Sunday, March 08, 2009

Become a megachurch pastor... see the world!

When someone asked Steve Gaines why he doesn't preach on Wednesday nights this was his response. I suppose his reasons fly out the door when he's busy preaching at other churches.

This was the answer the "Communication Committee" gave:

Why doesn't Dr. Gaines preach on Wednesday nights?

"Because our congregation is quite large, Dr. Gaines has chosen Wednesday nights to attend committee meetings, meet various church groups, and attend a variety of church events in order to meet as many people as possible. Dr. Gaines also encourages us to hold all committee meetings on Wednesdays and Sundays to allow members to spend more time during the week with their families. Does Dr. Gaines preach any other time besides Sunday? Yes. Currently, he preaches to men at Morning Manna, Thursdays at 6:30 a.m., and to 18-29-year-olds at i2 Memphis, Thursdays at 7:00 p.m."

Morning Manna meets maybe 4 months out of the year -- one morning a week. I2Memphis is defunct.

I remember the excuse reason given 2 1/2 years ago was that those speaking engagements were already scheduled before he came to Bellevue. Fair enough. (So I guess it was okay with the people of Gardendale that they were being taken advantage of, too.) Now here we are 2 1/2 years later. Are you telling me all these speaking engagements for 2009 were scheduled that long ago?

Speaking of "meeting as many people as possible," do they even have visitation at Bellevue? It's a serious question. After all the times I visited Bellevue and filled out visitor's cards, not once was I ever contacted by the church in any way. Not before joining and not after, not by a Sunday School teacher or deacon, not by phone call, letter, or e-mail. (Which I'm sure begs the question, "Why did you join?" Let's just say it wasn't because of the friendliness of the people. But this isn't about me.)

Oh, did everyone receive their automated phone message from "Brother Steve" last night reminding everyone to set their clocks forward? I listened to the whole thing and about dropped the phone laughing when Steve said, "Donna and I love you very much." I've spoken with Steve Gaines face to face. As someone else said about his experience, the whole time it's as if he's looking over your head to see if someone more important is waiting. That was certainly the impression I got, too, but I digress.

Now you can add a Wednesday night this month to the list. Steve Gaines will be preaching at
Valley View Church in Louisville, KY, a church with the reputation of being one of the most seeker-sensitive PD churches in the area.

He didn't preach at Bellevue this morning. The pulpit was filled by Russell Moore of SBTS, and there's another speaker tonight. So once again, Steve's being paid to be... where? Preaching at another church while your church pays another preacher to preach at yours? Can you say "double dipping"?

On another cruise? This was a recent cruise on which Steve Gaines was a speaker.

On another tour? Here is but one example.

Or is he on another "mission trip"? A few weeks ago the whole Gaines family was touring the Holy Land. Before that the oldest Gaines daughter and husband Ryan Wingo were in Morocco. Are you telling me Bellevue pays a music assistant who's barely out of college enough to afford a trip like that? There was the much-publicized India trip in 2007, the one the Commercial Appeal covered with an 8-page
spread complete with photos of the Bellevue women yucking it up in their Indian finery. Someone commented to me recently that if one is not wealthy but desires to travel, one should become a Baptist minister, marry a Baptist minister, be born to a Baptist minister, or be friends with a Baptist minister so they can travel the world.

Recently the Gaines family traveled to Honduras, reportedly just so that Steve could preside at the ordination ceremony of a pastor there. Did the church pay his way for this trip? Did they pay his family's way?

Have you ever noticed how these Baptist men and women are always beautiful, well-groomed, and clean, often dressed in native costumes, in the photos of them on their "mission trips"? Then ask yourself, was Lottie Moon or Mother Teresa clean and pretty in her photos? Was anyone even there to take photos? Or did these women stop long enough to be photographed? Most Baptists don't know what the heck a "mission trip" is. They often stay in 4-star hotels at night or at least "in high style" compared to the people they're "ministering" to. They eat food specially prepared for them. Why should churches foot the bill for preachers and their families and friends to see the world just because they call it a "mission trip"? What is wrong with this picture?

There are plenty of faithful, loving pastors who do not fleece their congregations. They are right there in the trenches, preaching, visiting, caring for their people week in and week out. I salute them. Then there are the others, the ones who seem to view the pastorate as little more than a chance to enrich themselves (speaking at each others' churches and at the seminaries for thousands of $$$, book deals, selling sermons, making thousands in profits from tours, etc.) and to benefit their families and friends. It's not a pretty sight.


gopher said...

