Well, darn it, we need to reshoot that commercial. Its false advertising. Mac invites people downtown to our church, but the coffee for our visitors is only on Mac when its convenient for him. Not every Sunday is the coffee on him, because he only greets visitors at a visitor's reception if there's nothing better to do. The coffee's on him only so long as he doesn't have a hot preaching gig to fly to, or if he's not rushing out the door to fly to the SBC, or if he doesn't have to take care of his grandchild..and of course if he has a "Holy Land" trip or cruise, gotta rush out of the service even if its the day when we have the largest number of visitors. You see, Mac is a highly paid (and I mean HIGHLY paid) CEO pastor and apparently all of his other religious and family activities take priority over rubbing elbows with the "plebe" of Jacksonville. Of course this is no surprise really - if Mac can't make it to Crime Prevention Steering Committee meetings with the likes of John Delaney, Nat Glover, Steven Wallace, Ed Austin, and Wayne Weaver (read this) then certainly he won't be able to visit very often with some Jacksonville hick who drove downtown to check out this new pastor and the big church.
In keeping with the theme of "hypocrisy" of late, let's measure Mac's own behavior in not greeting our visitors every Sunday, with that which he writes about in his highly-acclaimed (among those who only READ Mac's books and don't actually watch him Sunday after Sunday) book "The New Guidebook for Pastor's". Knowing that on the Sundays when we have the largest number of visitors Mac leaves the service without greeting visitors, here is Mac in his own words:
"People can tell a lot about the health of a church by what happens when the service is over....Much of what happens when the service is over depends on the pastor. If he rushes out of the worship center, the people will rush out too. It is my conviction that the larger the church, the more determined the pastor must be to stay after the service to speak with the people...Visitors were amazed that a pastor as prominent and as busy as he [W.A. Criswell] would take time to talk with them....It could be that success in pastoral leadership rises or falls with how the pastor treats people when the service is over."
Its bad enough that Mac himself can't hang around for the visitor's reception, especially on days when we have so many visitors like Easter Sunday and Father's Day.
But what makes it worse, not only does Mac not make it, but if he can't make it we CANCEL THE VISITOR'S RECEPTION. Yes, on Easter Sunday, in front of a packed house with probably HUNDREDS of visitors, dear Jim Whitmire had to announce that there would be no visitor's reception, as our Krispy Kreme eatin', pick-up truck drivin', grocery carryin' pastor had to leave to catch a flight to Morocco for his Mediterranean cruise. Sunday a week ago, no visitor's reception, Mac had to fly to Indianapolis for the SBC convention - couldn't even stay for the invitation! Father's Day? Nope, Mac can't make it, so we have to cancel the reception.
Yet with all the seminary-educated staff, and the highly (over) paid "executive" staff members with decades of experience, we can't figure out one fact:
Maurillio Amorim of the A-Group, Mac's church marketing consultant: come on guy, help us out here. We're a client of yours that helps you pay your bills (you even use your work for us on your website as marketing pieces) - please tell our staff that a visitor's reception should be a priority, and its not a function to be cancelled at the discretion of the pastor. Please tell them that the visitor's reception is NOT ABOUT MAC, its about the visitor. Please tell our staff Maurillio, that for God's sake (literally), when the visitors get in their car and COME TO US, we should at least show them the courtesy of inviting them to a reception where we can give them a soda, a cup of coffee, a snack, shake their hand, and our highly (over) paid executive staff can tell them about the ministries of our church and invite them back.
Even though our conference room Welcome Center that we built in 2002, well-suited for greeting and mingling with our visitors, was converted to a lavish office-suite for our pastor, we can still meet our visitors out in the lobby just outside the new pastor's suite...in fact we could give tours of the pastor's suite to let our visitors know how we would spend their money if they join the church and start tithing.
Seriously: Church staff, tell Mac we need a visitor's reception every Sunday and make it happen. Every Sunday. We have enough staff to do it EVERY Sunday. Board of Trustees: would you please do YOUR job...we elected you in January to serve the church, not serve Mac Brunson...do YOUR job and make the pastor do HIS job, which is to put the needs of our church and our community FIRST...above his cruises, above his Holy Land trips, above his duties at the SBC...and GREET OUR VISITORS.