"...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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Was the Perry Endorsement and Jeffress Media Blitz Part of the FBC Dallas "Media Campaign"?

You have to hand it to Robert Jeffress. He is a media hound, and he knows how to use advertising and media to draw attention to himself and his church.

It seems to me that his decision to endorse Perry and grant media interviews for a solid 3 days was part of an orchestrated church media campaign. Let me explain.

On the morning of Sunday August 21st, Jeffress announced to his church the beginning of a two-month long "media campaign" that would involve radio and billboards. Included in the media campaign was the issuance of yard signs like those shown in the picture, to all church members as they left church on August 21st. Jeffress himself requested that all members place the signs in their yards for the months of September and October in support of the coming media campaign.

So is it any wonder that Jeffress went back on his word to not endorse a presidential candidate? He told his church on August 28th that he would NOT endorse any political candidate so as to protect his church's tax-emempt status, and to not alienate members of his politically diverse congregation.

Then, five weeks later, right in the middle of the two-month long media campaign, he pops up at the Values Voter Summit pounding his fist on the podium declaring Rick Perry to be the best candidate because of his faith in Christ. In the media interviews immediately following, he raised the Mormon issue heightening further the media's interest in Jeffress and his church.

Then all over the country he was the media star for 72-hours. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, was THE headlines on all the news media. He was on every possible news outlet. You can't buy that amount of media publicity that he received.

Why would I think that his endorsement of Perry and comments about Mormonism was a slick maneuver to bolster his church's "media campaign?" Because as soon as his mug was on every TV station, the church put the video clips up on the church website! There is a YouTube channel hyperlinked on the front page of the church website with a "Pastor On Air" icon. Their site even features an icon linking to a site about the evils of Mormonism, as shown in the picture of their website at the right.

The church website even proudly displayed the video clip of Jeffress' endorsement of Rick Perry! So not only did Jeffress endorse Perry, but his church endorsed his endorsement - despite their disclaimer that the church does not endorse Perry.

Also, if Jeffress was truly interested in helping a Christian get elected, why go to bat for Rick Perry? Herman Cain is a believer. Michelle Bachmann would probably be a great choice as well if you're looking for a Christian president. But Jeffress knows the targets of his church media campaign are Rick Perry supporters! Get people to come to your church by going on the record as the preacher and church that backs Texas governor Rick Perry for president!

To those who don't know much about First Baptist Dallas and Robert Jeffress: over the past year they have begun a massive $115 million construction project of a brand new downtown campus. Jeffress preached to his peeps the need to get on board and give large gifts to the construction project, even recommending that members "slice off a big hunk of your personal assets" to give to the building program and to improve your spiritual health. As often happens when a church embarks on a construction project, the giving to the capital fund for the construction has eaten into the First Baptist Dallas budget giving. Thus, as many mega churches do, they spend money on "media campaigns", purchasing radio and TV ads, billboard spots, and in this case the clever issuance of yard signs - all in an attempt to attract more people to their church and ultimately raise revenue. I don't think Jeffress could pass up the attempt at gaining free media coverage by endorsing Rick Perry - even though he said he would not - and raising the Mormon issue immediately afterwards.

Why does Jeffress say he changed his mind and endorsed Perry and then went on the media circuit over the weekend? He told his church Sunday:

"As a private citizen and as an American, I felt like I ought to use personally, whatever influence I might have, to try to elect a godly leader and place him in the White House...now since that time, since Friday afternoon, God has opened many avenues of opportunity for me in the media to be able to do what I'm called to do as pastor, and that is to point people to Jesus Christ."

Maybe Jeffress is sincere, but he is smarter than that statement. If he thought this out, he must know his actions this past weekend will not at all help to elect a godly leader. His actions will probably will end up hurting Rick Perry, and ultimately if Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee the media and Democrats will do just what Jeffress has done. They will play the "Mormonism is a cult and a threat" mantra to the hilt, trying to scare people into not voting for Romney and giving us four more years of Obama.

The fact is Romney DOES embrace and will uphold many of the biblical values that are important to evangelicals - and he is a proven leader and a gentleman and statesman. We don't need Jeffress helping the media to scare people away from Mitt Romney.

So while this weekend Jeffress did not help elect a godly leader, Jeffress' actions at least might help his church in their media campaign and draw more red-meat conservatives to his church, that are looking to follow a nationally-known megachurch pastor.

