"...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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

FBC Jax Resigns from Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability

According to the membership website of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville has resigned this week from the ECFA, effective 1/18/11.

Too bad, as FBC Jax was one of the few Baptist churches who was an ECFA member. The Watchdog recommended that FBC Jax become an ECFA member way back in September 2007, and they did join the ECFA sometime in 2008.

No reason is given by the ECFA for the FBC Jax resignation - it could be FBC Jax is cutting back and didn't want to pay the $4500 annual fee a church their size would is required to pay, or perhaps the financial statements for last year were not good and they didn't want to submit them for posting on the ECFA website.

But no doubt the timing of the FBC Jax resignation is not good. It was just a few weeks ago that Senator Grassley charged the ECFA to spearhead the effort to work for financial reform in the religious community. Grassley's staff prepared a 60 page memo summarizing the problems of excessive compensation, lavish lifestyles of pastors who fly in private jets, live in million dollar homes, and use the ministries to provide employment for family members.

While it is commendable that FBC Jax was an ECFA member when the vast majority of churches were not - it doesn't look good when they do resign after a tough financial year, just two weeks after a U.S. Senator is looking to the ECFA to spearhead self-reform in the area of financial transparency and accountability. One of ECFA's largest church members is now "gawn" - "GAWN". :). So much for hoping the Southern Baptists will be part of the ECFA solution.

And on an unrelated note: it was confirmed last night that the FBC Jax high school pastor of 3 years, Rev. Chris Eppling, is leaving FBC Jax. We were at FBC Jax for only a short time after Chris was hired, but everything we have heard is that he is a wonderful youth pastor and we wish him well in his next area of service.

51 comments:

Why Should You Care said...

No doubt WBCJAX is still a member?!

Anonymous said...

ECFA is just a money making machine because they don't even post THEIR financial papers!

Why pay $4500 when we know where the money goes?

We trust our leadership at our Church and they have proven to be good stewards....3.5 million reasons to say....WE DON'T NEED ECFA!!!


Move on to something important like....what side of the platform should we place the organ and "I hate the color of that new carpet"....I think I will go eat some Goody powders....you are giving me a migrane!

Anonymous said...

From the ECFA website for member organizations:

http://www.ecfa.org/Content/7Standards

7.9 Conflict of Interest on Royalties

An officer, director, or other principal of the member must not receive royalties for any product that the member uses for fundraising or promotional purposes.



7.10 Acknowledgement of Gifts-in-Kind

Property or gifts-in-kind received by a member should be acknowledged describing the property or gift accurately without a statement of the gift's market value. It is the responsibility of the donor to determine the fair market value of the property for tax purposes. The member may be required to provide additional information for gifts of motor vehicles, boats, and airplanes.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to cutting the budget, they cut everything except what benefits the pastor. Let's see Mac take at least a 30% cut in salary and cut out some of the expensive perks.

Anonymous said...

Let's see Mac take at least a 30% cut in salary and cut out some of the expensive perks.

January 20, 2011 8:15 AM

But the pew sitters have no idea what he makes! It could be 30% of 500,000 or 30% of 300,000.

Would his family members take cuts, too?

Anonymous said...

Yea I've heard that ECFA is just a scam.

Anonymous said...

With Grassley "charging the ECFA" to spearhead the over-seeing of the finances of the religious organizations proves a problem. We do not want the government in our churches. And that is exactly what you would get. Albeit, a loose connection but one nonetheless.
I have been critical of some of the recent events at FBCJAX, but this does not bother me, at all.

Kyle

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Kyle - I don't agree with your characterization of what Grassley is asking the ECFA to do. He is not wanting the govt to "oversee" church finances. Rather, his staff during their 3 year investigation has found some very troubling trends, that many churches and other religious organizations are misusing their tax exempt privileges.

Grassley by asking the ECFA to take the lead at this juncture in fact is doing precisely the opposite of what you say. He is telling your industry, "religious non-profit organizations", to get your act together WITHOUT government intervention, by self-regulation, else the government WILL come in and change tax laws and require more financial reporting to the IRS just like other non-profits have to do.

