2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2009 Pastor's Conference - Still Waiting...

To those of you visiting this Website who are looking for the registration web site for the 2009 First Baptist Church Jacksonville Pastor's Conference, you've reached this website, a blog that is devoted to attempting to hold Pastor Mac Brunson accountable for his abuses at our church. Browse just a few of the articles that are available in the right hand column to get the story of what has been happening at our church since you last visited FBC Jacksonville.

Unfortunately as of this writing, September 4th, our "Director of Special Projects" is late in starting the registration for our 2009 Pastor's Conference. We are now into September and the Pastor's Conference website has given a list of speakers, a rough agenda, but has not listed any of the workshop topics and no information on fees or the registration process. No information on the cost of meals, and the cost of the "upgrade" premium sessions. But we have made some progress in getting ready for the conference: with the help of our ace church marketing consultant from just up the road from Jacksonville in Nashville (Tennessee), we came up with the catchy slogan for the conference of "Healthy Pastors, Healthy Churches" with the a similar green apple and peel that he used for Mac's "Fresh" sermon series in 2006. Just my guess, but judging from the portly status of our pastor and sidekick Jim Smyrl, the "Healthy Pastors" is not speaking of physical health. Sorry, couldn't resist.

But I do want to offer an alternative for those of you who might be considering coming to the FBC Jax Pastor's Conference this year. Our church has problems, and it might be best to skip it this year and try another conference. You see, Mac and Jim Smyrl have spent the last year "lovingly" telling their congregation how stuck in the past we are, how traditionalist, how legalistic we are, and even Mac's church consultant has used the word "fundamentalist" to describe me on his website. (I've hyperlinked articles on this blog so you can see their dim view of the people of FBC Jacksonville). They are obviously very frustrated over the lack of progress they have had in transitioning our church from its current "legalistic", "fundamental", and "traditionalist" ways and now is just not a good time to learn much from FBC Jax. And why would you want to come and worship with a bunch of people who our pastor has described as a "hotbed of legalism" that "have a list but no real relationship with Jesus Christ"? According to Smyrl we're stuck in our traditions, and we need to be looking at the methods of churches who are reaching people with "flip flops and tee-shirts", and we are obviously not there yet (although Jim Smyrl "bravely" preaches without a tie on Wednesday - the crowds are beginning to build!).

Although still there is no information about the fees for the conference, you might anticipate an increase again this year as we saw last year. Earlier this year I received several emails from pastors disappointed in the huge increase in FBC Jax Pastor Conference tuition from previous years and I have permission to share one of them with you:

....In your blog, you mentioned the rise in registration fee from $100 with meals to $175 w/o meals. Has there ever been any reason given for the increase?

This increase is one reason why I did not attend this year [Feb 2008]. Instead, I went to Dr. John MacArthur's Shepherd's Conference in Southern California. I thought you might find this interesting. The registration was $300.00 for Wednesday through Sunday, although Saturday is a free day to be a "tourist". With that registration fee it included lunch for Wednesday-Friday, lite breakfast fare consisting of fruit, cold cereals, fruit juice, coffee, donuts, milk, chocolate milk, etc. We had snacks such as vegetable trays, cheese & cracker trays, bottled water cold drinks, such as coke, diet coke, dr. pepper, root beer sprite, Pepsi, etc. And these things are stationed EVERYWHERE you turn in multiple locations. But it gets better. (Sounds like a cheesy infomercial, doesn't it.) Every year they give you a gift, it may be a watch or a briefcase, this year it was a $50 gift card to the book store. Now, what pastor is not going to buy books at a conference? Nice touch, wasn't it? In case you tallying this up $300.00 registration minus a $50.00 gift card we're now at $250.00.

But in addition to all of that on Thursday of the conference at lunch they also passed out canvas bags full of books and resources to every attendee. In total there were 14 books a DVD and a CD. If you do the math real quick if you spent $20.00 for each book, alone, that is now $280.00 now I am in the black $30.00.

As you can see, it just made sense from a financial standpoint to attend the Shepherd's Conference and I was blessed immeasurably and will attend again. And just like you, at FBCJAX, I have to also be a good steward of the resources God has given me and the church I pastor.

So while we have no idea what the registration fee will be at FBC Jax even at this late date, I'm sure it will be at least as high as last year's $175 plus "premium" sessions and much higher if you add meals. We shall see, as soon as the Director of Special Projects and Maurilio Amorim get back to this project.

