If you want to hear Mike Miller, H.B. London, Steve Farrar, or Tommy Nelson, you need to pay $50. Yep, you who have sacrificed and given money for decades to build the facilities in which the event will take place...those of you that have tithed to meet the budget and help pay Trey's salary to coordinate this...those of you who have given the money that is used shameless to pay Maurilio and the A-Group and the Conexus the promotions consultant...YOUR MONEY, FBC Jax members, paid for all of this that is even allowing Mac to have a Pastor's conference...you better come up with $50 if you want to hear some of the speakers.
Women of our church...if you want to hear Diane Strack...please fork over $30. The thousands you and your husband have given to the church over the past year just aren't enough. Mac and Maurilio and Trey need an extra $30 from you. Oh, Master Card and Visa are accepted.
What a sad day at our church. Marketing. Sales. Promotions. Greed.
And the trustees allow it to happen.
Thanks Stimler and other trustees. We appreciate it you watching out for the flock.
Here's some screen shots from the Pastor's Conference website in the members registration section. Keep in mind...this is extra programming set up JUST FOR CHARGING MEMBERS FOR THE PREMIUM SESSIONS. Your tithes and offerings paying Maurilio to design a website to charge you registration fees at a conference your tithes are also paying for. God love 'em.
Watchdog: Miller, London, Farrar, Nelson: Who are these guys???? Are they preachers? Isn't this a PASTORS conference. Do they plan to PREACH the WORD of GOD? What's their purpose here?
I am completely astounded. Charging members who have faithfully given their time and efforts to support this event now must PAY! Make sure Debbie and Trey, Trustees and Deacons that attend PAY-UP also, that also includes all staff members. No exceptions!
What's next? A $5 fee for toilet facilities. That would not surprise anyone, Maurillo has probably already suggested it.
By the way, are the seminary students exempt from such charges, if so WHY?
Couple of things to be relieved about, Donna Gaines and Dorothy Paterson are not schedule for a performance; yet, I will hold my breath, they just might be brought in as a last-minute surprise.
The church has surely been prostituted, and it seems most do not care.
This blog is on point.
That church is being run by business men; not pastors.
The only guy worth trusting on staff is Clifton.
The rest are politicians.
You are right about what the church has become.
Mac is not an expositor, he is a story teller.
Good expositors are Piper, MacArthur, Dever, Sproul, Mohler, etc.
Even Vines was more textual than Brunson, and we all know Vines could say few things that would make you shake your head.
People of FBC, stop agreeing so mindlessly.
Someone just posted about seminary students attending free? Is that so? Where do they stay, who qualifies them, what seminaries do they represent? Some questions must surely come to mind about who and why are certain individuals are allowed such privileges, such as free lodging? Some of the seminary students have more income than the average, fixed income folks that tithe but are doing without medications and groceries while supporting these thieves that cloud themselves in Jesus righteousnss in the pulpit, but live outside the realm of spirituality.
Steve Clifton can only be trusted to amen and brown nose the pastor. I sat near him last couple of weeks and was shocked at when the guy chose to loudly say amen. He is an embarrassment.
This really isn't news, they did it last year also as I recall.
I have no problem with it. Most activities not associated with an actual church service have always had a cost attached to them. From high school gatherings, to singles events, to married couples get togethers. They are not charging you to go sit in the main auditorium and listen to the main speakers, just the extra sessions.
The main question I have is "What are we all going to do about these injustices Watchdog illuminates?"
Just blog...or take action?
Mastercard and Visa both have ratings of 100% from the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that fights for "equal rights" for homosexuals.
I can honestly say, there is no one person on today's earth that I would pay $50 to hear! Let alone some self-appointed MAN OF GWAD, that thinks he can perpetuate the faithless based agendas now ingrained into minds of the leaders of a once dynamic church. So very sad, but deserving by those that allowed it to happen.
What do you suggest or recommend?
Speaking of money, men of God, and cashing in. What is the overall opinion of Mike Huckabee? I can't stand him. I have no use for him whatsoever. He was a preacher and governor of Arkansas that no one had any idea about or cared about until late last year or early this year.
