2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bellevue Asks for Donations for Steve and Donna's Vacation, AKA Their "Time of Refreshing"

It is just so darn difficult to be a mega church pastor these days.

With the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and Barrack Obama still in office, and the coming Iranian treaty, mega church pastors are agonizing over the fate of our country and the soon-coming judgment of God. And as many pastors are saying, it is only a mater of time before they will be thrown into prison for not conducting same-sex weddings. These guys have it tough. How do they endure such hardships?

But Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis is doing something about it! They have announced to all the good folks at Bellevue that their pastor, Steve Gaines (affectionately known as "Pastor" in first-person), needs an extended vacation to refresh from all these pressures.

And best of all, the good folks at Bellevue have the wonderful opportunity to give money to a special fund to PAY for Pastor and Donna Gaines' "time of refreshing".
"The church is giving Pastor and Donna extended time off in July 2016. They will travel to England where they will retrace the lives the men who have been part of great awakenings in the past as they take time to pray, study, and refresh". 
Come on. Why not just say it like it is. They're giving the man and his wife an extended vacation. They're not retracing steps, or studying the "Great Awakening". They're going to Europe for a vacation and will stay in luxurious hotels and will go sightseeing. They're not going to just be "praying, studying and refreshing".

But turning a vacation into a spiritual journey back to study men (no women presumably) of the past, and to say they will be praying and studying while there - allows the church to with a straight face hit the people up at Bellevue to give money to pay for "Pastor's" vacation.
"If you would like to help fund the cost of this time of refreshing for Pastor and Donna, please indicate your gift in the same envelope and make your check payable to Bellevue Baptist Church."
Yes, the Bellevue members get to help fund a "time of refreshing" for Pastor. Maybe cut your vacation short so you can help "Pastor" pay for his.

This sort of shameless fundraising should sicken the people at Bellevue. They should be outraged that their pastor who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits, who earns stipends when he goes and preaches at other churches - is not going to pay for his own vacation and they are hitting up the church members instead.

But I'm sure the people of Bellevue love it. By giving to "Pastor's" vacation, er "time of refreshing", they feel like they are giving to God himself. Another deception of the gullible.

Who else does this? Do private companies solicit employees to pay for the "time of refreshing" for the owner? Do CEO's of corporations solicit shareholders or customers or employees to pay for the CEO to take an "extended time off"? Of course not. But CEO's are not "men of God", like pastors.

Here's my take: I say megachurch pastors like Gaines' and others deserve a pay cut, and need to have shortened vacations and not extended ones. Their influence on our culture has waned. Mega church pastors have shown our culture that what really matters in modern-day Christianity is fund-raising, huge buildings, and large staffs with lots of professional holy men with seminary degrees.

So Bellevue peeps, tell Steve and Donna to pay for their own time of refreshing, just like you pay for yours.


bobfelton said...

But-but-but ... how will I donate to Mike Huckabee's campaign, then?

thepaperthinhymn said...

Im sure Steve Gaines makes six figures a year. Easily.

Anonymous said...

Is the church gonna do the same for other staff members??? Probably not. Gaines probably knocks down a quarter of million or more a year and he has the audacity to ask people in his congregation to fund a vacation? Wow, this is pathetic and just another reason why I have disowned the baptist moniker.

Anonymous said...

That takes some kind of gall to ask members to help with his vacation expense. For putting up with this nonsense the sheeple of Belevue deserve this guy.

Steve Lumbley said...

When W.A. Criswell pastored First Baptist in Dallas Texas he and his wife took an annual trip to Europe where they purchased what became a million dollar collection of antique furniture, paintings, and porcelain. It is my understanding those trips were paid for by one wealthy individual. When they died the antiques were auctioned off with most of the money going to Criswell College.

Anonymous said...

You can bet the celebrity pastor sycophants will line up to give right down to their kid's lunch money, because these so-called 'pastors' wouldn't be passing the hat like this unless it worked.

Years later, they will tell their grandchildren about the time the celebrity pastor glanced in their general direction. The blessings, oh the BLESSINGS...


Anonymous said...


Oh how you have nailed the world of pastor (idol) worship.

Anonymous said...

Gaines is also speaking at Gardendale this month along with Emir Caner and a couple more superstars. Maybe the good people at Gardendale will hear about his plight and offer their help for the cause. Poor thing. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.

The Govteach said...

Wish someone would send me yearly to Europe....

Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned, the church has become a spectacle of itself. Examples like this are legion.

Anonymous said...

Time for the pastor man and wife to get real jobs and work like the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Shame on this man for the burdens he lays on God's people.

Anonymous said...

