Cashing In On Church: The Richest Mega Pastors In America

Cashing In On Church - The Richest Mega Pastors in AmericaMany people don’t believe that pastors can make much money. However, these pastors will show you that they can indeed make the big bucks!

It might be argued that the reason why ministers are more likely to make money today is because they utilize more money making opportunities such as writing books, producing movies and speaking engagements.

As a result, congregations quickly put their trust in their ministers, pastors or preachers who have become not only some of the most renowned spiritual mentors in the world but also some of the wealthiest. So just how much are some pastors really making?

Charles E Blake – Wealth: $1+ Million

    Charles E. Blake is a California bishop who earned $900,000 per year and lives in a 10,000 square feet Beverly Hills mansion. He earns his massive salary from the help of 20,000 weekly members to his church. While he lives the good life, his average parishioner earns just $27,907 while living in poverty in South Central Los Angeles.

William Franklin Graham III – Wealth: $1+ Million

    William Franklin Graham III is the son of the famous pastor Billy Graham, and the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. In 2008 he came under fire after claiming total compensation of $1.2 million (from both the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), during a period of slowed economic growth. According to Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association board, $300,000 of that huge amount was actually deferred retirement money from the previous three years.

    In 2009, Graham announced that he would give up new contributions to his retirement plans and not take a further salary from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. His wealth, estimated in the millions, shows that a family dynasty can be created in the religious world.

Bill Moyers – Wealth: $20 Million

    Oklahoma native Bill Moyers started his career with a journalism internship with the United States Senate after completing a degree at the University of Texas. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson developed a liking for the young man and helped to secure work for Moyers as a TV editor. Moyers later hosted several television programs ,including many on PBS. Some estimates indicate that he earned more than $20 million in taxpayer money for his work on PBS, although he has never confirmed that amount. Moyers decided after several years to pursue his Master of Divinity, and in 1959 he was ordained a Baptist minister. He would later be appointed as the Associate Director of the Peace Corp and would service us the 13th White House Press Secretary under Johnson from 1965 to 1967. He has given a handful of sermons since his early years in politics, but now the 81-year-old journalist is best recognized as a pioneer in freedom of the press and public broadcasting.

Joel Scott Osteen – Wealth: $67+ Million

    Joel Scott Osteen (aka Joel Scott Hayley Osteen, Joel Scott Osteen) is the Senior “Pastor” of Lakewood Church, in Houston, Texas. Osteen’s televised sermons are seen by over 7 million viewers weekly and over 20 million monthly in over 100 countries. His sermons also broadcast 24 hours a day on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Channel 128. Osteen has written seven New York Times Best Sellers. He has been nicknamed “The Smiling Preacher”.

Matthew “Matt” Crouch – Wealth: 1 Billion

    Matt Crouch is a son of Paul and Janice Crouch, which teamed up with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker to establish the Trinity Broadcasting Network. TBN would eventually become the largest Christian television network in the country.

    Janice Crouch died in 2016, at the age of 78, after a stroke. At the time of her passing, the network was embroiled in several lawsuits. One involved a rape and others were over financial issues. Janice Crouch’s fortune at the time of her death was $50 million. Crouch’s son Matthew now has control over Trinity’s assets, which according to a recent tax return are now worth more than $1 billion.

Robert Charles Sproul – Wealth: $2 Million

    Dr. Robert Charles Sproul, a Pittsburgh born and raised pastor, is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries. The church was established in 1970 and was started as a college and seminary for students. The faith-based organization was soon built into a nationally recognized program which hosts theological conferences with renowned speakers from around the world. Sproul founded the internationally broadcasted Sirius XM radio program “Renewing Your Mind.” Unlike his contemporaries, he avoided television and launched the Reformation Network (RefNet), an online radio station for reformed Christians, in 2012.

    RC Sproul wrote a blog post about how much pastors should earn. In it he says “Pay him well enough that he is able to give with great generosity.” One conservative estimate puts Sproul’s net worth at $2 million.

