"There was a time when most pastors were poor. Many still are today....But a pastor should not allow a well-meaning church to pay him an exorbitant salary"
Mac Brunson, "The New Guidebook for Pastors", p. 184
Mac Brunson has said on numerous occasions he began his educational training believing he would become a lawyer some day. But then God called him to preach, and then God called him to be a megachurch pastor in Dallas. Then while riding a camel up Mt. Sinai, God called Mac to come to FBC Jax. Even though he admitted during the 2008 pastor's conference that he has the "smarts, drive and ambition" to be just as successful outside of church in the business world, he humbled himself to take the lowly position of millionaire preacher at a mega church. How inspiring.
From a financial standpoint, its a good thing he became a preacher and not a lawyer or politician. Compared to what he's making now as a megachurch pastor, having zero accountability to the people giving the money and earning, well, an "exorbitant" salary, he has it made!
Just ask the U.S. Senators.
There is a law that requires Senators to annually disclose outside income earned in addition to their $180,000 salary as a Senator, any gifts they received in the prior year, and a summary of asset holdings.
Yesterday, June 13th, the Senators released their 2007 disclosure reports.
Headlines from the reports? Majority Leader Harry Reid reported receiving a land gift worth a whopping $14,000. Mitch McConnell received a $500 crystal sculpture.
Obviously Senators Reid and McConnell don't have the "drive, smarts, and ambition" of Mac Brunson, or they would have been able to use their position to get larger gifts from the people they are supposed to be serving.
Imagine if they had reported a land gift worth $307,000 from an influential developer. And only three weeks after arriving in Washington. Headlines would be made for sure.
As discussed here many times, its an absolute embarrassment that our mega church pastors earn HUGE salaries and benefits without the congregation, the people giving money for church ministries, for "God's work", having the opportunity to know what cut the pastor is taking.
The trend of the last 20 years is public disclosure of all public officials' salaries - for instance the salary of any Duval County agency employee can be looked up here. Full disclosure. Why is this important? Its obvious - full disclosure to the givers of the money equates to accountability. When money is allocated in secret by a select few, and when those few in control know the likelihood is almost zero that their decisions will be subject to the scrutiny of the majority of the givers, then abuse is likely. If not abuse, then at least allocations are made that don't serve the best interests of the organization.
Mac Brunson and family, together with salary, benefits, and perks, reportedly earn over $400,000 from FBC Jax. Some have said its higher than that. That's exorbitant. That's disgusting. Do I say that out of jealousy? No. I say it because it's God's money that we're talking about. Its doubly disgusting considering the quote from his book at the top of this article. And we'll say its triple dog-disgusting given that he won't dare disclose his salary, benefits, perks, gifts, and outside income (outside income by the way arguably is NOT earned by his so-called "smarts, drive and ambition" but because he holds the title of "Pastor FBC Jacksoville"). And shame on us as a church to sit back and pour money into the offering plate each week. We are willing accomplices in this misuse of God's money to enrich a man and his family.
Thank goodness our society has learned the value of openness and transparency in finances when it comes to our public servants. It serves us well. Too bad megachurches like FBC Jax can't hold OUR pastor servant to at least the same standard. It would serve us well to ensure God's money is not misused.