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Is FBC Dallas being excessive?

Jared C. Wilson, writing at the Evangel blog on the First Things website, says, “I am from Texas. I love Texas. I get Texas.”  Which I suppose makes him worth listening to on FBC Dallas’ 130 million dollar building campaign.  Yes, you read correctly: 130,000,000.00 USD.

First, Wilson provides a word about Christianity, Texas style.  He writes,

“Most every time I talk ‘church’ with Texas folk who are still in Texas, the leading question is ‘How many are you running?’ or ‘How big is your building?’ It would be an exaggeration to say every conversation begins this way but it would not be an exaggeration to say most of them do.”

But, Wilson warns, this is not “just a Texas problem, but it is a Texas-sized problem in evangelicalism.”

What hopes does FBC Dallas have in a building project of this proportion?  There is one clue that Wilson extracts from the church’s Q&A on the endeavor: “[T]he glass walls have an evangelistic effect: people walking by have a view in from the street and feel drawn in.”

Wilson concludes: “Not go and tell. Come and see is the ‘mission’ of megachurchianity.”

You can read all of Wilson’s post here.

It’s obvious Wilson does not think this kind of budget is justified.  What do you, the reader, think? (Again, you can read some of FBC Dallas’ justification here.)

Author: Casey Shutt

View more articles by Casey Shutt.

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  • micus-stl

    Jared Wilson’s blog on the plan isn’t half the indictment that FBCD’s FAQ page is. Apparently what will identify First Baptist Dallas as a church (or a “welcoming, multi-purpose spiritual center”) is a higher steeple, a cross tower and a fountain in the center, And the *first* reason mentioned for the new worship center is that it is “imperative for our church’s growth.” Oh.
    The “distinctive intent & features” section reads like a baptized feng shui. No, I’m not accusing FBC Dallas of going New Age, but it does sound like someone building a kingdom.
    I realize that (1) FBC Dallas has an extraordinary tradition–and no doubt present–of ministry to Dallas and the world that many churches would do well to emulate; and (2) as a church planter who’s not into megachurches, I’m more than a little biased. Still, though . . . wow. It seems rather exorbitant.

  • Joe Pickup

    How about that new Dallas Cowboy castle, oops, I mean stadium. I didn’t hear any criticism about the cowboys. I wonder who reaches more people for Christ, FBC or the cowboys? Instead of criticism, what are your better alternatives for FBC. I’ve never been one to be in the position of leading a church like FBC Dallas, so maybe they know their vision best.

  • I agree with micus-stl that this is an exorbitant amount. Joe, my belief is that when we compare a church to a sports venue we are comparing apples and oranges. The church has a prescribed mission in the world, a mission that would place entertainment pretty low on the priority list. On the other hand, an entertainment venue is there to, well, entertain. My problem is that we too often conflate the two (entertainment and churches). And this proposed building endeavor might be related to this tendency. My mind keeps going to all things a church could do with 130 million. Impressive glass that might draw someone in seems trivial in relation to other possibilities. Like Wilson says, the church has a mission to “go”. And, yes, the church should also be “drawing” people, but it seems the draw is the community of believers and their unity, not their building. Rather than embracing the “bigger and better” mindset that is so Texas, why not provide an alternative? Why not model something that looks more “foolish” to the world? This, I believe, would provide a welcome alternative to the glut and excess that spews out of our consumer culture. Such an alternative might point to something far more substantial, even eternal. I appreciate both of your comments.

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