Now, he is one of the so-called spokesmen for the Republican party, has a TV show on Fox News making however much, and he goes around speaking at churches and IMO, using his celebrity status to do so.
So that said, am I way off base? Just curious as to others thoughts to this individual.
Anon 7:35 "Extra Sessions."
What makes them so extra and why such a cost to hear the words of wisdom?
Why the attitude in the comment? I am just saying it is no big deal. They have always charged for various "extra" activities around the church. Why is this any different? Just because they never did before doesn't mean they can't charge now? I don't buy that. It is not a big deal. If you really don't care about hearing them that much, why are you worried about cost? It's obvious you aren't gonna pay it to go hear them anyway. Would have gone if it was free? I wouldn't and I doubt many others would have either.
Anon 9:22 you said
"Would have gone if it was free"?
God's word should be free.
Anon 9:22 your comment: "Just because they never did before doesn't mean they can't charge now"?
You obviously have missed the point that the church is totally "dollar wise and a penny short;" but you are too young to know what that means, or lacking in discernment of accountability of God's facilities. The Temple never belonged to Man. Read your biblical history!
Anon 9:22 you asked:
"why are you worried about cost'?
Are you paying the bill? The membership is without knowing why!
I understand the argument that "we are charged for all sorts of things at church, and thus is no different." That is one view. But its a shallow view.
You see, this is a pastor's conference, and men and woman (I hope no men are allowed in the woman's session, else we may be accused by Paige Patterson of having a woman actually teaching men....YIKES!!) are being hired by our church to speak to pastors.
But what harm is there in allowing church members to come in and fill any empty seats in the venue where these "premium" sessions are held? Must we CHARGE them for the privilege of coming? Its an empty seat that we couldn't fill with a paying pastor. $50 is a lot to many of the retired folks in our church who might want to come down and listen in on the premium sessions.
So its just another example of Mac and Maurilio and Trey doing what they can to maximize revenue. That is the name of the game, my friends.
Here's my recommendation...picture this...
1. On the front page of this blog place a hyperlink to the list of complaints against Dr Brunson (so when newcomers to blog visit it's all right there to see).
2. Below number 1 you have a complete list of the FBC Trustees along with hyperlinks to their emails.
3. Below number 2 you have a challenge to all deacons to take action by contacting Trustees and requesting answers.
4. After Watchdog does 1 thru 3 he sends the hyperlink to this blog to all the deacons and trustees on a Wednesday night by way of email leaving 3 days for the news to be read.
5. We all go to church on Sunday morning and we'll hear about this and then it can be talked about in open and then something will be done.
Mike Miller is the Executive Publisher of NavPress. Prior to that he was Mac's henchman at FBC Dallas
There are some backward ideas in this article.
What is wrong with paying for a session? Yes, the Word of God is free but the costs associated with the sessions go to material costs, such as literature and handouts, and I would even guess it goes to the cost of travel expenses and housing allowances as well.
These sessions are not your typical "soul winner" type messages. Those should be free and that's why on Sunday morning in the main services we don't have to present a ticket to the usher at every door. These are messages to pastors who already know the Wod of God. What these pastors are getting from these sessions is advice, guidance and lessons from pastors and ministers who have experience. So I could understand why it would cost. And I'm fine with that. Just don't charge them an arm and a leg.
It could be that the fee is used the help pay the speakers. Surely the speakers are getting paid.
I understand that, and it sounds logical.
HOWEVER...my point is that allowing a member to come in to hear a speaker that is speaking to pastors costs the church NOTHING. If there is an empty seat, let me sit in it if I desire. If its a smaller venue and space is premium, sure, give the seats to the pastors. But if the venue is large enough, why charge a lay person $50 to hear something that is not necessarily geared to them anyways? And furthermore: why pay Maurilio to set up a special registration just for members? Its there to maximize revenue, make even a church member pay to come listen to a speaker. Get every dollar you can from the "giving units" of the church.
So its an empty seat, and allowing a member to take the seat neither displaces a revenue generating customer, or increases the costs of the event. Not a big deal perhaps, but for some seniors who might want to come during the day, $50 is pretty steep.