Pastor dude and wife look pretty "refreshed" to me.
Let 'em save up for their vacation like the rest of the sheep.
Oh yes, I forgot. They deserve "double-honor."
I guess that means double vacation time too.

Anonymous said...

Double vacation, well over double the salary of their staff, double the benefits, double everything. And when someone critiques them they feel they are under "double the attack" from Satan himself.

Anonymous said...

Why does he need the extra help? How is he not able to afford this on his salary? I know for a fact that I do not pull down the same kind of money as Pastor Gaines does. But I am still able to take my family on pretty nice vacations. I'm paid well, the church takes care of me and the other staff, and if I were to even recommend such a thing, they would tell me that they pay me for two weeks vacation--and they would be right in doing so.

WishIhadknown said...

I had to check the date and make sure this was not from April 1. (Sigh) The world just keeps getting weirder and weirder. I guess we can at least give them credit for being honest about it. There is so much I could say but why? The utter ridiculousness of it stands on its own.

Anonymous said...

This one of the many reasons I do not want to be called Southern Baptist anymore. I have been in full time service in SB churches since 1972. I have been a missionary with the FMB/IMB for 24 years, in Japan and a missionary like Paul, supporting myself and my wife for another 3 years, also in Japan.

Pastors like Steve and many, many others are not true men of God. They are nothing but money hungry men. They use the Scriptures to rip off good Christian men and women so they can have the "good life."

I would rather be doing what God has called me to do and receiving enough to live on, than a "pastor" like the one talked about in this post. The people of that church have been lead astray and I am not sure they know what is happening. I feel so sorry for them.

Maybe someone in that church will wake up and see the light and say NO!!!

Former FMB/IMB Missionary

PS It is good to have you back!!

Arce said...

Good to have you back. Like the new format a lot!

Anonymous said...

I am impressed with this well very well written and grammatically correct article. I don't like the negative subject matter or necessarily agree with the content. I do not think that a dual employed pastor has any more of chance of going to heaven than a full-time.

You might consider making your points without trying to tear people down in such a personal way. That pastor is calloused and probably could care less what bloggers write.

However, I think that someone is taking some literature courses. :>

Anonymous said...

I noticed that Dave Ramsey is coming to Bellevue to preach his "tithe sermon" on Sunday August 30th. Perhaps he can also throw in a request for a special vacation um "time of refreshing" offering as well.

Anonymous said...

This is further evidence that the "church in America is past any worthwhile use. The solution to this idiocy is all the church people to get fed up with these money grubbing bigots and just leave. I'd love to see these guys actually have to save up money and PTO for their vacation and keep their guilt trips and fat fingers off of mine.

Sabbaticals are common said...

At the risk of being a voice of reason, allow me to interject.

This coincides with his 10th year of service at the church and is meant to be a sabbatical, and is far from extravagant in the ministry world.

Here are a few links for examples:

A three month sabbatical every seven years is not at all uncommon.

Also, I like the idea of the members being able to voluntarily chose to financially support it or not. It is better than just taking the money out of the general budget. If you don't like the idea, don't contribute to it. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

So probably the church is footing the bill for it anyway. With his salary and perks why should members have to come up with anything else. Just another example of the Baptist treating their "man of God" like the Pope and I certainly mean no disrespect to the Catholic Church. Another good reason to never darken the door of a Baptist church again. It looks bad and obviously nobody in management cares.

Morris Brooks said...

Interesting comments, some self-serving, especially from the Baptist bashers. Look, Baptist pastors, SBC and others, are not the only ones who suffer from pastoritis, if that is what is really going on here. Megachurch pastors are easy targets because they are megachurch pastors. This article smacks with the "Look what he is getting because he is a megachurch pastor." A little more background information on the reasons for the opportunities given the congregation to support the vacation/sabbatical of the pastor would have helped this be a more honest article, less slanderous, and less gossip promoting.

I am a bi-vocational pastor and pay for my own trips.

Anonymous said...

This is not Baptist bashing. The facts speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Grifter and Shysters, these two are (as are most of Baptist Mega-Church "Pastors").

Anonymous said...

They have been at Bellevue for 10 years- I watched the service in which this gift was presented to them and was overwhelmed by the obvious love that these people have for their Pastor. Your 'facts' on Gaines' salary and benefits are quite vague and leads one to question whether you actually know whereof you speak. The church are giving honour to whom honour is due-namely their Pastor. It would be appropriate if more if us did the same. God bless Bellevue and God bless the Gaines.

WishIhadknown said...

A church is supposed to love the brothers and sisters, not just the “pastor.”

The vagueness of the information on salary and benefits is because, unlike secular not for profits, churches are not required to make such information public, leaving the world to fill in the information for itself. Yet another way the world leads the way.

