The Business Of Faith (May 2006)

 A few months ago I posted an article on a local pastor who was going through a bitter legal battle between  the church he use to pastor.  They were fighting among all things, over a helicopter that the church claimed belonged to them. 

But this brings up a very sticky, touchy topic, that gets people’s blood boiling  some people call it Pimping from the Pulpit, Black Enterprise Magazine choose ‘The Business of Faith.’  How wealthy should the pastor of a church be?  Is there any such thing as humility in mega-churches?  These are questions that are being asked and some people are up in arms over it.

T.D. Jakes has it all.  This article highlights his huge churches and financial profits from his entertainments company; which pulled in 15 million.  This is from his books, movies and speaking engagements.  Jakes says to make sure that the finances are handled properly he has two sets of accountants, one for the church, and the other for his entertainment company. He is just built a private Christian School, and has many other projects on the way.  But is this too much?

On the Joe Madison Show (WOL 1450AM), he had a guest by the name of Dr. Brenda Compton-Turner who wrote a book called: ‘Tithing-Need and Greed.’  Turner recently earned her Doctorate of Divinity Degree from Summit Bible College, CA, in Biblical Studies.   She has over 30 years experience in education. Also, she has taught at the secondary education level for the Prince Georges Board of Education and is a strong advocate for reformation of the church, in terms of fiscal accountability of church leaders to God for the use of His money. 

In her interview she criticized, pastors who profit lavishly from the tithes of the congregation.  During the interview she suggested that the money that T.D. Jakes earnes from his entertainment company, should be put right back into the church.  As she put it: “If it wasn’t for his popularity and calling as a preacher, he would not even have an entertainment company to profit from.”

I totally agree with her.  I believe that pastors should be more humble.  I am not saying that they should live as poor people, but lavish million dollar houses and expensive luxury automobiles is too much.  I feel that maybe salary caps should be set by the church board and its members.  I don’t want to see my pastor living in multi-million dollar home, or riding around in a $100,000 automobile.  While some of the people in the congregation are struggling, or the neighborhood outside of the church is in complete turmoil. 

This article also featured Sanctuary at Kingdom Square, which is church that resides in a strip mall.  Thisstrip mall also has a Ballys Fitness where I normally work out.  One Sunday morning I was going to get my work out on and pulled into the strip mall parking lot to discover that the church has reserved some of the parking spaces with rubber cones, for “important church clergy”  I had to take a step back and think for a second:

  • Why would a church relocate in a strip mall?
  • What gives them the right to reserve parking spaces at a public strip mall?

Well I found out my answer from reading this article.  The church purchased the strip mall for millions of dollars.  I am not sure if they plan renewing all the businesses that are all ready there, but I am not feeling this move.  The article claims that they purchased the strip mall to revitalize the crime ridden area. I applaud them for trying to fix the neighborhood, but why not just build a church?  For myself, I would not want to worship in a strip mall; but that’s my opinion lol.

It just seems like the mega-churches are doing too much; stadium seating, atm machines in the church,credit unions, and all of this before you see cross.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my church to be that multifaceted.  This is not an attack on Chrisitianity, I am a Chrisitian, but I do not believe in the mega-church concept.  How do you get one on one time with a pastor of a congregation of 15,000?  Your just a number.  My opninion folks, just my opinion.

Black Enterprise Magazine 

The Business Of Faith (May 2006)

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4 Responses

  1. I’m actually really glad you blogged about that issue of Black Enterprise. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. And people are wondering why the Black Church leadership is turning Republican. But politics aside, I don’t think Pastors need to be rich. Even if they did have a organization that was bringing in 15 million dollars– I would hope it was a Foundation or a Non-profit where they are putting the money into something other than their own pockets. But, I’m kind of fed up with the Black church… so I don’t have much else to say…

  2. Hey NATIVESON-

    I talk about this subject a lot with a few of my co-workers and the opinions are all over the place!

    I tend to agree with you – I don’t think a pastor should take a vow of poverty in order to spread the Lord’s word. I think he/she should be afforded a comfortable life with reasonable trappings. Said, “trappings” need to be determined by a voting body within the church [of course].

    However, I see a lot of folks that like to boast about the lavish lifestyles their preachers lead… “We just bought our preacher a Bentley,” or “We’re breaking ground on a 30,000 seat church, it has a cafeteria, a fitness room, a hospital, two gyms, a baseball field, and three basketball courts,” I’m a Christian, but I have to ask – If Jesus came back today, would he set foot in such a building to proclaim his return? I seriously doubt it.

    I presonally think, the more spiritual a person is, the more TRULY humble they become. There is a preacher that I truly respect named Dr. Robert Turner – I respect him not just because of his skill with The Word, but I respect him because he is humble in his Walk, his manner and his “trappings” – dispite the fact that he has a ‘big money’ congregation.

    But when it comes to wealthy preachers, the argument I get from my co-workers is, “You’re supposed to seperate the message from the messenger,” And, yeah – I know that is the case – but I would be hard pressed to take any serious advice about being humble and faithful sitting across from a millionaire who lives in a 9 bedroom house and drives a $100,000 car. But maybe – I’m crazy.

  3. I don’t think any Christian who lives as a true Christian has a need for that much money. It’s one thing to pull in 15 million, it’s another to have it. He should be giving that money back to the communities that are giving it to him. We have enough money being sucked out of our communities. We don’t need our Christian leaders doing it as well.

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