First Baptist Jacksonville is "sponsoring" a Salvation Army Kettle at the Avenues Mall in Southern Jacksonville - we have committed to "man" the kettle for the entire holiday season and church members can sign up for an hour slot at the FBC Jax website.
Yesterday at the beginning of the service we were treated with a video promo piece for this "ministry" featuring Mac in a Santa's hat and Salvation Army apron in his swank library in his office suite, where Mac unveiled this incredibly generous gesture on the part of FBC Jacksonville. The kettle poster has the FBC Jax logo on it so that donors will know we are from FBC Jax...and Mac said this is a great way to spread the gospel - but didn't say exactly how we would spread the gospel by having church members ring a bell.
But here's an excerpt from the FBC Jax Website that shows Mac's real motive for having us ring the bell:
Our kettle will be located at the Avenues Mall off of Philips [sic] Hwy. and Southside Blvd. just south of I-95 (Food Court area). This will allow some exposure in the area of the new south campus. All proceeds will got [sic] to help the Salvation Army'd [sic] effort to help the needy families with food, toys, etc. during the Christmas season.
How can we get "exposure" for our new campus? Let's ring the bell for the Salvation Army at the Avenues Mall! We can get our "brand" down there! Free exposure!
Since this is a marketing move, we need to maximize the FBC Jax brand exposure, and we need to make sure we have coordinated marketing messages to those who put coins in our bucket. So for those of you ringing the bell, the Watchdog has just received from the A-Group some of the scripts you can use while ringing the bell that will help draw people to our new satellite campus:
"Ring a ring....Merry Christmas! Thanks for the change and digging deep, come hear Mac Brunson at our new campus, he'll be beating his sheep!"
"Ring a ring...Thank you for sharing your money with the poor...visit our south campus on Easter and Mac will be asking for more!"
"Ring a ring, ring...Have a blessed Christmas season...that gift you gave sure was swell...our new satellite campus will be where you can hear Mac yell."
"Ho, Ho, Ho...Merry Christmas, thanks for the coin, visit our satellite and agree to tithe, and you will be welcome to join!"
"Happy Holidays...isn't the weather getting cool? Drop in a quarter, and let me tell you about our new for-the-rich downtown school!"
"Ring, Ring, Ring....thanks for the dime even though you're short on money these days...by the way our pastor says 'Praise Jesus you got no raise'!!"
"Merry Christmas - we're starting a satellite campus and that ain't no lie...come and visit and you'll see Jim Smryl preach without that legalistic tie."
This time I thought this was a genuinely good idea. Give a little credit where credit is due watchdog. Maybe its a gimmick to actually try to help those less fortunate, and thats a good thing not a bad thing. A step in the right direction. (please run this, you always run all my complaints, well not all...but most.)
Good idea indeed. This is something our church can do and should do, help the poor by helping an agency like the Salvation Army.
But to have Mac make a video of himself with his Santa hat (I thought after last year's Christmas card I wouldn't see that hat again) extolling the virtues of this as though its some kind of remarkable, sacrificial ministry we are doing is just overdoing it a bit. And then to see on the website that we chose the Avenues Mall as a way to give us "exposure" where our satellite will be - that shows the motives - not to help the poor primarily, but we can get free exposure for our new satellite! We spend very little of our effort and money at our church to help the poor, but now we are helping the poor so long as we get some "exposure" out of it. Just pointing it out, using some humor.
Again, good idea, let's all go ring the bell, and raise money for the poor. But I find it distasteful that we help the poor as a means to market our new church location. So I wonder, did we think of this idea of manning a kettle as we thought about how to advertise for our new satellite location, or did we think of it as a means to help the poor?
I agree its a gimmick. I believe this is another example of "cutting edge" as it puts the church out in the front of all the other churches in Jacksonville. They are just out there preaching the gospel. Look what we are doing. It also allows those who volunteer to give of their time at a safe place inside the mall to carry the torch so to speak.
This new "cutting edge" phenomenon is just a little too cute. Can you imagine seeing some of the trustees out there ringing the bell? I wonder how many of them will show up and be seen. Possibly you Watchdog can snap a picture of them and post it for everyone to see. Should the trustees wear the golf shirts and aprons so we will recognize them?
