the gated community. As a matter of fact it could buy groceries for some in need.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the Deacons in the larger churches have bought their position and used their networking abilities to obtain their appointments."

Are you kidding me wishihadknown'?

Who do you think a deacon is? That is the most cynical statement that I have ever witnessed in print. Being a deacon in any church cannot benefit anyone. Influence peddling is what politicians do, not deacons. What are they going to get? A more padded pew? A better view of the piano player? And even if they get a private dinner with the preacher, does that mean their prayers are going to get answered any better. Please!!!!!!!!

Yes Pastors are entitled to fair compensation but no pastor should live in a million dollar home in a gated community. This is also an insane concept. What if the guy bought a house at the low of the market and sold at the high of the market and plowed all the money back into his new "million" dollar home? Why is that wrong? Is it wrong because you might not be able to do that?

What if he received an massive inheritance from his parents and could obviously afford it. Does his family not deserve it just because he is a preacher? Frankly, it is no ones business except the man and his family.

Better yet, what if he inherited a beautiful 5 million dollar house on the river or as you will, in a "gated community?" Does he have to sell it just so you would not think bad about him?

And "what is fair"?" That is such a naive relative statement. Should a preacher in Dime Box, Texas, make any less than a preacher in Houston, Texas? Says who??? YOU!!!!!

Maybe we should be asking what is fair for you to be paid in your job? Why not tell everyone at your work what you are making? That would start a riot!! Why, because there will always be someone else who thinks that is not "fair" that you are paid so much in relation to them!!!!!

Being a deacon is not all it is cracked up to be and I have never known any person to benefit financially by being a deacon of any church of any denomination!!!!!!

AN

Katie said...

I know that my comments here will be ridiculed, but that's a risk I'll take.

Thanks to WD I have a better understanding of what happens with church money given generously by people who love God and want to be obedient. My current church has the budget listed to include each line item and everyone is welcome to view it and ask questions. ALL churches should do this.

Now to my probably silly comparison. Has anyone ever watched the Duggar Family on television? You know the family that has 19 children. They live debt free, built their own home with cash (and maybe some help from TLC), but even before TLC come along, the Duggars bought their previous houses in cash. They bought used clothing in good repair, bought used vehicles and invested their income wisely. Every child old enough to bang on a piano or hold a violin learns to play and read music. The older children play as many as 4 musical instruments. Any teacher will tell you that this is a talent that helps children learn to think in different ways. There is even brain research that says early introduction to music actually grows more brain pathways. The more brain pathways, the more interconnected children can think and reason. In addition the kids are ALL homeschooled. They dont swear, yell at each other, dress provacatively and live under the acronym JOY (Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. People ask them over and over how they have managed to raise such well behaved children who volunteer to go the mission fields. The answer is always the same. They trust God completely and both parents are of "ONE MIND". This had me thinking about how much better our churches would function if the members and the leadership were of "ONE MIND". Is that not the unity we all seek?

Is not a church a family? There are always leaders within a family unit, but the goal is for everyone to have the spiritual needs met, by honesty and humility towards each other and to achieve the goals of the great commission. If you are sitting in a pew being belittled week after week, what's the point? How do you honor God by subjecting yourself to a person who is a bully? That's not even a good model for government, let alone people of God.

We need to fix these problems and it can't be soon enough.

Kenneth said...

Sometimes I read this blog and it's hard to tell the difference between Mac and WD. This is one of those times.

WishIhadknown said...

AN
In terms of my sanity, I would point you to the various sermons about the qualifications of being a pastor by such men as McGee, Rogers, Criswell, Kennedy, Stanley etc. All will tell you that a pastor is to be a man of the people and you cannot be a man of the people by living in a gated community or being a member of a country club or having an income that is excessive.

AN said. “I have never known any person to benefit financially by being a deacon of any church of any denomination!!!!!!”

You are kidding, right? Are you truly that naïve? Why do you think salesmanship courses like Dale Carnegie and others like Norman Vincent Peale teach you to go to the largest church in your town and become a leader (i.e. Deacon)? They teach you to use this influence to network for business connections. Do not believe what the church teaches, does not matter, pretend. If you were here, I could take you to a local mega church that paid in excess of a million dollars for an out of date AV system that should have cost half that! Who pushed them into the system and who sold them the system, a Deacon. The list goes on.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have listened to a leader in one church or another brag to me about how they used their position to financially benefit themselves.