Richard Rossi – Wealth: $1+ Million

    Rossi was known as the rock and roll preacher after becoming a born-again Christian following a drug overdose. Rossi started playing his music on The 700 Club while working on his biblical studies degree at Liberty University. In 1984 he opened his first church — The Fellowship. In 1994 his wife Sherri was found nearly dead on the side of the road. Rossi was named as the top suspect. His trial ended with a hung jury, although the damage to his reputation had already been completed.

Jack Leo Van Impe – Wealth: $2.5 Million per year

    Jack Leo Van Impe graduated from the Detroit Bible Institute in 1952, and has earned the nickname “Walking Bible” for his ability to quote the scripture. Van Impe started his career as an evangelist on the Billy Graham Crusades. In 1954 he married Rexella Mae Shelton. Together, the newlyweds started Jack Van Impe Ministries. Rexella served as his co-host of the television series, “Jack Van Impe Presents.” Sixty years later, the TV series is still shown across North America. Reports have suggested that the Jack Van Impe Ministries International Foundation has a yearly revenue of about $2.5 million.

    In 2011, Van Impe ceased airing his program on Trinity Broadcasting Network after they refused to air an episode of his show. In the episode, Van Impe had expressed criticism of Christians who wish to incorporate Islamic practices into their organizations.

Ernie Fletcher – Wealth: $16.7 Million

    Ernie Fletcher has played a politician, a preacher, and a physician. The Kentucky native started his professional career with the United States Air Force, in the hopes of becoming an astronaut. After cuts to NASA’s budget and eyesight concerns, Fletcher earned a degree in medicine and opened a private practice.

    He started working as a lay Baptist minister in his community and became active in Kentucky politics. In 1999, Fletcher joined the United States House of Representatives, where he served until 2003. Fletcher was elected as state Governor in 2003, over state Attorney General Ben Chandler. He held that position until 2007, when accusations of impropriety surfaced.

    However, while Fletcher was in office, he was accused of unethical hiring practices that overshadowed his reelection bid. During his time in office, Fletcher also almost lost his medical license. He signed a death warrant for a man who had been convicted of a double murder and sentenced to death. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure investigated him for this, as the state’s laws state that doctors are ineligible to participate in executions in any way. The Board determined that Fletcher had acted as Governor and not as a physician when he issued the death warrant. Bowling died of cancer in prison before the execution could take place.

    Despite many years spent in the ministry, Fletcher amassed most of his rumored $3 million net worth with his work in politics. Congress members can earn as much as $223,500 a year from salary alone. YouBrite reports his net worth as high as $16.7 million, which is an unconfirmed amount.

Jimmy Swaggart – Wealth: $1.5 Million

    Swaggart is one of the most popular Louisiana pastors of all time. Ordained in the 1950s he would eventually launch his own AM radio network which only grew his thirst for an even larger audience. Eventually he turned his attention to TV, hosting an hour-long weekend telecast that was aired on more than 200 networks. He eventually lost the public favor in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he was faced both prostitution and sex scandals. He would eventually admit to his transgressions in his infamous “I have sinned” speech. He would regain some of his followers and go on to earn $1.5 million through his music, radio and television ministry.

Charles Stanley – Wealth: $1.5 Million

    Stanley started work as a minister in Virginia when he was just 14-years-old. Graduating from the University of Richmond and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he became the pastor of First Baptist Church. In Atlanta he started The Chapel Hour TV program in 1972. In 1978 his program was syndicated across the country by the Christian Broadcasting Network. He eventually started In Touch Ministries, which led to a syndicated radio broadcast that took his message worldwide. His program In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley is translated across hundreds of radio and television networks in over 100 languages.

Clifton Duncan Davis – Wealth: $3 Million

    Davis is actually better known for his time as a songwriter, singer and actor. He wrote such famous hits as Never Can Say Goodbye and Lookin’ Through the Windows for the Jackson 5. Well before his first taste of fame, Davis pursued theological studies and earned his Master of Divinity from Andrews University. He was ordained in 1987. Over the past 25 years he has served as the co-founder and pastor of the Welcome Christian Center in Huntington Beach, California. He has made various guest appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and has hosted the Gospel Super fest for the last eight years.