I cannot get over how such "strategy" and "innovative techniques" are infiltrating ministry. I think putting a church logo on the Salvation Army bucket does a diservice to that organization. Unless, there is a planned merger with the Salvation Army to place their property alongside FBC? That way FBC can send the downtrodden and less fortunate to their property rather than deal with them on church property. There has to be something there other than what appears on the surface...there usually always is. Maybe there should be more stations located at other malls so that the church logo really gets "fired up". I suggest they be put it in all of the malls all the way to St Augustine. How's that for "cutting edge marketing". It will only cost what the "kettles" cost as the entire labor initiative is free. And FBC will get the CREDIT for being concerned about the less fortunate.
As usual it "costs" the church nothing, while appearing to be benovelent and concerned.
Lets see if the congregation will step up to this idea for Mac. If they don't he will be ashamed again for their not reaching out to Jacksonville and beyond. I believe Mac should get a job "fund raising", he is very good at getting people to give money to his causes.
Just a thought, should there be one placed at the gates of Deerwood? Why did we "just now" think of helping the poor? They are outside of the church every service. Poor people are not a new venue. We could have been of more service to others for a long time, but I guess we had to figure a way to "get something out of it", like advertising.
Good points Anon. I hope Mac shows up to man the kettle on his appointed times to ring the bell with his Santa hat to help the poor. He doesn't have a good track record when it comes to helping the community - he really did embarrass us when he signed up for a spot on the Crime Prevention Steering Committee and missed 5 consecutive meetings. He probably realized he wasn't going to get credit for his attendance, and that there was no marketing value to spending his time in that manner - only he had no idea the story would be on the front page when he missed 5 of 7 meetings.
Thanks RP for your email.
Let us know when you're going to man the kettle.
Here's a special ring-call for you to use as you man the kettle, prepared by our church marketing firm just for you:
"Ho, Ho, Ho...thanks for your contribution that you made...visit our South Campus...we'll be serving cherry Kool Aid"
Just joshing with you RP...you've been tough on me plenty, and just having some fun with you.
I do see that your name is on the church website as a coordinator of the Kettle deal, so good job there. You're serving the Lord, not being critical of that. Just questioning the motives of our leadership in using this service to promote our church's brand.
Mac has alterior motives for EVERYTHING he does. He just can't help it. Even getting up at 5:00 a.m. last Monday and visiting two people in the hospital was apparently done just so he could mention it in the service. Amazing.
And having a Christmas musical, or Easter service...those services are just a good chance to take up a collection, or lure in more "giving units." Pathetic.
Now, helping the Salvation Army just to get some good PR. Bush league!
Just thought you all would like to know that Rick Warren teamed up with the Salvation Army in Walmarts last year to raise funds for the poor. Possibly Mac thought this would be a great idea here in Jacksonville. So its not a new approach its following in the steps of Purpose Driven. Just put Rick Warren and Salvation Army in the search window and click on. You will find several blogs concerning this conference and how Rick talked about it in these blogs. Purpose Driven is alive and well at FBC. Does Mac have an original idea of his own?.
I still have not heard if the church met its budget nor has the $1m been met to manage all the mechanical needs. Anybody out there know what was given?
Dude, we have a pastor just like this. He, when he got to the church, pushed to move to a more "biblical" model of church leadership and handpicked some people as elders. Stll he is called the Senior Pastor and he makes sure we know it. The church agreed to pay him more than they probably should because they had several large givers who have since left. We have a quarter of a million dollar budget which to me is pretty large. However, we have to borrow VBS stuff (we don't buy it), we buy no educational materials, and skimp on other things. But out of that budget we make sure to pay him his $100,000 plus per year salary. And he has the NERVE to say that it is perfectly in line with other churches and he deserves it. We run less than 150 on Sunday morning. He can't be voted out. The other leaders are yes men.
I'm going to be checking out your site, ddue or dudette. It is nice to hear of someone else who has a pastor like I do. You should see him salavate when visitors with children come in---he has ever said "All it would take to cure our budget ills is to have 5 or 6 families join that would give about 300 per month."