Granted, not everyone is like that. Many people in leadership are dedicated, selfless servants of God.

I can also tell you about a Deacon who has cheated my family out of thousands of dollars. Moreover, my experience is not unique. Wake up man there are tares mixed in among the wheat!

In terms of all of your “What if” questions when did any of those situations ever happen? Can I add another, what if the pastor won the lottery?

What salary is fair? Why not do the way businesses do it? Go to Google and query salaries for whatever position you wish to research. There are site that will provide you with a nice bell curve of what is paying by position. You can then see where the salary fits in the bell curve.

Better yet, go to the congregation and ask them what the pastor should be paid.

You should read the first part of Malachi, is deals with greedy religious leaders who misuse the offerings to God for their own selfishness.

Anonymous said...

Deacon Committees are fine to a point but it is a bit like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Most of the Deacons in the larger churches have bought their position and used their networking abilities to obtain their appointments. Again, if you have nothing to hide then why do you hide?

Sir,

You do realize that your credibility sinks when you use terms like "most." Furthermore, for those that use words like "vast majority" and "studies show" or the like are just not being very honest. Unless you have some empirical studies to back up your claim you might just add "in my opinion."

The other term that is used in here is "sad" or "saddened." Check out the number of times those two words are referred to within this blog by using the search field.

I really fail to see the problem with giving your church 10% and I am very comfortable that FBC Pastors seek to spend the money responsibly.

If you go into the cafeteria, you see signs all over the place to use the napkins responsibly. You do not see a whole lot of frilly stuff in the offices, for example. I look for stuff like that to determine how efficiently an organization is getting ran.

Pastor Brunson has testified that he did not know what he was going to make at FBC until he got his first pay check.

Sooner or later, you have to trust someone here on earth.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon said:

"Whats worse is when so called Christian organizations show children starving and seize the moment to encourage giving to their group. You might wonder just how much of the millions that some of these fellows rake in and put into their rich homes and bank accounts. "

I agree. When I see Benny Hinn or Joyce Meyer asking for money to go to feed hungry kids over in Africa, I laugh. I would never give money to starving kids THRU their organization for fear that very little will go there.

So as I said, it is disingenuous for a pastor to say "when you give money to our church, you're helping to house orphans", especially when that pastor is behind budget, and has a vested interest in motivating people to give. And the percentage given is just insanely small. That I think is the point of this post.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon said:

"One question I thought of though..how do you know that FBC Jax doesn't also give directly to the children's home besides the standard % you mention? Just a thought."

-----

Sure, there could be a separate line item for BCH, but that is not what Mac said. He described the giving of the church to BCH through the CP.

I do recall in years when the church was more transparent than it is now, that line item giving was shown. Perhaps the church does have a separate line item to BCH, which would mean that would be in addition to the 0.15% they give through the CP.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I would like to address AN's questions in his/her 4:47 pm comment. Those are great questions, about whether a preacher should not live in a large home, even if they came by the money through inheritance of wise investment.

I don't know the answers to those, but I would say that this blog has dealt with two primary issues in this regard: (1) What if the house is built on a $300,000 tract of land gifted to the pastor by a donor just 3 weeks after they arrive; and (2) What if that pastor has written a book that advises pastors to not accept gifts, and not to live in "executive homes"?

Those are the questions posed in this blog with regard to large homes.

WishIhadknown said...

My credibility. Hmm I did not know that on a blog you had to establish credibility I thought it was about giving your opinion. Nevertheless, here goes. My credibility is comes from thirty-five years of church involvement and about as many years of being a tax preparer. As a tax preparer, I prepare a couple of thousand returns a year, including about a dozen for mega church preachers. Or, as I like to say, nobody knows the 1040s I’ve seen.

Being a tax preparer also places me in a position of learning intimate details about people. Not just financial details but people tend to open up about their inner most secrets. It is not uncommon for people to be even more candid with me than they are with their Psychiatrists and spouses. So what you see what you may believe in theory I understand from actual practice.