But is about marketing, pricing strategies, promotions. When analyzing any of these decisions, you have to think like a shrewd businessman, because that is what Mac and Maurilio are.
They are allowing seminary students to come free ("scholarshipping" them). This is smart marketing. Seminary students are VERY price sensitive since they don't have a church to pay for their expenses to attend (and knowing they can watch the sessions at night free on a streaming session - don't be suprised if there is a streaming black out Monday and Tuesday night of PC). While I'd like to think this is a noble decision on Mac and Maurilio's part to help seminary students, its really a smart, shrewd pricing strategy. Lower the price to those that are very price sensitive - to ZERO if necessary if it means that you can capture the customer who WILL pay later. So absolutely...get as MANY of the seminary students here...even approach church members, the "giving units" of the church, to get their wallets out to do "God's will" and pay for seminary students' expenses and registration!! This is another way to tap again into the "giving units" of the church to increase revenue, but even better: WHEN THE SEMINARY STUDENT GRADUATES AND IS EMPLOYED BY A CHURCH, THEY WILL CONVINCE THE CHURCH TO PAY FOR THEM TO COME TO THE CONFERENCE!! And they will bring their wives who will pay for the women's registration, and they will bring staff members.
So it is masterful marketing - nothing really creative, businesses employ these pricing strategies and many others all the time to maximize revenue and build brand loyalty.
Take a look at the pricing of the promotions - the "Platinum Level", "Silver Level", etc....all pricing strategies to attract advertisers to the conference.
One un-related thought about the A-Group: FBC Jax, you must remember this, very important: Mac and Debbie and Trey are Maurilio's clients, NOT FBC Jax. Maurilio is interested in Mac first, FBC Jax 2nd (maybe Honey 2nd and Trey 3rd, then FBC Jax). That is crucial to understand. This is what makes the use of THIS church marketing group so terrible...because they are beholden to Mac. They were brought here by Mac even before he showed up nearly 2 months after we voted him in. The A-Group was with Mac in Dallas. They work with Mac on his image and his personal brand. In hiring the A-Group there was no open bid, there was no examination by the men of our church of several "church marketing firms" (assuming we needed one in the first place!) to determine which is the best one for us that will meet our needs and serve us best. The A-Group was brought on board WITH Mac...as an EXTENSION of Mac. And it was evident that this was a condition of Mac's employment, since it was just days after we voted to have him as our pastor that our website and church marketing was handed to Maurilio. You see, if you hire a marketing firm, they need to have the CHURCH as the client, not the leader of the church. The more I see of Team Brunson in action, the more we are mirroring the fiasco of the North American Mission Board under Bob Reccord. Read Mary Branson's book "Spending God's Money", and you will see what I mean.
Gods word IS free under most circumstances, but not all. You can read your bible free of charge. You can go hear your pastor preach in church for free. You can turn on your radio and hear all the preaching you want for nothing.
However, you can't go to Books a Million, Family Christian Stores, or most anywhere else and walk out with a bible without paying for it under the guise that "God's word should be free."
To the person who asked if I was a member and giving the idea that somehow that makes my opinion any less valid, why is it when people who live out of town and don't attend make comments agreeing, there opinion is valid, but mine in disagreement is invalid? I am a former member of FBC, have many friends who still attend, have been to churches including that one that charge for extra events, and special gatherings. It is not a big deal to me, sorry if you don't agree. And I would feel this way regardless of whether I was member there or not.
Personally, I do not like the Pastor's Conference. I never did. To me, it's whole premise of what it was designed for was ruined years ago when it became more of a performance than it was showing pastors how FBC did things. Then with groups of people being almost forced into participating in the last few years. I know no one asked my opinion of any of it, but I felt best to get it out so at least when you attack my position and claim I have no right to my opinion, you have it all out there.
I lost respect early on for the PC., after about 5 years it became a show. I began to see it as a "good ole' boy, back slapping event. The main purpose was to "brag" on each other, saying how great each one was. I remember being very disappointed in Vines strutting and hi-fiving. It was embarassing for the church. I wondered who they all were trying to convince of their importance. It occured to me "What does God think of this performance?"
