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.”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ten Commandments of When It May Be Time to Stop Giving Money to Your Mega Church

Readers - last month the Wartburg Watch posted an excellent article that included some basic rules or principles of when it is time for Christians to stop giving money to their local church. Their article was posted in the context of the Steven Furtick mansion story, but I am going to summarize these principles and add a few more of my own to make what I will call "The Ten Commandments of When It May Be Time to Stop Giving Money to Your Mega Church."

I know many of you right now are rolling your eyes. You're saying "There he goes again - telling people to not give to the church." No, that is not what I'm saying. If you are a member of a church, you SHOULD support it financially. However, if you're a member of a mega church and you see some of the following trends in YOUR church, perhaps God wants you to start using your money to make an impact in other areas. Perhaps God wants you to start channeling your resources into organizations that are more in line with the values of your Christian faith. Maybe God wants you to support your church at a lower financial commitment to free up money for you to give to other organizations.

Here is what the Dee and Deb at the Wartburg Watch said as they laid out their principles of when it is time to stop giving to your church:

"Are you, church contributor, vaguely discontented by what your money actually supports? Do you ever wonder if your money supports anything of eternal value? If you are a member of a church with a well paid pastor, and you see any of the following, maybe you should consider giving your money elsewhere."

Here we go:

1. Stop giving if you cannot find out your pastor's salary and compensation package.  I've been saying this for six years. Complete transparency is essential. Most mega churches go to great lengths to keep salaries of the top dog ministers a dark secret, and for good reason. They know that if the average church member knew of the compensation packages of the pastor and his family, they would be so disgusted that many would stop giving altogether.

2. Stop giving if your well paid pastor lives better than most of the congregationAs Dee and Deb said:  "Drive by his house. See what kind of car he drives. See what kind of vacation he takes. Think about it."  Of course, if he lives in a gated community it might be hard to drive by it, but you can look it up on Google maps and you can look it up on the property appraiser's website. Don't be ignorant on how well your Man of God lives using the money church members give for God's work.

3. Stop giving if your pastor regularly complains about how hard his job is. I am sick of hearing mega church pastors complain about how hard their job is, and making statements like "you should try having my job for a day"....and you see them living a jet-setting lifestyle, and operating their church as a family business. If he complains about his job publicly to the congregation, you can bet he is going to be lobbying the trustees privately for even more mega-money to make his ministry more tolerable.

4. Stop giving when your money goes to more buildings, expensive equipment, and well-off pastors. If you see the money going to expand the church into other locations when the current location is at a fraction of capacity - at the same time they are ruthlessly firing underpaid faithful ministers - it might be time to reconsider your financial commitment to your church. Remember, giving to your church is NOT giving to God. Your mega church is a 501(c)3 religious business - you might be closer giving to God by giving to the Red Cross than to your church if they are using the money unwisely.

5. Stop giving money if your well paid pastor writes books on church time and then gets all of the proceeds. Many mega church celebrity pastors get paid to prepare their sermons as the most important aspect of their job - then they turn around and turn these sermons into books for which the profits go straight to the pastor and not the church.

6. Stop giving if your well paid pastor is double and triple dipping. Is your pastor constantly traveling during the week to speak and conferences and retreats? Does he regularly take time off to lead trips to Israel or luxury cruises? Does your pastor use church resources like the church website and church media resources to promote trips and cruises "with the pastor"?

7. Stop giving if your pastor operates the church as a family business, regularly hiring and promoting family members. Nepotism is rampant in almost every mega church in Jacksonville. Nepotism hurts an organization in the long run - especially those periods when there are staff reductions and the faithful, qualified long-time staff members get the boot while the pastor's family members get a pass and maybe a promotion.

8. Stop giving if your church has developed a culture of silencing or shaming questioners.  If leadership of your church expects people to just be sheep and blindly follow and fund the pastor's "vision" - you might want to close your pocketbook. You might see regular church members telling other people on social media to not talk openly about the problems of the church, or accusing those discussing their concerns as spreading "gossip", "innuendo", and "vitriol". Ignore them. Discuss the issues on social media. And use your checkbook to speak - it is the loudest voice you have, and the one that the leadership of church is most concerned about.

9. Stop giving if your pastor routinely tells you that you are obligated to "tithe to the storehouse" to receive God's blessings and avoid God's cursings. This is a recent phenomena in evangelicalism - trying to fool Christians into thinking they must fork over at least 10% of all their income to redeem their money, that God will "rebuke the devourer" if you give 10%. The reality is the New Testament calls Christians to give generously and cheerfully. You are free to give according to your conscience - and you are free NOT to give to your church but to other causes that are consistent with your Christian beliefs.