Kenneth Copeland – Wealth: $25 Million

    Best known for his messages about prosperity and abundance, it appears Copeland can reference quite a bit of firsthand experience. Before his conversion to Christianity he had commercial success as a recording artist, releasing 1957’s “Pledge of Love” which made it to #17 of the top 40 billboard hits of the year. Copeland has had a lifelong love for flying as well, which allowed him after conversion to become the personal pilot of Oral Roberts before starting his own ministry and owning his own private jet (admittedly paid for by church donations). Copeland and his family also reside in a $6.3 million estate, where television audiences are invited to sit around the table with the family on “Believers Voice of Victory”.

Creflo Dollar – Wealth: $39 Million

    With Dollar in his name, was there any doubt this pastor would appear on such a list? Known as one of the flashiest of American Ministers, he owns a Rolls Royce, multiple $2.5 million dollar estates and in recent years been given an F by the Ministry Watch for financial transparency. To make matters worse, Dollar was arrested in 2013 for allegedly attacking his own daughter but the charges were dropped after agreements to join anger management groups. He like quite a few of his comrades in this list preaches almost exclusively the “prosperity” gospel. While receiving a Bachelor’s in Science for Education from West Georgia College, it appears this pastor has yet to learn the intricacies of “Do unto Others”.

Benny Hinn – Wealth: 42 Million

    Benny Hinn is perhaps the most openly controversial of any American Televangelist. Publicly claiming a gospel that empowers “faith healing”, he has been investigated by the United States Senate for manipulation of tax status, and his Ministry has been flagged with a “Donor Alert” by Ministry Watch. Regardless of this shady financial situation he continues to have a solid fellowship in both Canada and the United States. Followers of his teachings believe that if they are prayed over, they can be healed of any malady. Among his many luxury possessions is a Gulfstream G4 jet.


4 Comments:

  1. There are many who will say that these pastors shouldn’t be making this much money. Before you judge, keep in mind that the average yearly household salary in The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is $422, so they could be saying the same about you.

  2. Fred Ricco Young Jr.

    I must say for me this is a testament to Jesus as He spoke concerning the end time and truth. As I recall Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were neither mega rich nor did they sell the word of God for profit. Actually they divided the money they collected in a way that support the church, which is the children of God. In Matthew 28:16-20 – Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This command or commission says nothing about selling the Word of God for the purpose of serving self. So I am appalled at these men who pretend to be preaching on behalf of truth, however indulging in self profit and greed by taking away from Gods children,” Money” in return for mansions, wealth, cars and power these are certainly not examples of how the patriarch conducted them selves. Are we Blind or do we just not understand that God is the focus not men. What I see is a reckless and misguided attempt to dilute the truth of who God is and what He Represent. God is not please with this misconception of His Word as it is being presented by these Mega Business men who impersonate the the important position of Preach hood.

    The Bible has a great deal to say about servant hood because the central theme of the Bible is the Servant of all—Jesus Christ. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When we give Jesus Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His lordship will be expressed in the way we serve others (Mark 9:35; 1 Peter 4:10; John 15:12-13). How can we demonstrate love for God? Our love for God will be expressed in our love for others. “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

    True leadership is servant hood, and the greatest leader of all time is Jesus Christ. Servant hood is an attitude exemplified by Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7). The five words in the New Testament translated “ministry” generally refer to servant hood or service given in love. Serving others is the very essence of ministry. All believers are called to ministry (Matthew 28:18-20), and, therefore, we are all called to be servants for the glory of God. Living is giving; all else is selfishness and boredom.

    It has been rightly stated, “Rank is given you to enable you to better serve those above and below you. It is not given for you to practice your idiosyncrasies” (General Bruce C. Clarke, USA, Ret). Let’s serve others by serving Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). God the Father has served us by sacrificing Christ on the cross for our sins, and we should serve others by giving the gospel and our lives to them (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6). Those who desire to be great in God’s kingdom must be the servant of all (Matthew 20:26).

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