You are right, it is not wrong for a church to ask their members to give 10% it just that so few do. There are several issues though in making such a demand. The first being scripture does not back you up. True there are scriptures that speak of the tithe but the command is tithes and offerings. Therefore, if you are going to use scripture properly you have to command tithes and offerings, which total more than 23%. Therefore, even if you are giving 10% you are still disobedient. Just the facts, it is in the Bible.

Another issue is the inherent injustice of demanding 10%. 10% is not an equal sacrifice. $3,000 is a major sacrifice for a family of four making $30,000. $20,000 from a family of four making $200,000 is not much of a sacrifice, is it? What kind of a sacrifice is it? A delay of six months before they purchase their new Lexus.

I am a fan of 2 Corinthians 2:9 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” I still believe if the pastors would use a little faith and preached the word like this they would have all the money they needed. I just do not believe it is Godly or wise to use guilt to demand money from God’s people.

To be continued…..

WishIhadknown said...

WD said, "What if that pastor has written a book that advises pastors to not accept gifts, and not to live in "executive homes"?"

You are kidding me aren't you? Man this just keeps getting better and better!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

WD Readers:

Below is a link to a very interesting article on the "rocket docket" home foreclosure court set up in Jacksonville, presided over by A.C. Soud of FBC Jax where according to the reporter Soud's goal is to rule on 25 foreclosure cases PER HOUR. The reporter is very critical of Soud and this process that is ramrodding through foreclosures without the necessary paperwork. The reporter calls the entire process a fraud.

Soud was the president of the Trustees during 2008 when the criminal investigation was opened into this blog, and of course he was the reader of the "Deacons Resolution 2009-1" that condemned this blogger, and threatened other church members that they would be "aggressively confronted" if they too followed in my footsteps.

Warning, the article does contain some profanity.

I think I will do a post on this article soon, but wanted to get it out to you now.

"Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners", by Matt Taibbi

Anonymous said...

"Being a deacon in any church cannot benefit anyone. Influence peddling is what politicians do, not deacons. What are they going to get?"

Actually, it can be very good for business.

Anonymous said...

"Pastor Brunson has testified that he did not know what he was going to make at FBC until he got his first pay check."

Testified? Under oath?

WishIhadknown said...

You are right again when you say I cannot talk about FBCJ and Brunson directly. Being several hundred miles away, I have no direct knowledge of anything other than what I can find to read. However, what I find disturbing is what happened to Watch Dog. From my experience and yes in my opinion that kind of an overreaction is not indicative of an innocent man. You just do not see men in authority react like that unless there is something to hide. Again, just my opinion.

You said, “You do not see a whole lot of frilly stuff in the offices, for example. I look for stuff like that to determine how efficiently an organization is getting ran.”

Again, I cannot speak directly about FBCJ but I do know marketing consultants make a point of making sure their clients give that exact appearance.

As an unrelated aside, I recently talked to a brother who is a friend of mine who is a member of a church that has struggled through challenging transitions on leadership. The congregation is characterized by the prosperity of their members. One of the good things he noted is that as collections decreased during this period they have learned to become much more frugal and discerning when it comes to what they buy. Now, they were not spendthrifts and you did not see a lot of frilly stuff in the offices but they stilled learned they could do with less. My friend described this as being a “good thing.”

Anonymous said...

Whenever there is a source of uncertainty in any church matter followers of that church should seek the truth. Most of the old time faithful at FBCJ do not care about internal affairs. They just want to be led while not taking a serious read at the bible. This is a kind of conditioning. And for old faithful this could be a bit challenging.

Pastors can only take advantage if their followers if the followers allow such acts. The members of FBCJ need to be more proactive to avoid corruption. However, damage control will be on a biblical scale if that measure induces.

The sheep may have a wolfe in white cloth and not even know it. Their reward will be deserved punishment.

John H said...

I'll say this, off in the dream world I live in...


If a pastor has become independently wealthy through legitimate means, such as prior business done rightly or inheritance (leave the lottery question out---some think it fair, others not, so hash that out elsewhere), then there are a multitude of communities in America alone, much less the world, that need a pastor who is able to be there, serve there, love the people there, but the church there is made up of people without the resources to cover a livable salary.

These are folks that cannot pay a pastor what they want to pay one. If you are wealthy enough to buy a million dollar home, instead come buy a smaller one out here in rural America and serve some leaner sheep.