It is fair to say, given the Gaines’ lifestyle, where they live, etc., their income runs from between $300,000 to $500,000. Taking into account their tax free income, of course.

Tango Whiskey said...

I was wondering if there will be a similar solicitation for the church janitor? Now there is a fund I could get behind!

"We indeed have a calling to serve in our local churches, but it must be emphasized that our so-called "secular" vocations are actually "holy offices" where we are to serve our neighbors and live out our faith. "If you do your household chores," Luther told the servant girls, "that is better than the holiness and austere life of all the monks."

"God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of LIfe"
by Gene Edward Veith Jr.
page 106-107

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if Pastor Steve Gaines one day he will have the courage and integrity to explain:

1- What were his reasons to destroyed God's awesome work He done for decades using Pastor Adrian Rogers at Bellevue Baptist Church.

a) Bellevue Baptist did not need any spiritual re-framing , it needed a Shepard to continue to love the people as Pastor Rogers did. instead Gaines planted a system not approved by God but approved by his carnal ,emotional mind reasoning.

b) for me Gaines acted philosophical fleshly in all his decisions and ruined one of the best churches in the planet.

c) He should humble himself and restore Bellevue baptist back to its godly principles and face the congregation and recognize he made a huge mistake and repent and ask for their forgiveness and seek all those who left the church and ask them to forgive him and open the door for them.

I rather to have a pastor with 0 degrees and walk with the LORD than a one with PHD that does not..

May the Lord restore Bellevue Baptist once again for His Glory....

Phillip Holbrook said...

Amen brother! The only thing more outrageous than asking members to fund a British vacation is the obvious bias against churches and Christianity in general by this writer who had no grasp whatsoever of the true work of the ministry and all its demands, including the costly toll it takes on the men doing the work.

notastepfordsheep said...

Now that Steve Gaines won the presidency of the SBC due to J.D. Greear "graciously" dropping out at the last hour "in the name of unity" (translation: we good old boys will allow you to run unopposed a la Fred Luter in two years, J.D.), shouldn't Steve be doing something presidential now? I mean he wanted the position. Who, when they land a sought-after job assignment, especially one that lasts only one to two years and while still holding down a full-time job, immediately takes off on an extended vaction? Oh, wait. He is acting presidential! Just like Obama!

Anonymous said...

Sure, even the housekeeping staff and traffic managers are getting vacations to England paid for in part, by congregants. Why would you ask such a silly question. My 69 year-old sister is paying for my vacation this year that includes a 4-night stay at the Palmer House in Chicago. Guess what, moron? IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. A "Watchdog" for church doings and then disavowing your faith over what one preacher at one church does? As you said,"Wow."

Anonymous said...

You people are idiots. And let me guess while you are bashing my pastor, you will see no problem denying my post. You have no idea what this man or any man of God like him go through on a regular basis, and you are way off in your speculation that he is the one that initiated this sabbatical. I am close with several of the deacons in this great church, and because Bro. Steve has been at Bellevue for 10 years they felt he deserved this. I totally agree. Bellevue is doing more to share the Gospel in a city riddled with sin than most of you do combined. By the way, how many of you would gladly receive a gift from your church. If you say you would not, you are lying. If you say you would you are a hypocrite. Sounds to me that most of you are jealous!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

No problem, letting your post through. It is very constructive to read the comments posted by Kool-Aid drinkers.

Jealous? No. But my God, you are one angry Christian. You must be jealous of me.

Be sure to comment on the myriad of posts here having to do with "Bro. Steve". He is a notorious tithing sheep beater. Enjoy!! Would love to read your defenses!

Anonymous said...

Angry Christian? Why would you say that? Do you know anything about me or anything I have been through in my life? I think not. One of the issues with people like you, is that you respond to only part of the facts and you take everything that is said way out of context. I have heard my pastor, Dr. Steve Gaines, and others for that matter preach on tithing and have never felt that he was beating me up. In fact, in response to your comment about Dr. Gaines using the Old Testament for commanding tithing, I have heard him say many times that because we are under grace, a 10% tithe is a place to start not a place to end.

I have a question for you? Do you go to church? If you do, and i would hope that you do, do you give to the ministry of your church through finances. If not, then you are really part of the problem.

And one last thing I would say to you: I am not a blind sheep. I read, study, memorize and apply the Bible. At the point where Steve Gaines or any one else stops preaching the Word of God, I will cease going to that church. I pray that someday you will find what you are looking for (obviously you were hurt in a deep way by a Christian leader) and can move toward reaching the world for Jesus rather than "beating up the sheep" in your own distorted way!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Steve Gaines beats the sheep when it comes to tithing. You sound angry. But I would be too if I were forking over 10% to Steve's church.

Do you tithe on the net or the gross?