And that is what I think this past weekend was all about.

27 comments:

Sharon said...

What does it mean to be "godly?"

God himself opened up avenues of opportunity to Jeffress? Isn't it just that he's a prominent pastor who made provocative statements-the very thing the media loves? Maybe that's why he got the interviews, hmm?

Descriptions like "godly" get thrown around and can mean whatever that person wants them to mean.

And the only place you don't sound like a nut talking about God opening doors as a way to explain what happened-something that you yourself caused to happen- is in a conservative church.

Anonymous said...

Jeffress may be a whole smarter than you think. He's sure outsmarted all you bloggers.

BTW, I don't even like him personally or in the pulpit, just observing how he has gotten the upper hand on all those who disparage him.

Anonymous said...

God used "Media" to further His message.

The Rainbow

"Fire" on Mt. Carmel

The Star of Bethlehem

and the list goes on..

Thank you Pastor!

As the song says, "Hide it under a Bushel? NO! I am going to let it shine!"

Nadine said...

Curiously, the sign in the picture says "We found a CHURCH we can believe in." Aside from all the red flags that raises about treating a church as a deity, you have to wonder where God is in their minds. Is he there at all?

Anonymous said...

Kool-Aid
Kool-Aid
Taste Great
You'll love Kool-Aid
Can't Wait.....


I'll take the Red Sign

"Hide it under a Bushel? NO! I am going to let it shine!"

and that Black Bikini...

Where's Miss Texas when you need a boost?

Anonymous said...

Descriptions like "godly" get thrown around and can mean whatever that person wants them to mean.

All this godly speak around will show up in the history books desplaying a person like bush or obama will be viewed as a godly individual. Sort of like our for fauthers are thought of as godly but some of the worse abusers of humanity. It is ment to through you off, jeffress is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

As a former insider at FBD, I can assure you that EVERYTHING Robert Jeffress has done since 2007 has been related to the fundamental transformation of the church (and not in a good way to those of us who have left).

This is proven by their staff selections, music format, the types of new members they seek.
Much energy is devoted to "creating" the kind of experience they want people to believe is authentically taking place when they come to church. However, it is all calculated and orchestrated. And yes, the media campaigns fit right into that strategy.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if any of the members pulled up their yard signs after last weekend?

Anonymous said...

Good post, WD.
Kyle

Anonymous said...

Of course it is all orchestrated. If you don't think it is, then either you have never known a mega-church pastor or attended one of their churches. The saddest part is that they are giving all pastors a bad name and then who will you call when you need a pastor in a time of crisis? You certainly don't have to worry about calling a mega-pastor because you'd never get through to him and he would never come.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I don't even like him personally or in the pulpit, just observing how he has gotten the upper hand on all those who disparage him.

October 12, 2011 8:56 AM

HUH? You mean he got the upper hand playing the world's game? I say no thanks to that!

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how many people cannot see through these guys.

You want proof they don't have credibility anymore? Look no further than the current White House.

Anonymous said...

Mega churches give me the creeps anymore. So fake!

He is competing with Prestonwood...another fake church.

Anonymous said...

Many senior pastors cannot lead their congregations out of wet paper sacks, much less into the future to reach their cities for Christ.

Jeffress was senior pastor of FBC-Wichita Falls prior to FBC-Dallas. The WF church also used yard signs as part of its "marketing" (for lack of a better word) during his tenure there; the real gain: residents of WF could see how far/wide members of FBC-WF lived over the community and knew when special events were scheduled (not much else, really; lots of TV ads, but manages a local cable channel and employs a media/missions minister).

While at FBC-WF, Jeffress and others led the congregation to building a new sanctuary (previous one close to 100 years old). A well-organized media campaign was included toward the end of the construction project--along with the start of new ministries. Today, Jeffress has moved on but FBC-WF has grown considerably--and it paid off the $21 million construction project in about 4 years (much money among the membership there).

Jeffress' executive pastor at FBC-D served with him in a similar staff role at FBC-WF.

Read the history: when Criswell followed the much-loved/respected Truett years ago at FBC-D, major work needed to be done. What was begun was similar to what it sounds like Jeffress is doing now. Just interesting. Read the history; it informs the future and the present.

No horse in this race.

Anonymous said...

