Sunday, November 22

FBC Dallas launches $130M Building Campaign

First Baptist Church Dallas launches $130M Build Campaign. So what does one get for $130 million dollars?

The Baptist Press article states, "...a new 3,000-seat, 90,000-square-foot sanctuary, a six-story education building and a parking garage with sky bridge. The project is designed to complement the revitalization initiative in downtown Dallas, which has included the recent opening of a new performing arts center and construction of a new convention center.

I am sure FBC Dallas needs a new sanctuary, six-story education building and a parking garage with sky bridge, or they wouldn't be launching such an audacious campaign.

The question I would like to ask FBC is whether anyone bothered to ask the Head of their church, the Lord Jesus, about any of this? Don't get me wrong, I am sure everyone voting for the campaign certainly must have prayed about it--or at least I hope they did! But it is hard for me to imagine the Jesus I read in the Gospels being the same Jesus who would give a "green light" to go ahead and spend such vast sums of money on something that is "a critical and important investment in downtown Dallas" and "will benefit the entire community by providing an open and inviting atmosphere and additional parking." This sounds less like Jesus, and more about what WE want to do with OUR money.

Grady at MissionalSpace asks Are we going the right direction?
  • 4.5 billion people have never heard the gospel in a clear way
  • 50,000 people die each day without knowing Christ
  • 6,000 people die each day due to lack of clean drinking water
  • 40,000 die each day from starvation and hunger related diseases
  • 2.5 cents on the dollar goes to international ministry
  • 95% of seminary graduates stay in the US
In light of Grady's heart-breaking statistics, I am still scratching my head how FBC Dallas justifies spending $130M to "provide spiritual support for downtown's denizens that brings glory to God." Is providing support for Dallas's downtown's denizens the modern interpretation of how God is glorified? What happened to obedience? Can anyone shed some light on this for me? I'm just not getting it.

And what is the connection between Jesus' command to "make disciples of the nations" and FBC Dallas desire to "have an impact on this community and what we're trying to accomplish of creating more of an urban setting that is vibrant and exciting and brings people downtown..."? Are we in the business of creating vibrant, exciting urban settings when 4.5 billion people are on their way to hell?

"This is going to be exciting effort, not only in terms of Sunday but all the other different activities and what it will to contribute." Exciting? Maybe for FBC Dallas, but what might be more exciting for the 40,000 mothers watching their children die of starvation and hunger related diseases would be a bowl of rice!

In a November 13 article, also highlighted in Baptist Press, Jerry Rankin (IMB President) states,

"If Southern Baptists truly want to experience a Great Commission resurgence, they must turn their backs on business as usual and be willing to make radical changes in their missions commitment and approach..."

“If you define the Great Commission as anything and everything we do as a denomination...there’s not going to be a lot of change because we will just continue to do anything and everything the best that we can..."

"I am convinced that God has blessed Southern Baptists, He has raised us up in numbers and resources, not to take pride in being a great denomination and how many programs we can implement and how well we can do them but to be His instrument to reach a lost world and fulfill His mission."

"We are at a watershed time in history, with an unprecedented opportunity. God has blessed us and we must not become ingrown and self-focused, committed simply to continuing what we are doing in the way we are doing it. We've got to be willing to change...we've got to be willing to ask, 'How does it all stack up in relation to reaching the nations and getting the Gospel to the ends of the earth?'"
Is anyone at FBC-Dallas listening?

18 comments:

John Lunt said...

You're dead on, Guy. My thoughts are that they should sell their Downtown Dallas property that has to be worth tens or hundreds of millions. They have several large buildings in the heart of downtown. It is prime real estate. But very few people overall live downtown, most are coming in from other parts of the City. Couldn't the build somehwere less expensive and use the extra money for the Gospel?

Strider said...

I am not stressed. The Kingdom of God can go on without Dallas' 130 million. The question of course, is can Dallas keep 130 million and go on without God?

GuyMuse said...