10. Stop giving if your church is super-focused on expanding their territory into wealthy areas of the city, and under-focused on helping the poor and needy in your city. Most - not all - mega churches have almost zero interest in helping the poor in their cities, but are interested in making land purchases and renovating their auditoriums and tapping markets of the wealthy.

Maybe you have a number 11. or 12. that you would like to add - if so I want to hear from you. Maybe you are a member of a church that exhibits some of these traits and you want to discuss it here. Maybe these don't characterize your church and you want to tell us about it. Chime in.

I'll leave you with a quote from Dee and Deb:

"How about rescue missions that reach out to the unloved? There are ministries that look after persecuted people groups or victims of human trafficking. I bet each of you know quite a few. I know such ministries would be thrilled with your donation and you might feel like your have done something worthwhile and eternal. Your money would actually do more good with these groups than the purchase of one more Bose speaker for Sunday morning."


Anonymous said...

WD...may I say I Think you have turned a corner :))
Ive never said it but always felt/read a tiny bit of "a chip on your shoulder" but thought if I and others stay positive focused and encouraging the whole blog thing is useful.
Maybe Im wrong but this piece seems the most honest/insightful/edifying/encouraging to move forward piece youve done in a long time.
So many good points. May we all honor HIM in our giving!!
Hey. Another thought. Just because you dont attend a small church "down the road" they Are Not the Competition. You can support their work as well. How cool to just bless a very underpaid ministering family this Christmas with a small anon gift... IE a turkey and trim, a close by bed and breakfast certificate for he and wife, grocery or gas gift card, etc. Something to say "keep up the faith/work". :)

Anonymous said...

Stop giving if your previously debt free church has gone into debt by a Pastor who led his previous churche/es into debt, prior to leaving them for a new church.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I think you too have turned a corner. I have sensed a bit of jealousy on your part, but thanks for your post! :)

Just trying to help mega church members everywhere wake up and smell the coffee. What these churches and their rock star ministers are doing to modern Christianity is appalling.

I am happy to say there are some "mega" churches here in Jax that exhibit very few of these 10 traits. They have a pastor who is open and transparent, who does love even his harshest critics, and that is vested in helping the poor and needy in our community as well as spread the gospel.

Tom Chantry said...

Must truth here, Watchdog. (I was going to say "Dog," but I'm not cool enough to pull it off.)

One observation: your focus (and experience?) is in big churches, and some of these are abuses which only big churches can accomplish. Others are as true of little churches. #8 in particular has been perfected by many tiny churches.

Anonymous said...