Again today you would hear one of the staff say
".. he is away today on vacation, taking some much needed rest..."
"....taking a few days off, and he deserves that..."

Could it be that maybe the staff is elated that Steve is gone and that they are able to take some much "needed rest" because he is gone.

Perhaps this is why Steve changed his inclement weather cancellation policy last week, making the staff drive in on hazardous roads when the big snow hit, knowing he would be out of town ... again.

Work 3 Sundays take the 4th off
= great job
= great benefits

Sorry BBC employees as more Layoffs are on the way (the extended Gaines family excluded)

TN Lizzie said...

Perhaps Steve Gaines is already a Socialist, like the man who is living in our White House?

"For it is an essential difference between capitalist and socialist production that under capitalism men provide for themselves, while under Socialism they are provided for." - Ludwig von Mises

gopher said...

With this "NEW" type of leadership in the churches is it any wonder that
The Bible Belt is less Baptist

Snow Sunday attendance was

9:30 between 500 - 600
11:00 between 600 - 700 (included repeat attendees from the 9:30 service)

The majority were paid BBC employees and their family members, who as part of their job requirement, were required to show up!!

No wonder Steve scraped his "Tithing" sermon for a "Snow" sermon

gopher said...

Looks like someone found Steve while on vacation and will be "blogging" with him?

I will have a Guest blogger in the next couple of days.
Some of you may have heard of him,
Pastor Steve Gaines Bellevue Baptist Church.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

Interesting developments from Fbc Jax Watchdog blog:

(Also, Tiffany Croft blog is also the issue here.

Pastor Wade's posts that includes Tiffany Croft in his posts are here.)
Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...
One other point I forgot to mention earlier. Most of you may not know that not only did FBC and Mac Brunson subpeona the records of watchdog's site, but specifically listed mine as well. Our two blog's really do not have any relevance to each other. I have not been involved in the watchdog's blog about FBC, my issue is in alerting people to the repeated crimes of a sexual offender named Pastor Darrell Gilyard within his churches.

Leads me to wonder what possible crime I committed to get an order to breach my privacy and subpeona my blog record. Am I next on their radar? The funny part is that I am listed very publicly, never have I hidden my identity. My face has been on the news and I blog using my own name. I even list my married and maiden name. Dr. Brunson knows my parents (members of his church) they love and support their Pastor wholeheartedly. Dr. Brunson knows of my history with Gilyard and the reasons I felt the need to be public. There is no reason to search out information that is right in front of us all....hmmmm.

What is next? And here we are worried about the government taking away our rights to free speech and squashing our right to make our own choices...what is going on here? I guess we have a much larger problem on our hands than we first realized.

Dr. Brunson, I would be happy to meet with you to answer any questions you may have, all you need to do is ask. I am really transparent, and I actually welcome criticism or challenge as it keeps me in check and gives me accountability. Maybe if you had simply answered his questions and addressed his (and many others') concerns, it would not be such an out of control problem.

No need to create rumors against me as you all have with "Watchdog", I am no threat to you.

Dr. Brunson, this is so sad that we are here. I truly hope that you decide to reconcile all of this in the appropriate way. And then apologize to your congregation for misleading them and destroying this man's family. It would be the Godly thing to do, so much could be learned from so many by simple transparency. You have all of these Pastor's looking to you for guidance (thank's to our former Pastor's setting up the annual Pastor conference. We have already heard testimony from an attendee. that was ..appalled by the continual talk of "this blogger" and the undercurrent of anger he felt during this years conference. Imagine what next year's talk will be - let's hope it will be the way you turned this sinking (or stinking) ship around and did the right thing.

I do respect your authority as a Pastor and do not wish to seem disrespectful here. I truly wish to see this turned around properly.

MARCH 18, 2009 4:52 PM
FBC Jax Watchdog said...
Tiffany - perhaps the investigator who subpoened your records from Google and from Comcast as he did mine was interested in some of the anonymous comments on your blog. Who knows. You make a good point as to why they would subpoena informatoin from Google concerning your blog since you use your own identity.

There really are two people who might know the answer:

John Blount, Church Administator who called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on the 9/29, the day after Chest of Joash to report possible criminal Internet activity


Detective Robert Hinson of the JSO who took Blount's report, and was the officer who sent subpoena's to the state attorney office to get Google and Comcast to release the identity of the Watchdog.

And of course Detective Robert Hinson is also a member of FBC Jax.

Gee, how interesting.

MARCH 18, 2009 5:02 PM


Now, let us see, did they also subpoena Christa Brown, New BBC Open Forum, Pastor Wade's blog sites too?