John and Strider,

I am sure everyone has their ideas of the best way to spend $130M, but for me it goes back to Jerry Rankin's 'How does it all stack up in relation to reaching the nations and getting the Gospel to the ends of the earth?'

I firmly believe the Lord has provided every tool and resource we need to finish the GC, but have failed to do so because we are misappropriating that which He intends for the nations.

Stan said...

Hey Guy! I crunched some numbers for you and your readers.

I've been wondering about the purpose of the proposed building. What does FBC Dallas hope to accomplish through this building? Is this the best way to go about reaching Dallas?

You'd have to fill 3,000 seats 61 times a day to have everyone who lived in Dallas in and out of the new building in a week. If you extend that to the DFW Metro area you'd have to fill 3,000 seats 428 times a day to have everyone in and out of the new building in a week.

There's no way this proposed building is going to reach Dallas. For a building based strategy, they'd probably reach more people by building 130 buildings at $1 million each.

Do I know the best way to spend $130M? Probably not. However, I am pretty sure this proposal is not the best way to spend it, not even if reaching just Dallas is the goal.

GuyMuse said...

Stan,

Interesting numbers! Thanks for crunching them out for us! I agree with you that this doesn't seem to be the best strategy for reaching the DFW Metroplex.

If "build it; they will come" is truly FBC-Dallas strategy for reaching their Jerusalem, then I think you make a great point that 130 $1M buildings makes much more sense than pouring all $130M into a single location.

Jonathan Blundell said...

Back in the day Dr Criswell (former FBC pastor) said they would never build another sanctuary.
Their current building was big enough.
If they needed to grow/expand they'll simply start new churches elsewhere. And they did.
I've heard that over 200 churches in the Dallas area began as church plants from FBC.
I'm saddened that they've lost sight of that vision.

GuyMuse said...

Jonathan,

Interesting bit of history. Like you say, too bad they lost sight of the surpassing value of reproducing themselves in new church plants, and instead opted to remodel. Thanks for sharing.

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

"Is anyone at FBC-Dallas listening?"

You always did ask some neat questions.

How about this one?

What if "The Whole Religious system,"
for the past 1700 years,
is/has been totally corrupt?

Corrupt - Dictionary

1- having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

2- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

3- debased or made unreliable
by errors or alterations.


And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring,
and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.

If Not Now, When?

In His Service. By His Grace.

A. Amos Love said...

Jesus is the only answer.

No matter what the question.

GuyMuse said...

Amos,

What if The Whole Religious system, for the past 1700 years,
is/has been totally corrupt?


The closer to draw to Jesus the more we realize just how sinful and corrupt we are. Throughout history within the Church of Jesus Christ there have been those who sought with their whole heart to love, serve, and honor the Lord. The systems of man may be corrupt, but there are many people within those systems and structures that truly love Jesus.

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

You’re so much more merciful than I.

Seen so much damage done to God’s sheep by
“the Religious System” and it’s “leaders.”

leaders = lord it over = abuse = always

Eventually, the hierarchy, those in control,
those with the titles, “exercise authority.”

Jesus said “His disciples” would not do this.

You said,
“The closer to draw to Jesus the more we realize
just how sinful and corrupt we are.”

Much agreement.... Thank you Jesus for your love.

But I’m speaking about;

1 - Those running “the System,”
the business, the corporation. The “Leaders.”
And those who know, but support it anyway.
Support it with their time, talents, and money.

2 - Those who love to have the preeminence.

3 - Those who bind heavy burdens and
lay them on men's shoulders.

4 - All their works they do for to be seen of men.

5 - They love the uppermost rooms at feasts.

6 - They love the chief seats in the congregations.

7 - They love greetings in the markets,
and to be called of men, Teacher, Teacher.

Hmmm? Things haven't changed much. ;-)

Jesus didn’t reform “the corrupt religious system”
of His day. He left it.

“there are many people within those systems
and structures that truly love Jesus.”

Maybe? Truly love Jesus?

Yet, if they truly love Jesus, do they love the truth?
Jesus said, “They that are of the truth
hear “My Voice.”