Now I have a picture even worse. It looks like a bunch of greedy dogs after one bone. Running around desperate to convince attendees of their relevance. There is absolutely nothing spiritual happening at these conferences. And from what we know that goes on at some other conferences in the SBC, it's where Mac goes to complain about his own church. Who wants to pay for this tripe, not me!
Has you considered maybe the $50 member charge is for the purpose of keeping us away?
But Mac is on a kick now to see who are the "committed" and who are the "non-committed".
Making one pay lets you see who is committed. You gotta WANT IT to pay 50 bucks to occupy an empty seat in an audiorium at your church.
It all boils down to dollars. Mac hired Maurilio so he could make sure that he is maximizing all revenue possible. That allows maximum fleecing.
Baaaa..baaaaaa....ouch, you nicked me Mac!!
My two cents here ...
The main sessions are free to members (Sunday am/pm) and Monday/Tuesday PM services.
According to the website:
Under "Premium Sessions" gives a reason why they are charging for those.
Here is an extract from that page ...
Why do the Premium Sessions cost money on top of the standard rate?
There is more to the Premium Session package than just the sessions, we usually give the attendees books from our speakers so you have something to take home with you to continue the education, we include specials from Dr. Brunson, we also throw in one sermon series from Dr. Brunson that includes all of the marketing pieces, art files, lessons, etc… We try and make this package worth much more than you spend on it.
I would agree that the PC has become more of a show through the years. I have enjoyed the Monday/Tuesday night speakers. I am looking forward to Ravi Z on Sunday morning, that should be very good.
Father's Press: Spending God's Money by Mary Kinney Branson
"Dr. Bruce Prescott of the MAINSTREAM OKLAHOMA BAPTIST interviewed Mary Branson and said this about SPENDING GOD'S MONEY:
BRANSON'S LAW: Mary Kinney Branson's groundbreaking new book begins and ends with a statement that every Christian should learn about stewardship. She says: "It all boils down to a simple formula: The extent of misuse is directly proportionate to the distance between the giver and the spender." Mary is much too humble to call it this, but I think it should be called Branson's law. She has spent years agonizing and analyzing what goes wrong when Christian institutions become so large and so unaccountable to the people who fund them, that they lose touch with the higher purpose that they were intended to serve. Branson is not talking about geographical distance between the giver and the spender. She's not talking about organizational distance or social distance either. She is talking about the most fundamental distance possible in a religious community---spiritual distance. The spiritual distance is enormous between the humble widows who give their last mites for what they believe is God's work and the arrogant denominational executives and wanna-be mega-church preachers who spend their money to "brand" their names in the Christian marketplace. SPENDING GOD'S MONEY: EXTRAVAGANCE AND MISUSE IN THE NAME OF MINISTRY ought to be in the library of every church and on the bookshelf in every Christian home. Every church and every Christian has a responsibility to make sure that the resources they give to God's work are spent wisely."
Someone said Miller was Macs henchman in Dallas. What did he do, and what is his relevance here? No one has said what London, Farrar, and Nelson are coming here for. What are they selling? Are they clients of the A group also? I still feel like its an AMWAY pep rally. But AMWAY has good products. Only you have to pay to get in. Sad very Sad.
Here is the audio podcast of the interview: MAINSTREAM BAPTIST
The personal blog of Dr. Bruce Prescott: Podcast: Mary Kinney Branson Interview
The link in the FathersPress does not work for the audio podcast.
Good point...Miller's organization is a client I believe of Maurilio.
If you go to Maurilio's Twitter, you'll see who his circle is...
But that is an EXCELLENT point.
Why in the world "Mike Miller"?
Why is he here?
Who is he?
We know he's buds with Mac and Maurilio...I'm sure they're all going to be selling their wares at the conference.
This whole process stinks the more we look at it.
But if you're Mac, its got to be GREAT!!! Our church has been hijacked for the use and benefit of "Mac and Friends"
I don't get around much. Who is Ravi Z. This is beginning to look more like a Vegas production. We need the Huckabee show back.