If you want to find information about the Shepard's Conference at John MacArthur's church March 4th-8th, 2008, go here:

Although their conference is a month later than ours, their registration site is open and full of information about the speakers, workshops, and theme. Not the big list of speakers, but perhaps you will hear from God at this conference from men who are not angry, who don't take advice on how to run the church from a church marketing consultant in Nashville, and you'll learn from lay and staff members at that church who aren't looking at churches who are winning souls with "flip flops and tee-shirts" to see what the latest Purpose Driven technique is to appeal to the masses. And you won't have your intelligence insulted by having to hear Mac Brunson talk about the evils of pastors who "negotiate salaries like an NBA super star" when he himself is a pastor earning the big dollars and accepting huge gifts from members of the church), and bragging about how he has the "skill, drive, and ambition" to be successful outside of the ministry...or hear him praise his son for "raising $100,000" to offset the costs of the conference when really the credit of any money "raised" goes to God and God's generous people at FBC Jax.

So in the absence of specifics on our 2009 Pastor's Conference at this point, use this as an opportunity to try a different conference next year. Maybe the Shepherd's Conference, or maybe one that is run by people in tee-shirts and flip-flops. Besides, you can still watch the Pastor's Conference from FBC Jax on the Internet, and you can come back to the Watchdog for some interesting analysis.


FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers - thought I'd get this story out to you in advance of my main post on this topic:

Jacksonville Councilman Daniel Davis stood up at a recent city council meeting and called out "sorry churches" who are more concerned about building huge buildings than helping the poor. This was a meeting where it was being discussed whether taxpayer money should be used to fund scholarships for low-income children to the Don Brewer Early Learning Center. Councilman Davis said it is because "Jacksonville has a bunch of sorry churches" that the government has to be more involved in helping kids who are underprivilgeged. He said these sorry churches are more interested in "building magnficent structures" and they "trip all overthemselves to witness in foreign countries but aren't doing what they should be at home" (that is helping the down and out in Jacksonville.)

Bravo Daniel Davis. By the way, Davis is a Christian, is a conservative, and a regular church attender. But I would add that these "sorry churches" are more interested also in taking money from church goers to start downtown schools for the very wealthy, taking collections on the sacred Easter Sunday to put the preacher on nationwide TV, and interested in starting a church in the very rich part of Jacksonville to gather tithes to bring to the mother church. And we have a bunch of "sorry pastors" more interested in gathering $300k land gifts than gather money to help the underprivileged in our city.

But more on this later.

Here's the link to the article:

Councilman Davis on "Sorry Churches"

Ramesh said...

Wathdog, I am curious to know, if currently fbcjax does missions locally? I have heard Dr. Brunson mention this several times in his sermons.

How is it different from what they did in the past (about 3 years ago)?

Do they provide youth services for under privileged children?

gcwiv said...

Daniel Davis ought to look at his own church before casting stones at others. The church where he serves as a deacon and which his brother in law (Tom Messer) is the pastor is none other than Trinity Baptist Church! The church that continued to support Bob Gray for fourteen years after the leadership knew he was a child molester!

Now that is a "sorry church"!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I didn't know that he attends Trinity. I have to agree with you, that is one sorry church that still has as its pastor a man who didn't have the backbone to expose Bob Gray, but instead knowingly shipped him off to Germany. But that's another story.

Not to defend Trinity - but they do run a rescue mission downtown, right?

RM said...

I wouldn't pay attention to anything that comes out of Daniel Davis' mouth if he's a deacon at Trinity.

It always easy for someone to stand up in a meeting and condemn churches for something they think we ought to be doing. Since he is a councilman, I hope he is as busy cleaning up governments as he is in criticizing churches.

I hate cheap shots at churches!

gcwiv said...

Trinity does have a rescue mission and a new shelter for women and children downtown. Reportedly, FBC helped out with the new shelter.

gmommy said...

There aren't enough rescue missions in operation to justify what was allowed and covered for at Trinity.

Maybe this councilman was sickened by what his brother in law condoned and the "sorry church" he was referring to was his own...Trinity.

Anonymous said...

My pastor has attended these conferences without question that the church would approve and supply his trip and attendance. I will absolutely object his attending this 2009 conference that prostitutes the kingdom of
God according to Brunson and the A-Team. I will propose he pay his own way this year.