I would like to make an observation about my church(First Baptist) since I became a member there back in 94. First of all NO church and NO pastor is perfect. I was not a member there during the Lindsay Sr. years but I have heard that he was a good man and a good preacher. I was there for the last 6 years that Lindsay Jr. was the pastor and the one thing that sticks out in my mind the most was his love for Jesus and it showed in his messages. I heard that he was a very shy man until he got up to speak. But you could tell he loved First Baptist and he loved the young people in the youth group. Dr. Lindsay never used the pulpit to berate his members. During his time as Senior Pastor the church grew to record attendance so that a new auditorium had to be built and the Pastors Conference was standing room only at night. When Dr. Vines became Senior Pastor in 2000 the youth camp in Hilliard was put up for sale which anger some people in the church. The one thing I noticed the most about Dr. Vines was that he loved the attention that was being given to him now that he was the Senior Pastor(although Dr. Lindsay said they were equal as Pastors I had a feeling that Dr. Vines knew that Dr. Lindsay had the final say I have to give him credit for being willing to be the number 2 man). During the last 2 or 3 years under Dr. Vines I noticed a drop in attendance during the Sunday morning services and I remember the Senior Citizens building that he tried to sell to the members but never got off the ground even though there was some money raised to build it(wonder where that money went to). I had a deacon tell me that there is a certain number in the budget that when we get near that number that all building projects and all maintenance comes to a stop and he said under Dr. Vines we came close to that number. Dr. Vines was a good preacher and I learned a lot from his messages(my Bible is loaded with notes from his messages), but he was not a good Pastor mainly because we were use to Dr. Lindsay's way of doing things. When Mac Brunson became the Pastor I think a lot of people were glad that Dr. Vines was gone and I think people were excited about a new beginning for First Baptist. I noticed how full parking garages 3 & 4 were becoming once again. But a few months into his being our new pastor I noticed the parking garages were starting to thin out again and people I use to see at church were no longer there. If you want to see what I am talking about just go to watchdog's past articles found at the right side of the home page. I think Mac Brunson has a "Little man acting Big" complex about. He is always dropping names about important people he knows(Mac even told us that he was Billy Grahams pastor at one time). I get the feeling that Mac wants to make a name for himself(even though here in Jacksonville he is not thought of in a favorable way, remember the Mac Brunson Halloween mask that you could cut out and wear in folio magazine 2 years ago). Under Mac Brunson's leadership First Baptist has no more visitation program or Training Union and has become the 3rd largest church in Jacksonville and the 50th largest church in America. I came from Trinity Baptist and I remember how Bob Gray use to treat his congregation and I can see the same thing happening with Mac(ever notice how Mac gets upset when you don't amen him when he thinks you ought to even saying "if you were charismatic's you would be dancing in the isles). People in the church I believe are finally starting to see the hypocrisy coming from Mac Brunson's preaching where he tells you to be more Christ like but his actions against watchdog and former staff members is totally non-Christ like. Hopefully one day Mac will get another "calling from God" and will go mess up another church. Just my thoughts on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Name dropping serves no purpose does it? This morning we hear that Mac whispered in Billy Graham's ear while he was in the hospital bed. IMO these things are only to impress others. I mean we couldn't say anything derogatory about the pastor who whispers in Billy's ear now could we? So this a.m. I had the impression that someone had read WD blog because it was mentioned that the staff took a pay cut last year. Yet we still have no clear figures what that was. Is 40% of a church budget for salaries normal? To me being ignorant of what is normal for a church to spend on salaries that seems high to me. He said if anyone wanted to ask him questions he would be down front. Why go ask? Lots of former members were basically told not to let the door hit them in the behind because they asked questions. I have no doubt that he has love for the people who were fired. Love is action not words. I guess he didn't love them enough to cancel the tv and radio broadcasts so they could keep their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry WD if I offended you. My only jealousy would be a GOD kind of jealous FOR you and the work he is doing through you.
Thanks to you for a place to vent.
Your piece just makes me think FBC is firmly in your rearview mirror emotionally and You are now clearly edifying others from your experience. How Cool! Imagine...you dont even have to go to SBC seminary to help teach others...duh! Meanwhile FBC is (perhaps unknowingly) throttled down toward irrelavancy both locally and association wide. Im trying to be gracious to the still unaware.
Heres an Example...this used to burn my wife who was Very "overfaithful" in preschool. While asking for acceptance of pay cuts by lower staff members...50%+ of the preschool work is done by paid workers for at least 10+ years. A lot of members have no clue of it?? How do they not know...I dont know.
See the cyclical mess? No one wants to work...just get preached to. So search committee provided. Now they dont like spending money for his perks. He is bad a pastoring and encouraging to get involved. And around/around it goes! So yea it was partially Vines fault for not teaching /cautioning what was happening and walking away. But the people/members were/are at fault too. And a cup of Mac to the recipe and ...
Really really Luv Ya and keep it up.
Still waiting for specifics as to who fired and resigned.

Anonymous said...

40% of the budget for salaries is ridiculously high! Why are people not down there with signs protesting what this clown has been doing for years since Vines left? I will make the signs for free!!! The budget I am pretty sure is between 12-14 million so do the math, the majority of that is going to salaries? Well should I say the "Brunson Family". People on Facebook are saying don't judge a book by it's cover, yeah kind of like don't judge Ted Bundy's mugshot either. L.W.

Anonymous said...

Why did it have to take 6 years for people to finally get it? People should have been outraged when the first few, long time , faithful ministers were let go with no explanation.But, I guess people were blinded and refused to see. WD tried to warn people , but instead they went after him and his family...very sad

An Attorney said...

According to reports I saw this a.m., a federal court judge has ruled unconstitutional the clergy housing allowance being non-taxable. The only published piece is a blog on the Forbes page.

FormerFellow said...

11. Stop giving to your church if the Sr. Pastor is introduced before each 'sermon' by a Jr. Pastor encouraging the congregation/audience to come to their feet in applause as a way to 'honor' the man of God. The man of God should be a servant leader, likely uncomfortable of that type of rock star worship, and ill at ease with that kind of attention.

But it sure makes 'em cool.

Anonymous said...

11. Stop giving when your mega-Pastor arrogantly proclaims from the pulpit; "Don't expect to come into this church and get an appointment to talk to me. I don't see people! That's what my staff is for." The aforementioned pastor shall remain nameless.

Anonymous said...

12. If your pastor is a foot stomping pompous ass.

13. If they target St. Johns county demographics instead of Baker county.

14. If the only real impact they have had on a city after 70+ years of ministry is that they have several blocks of buildings and parking garages downtown.

15. If they have the under qualified and under experienced son and son-in-law fill the pulpit. Paying dad while they preach for him, and paying them hefty amounts to fill dad's duties.