But with so few churches in ECFA, and FBC Jax pulling out as one of the few mega churches in the ECFA, this self-regulation is a pipe dream, it will never ever happen. The ECFA itself is opposed to many of the changes that need to happen! Churches, especially those of the mega variety are not interested in self regulation in financial matters. So it is only a matter of time when the fed govt takes away some of the privileges that have been abused, and requires churches to be much more transparent with their finances.

And I look forward to that day and will write about it in the coming days.

Anonymous said...

Senator Grassley is not as pure as driven snow either Bro!

Here is where your "HERO" for reforming Churches gets his money:

Health Professionals $384,526

Insurance $380,168

Leadership PACs $306,900

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $255,150

Lawyers/Law Firms $251,973

YOU think they are giving him that money because HE is a nice Guy???

NO, he is on committees that sway legislation that will be "friendly" towards those groups.
BUT...he has the moral high ground to snoop thru our Churches to see how much money we are spending on VBS snacks!!!

If you think he is answer.....

I got some mountain property in Orlando you may be interested in...

WishIhadknown said...

So did you ever hear of the adage two wrongs do not make one right? Also, what does the messenger have to do with the message? Wrong is wrong no matter whether you are able to cover it up or get by with or not!

Anonymous said...

"We trust our leadership at our Church and they have proven to be good stewards....3.5 million reasons to say....WE DON'T NEED ECFA!!!"

Another good reminder how FBCJAX got into the mess it's in today. It's really not the pastor's fault as much as it is the Biblically-illiterate and apathetic pew sitters.

Their spiritual maturity consists of cliches, capital letters, and exclamation points.

Yeah, financial accountability - who care about that. It's not like Jesus spent a lot of time talking about stewardship.

Anonymous said...

"WE DON'T NEED ECFA!!!"

Who is we?

Are you attempting to speak for all Baptists?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous Ben.

Are you capable of writing one sentence without using your caps lock or exclamation key?

Anonymous said...

"YOU think they are giving him that money because HE is a nice Guy???"

"NO, he is on committees that sway legislation that will be "friendly" towards those groups."

Congratulations Anonymous Ben. You have just described every politician in congress. Your point?

Anonymous said...

"Grassley by asking the ECFA to take the lead at this juncture in fact is doing precisely the opposite of what you say. He is telling your industry, "religious non-profit organizations", to get your act together WITHOUT government intervention, by self-regulation, else the government WILL come in and change tax laws and require more financial reporting to the IRS just like other non-profits have to do."

This is correct. And the problem is not with all non profits but mainly with churches who do not fall under the same reporting rules as 501c3's.

It is going to happen and quite frankly, he is giving them a wake up call. Just think of the property taxes for mega's! You think governments are not looking at that? Does anyone really think the majority of residents will back the mega?

It might be wrong and we do not want government taking away tax and reporting status of churches but then, perhaps we should stop flaunting our wealth before people with our fancy buildings and rich pastors. We look like the fools we are for supporting such ostentation.

Anonymous said...

"BUT...he has the moral high ground to snoop thru our Churches to see how much money we are spending on VBS snacks!!!"

You would make a great witness during a senate hearing. Unfortuantly, Mac probably would talk like that.

VBS snacks? Why not start with Mac's salary? Or, is it a state secret?

Troll Hunter said...

"We trust our leadership at our Church and they have proven to be good stewards....3.5 million reasons to say....WE DON'T NEED ECFA!!!"

Another good reminder how FBCJAX got into the mess it's in today.

Come on ANON. Read between the lines! Just another troll on the internet trying to inflame passions and not an actual member of FBCJ.

Anonymous said...

Mark my words:

The day is coming that tax exemptions for church and religious organizations is going to go away.


They trot out story after story of corruption, greed, waste, lavish lifestyles at the cost of the poor, and the masses will celebrate this coming to pass. They announce that by exposing the corruption of the church, they can take these funds to care for the sick and needy since the church obviously won't do it.

Every church will reap what our pastors and leadership have sown.

Get ready, it's coming.

Anonymous said...

"Come on ANON. Read between the lines! Just another troll on the internet trying to inflame passions and not an actual member of FBCJ."