Praise God for this blog.
I personally am glad that FB is doing this in the community. The church I attend has done this for several years and will doing it again this year. For your information all churches or groups who participate in this community endeavor have an assinged place and their church or organizations name on the sign by the kettle.
It is rewarding and you get to meet many people while on your assignment.
I applaud your Pastor and church for getting out of the walls of your buildings and helping in this way.
1. The average SBC congregation will not see $15 million in fewer than 90 years; FBCJax should very carefully steward its;
2. Anyone who negatively criticizes Rick Warren or PD either hasn't read Rick's "Purpose Driven Church" or simply has no sense at all when it comes to church growth and organizational things (read the book);
3. Church members can vote with their feet OR their hands.
How many pastors are on staff at FBC Jax.? More than 10? If so, why is it necessary to pay fees and expenses for an out-of-town, out-of-state, high profile "fill-in?" Even though you and others were evidently blessed with the sermons David Allen delivered Sunday, August 4, can you tell us if this was a budgeted expense, as vacations are generally planned and budgeted in advance? Aren't any of the on-staff pastors qualified to step up to the plate, or was the choice the pastor's personal preference apart from previously approved financial policy?
The fees and expenses incurred by paying an "outside" guest would buy a lot of paint or wallpaper, thus chipping away at your current budget deficiency or emergency repairs proram that your pastor continues to beat you up about. Just wondering.
A comment also about your post today and the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle.
Perhaps Mr. Brunson had tri-fold reasons to promote this pretense; 1) Mimicking Rick Warren, thus promoting himself, 2) Promoting his southern campus crusade, but 3rd and most importantly, in my opinion, is to try and mollify a Jacksonville Councilman's recent remarks about "Sorry Churches" in Jax. as reported in the Florida Times Union. Just Brunson's inept way of responding to just criticism and dealing with the truth. It will take more than kettles to change the opinions of many individuals in the community. With a budget of $15 million per year, surely there was and has been sufficient funds to better serve. Where does it all go? I think most already know that answer. God will not be mocked!
I just watched Pastor Mac's video for the Salvation Army for manning the kettle for 1 hour. I think it's a good idea. Mac sounded very genuine and humble. I am somewhat cynical about all this marketing ideas and branding. The only branding we all need is the Cross in our hearts.
I'm all for it. Let's ring the bell.
But can we get real? Can we put our thinking caps on? Can we analyze, can we measure, as mature adults what good we are doing for the community? Sorry to burst everyone's bubble who thinks this is the most cutting edge ministry move - including Jim Whitmire who declared "we are not going to believe what we see". And I don't want to burst RP's bubble who has worked hard on this project - but we have to look at facts.
Here's the Question: What is the net benefit to the community and the poor in FBC Jax volunteering to man this kettle? (other than the selfish marketing value, and other than how we can all feel good about ourselves). Here are cold hard facts:
- We will man the kettle for approximately 400 hours (40 days x 10 hours per day).
- According to the Salvation Army, a healthy kettle will collect $30 per hour. Thus we are raising about $12,000 in our kettle.
- According to the Salvation Army, if kettles are not manned by volunteers, a paid employee at minimum wage mans the kettle.
- Thus, if we assume that if we didn't volunteer, the $12,000 would be raised by a paid volunteer, then the net benefit our effort will provide to the community is $2800 ($7 x 400 hours) which is what would have to be paid to the ringers to raise the $12,000.
We're raising $2800 for the poor.
We paid David Allen twice that to preach Sunday.
That's what we pay Team Brunson in salary and bennies in two days.
I know the truth hurts. But is a church of 20,000 members and a budget of $15 million that pays its senior pastor and family hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in salary and benefits, raising a few thousand dollars for the poor anything to shout about? Is it worth having a video produced for the Internet? This is a very minor project, yet a very good one and worthwhile one...and we didn't need a video and automated scheduling software on the Internet. Support church wide could have been garnered through the Sunday School classes.