16. If they prostitute a regional pastor's conference for personal gain.

17. If the pastor accepts a $307,000 land gift within 2 weeks of arriving.

18. If the pastor makes over $300,000 per year, tithes $3,000 per year, so therefore actually gives nothing to the church until year 11 of his ministry due to the aforementioned land gift. (If someone gives me a $300,000 gift for being the pastor, and I give $30,000 per year of it back to the church, I haven't really given any net amount have I?)

19. If your pastor forms a discipline committee and puts a local detective on the committee, and then asks that deacon and detective to investigate a long time member for asking questions.

20. If the pastor allows a local sitting judge on that same discipline committee and uses that judge to issue a "resolution" regarding those that have questions.

21. If the pastor can't hold his tongue when being interviewed by the local paper and ends up costing his church and the City of Jacksonville untold thousands of dollars to defend him.

22. Shall I go on?

Anonymous said...

I posted this at your blog the other day, but it did not go through:

Atheists Sue IRS Over Preferential Treatment to Churches in Granting 501(c)(3) Status

IRS policies on church tax exemptions aren’t just potentially making America poorer – they also illegally discriminate against atheists, a lawsuit alleges.

Anonymous said...

I was just thanking the Lord for the years under the Lindsay ministry. How sad that this once great church is gone. This is what happens when people follow a man instead of the Lord.

Motorcycle Tom (aka TheRev78) said...

"IRS policies on church tax exemptions aren’t just potentially making America poorer – they also illegally discriminate against atheists, a lawsuit alleges."

This is a bad idea and someone needs to wake up to that fact. There are enough problems with churches circumventing the rules and getting heavily involved in partisan politics. How bad do you think it will be if churches start having to pay taxes?

"40% of the budget for salaries is ridiculously high!"

Not necessarily. Even small churches often pay a large % in salaries. As a church grows and the budget grows, the number of staff may well increase; therefore, the overall salary number will stay the same or increase.

The problem comes when the amount paid to one person continues to increase dramatically while giving to missions, support ministers, support staff, etc. remains stagnant or decreases. I am convinced that most mega-church pastors don't work any harder than small-church pastors. The work is very different, but high attendance #s don't make it more valuable. Just because the giving and attendance goes up doesn't mean the salary needs to take a huge jump. In fact, the total % should remain stagnant or decrease slightly, and these churches should be contributing more to missions and ministry. And the % paid to the pastor should be stagnant or decreasing as well. I don't care how well off the church is, common sense and scripture combine to tell us that the amounts need not become gaudy, unreasonable, or secretive.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the church staff hasn't got on here and given you the what for! Maybe they're too busy doing the jobs someone else used to do. I wish somebody would tell us all the names of the people who got fired.

Anonymous said...

It is nice to see the Lord Jesus exposing the apostate religious leaders of our day, just as He did when He walked the Earth. However, the clergy will just tell the blind members that continue to walk in darkness that the "pastor" must be doing God's will and He is coming under the attack of the devil. Noone will ever question if the pastor might be coming under the rebuke of Almighty God. There are number of times in the bible where God Himself said that he was against the pastors. Just like here:

Jeremiah 23

1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.

2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Ok... It seems we are watching a once really great church begin serious crumble and I think more will follow BUT many /most? of us dread the day we pass by vacant or "repurposed" churches like in Europe today.
That said.. From a laymans perspective... What does revival look like in these huge settings IE massive buildings/ parking garages/ "extreme" budgets/ huge staffs/ demographics from freakin "all over"?
It is not as though they can do what a lot of small ones are doing and "giving themselves" to a bigger church! I think they are kinda "behind the eight ball". I dont think the next young Hot speaker or strategist is it either. But what? Walk it back step by step or whole hog?
I dont know I could or would want to make the decisions. Thats a reason our family lives pretty simple.
Serious question to ya WD and anyone else.

Anonymous said...

57 were either fired or reduced to part-time at FBC Jax last week.

John said...

I am a recently retired Pastor of 41 years and never made more money that about $60,000 a year although that was a good salary and I am grateful to God as He always supplied our need above and beyond. I have also been a reader of the Watchdog for years and have l learned and profited from this site. I am in total agreement concerning the truth on tithing and the yoke to mandate a tithe to which was for Israel only and never about giving from one's wages. Having said that I want to say this,

Some of your points are not really good reasons to not give (just my opinion). God gives blessings to some of his leaders. I have never written a book but if one has that gifting, the church should be proud to support him in multiplying his ministry. No Pastor is on "church time." His time is always sacrificed for the church and the immediacy of meeting needs that arise, sometimes at the most inopportune times.