Or take on church planting without an income, or foreign missions without an income.




People: demand accountability. If there is no accountability, corruption will occur, if not at the hands of one then at the hands of another. Out here in the sticks, we have a lot more stories of deacons running things without any accountability than pastors doing it, and it's just as bad. One of the long-held Baptist distinctives is the priesthood of all believers. Do the work of your priesthood. If your church won't allow it, fix it if you can. If you can't, find one or start one that will. But make sure you establish protections for that church, even from yourself.

Anonymous said...

Most of the old time faithful at FBCJ do not care about internal affairs. They just want to be led while not taking a serious read at the bible.

I think that I will add "most", "they" and "them" to the list of words that kill credibility. If you write as an authority, you should provide sources. Otherwise, it is your opinion and should be presented in that manner.

So Sad(adding another "sad" to the list)

Anonymous said...

Another issue is the inherent injustice of demanding 10%. 10% is not an equal sacrifice. $3,000 is a major sacrifice for a family of four making $30,000. $20,000 from a family of four making $200,000 is not much of a sacrifice, is it? What kind of a sacrifice is it? A delay of six months before they purchase their new Lexus.

The church should reditribute wealth?

Anonymous said...

Deacons in large Baptist churches are involved politically and financially all over America. This is so obvious that you would have to live in the backwoods of Poedunk in order to miss it. The deacons of these large churches are the mayors, city council members, judges, they head up agencies like tax collectors, planning commissions, voteing directors, port authority, aldermen, appraisers, etc. They also head construction companies, colleges, financuial institutions, insurance companies,lawyer groups, lumber and trade organizations that accomplish a great deal of work in their cities. They own large real estate companies and take an active part in their communities which oftentimes means within their church. I see nothing wrong with it but it does exist and they set the standard for working together for what they believe is best for their communities and for their own good. In the old days if you shook hands with a Methodist it was as solid as if you had it in writing. Today, unfortunately everything is mostly in writing, CONTRACTS... except for some things that never seem to see the light of day, if you know what I mean, such as SALARIES, PERKS, other COMPENSATIONS and FAVORS that are agreed on by good ole boys on the golf course, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners", by Matt Taibbi

__________________________________________________

And this my WD friends is the kind of leadership and pals of Mac Brunson we have at FBCJ running the church - the decision makers.

I would be livid to think my paperwork trying to justify why I applied for bankruptcy was run through like a cattle mill. Sad to say, but I think FBCJ is on it's way to bankruptcy as well - perhaps not in the dollar amount but with people leaving.

When I read the newspaper and saw who was involved, make me want to upchuck.

Anonymous said...

As to frilly stuff: Try "Teak Wood" bookcases.

Anonymous said...

So you don't think preachers pay attention to who gives and who doesn't. You can be dismissed as a deacon if you don't give 10% to the "storehouse" church. But they will blame it on something else, because they don't want anyone to know it was because of the money, and they were checking on how much the deacon does or does not give. Even if said deacon gave 10% somewhere else other than the "storehouse" church. Can someone please find a "storehouse", I want to see what one looks like.

Anonymous said...

So Brunson tells the truth on money going to the Florida Childrens' Homes, and he still gets slammed by you.

You didn't mention that the other money given to the Florida Baptist Convention goes to church planting, medical missions to Haiti, chaplains in hospitals, Baptist Universities, Seminaries, the Christian Life Commission, youth camps, pro-life counseling, feeding the hungry, job training, and local missionaries to name a few!

Total giving by Florida Baptists to missions and ministry is $711 million. That's incredible...that represents a lot of ministry. And of course don't leave out 46,000 baptisms.

Yes, .15% of FBC Jax receipts goes to Florida Childrens' Homes - but how many people who give are going to write a separate check to the Children's Homes? Watchdog, since you are so irked by this, can I ask you in the years you were at FBCJ, did you ever write a check to the Homes? In effect you did, for over the years - if you tithed off of a $40,000 salary for 10 years to FBCJ, then you supported the Florida Children's Home to the tune of $90...which I am going to guess is $90 more than you would have known to send them on your own.

Jake

Anonymous said...