I don't know who he is.
But you can be sure of one thing.
He is a F.O.M.
Friend of Mac.
It is a show. Last year the show even included an infomercial with Jim Caviezel. A paid-for advertisement disguised as a "testimony".
I think its a great idea for you to publish the email addresses of your pastor, trustees, and deacons on this site. That way people can email them personally and maybe something will get done.
Just a little note: I would recommend you sign your real name and maybe you will have more validity in their eyes.
You never know. Give it a try!
Has it occurred to anyone that maybe, some of these pastors (and wives) just come to this thing in order to get their churches to pay for a trip. Then they go shopping or sight seeing, maybe to St. Augustine for the day. Then show up at the "conference"(?) at night so they can say they went. Just a thought. But, except for getting their church to pay for the trip, I would go elsewhere, rather than listen to this stuff myself.
Dr. Lindsay would never believe this conference has turned into this. He is the one that brought it here in the first place. It was for many years a spiritual conference, as he intended. But it has been taken over and turned into something worse than a sales convention. Mac and Co., may think they are fooling the church, and might be, but, they are not fooling God. I would not have to answer to God for this for anything. Money won't buy their way out of Gods wrath. No wonder God speaks in Rev. 3:l4-17: "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen; the faithful and true witness,the beginning of the creation of God;15: I know they works, that thou art neither cold nor hot;I would that thou wert cold or hot. 16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. 17: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:".
Excuse please as I revert to previous blog. "Budget and New Trustees Approved". Arn't these the same old "foxes" in charge of the hen house and her eggs?
It had begun to become a show under Dr. Lindsay as well. Not as it became a couple of years after he passes away but it was nonetheless.
I guess my problem boiled down to this. The idea behind this conference according to that book all the members got for free on the history of FBC back in 2000 was for all these pastors to come see how First Baptist did things. I was not around for the most part in the 80's so maybe they came and actually saw that. By the time I showed up in the late 90's, all these pastors would come here and promptly get the wrong idea because they would see how we regularly do NOT do things! it was not typical for us to have music for an hour, songs after the service concluded, 2 and 2 and a half hour services, or special musical performances involving banners, everyone who could open their mouths, live "Jesus", and the lights being turned out. This is the first part of the performance and really covers about 85% of my problem with the conference.
The other 15% has already been alluded to, the back slapping good ole boy stuff that goes on. I will add to that "we southern baptist are truly the greatest bunch of folks ever and we should be proud of that, because anyone who isn't is missing out" that I have heard in so many ways over and over and over again when I attended.
One thing I have noticed through commentary of others and witnessing FBCJ for years, is this: Preachers and some staff, trustess etc., try to blame church members(who are the church) for divisiveness in the body of believers. They for some reason consider the member a threat. When really, truthfully maybe the member just wanted to serve and support the pastor. But, the pastor being so full of himself created an enemy where there was none. Needless to say, the member loses. But, in most cases, as we now see, it is the ego ridden, dictator type preachers that divide the church. They pit members against members. They have members of their staff "sabotage" members that are in service to the Lord, ruining their worship, taking them out of service, and generally ruining the members reputation, because after all if the preacher wants them removed for whatever, then of course there MUST be something terribly wrong with the church member. This is wrong, and I consider it a defamation of character. God will judge one day and then the books will be open. Some pastors owe these members apologies. I am waiting!
Ravi Z is Ravi Zacharias. One of the foremost Christian apologists in America.
Maybe if you weren't spending so much time sowing dissention you would know these things.
RM 11:59 AM: You keep trying to get people to sign their name to E Mails in order to be valid. What's up with that? People arn't stupid. What part of anonymous don't you get? Do you not understand no one is VALID with Mac and Co., unless you support them 100%. You must be a committed Kool Aid drinker!!! Give it up on trying to get us to reveal ourselves, are you kidding and be offered on the alter of an ego plagued opportunist.
I do however, agree that some way to get these complaints of this blog to pertinent people is necessary. I wonder if anonymously,somehow(?), the billboard at the east parking garage could be rented with Watchdogs website displayed on it. This would sure get some attention. Everyone would see that, not just the "powers".