I agree that minsters should be cautious in spending as to reflect propriety, but whatever salary or compensation that his church approved is his to spend as he wishes and it is between him and God. Driving by to evaluate a minster is a sure case for often misjudging a situation.

I live in what was a $283.000 home. But my wife and I got it for $180,00 as it was a foreclosure. You will also see a new Honda Pilot in my driveway (My wife's ) and a new Cadillac CTS (mine). Sometimes God honors even church leaders and that should not be cause to reject their leadership. ( In my youth, I drove a Ford Pinto 130,000 miles) :) That was a gift to me on my 60th birthday recently. I do not share this to boast, but to stress a point.

I am sharing this to say that looks can be deceiving. My wife is a corporate exec with a major Fortune 500 company and earns about a quarter of a million a year. God has chosen to bless us with material favor and we are generous, happy givers to His causes. I would just caution to not have a chip on the shoulder to declare ten "rules" that don't always apply to all Leaders and situations.

By the way, I fully support the idea that Pastors should be transparent regarding salaries. Nothing should be hidden.

Thanks for letting me share and I look forward to further posts.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:51am. Your 22 could be: A congregation should retain control of the way the church body functions rather than the pastor or a board. This placement of the authority to designate salaries, hiring & firing, purchasing, all has to be voted on by the congregation. Once the pastor or board has total control, the congregation is out of the picture The present ruling authority in some churches has absolutely no place in scripture. The church represents the body of Christ and each member is part of that body (1 Cor 12). The church is a representation of life not a building or place. That is why the members are to witness and each share their gifts. No one is any more important than anyone else. This is one reason the church buildings have left their first love and have little affect in their communities. We also observe that the last church age we are living in is the Last One. The infighting within some churches is a disgrace to Jesus Christ and to the members themselves.

Anonymous said...

What other city can he just go and invade like a tyrant? Why can't any of the members see how angry he acts when he is preaching? What is amazing to me are the people who grew up there still go there and have their kids going there being brought up in that drama. Seems like the age group that is most blind are the 30 somethings they will follow Mac to the ends of the earth.

Anonymous said...

Name dropping Mac? Really brother?
Ok you started it...short list of some who started their career at FBC or attended along the way...(The where are they list)
multiple Jags players over the years, Timmy Tebows fam, the family of the very founders of The FireHouse Subs (Chris & Robin), the gentleman (to remain unnamed) who sold his medical biz for multi mills just -5 years ago, several high power judges and attorneys from jax, citycouncilman D Redman, super of elect J Holland, singer/songwriter C Billingsley (probably not super wealthy but im sure he is ok) Good grief I know there is more.
I THINK THATS GREAT! PRAISE THE LORD! If not me Ill be happy for them BUT...
Where are they and why the budget crisis? I simply dont understand. It appears many of them have disconnected either monetarily or in whole person never to be seen again?
OR could it be that unhealthy/ungodly overreaching was push as "faith giving" and these folks (the "moneytrain") wisened up and dried up?
I Thank God daily for the money savvy, Proverbs 31 wife who as a good steward keeps us "in check" at home and still finds some for ministry.

Anonymous said...

If you can Google your pastors sermons online while he is plagiarizing them, you should stop giving. What is the point of paying a deceiving pastor to read you other mens sermons from sites like sermoncentral? You should stop giving, stay home read the bible for yourself, and cut out the middleman.

Anonymous said...

Stop giving when it costs you additional money to eat and fellowship with other believers at the "church" A.K.A. religious themed family business, or when you see something like this posted about your congregation:

"Dinner will be available for purchase from 4:00 - 6:00 PM in the Dining Room."

Is this a congregation or a restaurant? Good grief, what a poor example. No wonder the world scoffs at us!

Can you imagine Jesus selling the fish and loaves to His own disciples. That is why I say that most of today's religious leaders are NOTHING like the Lord that they misrepresent.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Who is plagiarizing sermons?

Anonymous said...

John, being that your wife made that kind of money, you should have never taken 60,000 a year from your congregation. There were others who needed it more than yourself(like those who paid your salary) and I don't believe it was God blessing you but you being greedy.

You could have not taken a salary and given to those who were in need because YOU obviously weren't. The fact that "pastors" get a salary disgusts me anyway. You nor anyone else who call themselves "pastor" is not entitled to anything but to be a SERVANT which is a rare find in the institutional church. God is not a business...

John said...

My wife did not make that kind of money when I made $6o,000 a year. We even became church planters at one time and I only made $100.00 a week for a long time. God wonderfully provided for us as He is now. Yes, we are servants, galley slaves in fact. And I agree with Mr. Dog that no pastor should bemoan how hard it is to be a pastor and whine and cry to his congregation.
There was no biblical injunction for me not to take a salary.