Yes, you must give your money to the "church", "undesignated" so pastor and leadership can disperse it accordingly to what they think is deserving. Forget the fact that in many cases family members are unemployed, ill, their house may be on the "rocket docket" for foreclosure presided over by a judge in THEIR church, that is also in leadership of said church. Really makes one want to give to the church and pastor doesn't it.

Kenneth said...

So you don't think they should ask you to tithe and if do give, it should be whatever amount you want, but then you want to stand up and criticize what percentage is given to the Children's home?

No church has any control of what the State Convention does with the CP money. There are many wonderful entities that receive CP money.

Did you every think you might be a reason that giving is down? It's easy to blame it on a down economy or perceived wrongdoing but it seems like you are leading the charge to get people to stop giving.

Anonymous said...

Jake,
For your information Mac Brunson DOES NOT mention to the congregation of the long time missionary organizations that once was supported by FBC but has recently been dropped from their annual budget. These are Missionaries who have lived on a humble salary now being told the support is no longer available for them to continue their work.

The FBCJ Mission Department is a joke and the person running it had no missionary experience when he was hired - of course, he was one of Mac's friends from Texas. The Mission Department is nothing but a tour group - doing more sight seeing than actual working.

Sorry, but don't put all the blame on Watchdog as he's not doing all the slamming here as you suggested. This is not slamming, but telling you the real truth like it is!

WishIhadknown said...

“The church should redistribute wealth?” (Edited to correct spelling error, sorry I do not know how to italicize in Blogger)

Where in anything I have posted did you get an idea like that. No the church should not redistribute wealth! The church should teach the word. In very many cases people think that by giving 10% they are obedient when, as the word, teaches they are not. There is just so much more to giving scripturally than demanding 10%.

WishIhadknown said...

"Otherwise, it is your opinion and should be presented in that manner."

Uh duh! Expressing your and my opinion is what blogger is about.

None of us are speaking ex cathedra we are just here expressing our opinions and occasionally we learn something useful. Thank you Lydia and Pastor Willey.

WishIhadknown said...

So does anyone remember what the Biblical role of a Deacon is?

Bojac3 said...

My thought is why not post something like this. Memebers have a right to know what is happening to their offerings. We still have a monthly church business meeting. We have a detailed treasury report. My salary is the first item listed. Call me old-fashioned but i am not ashamed of what our giving is used for. Bojac

Anonymous said...

So does anyone remember what the Biblical role of a Deacon is?

November 13, 2010 12:15 PM
===============================
It's my understanding the Bible tells us a Deacon is to be the husband of one (1) wife and not divorced.

I would say we have about1/4 of present deacons are divorced men.

Interesting Question as to what the Biblical role of a Deacon is in this present day and age.

Anonymous said...

So Sad(adding another "sad" to the list)

You should add brunson to your list.

Anonymous said...

In almost evry organization the largest expense is personnel. I would guess that most organizations, factories, offices and retail operation spend 50% of their revenues on employees.

Johnny

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56
Of course FBCJ still supports missionaries, it is one of the biggest givers in all of Florida to the CP which supports the IMB. One of the biggest givers in the nation actually. And how much will FBCJ be giving to Lottie Moon this year? I believe it will be more than 98% of other churches.

Anon 12:46,
According to your short explanation of a deacon requirement even Jesus would not qualify!

Jake

Anonymous said...

Johnny,

You are correct. The personnel in any church, organization or business is usually in the 53%-55% range.

I imagine most complainers on here have never walked into their boss's office and said, "Even though I work for a secular business, I would like a 25% cut in pay and give that instead to orphans and widows in Florday."
Has anyone done that?

Jake

Anonymous said...

"So does anyone remember what the Biblical role of a Deacon is?"

Waiting tables. See Acts.

Anonymous said...

Another issue is the inherent injustice of demanding 10%. 10% is not an equal sacrifice. $3,000 is a major sacrifice for a family of four making $30,000. $20,000 from a family of four making $200,000 is not much of a sacrifice, is it? What kind of a sacrifice is it? A delay of six months before they purchase their new Lexus.

The church should reditribute wealth?

November 13, 2010 8:50 AM

See Acts for your answer

WishIhadknown said...

Sorry to be so thick but I cannot read your mind, would you mind giving me a chapter and a verse?

WishIhadknown said...