The sick part of this is that we likely spent more on the marketing aspect of this intitiave than will the net money raised!!! We had to pay for the video to be produced and put on the Internet, and to have the A-Group put the scheduing program on the church website...and of course the cost of the XXXL apron and Santa hat for Mac in the video.
But you have to hand it to Mac and the A-Group. This is absolutely MASTERFUL MARKETING. I mean I am in awe of how good this is from a pure marketing perspective. We are raising a paltry $3000 for the poor in our community, with no cash outlay ourselves other than the XXXL Salvation Apron and Santa Hat for Mac and the consulting fees for the video and the website scheduling software...and Mac has sold this as CUTTING EDGE ministry.
Now that is good. In a worldly sense that is.
So keep that in mind church. When Mac tells us how great this ministry is, keep in mind that it is worth a net benefit of $3000 to our community.
I think you are right on. This is certainly a nice thing to do, but it is also a big marketing ploy. But we know Mac likes marketing. He likes branding. Why else spend untold thousands of dollars a year on the A-Group?
Anyway, while I think you are on the right track here, I wanted to point out something I hadn't see mentioned on this blog that I felt was a positive for FBCJAX. (If it has been mentioned and I missed it, I apologize.)
It seems that there are now some limited audio and video feeds available on the website. They certainly don't have everything archived, which would be nice, but it is great to see these viewing options available on the church website, rather than just a link to the Inlight Ministry site. Anyway, just wanted to point it out to everyone.
dNot to worry! The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle will be successful! In fact, so successful the A-Group has already written the verbiage for the headlines.
Why not put a kettle outside (or inside) the doors of all the FBC buildings during prearranged times, then quitely give the money to the Salvation Army or other charities deemed appropriate? The foot traffic at FBC should be more than sufficient to equal customer traffic and participation at the mall, with one third of the membership participating. Now that would be a success story worthy of praise.
Watchdog: You are correct in your reasoning. My understanding of this, they will actually lose money. Once you take into account all the "wealthy" people who man the kettles. They would technically raise more money, if each person who is manning the kettle, contributed what they made in that one hour of work.
In this situation, I am not truly concerned about the money they raise or about the goodwill they generate in the community. My concerns are about the glitz, the marketing, the video productions ... something is wrong here. I remember 4 months ago, they were once showing news segments at the start of the church on the big screens ... this is so wrong. Why do we need to watch TV in the church?.
Please get rid of all this marketing. It almost feels, they are running fbcjax as a for-profit corporation. They are driving the members (who are cheap labor - zero labor cost) for all volunteer work. For the sake of Christ, it's good and noble. But it's not good to satisfy somebody's idea of a marketing brain storm to get more members for fbcjax. I can understand, you want to add more members to fbcjax. But these methods turn people off. They want to come to Church for Sanctuary. To learn the Word of God. To Fellowship with Christians. The Church should not be a place, where they divide people based on what they can contribute to the "bottom-line". We all go through this madness in the World already. Why do we have to go through this in the Church too?
To me, more good will be done for our Lord Jesus Christ, if they held (any) prayer revivals and less fund raising. Preach the Word always. Don't even talk about money. Save souls. Don't beat up your church members. Love them in Christ. Then the money will pour in, all without asking.
"To me, more good will be done for our Lord Jesus Christ, if they held (any) prayer revivals and less fund raising. Preach the Word always. Don't even talk about money. Save souls. Don't beat up your church members. Love them in Christ. Then the money will pour in, all without asking."