Anonymous said...

I personally know that many preachers do this. Out of the last 5 "churches" that I have attended, myself or my brother has been able to locate the pastors sermon nearly word for word with Google on an Iphone.
This seems to be a common secret sin among the professional paid clergymen. I don't need no hireling to read me sermons online. I have the Holy Spirit as a teacher, and he doesn't spiritually abuse or fleece His sheep.
The harlot religious system is being exposed all over the world. Praise God!!!

Anonymous said...

What confuses me are the pastors that do not believe in the priesthood of the believer I Peter 2:5 and 2:9. If they did they would not be so fast and loose with the money and how they treat the members when the members disagree with them on anything and I mean anything.

Anonymous said...

I recall some pastor writing a book regarding why churches fail. Interesting book.

Ronnie said...

This weeks satire church newsletter (taken from actual church events)

Welcome to Super Fun, Warm and Friendly, Good Time Baptist Church!
Don't forget! Our Thanksgiving Service and Lord's Supper Observance will be tomorrow (Thursday, November 28), at 6:30 PM in the Super Mega Warm and Friendly Auditorium. Join us as we count your blessings and your offerings (Don't forget them offerings) and enjoy worship and fellowship together. Dinner will be available for purchase from 4:00 - 6:00 PM in the Super Mega Good Time Dining Room. Those of you prone to gluttony will have to pay a little more (you know who you are).

*** And before I GET ANY SMACK TALK FROM YOU BLOGGERS, let me state that I do not care about your opinions! If we (the clergy) decide that we want to make a few extra thousand dollars a year selling you stuff, that is our business, not yours. We have no convictions against turning the "house of god" into a house of merchandise, and making merchandise of you simple laymen.

Thank you to everyone who brought in a shoe box for Observation Christmas Children! Over 40 non paid simple minded laymen volunteers helped package more than 3000 shoe boxes last week, while those of us that actually get paid to do the work of the ministry got all the credit for it the regional Association meeting.
I would like to thank you for being willing to serve the Lord for free, and not for a salary. There is nothing like free slave labor to build my religious empire, and if everybody expected to be paid like I do, there wouldn't be enough money for me to make those huge bonuses every year, and to pay my family for their "guest speaking" gigs.
Those boxes will be on their way to needy children just as soon as my grandkids go through them and pick out what they want.

I would like to thank each of you who gave to my wife and I for Hireling Appreciation Day.
On top of the 300,000 a year salary, and housing allowances, car allowances, insurance, and you paying my taxes at the end of the year, it is nice to know that you are willing to treat your poor, lowly, reverend, doctor,bishop, brother, and his first lady to a nice bonus offering.
I am going to have to ask that you please take up another offering, because Christmas is coming, and my daughter and son-in-law are needing a new washing machine and dryer. Just remember people, it is more blessed to give that it is to receive (unless you are a pastor, then it is good to be receiving).
Amen amen amen,

Yours truly,
reverend, doctor,bishop, brother F. Luker;
chief elder most high reverend dictator of Super Fun Warm and Friendly Good Time Baptist Church

Anonymous said...

"There is no Biblical injunction for me not to take a salary" Wrong...but it doesn't surprise me that you justify it. How many in your congregation made a lot less than 60,000... barely making ends meet...giving you money.

"My wife didn't make that kind of money when I made 60,000" Hmm, you weren't clear when you stated that. But it sounds like she was still making a decent amount of money being what her position is now.

"God has chosen to bless us with material favor" So God has chosen to screw other Christians financially and materially? Your wife made a practical choice to take a job like this.It had nothing to do with God chosing to bless you with "material favor." Non- believers make tons of money. Your thinking is not scriptural whatsoever.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Just read the latest FBC "call for help" letter from Mac to members forwarded to me. Got it WD? Appears "they" sneaking a peek at your stuff!!
Actually good start to me, regardless of which listed first...give then serve or vice versa. The fact that basically he eliminated a chunk of the lowly "support staff" that dont spend the day in high dollar suits but do the actual work is sad but gotta cut somewhere if gonna buy new shoes and the latest Apple products. Right Deb Deb and Mac?

Anonymous said...

Read this mornings Times Union on FBC its official regarding the layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Scratch pad math...
14 Fulltime salary x (gracious est.) 45,000 = $315,000 saved
33 Partrime salary x (ditto) 20,000 = $330,000 saved
= $645,000 saved plus any benefits = close to $1 million of the $2 million needed to buy the Ponte Vedra land to start tapping those rich folks.
Eureka...it must be God working!

DMD said...

I believe it is simply time to stop giving to these businesses which have absolutely nothing to do with God, the Bible, and most significantly the eternity of human souls.