"So does anyone remember what the Biblical role of a Deacon is?"

Waiting tables. See Acts.

Good Answer! So why are Deacons the dicision makers and leaders in the Baptist Church instead of the members?

Anonymous said...

WishIhadknown 8:27. Because thats the way its always been done...its that simple. It certainly isn't a democracy. As many have seen when anyone asks questions...the controlling powers can deliver a "deacons resolution" and out you go. It will take a miracle for a church to come back to what the Bible says whereby all participate in ministry, teaching, prophecy, etc. People get lazy and the pastors like it this way. He controls the deacons and the deacons control the people. Then pastors can claim they didn't have anything to do with unpopular decisions and "dirty tricks" done to members. As the saying goes preachers smile all the way to the bank. Churches can truly be an exercise in how to control the masses.

Anonymous said...

Good Answer! So why are Deacons the dicision makers and leaders in the Baptist Church instead of the members?

November 14, 2010 8:27 AM

Many Baptist churches are going elder led which is even a smaller number of men making all the decisions.

Well, let's look at the "decisions" that must be made. What would they have been in the 1st Century and what are they now?

Mostly now they are decisions about buildings, maint, new carpet and sound systems and programs, etc.

What does that have to do with decisions in the 1st Century?

The Holy Spirit needs to make the decisions because the people are praying for spiritual unity. Most have never seen the power of the Holy Spirit on a corporate group so they have no clue and still say they must have human leaders.

the worldly want leaders. That is how it works in the world. We are to be different because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit as believers in the Body. But that is rarely taught these days.

You are asking to change an entire spiritual paradigm. I can only say that will come when people are convicted of truth. But in the meantime, those that are convicted, get out of the worldly church.

Now, if you had REAL elders, they would be modeling true spirituality as mature believers who are lowly servants to others.

Sadly, that is very rare. Most "Christians" today would think such a person is a loser.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be so thick but I cannot read your mind, would you mind giving me a chapter and a verse?

November 14, 2010 8:20 AM

Acts 4: 32-37

Anonymous said...

Stephen was chosen to wait tables but he was also known as a man full of God's grace and power who performed miracles. When he was accused by the Jews of blasphemy, he preached quite a sermon to the high priests and jews and lost his life over it.

So, we see in Stephen alone several spiritual gifts and functions within the Body of Christ.

see Acts 6-7

One would think with all that gifting of the Power of the Holy Spirit, he would become the pastor of the Jerusalem mega church. But it does not work that way in God's economy.

WishIhadknown said...

Acts 4: 32-37

Ooooo I had forgotten about that. Why, you're nothing but a trouble maker, ain't ya! ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooooo I had forgotten about that. Why, you're nothing but a trouble maker, ain't ya! ;)

November 14, 2010 3:35 PM

You betcha. what is even more interesting with the little info we have on Stephen (which is more than we have on some Apostles) he could very well have been a "pastor" in the NT/early church sense.

Anonymous said...

0.15% of 100 dollars is 15 dollars.

0.0015% is 15 cents

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

0.15% of $100 is not $15.

This is one reason why Baptists like the tithe....it is so darned easy, just move the decimal point, on spot. Most Americans are lousy at math, so the tithing doctrine helps make it so easy! Amen!

Quick math lesson:

15% of 100 is 0.15 times 100 or 15

0.15% of 100 is 0.0015 times 100, or 0.15 , which is 15 cents.

So yes, 0.15% of $100 is 15 cents.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

In almost evry organization the largest expense is personnel. I would guess that most organizations, factories, offices and retail operation spend 50% of their revenues on employees.

Johnny

November 13, 2010 1:00 PM

The absolute fastest way to cut costs in any business is labor costs. Laying a person off brings instant money to the bottomline. Cutting salaries brings instant money to the bottomline.

Remember that and ask your mega why they continue to ask for more money but refuse to cut costs on labor? Salary cuts? Ask them.

New BBC Open Forum said...

0.15% of 100 dollars is 15 dollars.

0.0015% is 15 cents


No, it's not. Someone didn't pay attention in math class. 15% of 100 dollars is 15 dollars. 0.15% of 100 dollars is 15 cents.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Oops, sorry. Didn't see your reply, Watchdog. You are correct.