Thy Peace::THANKS FOR THIS SIMPLE BUT PROFOUND STATEMENT.It is just that simple. The Apostle Paul stated "And I,brethren,when I came to you,came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom,declaring to you the testimony of God.For I was determined not to know any thing among you,SAVE(except)JESUS CHRIST,AND HIM CRUCIFIED[1Cor.2:1-2].Paul also wrote in 1Cor.9:16 "For though I PREACH THE GOSPEL,I have nothing to glory of:FOR NECESSITY IS LAID UPON ME;YES WOE UNTO ME,IF I PREACH NOT THE GOSPEL!!! All of this fancy-ansy,purpose driven,A-Group gimmicked,satellite groups is a bunch of man inspired nonsense.FBC Jax(where I was Baptisted by Dr.Lindsay)grew to be the largest church in Florida by Christ cenetered men simply and faithfully preaching with clarity the LORD JESUS CHRIST.Demostrating the Love of Christ by there livestyles.Reaching out thru personal witnessing and eventually television.Having a humility that endeared thousands to them.This current mess that Dr.Watchdog and others find themselves in is the product of men like Brunson who no longer believe that Jesus Christ and him crucified "WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO HIMSELF[John 12:32].The Gospel is no longer RELEVANT,so Jesus needs the A-Group and their great insight to help Him grow His Church.I as a pastor am truly sadden by what I see happenning to Christianity all around the world.Just as the Paul wrote;We are truly experiencing the last days"FALLING AWAY"[2Thess.2:].
You know what, even if it IS a ploy, at least they are trying to do something for the homeless. I swear nobody on here must ever have had those moments of homelessness before. When they do something good, maybe they should be complimented, even if it is a ploy. And whats wrong with the santa hat? Anybody on here going to ring the bell? Watchdog, are u?
(and a few weeks ago i made an apparent mistake about saying a counselor from the counseling center banned my email....so so much for running your mouth before knowing the facts. SOMEBODY banned it, but i guess not the person i thought. Maybe some people on here should take a hint about running the mouth before knowing facts about matters.......) Ok, watchdog please run this too, i can't find the post where i talked about the banning of my email...PLEASE....I want to correct my error.
I have been reading the blog for months now. It seems that the most prolific commentator is "Thy Peace".
He/she sends in opinions from afar(says he/she lives over a thousand miles away.) My question:
Have you ever set foot in FBCJ?
Yes, you do watch the sermon but its hard to reconcile your statements when you haven't met any one here. Your only source of other information is Watchdog .
It appears that you can't or don't attend any churches where you live or at least you have never compared them with FBCJ. Why?
Your comments are welcome but remember you are not getting the full story.
Or are you the avatar for Watchdog?
I wonder where you get your figures from? We paid Dr Allen $5600.00?
How do you know this? Or is it speculation?
How do you know that the A-Group created this message? Or is this speculation?
Your logic is faulty on the $2800 being earned. It's $9,200 : 12,000-2,800 = $9200.00.
Do you advise Henry Paulson?
Dear "It is written",
You say that you are a pastor. What has the church where you are at done to grow? You lament FBC and long for the past.
Please share with us what successes you have had and how we might use them.
Gabriella - you're not reading closely enough.
Ring the bell. That is great. I'm glad we're ringing the bell.
I'm just pointing out some facts so we can put this in perspective. The ringing of the bell by our church will result in a net of $3000 raised. Mac has already been shown by me on this blog to have a difficulty telling the truth, and he has a propensity to exaggerate truth to suit his purposes. This is just another example of that.
On Mac's santa promo vidoe he says:
"All the money that we raise that goes into these kettles will be used right here in our community this Christmas season in helping people with meals, helping buy medication for those who could not buy it any other way, helping buy presents for children, blankets for those that are cold, coats for those that need coats, shelter for those that need shelter."
That's alot of needs we're meeting for $3000 we're raising. Mac wasn't too concerned about the homeless and hungry on Easter Sunday when he tried to raise $180,000 to put himself on TV. He wasn't too worried about raising money for food, jackets, and blankets for the poor when he had to come hold his hand out for ONE MILLION DOLLARS for maintenance that should have been covered with the 40 million that we have given since he came here.
"What an important thing we can do for this community, what a message it would send to the city for them to see the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville out there joining hands with other Christian churches saying 'We care about those who have so much less than we do'.
Be part of a Christmas miracle right here in Jacksonville and join Debbie and myself as we try to meet the needs of people and as we share Jesus Christ.
Sounds good, but its a net $3000 raised, hardly a miracle.
Pardon me for not jumping for joy and slapping Mac on the back for such a "miracle" as our church raising $3000 for the poor this Christmas.
I'll say it again: let's all ring the bell and raise money and put a good face on our church to the community so they can all see how GENEROUS and LOVING and CONCERNED our church is about the poor.