No disrespect to my brother, John, above but could we please drop references like "galley slaves?" There are no U.S. pastors worthy of this precious NT word. None.

The 501c3 church/business in the U.S. is led by CEO wannabes who could never make it in the real world. They want you to think that they could be corporate CEO's if they weren't "serving" God. The ones I've known and observed are sadly deluded.

From the mouth of ... well, the Popehttp://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/26/pope-calls-for-big-changes-in-the-church/ . Is is incredibly obvious from this blog and others like it that business as usual at the BBC's (Big Baptist Churches) must stop. I left the "secular" workplace years ago and spent 2 years on staff at a BBC. Things were bad then and worse now.

Does anyone have any hope and/or ideas on how these machines can be converted into what they should be. Or is it really hopeless?

Thanks WD for all you do.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that in the article in the Florida Times Union today that Mac Brunson said nothing about Macs, Debbie, Trey or John Blounts salary being reduced but Mac did mention that other staffs salaries were reduced or they were let go. To read the article google "First Baptist Jax laying off staff". When you read the article then read the comments. One person said that First Baptist needs to get rid of their Ortega campus and their St. Johns campus and put all the focus back on its Downtown campus. I wonder If Mac and Honey will cancel their annual Christmas shopping spree in New York this year. If not then the Deacons need to reduce Macs salary to a normal preachers salary and get Honey and Trey off the payroll.

Anonymous said...

As a pastor of God's flock, you are to be the one to set the standard and the example. One sign of a false shepherd is that he will not trust God to meet his needs the way he preaches that YOU are to trust God to meet yours. If any salaries are to be cut, any pastor truly called of God would be the first to willingly take the cut, and trust his God to supply his needs. The false prophets do not have this assurance, so they will cut anybodies salary but their own. The will brow beat the congregation to trust God more, and to give more. All the while they will not take less. Why is it that the leaders of the apostate harlot religious system expect to be paid a nice salary to teach the Word of God, when the Sunday school teachers that truly love the Lord, do it week after week for free. They even PAY TO DO IT, because most shepherds if they are the real dictator type, will not even allow you to teach in their religious themed business unless you are "tithing". You can't use your spiritual gift unless you pay into the pot, but a wicked shepherd will not use his gift unless he is paid out of the pot. Such phoney bologna in the harlot religious system that Jesus warned us about.

Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord...

Here is a great article about this from our brother over at Wicked Shepherds:


Anonymous said...

The Lord says to give to God. He doesn't say, "Give under these circumstances". He also doesn't say, "Don't give under these circumstances". I suspect the authors might say they don't give to beggars because 'they'll just drink it away'. We give because God wants us to give, either by tithe or by grateful hearts. What those to whom we give do with what is given is between them and The Lord. He commended the woman who gave her last at the temple, He didn't run up to her and say, "Don't give! they'll only spend it on themselves!".

Anonymous said...

It's sad to see how a once great church that Homer Lindsay Sr. & Jr. spent their lives to make it what it once was now become the laughing stock of Jacksonville these last 7 years under Mac Brunson. Some of the people that were recently fired helped in making First Baptist a great church years ago. The problems First Baptist are having now are the results of 1 person, Mac Brunson. How come the Lindsay's were able to grow the church during bad times but Mac Brunson is driving people away to the point that for the first time since Lindsay Sr. took over the church First Baptist is in financial debt. If any of you deacons are reading this do you think financially the church is going to get any better. If Mac Brunson were truly a righteous man like he always claims he is, Mac would have reduced his salary to around $100,000, taken his wife off the payroll and reduced the salary of his son Trey and his "yes man" John Blount instead of starting at the bottom. Those at "the bottom" didn't cause this problem, those at the top did, mainly the top man. I guarantee that if the deacons got rid of the Brunson Family and found a preacher that was humble, loved Jesus the way the Lindsay's did, cared more about being a pastor that a tour guide to Europe and the Middle East, wasn't concerned about making a name for himself, you would start to see people return to First Baptist, giving to the church would increase, the Pastors Conference would be standing room only again. If things continue as they are now eventually First Baptist will have to start selling off property downtown to survive. Thank you Mac Brunson for messing everything up that the Lindsay's worked so hard for to make First Baptist what it use to be.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:21 Your "type"is exactly the problem and quite frankly makes me angry!
So because you are to lazy to spend the energy to check on the integrity of and stewardship of the finances by the Human that tells you they are "of god" that absolves you? Really? Ill dare bet you are not nearly that lazy /ignorant with your bills.
How "men of the cloth" have convinced an entire generation to think that way is amazing.
And then because the biblical example you use was focused on her faithfulness NOT a four chapter continuation on all the surrounding possible issues that supports your laziness as well?
Good stewardship of Every facet of life IE talents/abilities/gifts you recieve/your children/etc is found all over scripture.
Then you want the rest of us to feel guilty for questioning. Thats just completely turned on its head

Ok here you go...I am a man of God. Send me your weekly check and dont ask where it goes!