Are they trolling for Anonymous Commenters and their IP addresses? Here Tiffany Croft is not Anonymous. But still they went after her blog site.


New BBC Open Forum said...

Thy Peace,

This story is only going to get more interesting. Stay tuned.

BkWormGirl said...

Sometimes when we remember the past we remember it to be more glorious then it really was. So I am honestly asking for perspective... but it seems I remember that the following idea used to be a "common" belief amongst church goers. That belief being that whatever people may say about you - it really has no effect if you are doing nothing wrong. I used to recall pastors preaching sermons about how if you are living right - who cares what others say about you. In fact, I seem to recall hearing the message - something to the effect of "let them wag their tongues" the shame falls on them.

Now, it is possible this doctrine no longer is taught because so few are doing what is right. But, pretending for a moment that the bloggers are the "bad" people in this equation - shouldn't the church just turn the other cheek?

And also, I seem to recall many sermons over the years about Christians not suing other Christians. So... why would a church sue it's members? I know I am not in agreement with all here, but I also don't feel the members should sue the church. Even if it is corrupt leadership. The way I see it, if the church has become so corrupt that a law suit is necessary it is no longer the body of Christ and it should be left behind. But that is just my opinion and NO ONE has to accept it.

oc said...

Boy, the sermon on TV this morning is the saddest attempt I've seen at raising money for a failing enterprise.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Is this good stewardship when people are being laid off and Steve is begging for money? He's been preaching on "finances" every Sunday since the first week of January!

The church has bought the supplies and made 3500 of these wooden crosses. People are supposed to put them on their front lawns until the day after Easter as a "witnessing tool." (Reminds me of those car fish emblems.)

It appears to be made from a 1x4, and they probably used an 8 or 10-foot board for each cross. A clear 8-foot 1x4 will cost you about $3.50 at Lowe's or Home Depot. Multiply that by 3500, and you've just shot over $12,000. (I would assume they got a bulk discount.) That doesn't include the nails or staples used to assemble them and assumes the labor was donated. That would have paid the salaries of one or two of the laid off part-time employees for a year.

Yard signs, other than realtor signs, are prohibited by many local neighborhood associations' covenants.

oc said...

As far as the crosses in the yard, the fishes on your car...

If you are trying to prove that you're a Christian by advertising, you probably ain't.

Prove it with your life instead.


Slinky said...

Not meaning to change the subject of megachurches, but just wondering if anyone has heard of staff and pay reductions at Love Worth Finding?

New BBC Open Forum said...

I've heard some things. Would you like to share anything, Slinky?

Slinky said...

I heard something at church that I find hard to believe and yet, it is not a rumor, but may be bigger than what I was told. LWF laid off half their people and cut the salaries of the remaining staff. The Board of Directors and Executive Officers dropped the employee's pension plan while dining at the ministry's expense. They cut all the senior ladies(some were widows)from their staff and hired one of Bill Skelton's relatives. If this is true, and I have it on good authority that it is, I will no longer be a contributor to this ministry. Adrian Rodgers would roll over in his grave over this kind of treatment of his staff.

New BBC Open Forum said...


My very reliable sources (plural) have confirmed everything you heard... except that (at least for now) there is one senior lady still there. There will be more information on this story to come.

32yrs@bbc said...

"If this is true, and I have it on good authority that it is, I will no longer be a contributor to this ministry. Adrian Rodgers would roll over in his grave over this kind of treatment of his staff."

This reaction is similar to the reaction of those who dropped their support of Mid-America Seminary because Mike Spradlin made
one remark they didn't agree with.
To punish him, they somehow felt a need to punish the entire seminary.

LWF is a ministry that reaches millions for Christ and strengthens His people in their walk of faith. To withhold financial support during these troubled times would be a travesty.

The majority of churches and ministries are suffering because of the down-turn in the economy. Most are having to lay off people.
It's across the board. You may want to consider this: some of the people who have been laid off MAY have been kept on over the years as a ministry - and now LWF can no longer afford to do it.

Bill Skelton has always been a man of integrity. I doubt that has changed. Please make sure your facts are accurate, you have sought the Lord (it is HIS money),
and be sure you respond according to hard facts and not emotions.

New BBC Open Forum said...


Sadly, Slinky's facts are accurate. The decision to give or not give to any ministry is a personal one, but in this case it's based on much more than one man's statement. The people who were laid off were not there out of "mercy." They were performing important jobs that, at least in two cases, no one else is trained to do. I would like to say more, but please wait for this to play out. More information will come.