But that message I'm afraid is drowned out by the actions of our church in how we spend the $15 million coming in each year...to pay Team Brunson hundreds of thousands, executive pastors huge salaries and bennies, pastor suites, and so on...then the community is going to applaud our efforts of raising $3000 ringing a bell?
Come on. Get real.
Sorry Anon that you don't understand financial addition and subtraction, but I'll explain it again.
There will be a kettle at the Avenues Mall food court area, whether FBC Jax mans the kettle or not.
If we don't man it, the Salvation Army will make:
- 2,800 labor to generate revenue
$ 9,200 net revenue
If WE man it, the Salvation Army will make:
So what is our NET contribution to this effort? It is the savings in labor costs that the Salvation Army will enjoy.
So the net contribution of our efforts is the cost of the labor, and perhaps some increased collections since the Salvation Army says kettles manned by volunteers on average collect more money.
Am I saying we're doing something wrong? No. Am I saying that people who man the kettle are doing no good? Of course I'm not saying that. Its good. I encourage it.
But let's not fool ourselves, or should I say let's not let Mac fool us into thinking we are saving the poor in Jacksonville, and that we'll see a miracle.
We're raising a few thousand dollars for the Salvation Army.
And maybe more importantly we'll ultimately raise our revenue at the south campus if we can generate interest in some "giving units" to join that satellite campus.
Thanks for showing my math errors. I stand corrected.
Please don't be like McCain or Obama and only answer what you want. What about my first two questions?
Perhaps using the word Miracle was a stretch. But if one soul is saved through this effort, isn't that a miracle?
"Or are you the avatar for Watchdog?"
No, I am not an avatar for Watchdog.
"Your comments are welcome but remember you are not getting the full story."
Sir, this blog belongs to Watchdog and NOT to fbcjax church or it's members. I do agree with you about not getting the full story, "just" by reading Watchdog blog. I have watched fbcjax services for more than a year. My opinions are based on them.
"It appears that you can't or don't attend any churches where you live or at least you have never compared them with FBCJ. Why?"
I do attend local churches. I am also discovering other online churches that have great preaching. I am also discovering they are "better" than fbcjax. This is as far as preaching is concerned. Music and worship wise, fbcjax so far is the best.
"Have you ever set foot in FBCJ?
Yes, you do watch the sermon but its hard to reconcile your statements when you haven't met any one here. Your only source of other information is Watchdog ."
I have not set foot in fbcjax. I have not met anyone from fbcjax. But you are wrong in saying my only source of information is Watchdog. As I said earlier, I did watch fbcjax for about a year now.
Now, fbcjax Pastor Mac and Watchdog, know why I have not been watching fbcjax for the past two months. I have been occasionally watching, but not as intensely as before.
God bless you, Sir.
To Anon 2:01pm:
I would like to officially state and thank Watchdog. Through him, I have learned a lot about the status of Southern Baptists. I would strongly encourage you to explore for yourself the status of Southern Baptists.
What is happening at fbcjax, is a small part of what's happening at large. Please open your eyes and heart.
I do love your church, your music service and the preaching of your Pastor Mac. In the past 4 months, my eyes have opened to what's actually taking place. I do not have any anger against anyone. Just puzzlement and sadness, that so much was frittered away at both fbcjax and the Southern Baptists at large.
God bless you, Sir/Madam.
Anon, leave Thy Peace alone. If you want to post here discussing the topic, then that is fine. But this blog is not about the bloggers and their motives for blogging, its about certain topics that I decide to post on.
If you want to discuss our "miracle" of raising a few thousand dollars for the poor to show the entire city of Jacksonville just how generous and giving and caring we are at FBC Jax, then by all means let's discuss it.
Is Thy Peace a close friend or relative? I am NOT attacking him but trying to understand his remarks. He judges things from afar but has never experienced the church in person.
Yes, you have the right to stop my messages as it is your blog. I am just concerned about attacks on FBCJ from someone who has never been here and met the members.
Well, since I am at it, and this won't see the light of day, how honest are you being when you say things without being able to back them up?
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