Anonymous said...

"does anyone have any hope/and or ideas how these machines can be converted into what they should be. or is it really hopeless.?"

From my perspective, I don't see things ever changing and in order for things to be different, the true believers need to step away from the institutional church.

Anonymous said...

Hi WD - It's been a very long time since I've commented. I honestly think Mac Brunson & some other mega church guys have been given some really poor advice. They've been taught to quickly squelch any hint of an unhappy element in the church and it's being done regularly but with very unsatisfactory results. Instead of just the "troublemakers" leaving it turns out that MANY leave. In the current day, to the detriment of FBC, Brunson succeeded in chasing out many of the solid rock tithers & that may be a good part of the reason he recently let 47 employees go.

Our "final straw" reason for leaving FBC (after 20 yrs) was when Brunson displayed his true character by trying to demonize you and your family when he stupidly told the reporter that you were mentally unbalanced. That is most certainly not even close to a Christ-like attitude. And I feel strongly that he later "apologized" only b/c he felt forced to do so. It wasn't a please forgive me moment.

I do pray for your healing and hope you will move on. I'm not saying you're wrong but it's probably unhealthy for you to be still dwelling on Mac Brunson. Remember that we will all leave a legacy to our children and grandchildren. What will our legacy be? It's up to us.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

11:10 - thanks for the advice, but definitely have moved on, not dwelling on the past. Scan the blog articles for the last 18 months and you'll see the topics. However, still will continue to speak out on church topics that are of interest to me and my readers.

Anonymous said...

"I do pray for your healing and hope you move on" This condenscending holier than thou attitude is typical from the pharisees... Quite frankly, it angers me......

Anonymous said...

Brunson needs to leave so maybe that church could have a legacy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, would you reveal which pastor said, "Don't expect to come into this church and get an appointment to talk to me. I don't see people! That's what my staff is for."

I think people need to know if it was their pastor that said that! And I'm doing to know if it was who I think it was (SF).

Anonymous said...

Some good, some hateful comments here. Good pastors deserve their pay (1 Cor. 9:3-12). Having a pastor's job is not easy, and his pay shouldn't be subject to the whims, or agreements and disagreements you have with him. If he teaches heresies then leave and take your money with you, but a lot of what I heard here sounded like you should use your money and public discussion to manipulate the church environment. Many tithers attempt to censor the word by using their tithe money as leverage over their pastor, and it sounds dangerously familiar to much of what I heard here. If you have an issue, go directly to your pastor, or you are likely to cause division (Matthew 18:15, 1 Tim. 5:19, Acts 23:5, Romans 16:17), and if you can't resolve it, or at least respectfully disagree, then you have every right to leave, but be careful how you treat people, because for every person who has been offended by a pastor, your pastor has likely had someone cut him deeply for something that may not have even been a biblical issue (hebrews 13:17). We should think about the impact our blog articles have before we post them, both for good and for bad. You might be calling out some serious abusers in the church and that's good, but you might be encouraging some abusers of pastors out there too (Romans 14:21). The least writers can do is identify their intentions and the limits of their claims, i.e.: "now I'm not saying x, but I am saying y"....

Anonymous said...

Some good, some hateful comments here. Good pastors deserve their pay (1 Cor. 9:3-12). Having a pastor's job is not easy, and his pay shouldn't be subject to the whims, or agreements and disagreements you have with him. If he teaches heresies then leave and take your money with you, but a lot of what I heard here sounded like you should use your money and public discussion to manipulate the church environment. Many tithers attempt to censor the word by using their tithe money as leverage over their pastor, and it sounds dangerously familiar to much of what I heard here. If you have an issue, go directly to your pastor, or you are likely to cause division (Matthew 18:15, 1 Tim. 5:19, Acts 23:5, Romans 16:17), and if you can't resolve it, or at least respectfully disagree, then you have every right to leave, but be careful how you treat people, because for every person who has been offended by a pastor, your pastor has likely had someone cut him deeply for something that may not have even been a biblical issue (hebrews 13:17). We should think about the impact our blog articles have before we post them, both for good and for bad. You might be calling out some serious abusers in the church and that's good, but you might be encouraging some abusers of pastors out there too (Romans 14:21). The least writers can do is identify their intentions and the limits of their claims, i.e.: "now I'm not saying x, but I am saying y"....