Just a few observations that perhaps some of you want to comment on:
- how does a church like Shiloh or Trinity Baptist end up hiring a pastor who abuses people? How do their deeds go undetected? What empowers a man to think he can do these things and get away with it? Does elevating their pastor to "rock star", untouchable status have anything to do with it? Has FBC Jax been guilty of the same, but we were just blessed to have godly men at the helm who didn't abuse the power and trust given to them? Its very apparent we have a pastor who desires to have much accountability within in his pastor's office by having his wife working with him - that is one thing that our church was very happy about. But when I see how we heap praise and money and power on one man that we hardly know just because of his position of "pastor", it makes me greatly concerned that our church could also be susceptible to pastoral abuse.
- Isn't it interesting that now several times we have been told during announcements that we will be voting on the church trustees that have been nominated by Mac Brunson? Mac has told us this at least once and maybe twice, and Ed Dickinson mentioned it yesterday, that on January 6th we'll be voting for these men, and that there is biographical information on these men available for everyone to pick up at the usher stations! Well, imagine that!!! Actually ANNOUNCING, and DISTRIBUTING NECESSARY INFORMATION about what we will be voting on! While I'm glad they are distributing information, this shows how deceitful Mac Brunson was about the bylaw changes that were voted on November 28th. Just as easily as Mac is making trustee nominee biographical information available to the congregation, he could have made the bylaw changes available also, BUT CHOSE NOT TO DO SO (and you have to admit that providing biographical info on these men is much less important than providing information to members on the bylaw changes that affect their membership and governance of the church). Sorry Jim Smyrl, I haven't witnessed to anyone this week, but I'm still going to "complain" that our pastor and president of the trustees deceived their congregation by not making bylaw changes very available to the membership before asking for a vote. Asking the faithful Wednesday night attenders to vote on bylaw changes without at least, AT LEAST summarizing the changes was a shameful act.
- anyone notice that Jim Smyrl's preaching style/demeanor has changed since working under Mac Brunson? Most of us have heard Smyrl before he worked under Brunson, and now we've heard him quite a few times since he was hired and working under Brunson. I myself notice a distinct change but wondered if anyone else has.
- I'm sure that the trustee vote on January 6th will be an "all or nothing", "up or down" vote on all the men that our pastor has nominated. If this is so, it is a sham vote. If they're going to ask us to vote, give us a ballot and allow us to vote yes or no on each of these men. I haven't seen the list of men, but here is some criteria that I would apply to the vote if I were to vote:
a. Before I will vote "yes" on ANY of these men that Mac Brunson is nominating, I want Mac Brunson to stand in the pulpit and explain the bylaw changes that were ramrodded through, and I want him to explain why he felt the need to ask for a vote without making the bylaw changes readily available to the membership, why he felt the need to never at least explain the changes, and then apologize for this stupid act. Until he does THAT, I won't vote in favor of any of his proposals brought before the church - trustees, new school, none of it.
b. Any men that were involved in any way with the decision to bring Mac Brunson to Jacksonville by being on the search committee, I would vote "NO" on. We don't need men in positions of trustee who have their reputations in the church and community tied to Mac's success. We need men who can objectively hold Mac accountable to do right by his congregation.
c. Any men that have served with Mac as a trustee during his first two years or in a position of leadership like chair or vice chair of deacons would get a "NO" vote. These men, in my opinion, failed to hold Mac accountable during the first two years and I could not vote for any of them. Where were these men when the $300,000 gift was given? Didn't they see the problem that this would present when the congregation became aware of it? We need men who will be willing to say "NO" to Mac Brunson, willing to ask tough questions of Mac Brunson. Where were the current trustees when someone needed to tell Mac Brunson "No, we will NOT ask our church to vote on significant bylaw changes without first making the changes readily available and summarizing the changes before the vote. If you do, I will resign." Where were the trustees when it was found out that Mac was going to use our church facilities to host "A Night to Stand With Israel" and he wasn't explaining it to his congregation?
d. Is he nominating any new men to positions of trustee leadership that are long-time faithful members who have stellar reputations and could be trusted, but not part of the current "power structure" at church? Men who the congregation knows have the judgement and discernment needed to be a trustee, but who don't have the clout because they don't hang with the current big shots? If you've read the list, are there any men that YOU would nominate that are not on the list? Feel free to post your ideas here on who should NOT be on the list and who SHOULD be...I'm particularly interested in hearing some nominations of men who serve faithfully but aren't "big shots" who are probably overlooked by the pastor. If this was a ballot vote, I would write in a few names of men who I know have impeccable reputations, but get overlooked because they don't hang with the current lay power structure of the church. If we've learned anything about our church in the last 2 years, its that we need some fresh new lay leadership - not "new" in the sense of "uknown" - but "new" in trusted men that we know and love but have never served in those positions.