To see the original post on First Baptist Dallas, click here.
Yesterday I put out a rant on the $130 Million building project for First Baptist Dallas. For whatever reason, that post exploded with readers today. No comments, though.
Earlier I went into their pressroom (on the web, not actually to some sort of pressroom they might have there in Dallas; though, with $130 Million spent on it, they probably have a press team) and dug into a PDF they have available regarding the new campus.
Toward the end of the document were these words that finally did me in:
The pedestal, which stands 68-feet high to the top of the cross, will flow water down to the pool and then to the edge, flowing over the text, “…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The Scripture verse taken from John 4:14 is inscribed on the edge of the reflecting pool with stainless-steel lettering. The water flow, as well as undulating titan jets, can be coordinated and programmed to a custom orchestral score of hymns and spiritual songs.
The point of all of this, to spend the money on all of that stuff, is to appear a certain way so that people will look in their direction. It is a show, a production. Regardless of however much good is going on inside–could be great ministry of the Scriptures, excellent counseling of hurting people, etc.–the money was shelled out for the external appearance, to make people look at them.
Why exactly? Why put on the show? Why make the production? Why take $130 Million and do all of this physical, material stuff? Because they want people to see the church and come inside.
That might sound good to some, except Jesus told his disciples to go to the people. He told them to wash feet. He told them to get to the prisons. He told them to go feed the masses. He told them to go preach the Good News. He did not tell them to fortify themselves, to build for themselves a glorious altar, and then tell the people to come inside. He did not tell the disciples to dance on the streets so that hurting people would be entranced and want to enjoy further entertainment like they would with a prostitute.
The $130 Million spent on this project gets even more daunting when you stop to consider what the church as it was could have done with just percentages of that.
What if they took $1 Million, less than 1% of that funding, and handed that over to whatever homeless outreach program already in their body?
What if they took $1 Million, less than 1% of that funding, and created a mortgage support program to help folks avoid or who are going through foreclosure? Or even to help people renovate their home so they could house some people?
What if they took $1 Million, less than 1% of that funding, and supported single mothers, single mothers-to-be, battered women, poor young couples, to help eliminate abortions in Dallas?
What if they took $1 Million, less than 1% of that funding, and created a meals for poor kids program so kids can get good meals every day of the week even if they don’t go to school that day?
That’s $4,000,000. That left $126,000,000 of the original number.
I have no idea if this church already has programs like that in place. If they did, couldn’t $1,000,000 for each of them help for quite a long time? Maybe bump the foreclosure one up to $10,000,000.
How much more could be done? How many could be served? The church is supposed to know the people of Dallas. They are supposed to know what the people of Dallas need. What they really need.
I can tell you they do not need another well dressed preacher telling them they need to come into this pristine glass building to get fed and fixed otherwise their troubles will continue.
Again, sorry for the continued rant. Instead of focusing simply on what this church chose to do, I turn to myself. Am I siding with Jesus? Am I utilizing my resources and talents to support the Kingdom of God and the mission of Jesus? Am I going into my community and loving them, take care of them, and engaging with them in such a way that Jesus is magnified?