How did you come to that conclusion?

Anonymous said...

Call our Churches office and you can see the books. I did call and was given an appointment.

I guess it is just easier to sling mud on the Blog than to actually do what the Bible says.

To assume that our Church is hiding something or involved in inappropriate usage of money is slanderous.


I could say about YOU..."Are you sure HE is not doing something illegal?" " I mean, he has not come out and showed us every thing he does with his life so therefore he must be hiding something."

You can say a lot about a person behind their back.

Why don't you say it to their face?

Anonymous said...

Anon said: Call our Churches office and you can see the books. I did call and was given an appointment.

I presume you speak of FBC Jacksonville? If so, how much of the total is for administration of personnel? That would be out of the total budget.

Also, what gets out of the coffers for actual missions and ministry things? Again, a percentage of the total budget.

I suspect the numbers are going to be eye opening and I wonder if you would really find that information and report it. Hmmmm.

See how much Ergun gets to come and blaspheme at FBCJAX, it would be good to know what kind of fluffy package he still gets.

Anonymous said...

"Anon said: Call our Churches office and you can see the books. I did call and was given an appointment."

We have quarterly meetings where the entire budget for the year and quarter are given out. Yes, it is a lot of paper but well worth it.

Everyone in the Body is free to attend...even some outsiders come! We have nothing to hide and no "appointment" necessary.

Anonymous said...

We have nothing to hide and no "appointment" necessary.

January 20, 2011 10:26 PM

AMEN Brother!

Anonymous said...

When there's criticism, people always attack the messenger. Or the victim.

Ergun Caner is obviously not truthful. Yet, if he criticized how the church handles money, he could very well be correct regardless of what he says about when he came to the U.S. Of course someone's overall character does enter into things, but that does not mean they are wrong in a particular criticism.

When people attack the messenger, they are changing the subject. They WANT to change the subject. You should keep bringing them back to the original subject.

Anonymous said...

If things are headed down the path of eventually changing how the church is protected from taxes (hard to imagine, but..), I think as someone said above, it's early in the game, and as things progress, more and more lavish spending, etc. will come to light and shame the churches, showing just how small a percentage of their money goes toward some kind of good works.

Jesus called for people to hate their families, leave all for him, give all their wealth, etc.-how does it look that churchgoers in America aren't even willing to pay taxes, much less do what Jesus required?

Anonymous said...

Ergun Caner is obviously not truthful. Yet, if he criticized how the church handles money, he could very well be correct regardless of what he says about when he came to the U.S. Of course someone's overall character does enter into things, but that does not mean they are wrong in a particular criticism.

When people attack the messenger, they are changing the subject. They WANT to change the subject. You should keep bringing them back to the original subject.

January 21, 2011 9:26 AM

even a broken clock can be right. So what is your point?

The problem with your "messenger" analogy is that Caner was making HIMSELF the message for 9 years. It was all about HIS story, HIS experiences, etc. And it was mostly lies. He could not even keep his stories about HIMSELF straight.

Had he not talked about himself and only taught scripture, we would not be having this discussion.

A lesson to learn.

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: Stop Baptist Predators [Christa Brown] > Dear Pastor Oliver.

Anonymous said...

All this talk of government intervention in church financials, churches invite it upon themselves. The minute an organization applies for and becomes a 501c3 organization, they have bound themselves to be ruled by the regulation of the IRS- a government agency.
I say audit away! Any church that holds that status invited it from the beginning. With so many churches running themselves like businesses, let them be taxed like businesses.
Want to run a coffee shop out of your church? Great! TAX
Want to grant church employees corporate ceo salaries, bonuses, and gifts? Great! TAX
Want to run a book store? Great! TAX
Charging rent and payment of ministers and staff for weddings? Great! TAX
anyway, you get the point.

Anonymous said...

What's the appropriate salary of a pastor? Amount of house he should buy in square footage and in cost? How much can he spend on a car?

I am a pastor in California and after following this website for over a year I seem to see in almost every post that pastors are making too much, living lavish lifestyles and live an ostentatious lifestyle.