“Today if you will hear my voice
harden not your heart.”

If they know “the System” is corrupt;
Why do they continue to compromise
what they know to be truth and
continue to perpetrate the myth?
Why do they harden their heart?

Most I’ve met started out wanting to serve God
and build His kingdom.

But something happens along “the way.”

The titles become idols. Ezk 14

Along with “Title/idol” comes “a few more idols.”
Power, profit, prestige, recognition, reputation, etc.

Those idols that Jesus spoke against.

Jesus humbled Himself,
made Himself of no reputation,
and took on the form of a servant. Yes?

Will God turn us, His people,
over to a reprobate mind?

Ro 1:28
And even as they did not like
to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient;

2Ti 3:8
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses,
so do these also resist the truth:
men of corrupt minds,
reprobate concerning the faith.

Tit 1:16
They profess that they know God;
but in works they deny him,
being abominable, and disobedient,
and unto every good work reprobate.

Many “religious leaders” believed on Jesus
but because they were afraid of
being put out of the congregation
they didn’t confess or agree with Him.

They loved the praise of men
more than the praise of God.
John 12:42

Seems to be the same spirit alive and well today.

Jesus...

GuyMuse said...

Amos,

All my blog posts are automatically reproduced as "Notes" on my Facebook page. There have been quite a few responses there to this matter as well. Privately, I began an email dialog with those who had commented, and the dialog continues. What follows is an excerpt of what I wrote to them...

In our recent trip to Antioch there were several prophets who spoke along the lines of God asking Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?" God had rejected Saul and selected David, the least of Jesse's sons, a nobody.

And Paul's words at the end of Acts when shipwrecked on the way to Rome, "Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship."

The "king" and the "ship" are lost causes, but not the people whom these were called to serve.

If these kinds of words are truly prophetic, then maybe, just maybe, we have entered into what may well be a "final phase" in church history where the "ship" is doomed to crash up on the rocks. In this scenario the ship is a lost cause, not worth mourning. God will protect and bring safely ashore the survivors (albeit hanging on to planks and anything that floats left over from the ship wreck!)

These are the ones God will use to bring in the great final harvest of souls before the end. All they will have in hand will be the bits and pieces salvaged from the ship wreck.

This final phase in the Church era will have nothing to do with kings and ships. It will be about nameless "shipwrecked survivors" whom God will raise up and use to bring in the final Kingdom harvest. Then the end will come.

I don't know if we are already at that time or not, but there are certainly many signs pointing to the fact that we are mighty close. "Ships" that refuse to take on those drowning at their very doorstep (like my friend above whom I quoted), and "kings" who steal God's glory by glorifying in their empires, are at least for me, indications that if we are not yet in that final phase of history, we are veeeeery close!

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Sounds like everyone wants to "rob Peter to pay Paul." Our God has enough money to go around. the current IMB shortfalls is not the fault of the building project at Dallas. My own church is beginning a 1.5 million dollar building project that is much needed for our Jerusalem mission field, and that does not even include a new Worship Center. Dallas is about 40 times larger than my church. Their ministry is landlocked and in a place with much higher building costs. The downtown area of Dallas certainly needs FBC.

The Lord will provide for the needs of His workers in the international field to spread the Gospel to those whom the Spirit will call. I am praying that this year’s Lottie Moon will reflect the deep and historic call God has placed on the hearts of SB's for nearly 165 years.

Those who stay are as important for the Kingdom as those who go.

Let us all lift up holy hands to the same heavens.

K

GuyMuse said...

Kevin,

Thanks for stopping by and for your thoughts. I hear what you are saying, but tend to agree more with Jerry Rankin's viewpoint, that if we continue to define the Great Commission “as anything and everything we do as a denomination...there’s not going to be a lot of change because we will just continue to do anything and everything the best that we can..."

If we are ever going to engage seriously the task of making disciples of the nations, we are going to have to be some drastic paradigm changes from within the Body of Christ.