To be honest I have a real problem wanting to always remain anonymous. You're never going to get anything changed or done that way. Surely they can't do anything to you that you can't handle. Be man enough to stand up for who you are and then I think you'll start seeing some results. Anonymous emails will get absolutly nothing accomplished.
I do think we need to have a list of all the trustees and deacons and their emails published on here. Maybe some of them will read your anonymous emails even though Mac won't.
Personally, I think Mac reads (or has a staff member) read every email that he gets. Also, I'm sure he has someone reading this blog everyday. His preaching is too well directed toward this blog for him not to be reading it.
RM - I agree that anonymous emails or blogs get nothing accomplished by themselves. However, increasing awareness of unsuspecting people DOES get things accomplished, but over time. Educating people, helping people connect the dots, DOES accomplish things over time. One person (especially an insignificant person with no position or power or prestige) identifying abuses at a church gets nothing done in a baptist church ruled by a pastor and a handful of trustees and yes-men deacons who are willing to go out and squelch any opposition. All it does is bring grief and agony on the person standing up and his/her family.
So I choose to take the "Mac Brunson" approach. He told the seminary students a few weeks ago: "You have to take the long view of ministry". Don't quit. Don't get discouraged when you're opposed. Don't thing everything is going to be rosy. So I am taking the LONG view here. I'm not out to change FBC Jax tomorrow or next month. I am willing to patiently, consistently, ANONYMOUSLY for the time being, point out the abuses of Donald M. Brunson. More people are becoming aware, and things at some point will begin to accelerate. This blog is making an impact. We even had a few deacons vote NO on the budget. However small that is, it is progress. How do I know? Because Mac even lashed out at "worrying deacons" in his sermons. And as you point out RM, every single sermon - and I mean EVERY SINGLE SERMON - Mac is addressing this blog and the "persecution" he is under. We are a people that have been trained to love and respect and trust and give bling loyalty to the pastor and lay leaders without having to ask any questions. That might work for 0.1% of the pastors, and we had that 0.1% for 40 years. But that system does not work for 99.9% of the pastors. Unfortunately Mac has decided to take advantage of our loyalty and trust. And I'm willing to be a part of helping people see it. If it takes a long time, so be it. And in the time being, if Mac ever decided to repent and stop abusing us, and start loving us, and apologizing for a few things, and becoming more open and honest with us, hey, maybe the blog could actually become IRRELEVANT! Imagine that!! I would love for that to happen.
And by the way RM...if I posted my name and picture tomorrow on this blog, it would mean nothing. Most readers, even at FBC Jax would say, "Who's that?" or "HE'S the Watchdog, that insignificant nothing at the church?". I'm a nobody, have no special credibility in my name or position or title. All it would serve to do is bring the wrath of many men at the church who want to apply pressure to me to get this blog shut down.
So for now: anonymous.
We have to take the long view.
Slow but steady.
RM said ... "Personally, I think Mac reads (or has a staff member) read every email that he gets. Also, I'm sure he has someone reading this blog everyday. His preaching is too well directed toward this blog for him not to be reading it."
WD said ... "And as you point out RM, every single sermon - and I mean EVERY SINGLE SERMON - Mac is addressing this blog and the "persecution" he is under."
Pastor Mac is the one who is driving traffic to your site, WD. He is unable to control his emotions and it also tell me he is not scripting his sermons. This is actually a good thing, in my view. It tells me Pastor Mac is only being human and he is not manipulating. This is what I read from it.
So now, either he will become more transparent or he will clam up complaining about WD. I sincerely hope he becomes transparent. It ultimately will help him in the long run. Let him put his trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and let the chips fall where they may. As long as he willingly humbles himself to the Word and becomes a servant to the members, then the church will be healed.
I pray for that.
Tommy Nelson wrote the Song of Solomon materials that teach you how to get your sex life in line with God's Word. I'm sure that is not the wording they use to describe it. That conference was at the church in recent years for the adults and also taught to the teens. He has written other Bible studies and is pastor of nondenominational Denton Bible Church.
You can google him.
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