So what's the standard? What amount do you want a pastor of a 100-member church with two staff members to make? What amount do you want a pastor of a 10,000-member church with 25 staff members to make?

Pastor Denny

Anonymous said...

What's the appropriate salary of a pastor? Amount of house he should buy in square footage and in cost? How much can he spend on a car?

I am a pastor in California and after following this website for over a year I seem to see in almost every post that pastors are making too much, living lavish lifestyles and live an ostentatious lifestyle.

So what's the standard? What amount do you want a pastor of a 100-member church with two staff members to make? What amount do you want a pastor of a 10,000-member church with 25 staff members to make?

Pastor Denny

January 21, 2011 2:18 PM

GREAT QUESTION! But the WRONG question. You are starting with a wrong premise so the answers will always be wrong.

Look at what Paul said in Acts 20 concerning money. HE GAVE but did not recieve.

Youguys also interprete 1 Tim wrong. Been interpreted wrong for centuries by PAID professional Christians.

The "elder" is due "double honor" when they properly do their job as overseer being a lowly servant. Who in the body is "paid" single honor? The music director? Tradition has translated the wage metaphor to mean you are paid money for being in ministry. Why not? It worked!

In fact, the only people given money for expenses in the NT
are those "going out" to travel and plant churches. There is absolutely no justification for a "pastor" paid an income from the Body.

This is simply "tradition" taught as sciptural truth. It isn't.

Go make tents. Ministry is not a career choice. In fact, it is a huge sin trap for you as we can see from this blog when it comes to pastors and money.

Why should anyone pay someone else to study the Word for them. Visit the sick for them? Should we pay people to teach us the Word?

I am more than happy to support those who are "going out" to share the Gospel in other places.

In the early church the believers met and all were involved in the Body. No one was "paid" to be involved or for their spiritual gifts. It really is sad when one thinks about it.

Anonymous said...

"In the early church the believers met and all were involved in the Body. No one was "paid" to be involved or for their spiritual gifts. It really is sad when one thinks about it."

Also, the early church were giving money to help other believers who needed help like the widows and persecuted Christians in the Jerusalem church.

They were not pooling money to pay some guy to teach in the living room or build a building for their use. Paul, at one time, rented the Hall of Tyrannus when he was in Gentile country to teach because he was run out of other places. But he was out planting churches. Churches which would meet in homes.

We love our buildings and we love to pay others to do the things we should be maturing spiritually to do. We want to pay someone else to teach us when we are given the indwelling Holy Spirit whom Jesus said is the BEST TEACHER. We want humans, instead which we never grow past if we are not careful.

Anonymous said...

"I say audit away! Any church that holds that status invited it from the beginning. With so many churches running themselves like businesses, let them be taxed like businesses.
"

Wouldn't it be wonderful if an audit of Christians found they had given all their pooled money away to those really in need? Just like Acts 4?

What a witness that would be. Instead of our fancy buildings and paid professional Christians.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:28,

An elder was certainly not a lowly servant in the first church as you wrote. Whether you want to use the Greek presbuteros or the Greek episkopos they were older men who managed, controlled, and ruled. In the Gospel, the term means on the ruling council.

Do you think there are some culturally relevant things from the NT church to present church that must change? Do you worship in a home Anon? Does your wife keep her head covered and her mouth sealed in the congregation?

I am always interested to read people who think it is non-NT to pay a pastor, but they sure don't live out the rest of the NT church principles from Pauline theology.

Pastor Denny

Anonymous said...

2:35 Anonymous,

What taxes do you think church's don't pay? What do you mean it should be taxed like a business?
I have a feeling you don't really know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Since the Garden of Eden man has always pointed to someone else or something else to blame for their mistakes. Eve did, Adam did, Josephs' brothers did, and a host of others. What a lot of people still do today is blame others for their sins or mistakes in judgement. They don't want to say their flesh is the problem, but it is. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When the old nature really dies and the glorified body arrives then and only then can we get rid of this old stinking flesh that tears each of us down. We are all in this together whether we like it or not especially those in the church. God help us.

Anonymous said...

