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    What Would You Do with $130 Million?  Let’s Build a Church!

    What Would You Do with $130 Million?  Let’s Build a Church!

    That's the plan at First Baptist Church of Dallas... build a $130 million church complex in the Downtown Dallas arts district.

    According to the Associated Baptist Press, First Baptist Church in Dallas has launched what leaders say will be the largest church-building campaign in modern history -- a $130 million project that includes the congregation's first entirely new sanctuary since the 1890s.

    Once considered the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, First Baptist Church has declined from 25,000 members under its legendary pastor of 50 years, W.A. Criswell, to about 11,000 today.

    Under leadership of Robert Jeffress, who took over as pastor in 2007, leaders say the church is growing again, but present facilities are inadequate for innovative ministries needed to reach today's generation.

    The plans for the church campus include a high-tech, 3,000-seat worship center, which will double the church's current worship capacity. There will also be an education center and 500-space parking garage.

    Several of seven major buildings currently in the church's sprawling complex on six city blocks will be demolished to make way for construction. The current historic sanctuary will remain, with a steeple restored to its original height. It will continue to be used for weddings, funerals and special events.

    New landmark features include a towering stone waterfall topped with a luminescent cross. A shallow pool surrounded by green space will provide both a common area for downtown residents and guests and a place for open-air baptism services.

    "We're creating what I like to call a spiritual oasis in the middle of downtown Dallas," Jeffress said Oct. 3 on Dallas radio station KBCI. "It is going to be the most beautiful facility in downtown Dallas."


    What do you think?  A great plan or a total waste of money?  $130 million well spent or wasted?


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    1. tim coleman on Thu, November 05, 2009

      My heart aches as I read this. I cannot in any way see Jesus doing this, if he were walking the earth today. I think this would fall under the “woe to you” message that he often delivered to the religious leaders of the day. God help us…

    2. Dee Lauderdale on Thu, November 05, 2009

      The cynic in me wonders how soon it will be before there is a web site to “save FBC Dallas” and get rid of the pastor?

    3. Rusty on Thu, November 05, 2009

      How many water wells in sub Saharan Africa would 130 million drill?


    4. Todd Craig on Thu, November 05, 2009

      Be careful here! Don’t miss the speck for the log.

    5. blake porter on Thu, November 05, 2009

      Just a BIGGER box to put God in. How is it that God is not the one getting bigger it’s our spiritual structures? Inquiring minds want to know….

    6. Jim Meldrim on Thu, November 05, 2009

      Wish the body of Christ would consider carefully the impact of such decisions.

    7. Michael Robison on Thu, November 05, 2009

      While I agree the church needs to be relevant, is there relevance in such expenditures? It is not my place to judge the needs of FBC Dallas. However, how many people could be fed, medical needs be provided and lives changed with a more tangible use of the finances here? I am reminded of Acts 2 where the people sold everything in order to meet the needs as they arose. Also, the temple has been demolished for thousands of years and somehow we have been able to worship Jesus still!

      My only two questions are:

      Could $130 million reach more people for Jesus in 6 city blocks or in disbursement through the people of FBC Dallas?

      Are we making much of Jesus here or much of the church?

    8. Mark Brooks on Thu, November 05, 2009

      Ok all you Monday morning QB’s.  Since you are so easily applying the principle that FBC is spending money that could be used in other areas what about you?  Following the logic of some on here we should all meet in tents.  A larger question might be evaluating the long term impact of this church.  Has the investment in buildings in the past increased mission giving over all?  If so, and I think FBC can prove that, then might not this expenditure over time pay dividends that far exceed this price tag?  It’s easy to be critical from the side lines.  Let’s admit that it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

    9. Ray Robinson on Thu, November 05, 2009

      More study should be placed on the reason for the loss of 14K members. Tearing down your barn to build bigger barns does not guarantee growth. Statistics ( show church plants, daugter works or whatever you call them in smaller facilities help develop fellowship & discipleship growth much better than large venues. Big is Ok as long as it does not become obese. Obese is not healthy, has bacteria & disease growing in the fold of fat. Same applies to church. When a church becomes so large they do not have a leadership team that can provide healthy personal ministry, they are obese. I have personally built 400 churches—buildings are not bad nor do they have anything to do with God or boxing God in. They are assembly halls designed to train then send out Gods army to reach the World He died for. $130M could easily build 65 new assembly halls spread out around Dallas which could then ignite the desperately needed revival fires to reach the City for God…My thoughts only…..

    10. Kyle Reed on Thu, November 05, 2009

      I have a hard time speaking anything with love here, so I will just leave it at that and hope that the church is submitting itself to God.

    11. Kevin Bullock on Thu, November 05, 2009

      They aren’t spending $130 million to build a church, they are spending it to build a building.  If they did use all that money to build the “church” as Jesus defined it, their impact on the world would be astronomical and a whole generation would come to know and walk with Christ.  It hurts to see this!

    12. CS on Thu, November 05, 2009

      I’m all for the need of churches to have permanent buildings as a place for the Church to meet.  I’m all for people being artisans and constructing things to give a sense of the grandeur and loftiness of God.  However, I’m also all for people being good stewards with money, and $130 million doesn’t exactly sound like being trustworthy with church funds.


    13. Erik Reed on Thu, November 05, 2009

      I understand the frustration by many at seeing this much money put into building a church. I don’t believe I would ever lead my congregation to such an endeavor, but I think we should be slow to judge. There are many elements of your leadership style and church’s ministries that could be scrutinized by other leaders. Nobody should believe they have the market cornered on what everyone else should do regarding their leadership decisions and directions for their church.

      It gets a little bit old constantly throwing the next church under the bus for something we are so obviously smarter about. If God really owns the cattle of a thousand hills, is there really anything that He can’t provide for, whether its wells in Africa, social justice causes nationally, or a church building? Is there really a set $ amount that we are okay and are not okay with? Is there a price not worthy to pay for the gospel to reach people?

      Once again, I don’t love the idea of that much money going to a building. I wouldn’t do it, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. It would serve us all well to get off of our high-horses and focus on the ministry God has given us to accomplish.

      Just saying…

    14. Andy Rushworth on Thu, November 05, 2009

      I reckon if $130 million was spent building a Football (Soccer for my USA Brothers) stadium with a great football team… you could guarantee 60,000 at every game… men singing together… as well as families… now that has to be a better idea? Just imagine the fun wink

    15. Leonard on Thu, November 05, 2009

      In all honesty I don’t really care that much, but for those complaining about how much good that could do to feed hungry people and meet needs.  Be very careful here.  The average adult in this country spends somewhere between 7 and 11 bucks a day on incidentals.  2-4 bucks for a coffee, 4-8 bucks at the local fast food joint, a soda, candy bar to take the edge off… What could we do with all that money? 

      Were not even pretending to build a church with it.  Much of the world lives on one meal a day, we live on three or four with snacks…  If we earn 27k a year we are in the top 5% of the world in wealth.  We own cars, most of the world doesn’t.  We own a refrigerator, most of the world doesn’t.  We have ipods, tv’s cable, internet, computers and a huge amount of things we do not necessarily need. 

      I sleep in a 2000 square foot home, on a nice bed, in a place with central heat and air, drive my f150 to meet my wife who drove her Toyota at a Chili’s for lunch… as long as I give I am okay?  Are we holing ourselves to the same standard we hold this church too? 

      Next time you spend a dollar, remember that dollar could have saved a life from HIV in Africa if rightly applied.

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