Much better post..that was exactly my issue with the endorsement. Why Perry and not Cain? I am NOT wanting some minister throwing an endorsement behind a candidate when it is not one I especially trust. I guess Jeffress does not to remember "the domain" problem had with Perry and "the interstate corridor land deal."

Anonymous said...

I was a member of FBC-WF for a short time while Jeffress was CEO (I mean pastor). He had led the church to cut its Cooperative giving from 15% when Morris Chapman left to 7 or 8% in 1997. Not sure what is was when he left, but it was all calculated in order for the church to focus more upon itself. Missions did not get mentioned once during the month of December when it is typically mentioned in SB churches.
FBC-Dallas gave IMB more than 1 million dollars once when Mac Brunson was pastor. That will NEVER happen while Jeffress is pastor.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing video that gives a glimpse into where we are....and it is extremly funny!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6ENgXiZO0k&feature=related

Anonymous said...

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the IRS to investigate First Baptist Church of Dallas and its pastor for posting videos that endorse a presidential candidate, but the pastor isn't concerned about

Anonymous said...

For Lovers of Cain

"Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan is simple: you'll simply pay more"

Just another new tax - a Federal Sales Tax and another Bureaucracy.

For Lovers of Romney

Romneycare was the inspiration of Obamacare.

For Perry Lovers

"Texas Enterprise Fund's $440 million in taxpayer grants" just like Obama's Stimulus program both with political paybacks.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203791904576606852823058940.html


So remind me , what is the difference between a Democ Rat and a Republ I Can (too)

Bojac said...

We may not agree with Bro. Jeffress but we have to admit he is a good strategist. W.D. U remind me of an old country "Don't U ever get tired of hurting me" At least that is what some may say. I however think U are doing a good thing pointing out some of the absurd things some of my fellow pastors are doing.

Anonymous said...

Persecution Syndrome:

"Anita Perry: Husband Rick Perry "brutalized" by media, the GOP because of his faith "
Story and Video

Sharon said...

Just as some blacks label any criticism as racism, some Christians label any criticism as persecution against Christians. It gets old.

Anonymous said...

Group calls for investigation:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2011/10/americans_united_for_separatio.php

Anonymous said...

Isn't it about time for another post on a wicked and evil mega-church pastor? This one is real old.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like what happens in many Baptist Churches? (Burn Eternally that is, as Baptist's don't want anyone who asks questions to stay.)

"What ends up happening is when you come out of this cult you are so brainwashed that you are going to blood atone for your sins of running and things like that. And they put so much pressure on you to come back or you are going to burn eternally,"

http://news.yahoo.com/warren-jeffs-wife-breaks-away-arizona-compound-031641864.html

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Isn't it about time for another post on a wicked and evil mega-church pastor? This one is real old."

Surely you must know one who you could refer, along with a comment or two?

Anonymous said...

The real problem - with many evangelical and other church "leaders" - is that they, and we, as Christians do not understand Christianity - true Christianity. "We" are following the world's approach by thinking in terms of domination of worldly matters, even in national matters. Read Scripture and find which of the World Kingdoms, set up by God, ever had a "Christian" leader. (God does choose our worlds governmental leaders - He says so clearly.) Think of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. When the government of Rome was superceded by an ecclesiastic ruler (the Papal leaders) we experienced the dark ages, and only the Reformation could remove it's power. The motivation for the Reformation was Scripture in the hands (hearts or minds) of Godly men, motivated by the Spirit of God. The original Baptist movement in America was sternly against any marriage of politics and church. Today, the majority of Baptist organizations (I cannot refer to them as churches for they ceased long ago to preach the gospel as a priority.) The strongest followers of the world's approach concerning government, inside and outside of the "church" have been Southern Baptists.

We need to study Scripture. (As my pastor says, the Bible is not a lazy man's book.) Instead, though, "we" as "Christians" have thought to dominate culture by lobbying and voting and taking political control. This IS NOT GOD'S WAY!

(For some of you this may be news.) The Kingdom of God is here now. Jesus brought it. On that great feast of Pentecost, Peter preached what the prophets foretold. The Kingdom, the one not of this world, arrived. If we are really of Christ, then we should know and understand that we are citizens of that Kingdom. That Kingdom is ruled by the Righteousness of Christ, and by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, from the very throne of God. This, I know, is very seldom preached, and hardly ever preached in the majority of Baptist "churches."

What is our armour? What is our weapon? Ephesians 6:10-17 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

and Zechariah 4:6 "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

In Christ