Coming from a missionary perspective, continuing to build $130M structures to seat 3000 who are already Christians, seems to be going in the opposite direction of Christ's mandate.

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

"The "king" and the "ship" are lost causes,
but not the people...

Very lost...

And I might add... Very corrupt...

And they look so good...

So did a certain fruit look good to the eyes...

Jesus didn’t reform “the corrupt religious system”
of His day.

He left it.

And took a bunch with Him...

He is the “only head” of the body,
the ekklesia, the called out, "The Church."

Is the other an imposter? Anti-Christ? Hmmm?

The “disciples of Christ,” are
“the called out one’s,” the ekklesia, “the Church.”

They are “called out” of the religious system
“into”
a relationship with Jesus.

They are “called out” of the worlds system
“into”
the Kingdom of God.

They are "called out” of self
“into”
the body of Christ.

They are “called out” of sin
“into”
righteousness.

They are “called out” of bondage
“into”
liberty.

They are “called out” of darkness
“into”
light.

They are “called out” of death
“into”
life.

Jesus loves me. Give me Liberty.

GuyMuse said...

Amos,

Your mentioning, He is the “only head” of the body, the ekklesia, the called out, "The Church." reminds me of our team meeting we are having Monday afternoon to talk over the subject THE BODY DOES NOT THINK FOR ITSELF, THAT IS THE JOB OF THE HEAD. If we are trying to do the job which only rightly belongs to the Head, no wonder we are having so many problems "doing church!"

Anonymous said...

Guy,

(Posting anonymous because of many friend/family connections at FBCD.)

There is a fundamental disconnect between the way you (or I) use the word "reach" and the way FBC's pastoral leadership understands the word "reach".

By "reach", you mean engage, build a relationship, and evangelize. By "reach", the pastor means "attract to worship on campus". I hate to say it that way, but one very long-time member told me recently that they "need" all these new facilities in order to "atrract families" who would otherwise wind up at other churches.

Contrary to John's comment, there are indeed tends of thousands who live within a two-three mile radius. Most are urban dwellers in Dallas' "Uptown" area. The pastor's idea is that by having a church in the middle of Dallas' thriving Arts District that "looks like" the rest of the Arts District will somehow attract (there's that word again) more people from the Uptown area and other upper-middle class and high-end areas close in (Highland Park, M Streets, Old East Dallas, etc.). Sadly, given the way most Christians in the U.S. think, he's probably right.

The church members, largely, are following their pastor's leadership. For almost three decades they've watched as people left the church for larger, newer churches in North Dallas, and listened as various former pastors and former associate pastors told them all of the reasons why they were the ones to blame. They finally have a pastor who truly believes in them and tells them they're strategically positioned to be again what they once were, and they naturally want to follow his leadership.

I don't blame them. I really don't blame the pastor either. He's a product of his training and is modeling his ministry and leadership after those who were held up to his generation as models to emulate. Some of that is changing, but I believe we're still two to three generations away from moving beyond the "if you build it they will come" mindset.

Sorry I've droned on. I've said my peace to those whose ears I have access to, trying to get them to see how many churches they could plant, mouths they could feed, or wells they could dig with 130 million. This is the course they've chosen.

As for me, I've decided to pray that God will bless what they believe are their pure motives and raise up more families like the Forts and hundreds of other missionaries, pastors, and evangelists who've called FBCD home at one time or another.

GuyMuse said...

Anon.,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree with you that there are two understandings of "reach". I blogged on the Conflicting Visions that compete with one another: 1) that of the traditional church with its structures, buildings, programs, and leadership; and 2) the Biblical imperative of Christ to go to the lost, make disciples, baptize those who believer, and teach them to observe Christ's commandments. Two worlds colliding. Maybe to some they are one and the same, but my experience is that they are different cultures. Different world views. We SAY that our churches are about reaching the lost, but when it comes right down to it, a "churchianity" vision prevails where the real goal is to get people to GO TO CHURCH. Christ's mandate and vision is that His Church GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES of the nations.

Thanks.