I have been in Baptist churches for many, many years. The largest never allow anyone other than a few deacons or trustees know anything about the salary and perks of the pastor and especially his perks and retirement income. The reason is that the congregation would blow a gasket over some of these outlandish amounts if it was all open and shown on the income statements.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Denny,

I could care less what a pastor earns. I think he should be able to take care of himself and his family, have health insurance, the ability to buy a home, have money invested for retirement and rainy day funds and what ever else he needs. I think it is awesome for a pastor to be financially smart with his money and if that affords him the ability to drive a nice car down the road, then way to go.

However, I do think that living lavishly off the tithes of the church is wrong and I think this is what is happening all over the place. I think it is wrong for the pastor and staff to give themselves raises or family lavish jobs or structure payments in such a way that the receiver pays little to no taxes. I think it is wrong for a pastor to try and make you feel like less of a man or challenge your faith if you dont submit to giving up your bank account information for direct tithing. Tell you that God is punishing the world because you are not tithing. These are things that are wrong and make todays mega churches look like christian Enrons and the pastors look like Fastow, Shilling and Lay.

If you want to write a book and make some cash, go for it. However, make sure your honest in what you write and your business dealings after the book. Be honest about your testimony. If you want to take on some speaking opportunities, then speak honestly and don't lie. Don't be so strict about your fees and waivers that you skip on the opportunity to speak and share the gospel because the church cant pay do to financial difficulties. Take it for the team and move on.

Please understand that I am not lumping all pastors in to the mix, but am pointing out some of the issues I see. I am related to one of these "celebrity Christians" and it bothers me to see how they act in and out of the spot light. I am amazed at the hypocrisy.

In the end let me say this. I am not a perfect man. I am one of the worst sinners there is and I have struggles like all men. I have done things in my life that I will take to the grave due to embarrassment and disbelief I did such things. I do however have a respect for God and I would not get behind the pulpit and lie or use God to sell books full of lies or use God to get rich. These things are despicable and I do have to wonder about the heart, morals and salvation of such men.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad that the Mega Church pastors are hurting the small church pastors reputations because their lifestyles are so extreme - the FBCJ pastor makes more than the President of the United States. Our family left FBCJ because of the arrogance that is portrayed by the present leadership.

Anonymous said...

What taxes do you think church's don't pay? What do you mean it should be taxed like a business?
I have a feeling you don't really know what you are talking about.

January 21, 2011 2:46 PM

What taxes do churches pay? Do they pay property tax in all states?

Anonymous said...

"An elder was certainly not a lowly servant in the first church as you wrote. Whether you want to use the Greek presbuteros or the Greek episkopos they were older men who managed, controlled, and ruled. In the Gospel, the term means on the ruling council."

Pastor Denny, you are truly frightening. They "controlled and ruled"?

I suppose that means that when the wolves are found out among the elders as Paul warned, one cannot leave or they are in sin for not obeying the human with a title.

In your scenerio, one is the role of the Holy Spirit in a believers life since we have humans fulfilling that role in the Body?

I suppose all the "one anothers" and 'do not lord it over as the Gentiles do', the Holy Spirit being the Best Teacher and "the greatest among you is the greatest servant of all.....does not apply to elders? Do they get a pass from these NT teachings for the Body?

Actually, some NT churches did not have elders. Or they did nto have them for a long time. And it is curious that if an elder is to control and rule that ALL letters were not addressed to them. Wouldn't they be the ones carrying out the instructions? Why address them to the entire church.

No, elders are the ones who are most spiritually mature. they will look more like Matthew 5 than what you describe above. They are the most lowly. In fact, scripture describes them as being "among" the believers. Not over them.

But I expect you to promote your view since you make your living off the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

"Do you think there are some culturally relevant things from the NT church to present church that must change? Do you worship in a home Anon? Does your wife keep her head covered and her mouth sealed in the congregation?

I am always interested to read people who think it is non-NT to pay a pastor, but they sure don't live out the rest of the NT church principles from Pauline theology."

keep post, Denny, because you are showing more scriptural ignorance than one can believe from a "pastor".

