For some inexplicable reason the much-hyped changes at BBC made the front page of the Commercial Appeal this morning (above the fold, no less). As someone said in the online comments section, "Front page news? Really? Memphis is indeed a backward little place, isn't it?"
A few select comments:
1997 called. It wants its contemporary service back. The Bellevue guy in the article says you are not embracing a fad. I would disgree, you have managed to adopt a fad from 15 years ago.
Come on guys, good preaching, discipleship, and targeted prolonged outreach go a long way towards the health of a church. And there is no doubt there are a lot good people and a lot of good things going on at Bellevue. So I suggest you just use those assets better to reach folks.
This whole 11:11 business seems a bit cheezy to me. If, as it appears to be the case, Steve Gaines is going to be around for a while, I recommend the follwing two changes instead.
1) Dr. Gaines, please stop referring to people of Far Eastern descent as "Orientals." I know you mean no harm but the proper term is Asian. Oriental=rug, Asian=People. Bless you, sir, but I've heard this several times from the pulpit. It just doesn't help your credibility to use outdated terms.
2) Let's get rid of all billboard ads, or if you don't want to do that, at least quit putting huge pictures of your pastor's head with Bible verses below it but no scripture reference, just the pastor's name. (I've seen this, I-55 S, just south of Riverside drive.) I know you don't mean to do it, but it looks like you are attributing scripture to your pastor rather than to the Bible.
Just an outsider trying to give the outside perspective.
This is food for thought:
I am all for branching out... if that is what a church wants to do. But didn't Comm. Brooks try to hold a Kwanzaa event in a county-owned facility and there was an issue about that due to it being a religious program? I thought the county said no religious events in any county-owned property (or something like that). If you pay... you can play?!? Comm. Brooks should offer to rent a county-run school for her upcoming event.
Are you listening, President Obama?
Churches should be taxed and exposed for what they are...businesses.
So Fort God loosens its dress code so it can rake in more donations... er... I mean souls.
If you want to know what it's all about, just follow the money!
Er... see above.
Wingo is Gaines' son-in-law. Nothing like nepotism to keep food on the table.
Certainly the prednisone is a contributing factor, but don't brag about always ordering the "dessert sampler plate" and obsess over food in nearly every sermon.
Gaines harboring of a pedophile is but one shameful thing he's done. For instance, he had the locks changed on the office to prevent Adrian Rogers (who was rapidly dying of cancer) from entering. He was offered the same amount of money Adrian Rogers made, but Gaines told them he couldn't live on it. Yes, he had the unmitigated gall to expect more money than a man who had been the faithful pastor for 30+ years (and Adrian Rogers used to refuse pay raises). Gaines is a narcissist par excellence. He is as the scribes and Pharisees described by our Lord in Matthew 23. He ties up heavy burdens for the people. He demands honor, and the uppermost seats. He does his deeds to be seen by others. He makes his phylacteries broad and his fringes long. And his rich enablers at Bellevue can't see it. I don't know how anyone who knows anything about him can sit under his preaching.
All that said, Gaines has a serious disease called myasthenia gravis which requires a heavy daily dose of prednisone, a steroid. He has now been on it for years and it has impacted his appearance. Criticize him for his actions, but leave his appearance alone, particularly when you don't know the facts.
JMO but when individual congregations get too big like BBC, the congregation itself becomes the focus of the church and not its religious message.
If I wanted to join an exclusive country club I would.
I've wondered if this wasn't part of the reason behind "Bellevue Lo♥es Memphis" crews sprucing up county schools, (isn't that what we pay taxes for?), last year's taped message during a morning worship service from county mayor, A.C. Wharton, and appearances by various city and county politicians at church services. A little quid pro quo goin' on here?
For those that are concerned about Bellevue using a county school, it should be pointed out the the county schools have been using Bellevue free of charge for many years. Several schools hold their graduation services at Bellevue and some schools hold football camps at Bellevue as well. I also believed that city and county wide teachers meetings have been held at Bellevue at the beginning of school years in the past.
Also, Bellevue sends out volunteers to clean, repair and spruce up county and city schools once a quarter as part of their Bellevue Loves Memphis program.
From the article:
"I was in the staff meeting when Adrian Rogers announced he was retiring (after 32 years in the pulpit)," said Jim Barnwell, director of communications. "He said it was time for a younger man to lead Bellevue Church, and I think music is one of the things implied in that."
Really, Jim? You think these extremes in "music" were what Dr. Rogers was "implying"? Personally, I think that whirring sound we've heard the past few years is coming from Memory Hill Gardens in Bartlett, but maybe I'm imagining things. I saw a clip from yesterday's "11:11" service, and all I could think was I'm glad Dr. Rogers isn't here to see this. Of course, if he were still here, we wouldn't be seeing this.
For all the hype leading up to this, from the clip I saw, it was all rather anti-climactic. Maybe they need to drag out the fog machines and funky lights from i2Memphis. Seeing Ryan Wingo dressed in a sloppy shirt and wrinkled khakis making goofy faces, strumming a guitar, and chewing on the mic is getting rather old.
Does anyone recognize the setting for this? Is it a rock concert at FedEx Forum? A Saturday night fun fest at Autozone Park? No? Watch the whole video for the answer. You know, there is a good reason it's called "the sanctuary"!