1. As believers we can worship ANYWHERE. Some do it in prison in China. Some worship in their car. Some worship with other believers in many venues. In the NT, it might be down by a river, outside the synagogues, etc. It is not the place that matters. Do you remember what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman about this very thing? Did you understand what Jesus was saying? That is the real question.

2. As to head coverings. This is the most misinterpreted passage out there besides 1 Tim. It is also horribly translated. Read the interlinear to get a better idea of what Paul was telling those 1st Century Christians.

Paul was giving them a choice to cover or not while meeting with the Body of Christ.

Read the GREEK! Do you understand why he said "because of the angels" in that passage?

Women covered back then for modesty. Prostitutes went around uncovered. Certain men covered their heads while praying (Jews) because of their shame for their sin. Paul was saying they do not need to cover because of what Christ did. But what about women? The covering for women was cultural. Paul says after making arguments about hair length (which is badly translated because Paul cut his hair for a Nazerite vow so he did not say it was wrong for a man to have long hair. Paul grew his long FOR when he took the vow.)

Such a horrible translation that keeps people in silly bondage in this century over cultural problems of the 1st century. I really recommend studying the Greek on this one to understand it better.

Here is how Paul sums up the head covering issue:

13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

He is giving them freedom to choose whether to cover or not.

3. Mouth sealed. This is in 1 corin 14 and it is a "quote" from another letter. There are many such in 1 Corinthians. How do we know? Because the quote mentions 'as the law says". There is NO such "law" in the OT. But there IS such a law mentioned over and over in the Talmud/Mishna. Almost word for word is that quote from the oral law. It was custom in the synagogues for women to be totally silent and only ask their husbands to explain something when they got home.


Paul makes it clear that it is ridiculous in this culminating verse:

36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

The King James, ironically, has the best translation of the Greek here. Paul is being sarcastic as in saying...Are you kidding me! The Word of God came from YOU? Or it comes to YOU only?

Pastor Denny, please do your homework before you presume to teach others. James says that teachers will be judged more strictly.

BTW: Can you give me an example of a paid paid pastor in the NT. Those who are itinerent do not count since they functioned as traveling church planters did not stay long at all.

While you are at it, please name for us all the elders and pastors in each church in the NT. Since they are so important in ruling and controlling people, they must all be listed.

Anonymous said...

This is why I love blogs. People are getting to see how biblically ignorant many pastors are.

Some deceive on purpose like Mac does but some are just ignorant. They believed what they were told in seminary or bible college that elders "rule" and "control" people. One wonders why Jesus said HE was our mediator before God when some say He left humans to do that for us?

Sounds like pastor denny has a napoleon complex.

Anonymous said...

"An elder was certainly not a lowly servant in the first church as you wrote. Whether you want to use the Greek presbuteros or the Greek episkopos they were older men who managed, controlled, and ruled. In the Gospel, the term means on the ruling council.

Do you think there are some culturally relevant things from the NT church to present church that must change? Do you worship in a home Anon? Does your wife keep her head covered and her mouth sealed in the congregation?

I am always interested to read people who think it is non-NT to pay a pastor, but they sure don't live out the rest of the NT church principles from Pauline theology.

Pastor Denny"


So, Pastor Denny, are you arguing that paying the pastor is something that is only culturally relevant to today? Or are you arguing that elders are only culturally relevant for today since they are not listed or addressed in every letter in the NT?

Your response makes no sense. You did not seem to think it out very well. That is ok, I understand that you do not normally have to answer to anyone or explain yourself. You are just to be obeyed and listened to because of a man conferred title.

But that does very little for your own understanding and learning. A sad bubble most pastors live in and are paid to be ignorant tyrants over others.

Let us pray the pew sitters wake up before it is too late.

WishIhadknown said...

What is an appropriate salary for a Pastor?
The old time standard was what the teachers in the community made. Approximately equal in education and with similar responsibilities to their “congregation” I think this constitutes a fair salary.

Katie said...

It's sad to hear this, but I am not surprised.

I used to belong to an SBC church in El Cajon, Califonria. Most of you probably know its name Shadow Mountain Community church. It is Pastored by The Reverend David Jeremiah who also does the radio program 'Turning Point'. They also withdrew from ECFA. I can tell you from experience that we were hounded at least twice a month for money via the U.S. Mail. The entire month of January is dedicated to sermons on the tithe. To his credit, Pastor Jeremiah did not brow beat us for more money behind the pulpit. But opening the mail always caused some apprehension. I think this withdrawel is a bad thing.

Pastor Jeremiah could still use some prayer. He's been fighting lymphoma since 1995.

Anonymous said...

Katie, I like your name.

Just want your opinion, how do you think a pastors should ask for money?

Katie said...

Anon 6:58.

After having been a member of 3 mega churches, I prefer the bi-vocational model. It seemed to work for Paul.

I do understand that big churches need big buildings and all the bells and whistles we've come to expect. I was part of the Choir and Pastor Jeremiah's church under the direction of Steve Caudill. We had the opportunity to do a musical with Bill and Gloria Gaither. It was a wonderous night and many came to the Lord. Pastor Jeremiah did not charge for this event. He told us that there would be a love offering only. We managed to meet every expense and that included the cost to the Gaithers and their crew. So the question is (at least for me) at what point is the church's growth more of a burden than a blessing? I don't have an answer. I do know this: no Pastor should brow beat their flock for the almighty dollar. God has promised to bless us abundantly, but we have no admonition to give 10%. We come to Him as filthy rags and He has transformed us into people who seek to find truth in the scriptures. Mega's also can't meet the needs of the flock with only one Pastor. Ever heard Perry Noble give his reason to not visit people in the hospital? It turned my stomach.

I'd probably start around 10% for a full time Pastor. Seriously, if they want to use the OT scripture in Malachi, then that seems like a good number. I don't know what FBCJ brings in every week, but I'm quite certain that 10% is more than adequate. Ever hear Paul Washer implying that if you don't have a full time Pastor, your children might not become saved? God help us all!

Salaries are debated in the community every day. I'm a teacher and I work very hard and I don't make as much as a firefighter or sanitation employee. Is not my work just as important than the sanitation worker? Evidentally not. I worked for 10 years and just barely made $40,000. Take home after taxes and compulsory state retirement, health insurance came to about $33,000. If it weren't for my military retirement, I couldn't even own a home.

So, I don't know if there should be a set pattern for Mega churches. I don't expect that they should live in poverty, but neither do I think they should live in wild extragance, bring their family onto the payroll. etc. We can afford to pay them a salary that makes them the middle of the middle class which is far above the poverty level and lavish by the standards of other countries. But whatever we pay them, if we can't discern when a man has gone over the edge into comparing us to pagans, then he has shown no discernment and cannot rightly divide the Word of God.

I no longer attend a mega. My Pastor is bi-vocational and he lives in a cookie-cutter house the same as my husband and I. We do pay him but's not even close to 6 figures probably upper 5 figures.

I will not attend a church that does not submit their financial records under the authority of other Christians who can report what they see.

Sorry for rambling on so much.

Anonymous said...

Katie,


I will not attend a church that does not submit their financial records under the authority of other Christians who can report what they see.


Your thoughts are reasonable and a key to successful outreach. These megas must be reading something else into the bible.

Anonymous said...

"After having been a member of 3 mega churches, I prefer the bi-vocational model. It seemed to work for Paul."

YES!~ You are right and some of the serious people in ministry are figuring this out.

Why do we think "pastoring" only happens at "church"? It can also be a part of the workplace. We have so limited ourselves with our titles and buildings.

WishIhadknown said...

One of the most misunderstood concepts is what is considered “middle class.” Middle class income is a household income that is approximately equal to the median income. In the United States most median incomes fall within a range of $45,000 to $65,000. This takes into consideration all wage earners within the household.

Using this as a model a high 5 figure salary would place the earner in the high income or if you’re a Democrat “rich” part of the earnings scale.

Katie said...

Anon 10:52,

Wow, I'm living at the poverty level Who knew that a person having a M.Ed. degree should be paid so poorly.

Atually, there is a national poverty level, it does not take into account the cost of living in different states. If went back to CA, I make a bit more, but I'd have to join that vile NEA union and I still couldn't buy a house. Who knew?