Depending on how skeptical your views are on the church and religion, most people would agree that you don’t dedicate your life to serving God or a ministry to get rich.
However, religion is one of the largest and most profitable organizations in the world. Each year, billions (with a big B) of dollars are spent on church renovations, advertising, religious paraphernalia and more! Right before communion, a collection is passed around every Sunday at service. This is supposed to be a part of Christian “charity” for the week. But with the amount that these pastors are making, we would be hesitant to believe they need any more charity to sustain their divine lifestyles. Just how much are pastors really making?
I found 10 of the richest pastors whose pay checks will shock You.
10 Joseph Prince: $5 Million
Joseph Prince was born to a Sikh priest and originally wasn’t on a religious path in life. Employed as an IT consultant, Joseph had a change of heart and committed his life to his religion. He joined the ministry and founded one of the largest churches in all of Asia: New Creation Church.
His mega popularity is partially thanks to such friends as Joel Osteen, of Lakewood Megachurch, who has hosted a number of his sermons, and the internet has helped him gain fame. He has an online video program called Destined to Reign with a following in over 150 countries.
Recognizing and Rewarding
In a 2008 interview with the Sunday Times, Prince acknowledged that he was “well-paid,” but added that “money doesn’t have a hold on me,” denying accusations that his salary was $50,000 a month. However, Straits Times reported that the church paid one employee between $500,001 and $550,000 in its last financial year. While not confirming the identity of that specific employee, the church responded that its policy is to “recognize and reward key contributors to the church and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church’s growth and revenue.”
9.T.B. Joshua: $10 Million
Joshua is a unique influence in his native country of Nigeria. He’s the General Overseer of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations and considered a Prophet in the eyes of his congregation. He grew up in Ondo State, Nigeria from a poverty-stricken family. He dropped out of secondary school in and did everything from working in a poultry farm to washing people’s legs in the muddy streets of Lagos to keep his family afloat.
During a forty day fast he received a divine calling to start a ministry with eight members. The church became extremely popular and Joshua now has an impressive 1.5 million fan following on Facebook. However popular he is with his congregation, other pastors aren’t so quick to support him.
Son of a Devil
Joshua has been publicly condemned by several prominent pastors within Nigeria, with his most vocal critic being Pastor Kris Okotie. He’s been described as a ‘son of the devil.’ Joshua was blacklisted by the government of Cameroon in 2010, which agreed with Pastor Kris’s accusations. Why the hate? Pastor Joshua preaches a “healing faith” and encourages his followers that praying alone will heal their ailments. In 2011, at least three people in London with HIV died after they stopped taking their life saving drugs on the advice of the pastor.
8 Franklin Graham: $25 Million
Franklin Graham is the son of the famous pastor Billy Graham, and the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. He was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina with four other siblings.
After finishing his primary education at The Stony Brook School, a Christian private school in New York, he attended LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas. He wasn’t there for long before being expelled from the school for keeping a female classmate out past curfew.
Three years later, the 22-year-old had a conversion experience where he fully committed himself to Jesus Christ in a hotel room while on a trip to Jerusalem. After eight years of proving himself, he was ordained in 1982 by the Grace Community Church in Tempe, Arizona.
During those years, Franklin was mentored by two senior members of the Billy Graham Team and eventually took over organizing events for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was so successful, he became the CEO and president of the company and continues to be today.
Good and Bad
Despite his contributions to world relief, Franklin is not without controversies. He was a supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and referred to Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion.” Last year, he wrote a column titled “Putin’s Olympic Controversy,” in which he praised the Russian leader’s anti-gay crusade.
Extremely different views than his beloved father, who is covered next.
No 7, Billy Graham: $25 Million
Billy Graham is one of the most well-known pastors on the planet and has earned the nickname, “America’s Pastor.” He was born in 1918 and thus has been involved in many historical events including bailing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. out of jail during his fight for civil rights, and directly writing for and supporting Nixon during the Vietnam War.
He’s estimated to have had an audience during his life long career of over 2.2 billion, but it obviously didn’t start out that way. While attending college, Graham became the pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and continued to preach all over the world. Since his ministry began in 1947, Graham conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents.
Compared to other pastors on this list, Billy’s list of controversies are quite tame. They mostly stem from him being extremely religious, duh, like his views on women. In 1970, Graham stated that feminism was “an echo of our overall philosophy of permissiveness,” and that women did not want to be “competitive juggernauts pitted against male chauvinists.” He then stated that the role of wife, mother, and homemaker was the destiny of “real womanhood” according to the Judeo-Christian ethic… okay.
No 6, Kenneth Copeland: $25 Million
Before dedicating his life to Christianity, Kenneth was a recording artist and his song, “Pledge of Love” made it to #17 on the top 40 billboard hits in 1957. After his conversion, Kenneth concentrated his passion on the gospel and ministry work.
Pastor and Pilot
Kenneth has a love for flying. He got his pilot license to become the personal pilot of Oral Roberts before starting his own ministry. Unfortunately, even this led to some questionable decisions. Using church donations, his ministry bought five private jets.
Not only that, Kenneth Copeland Ministries have taken advantage of a Federal Aviation Administration program that keeps flights private from tracking websites. United States Senator Chuck Grassley has questioned some of the flights taken by these aircrafts, including layovers in Maui, Fiji, and Honolulu. The ministries responded saying the stopovers were for “preaching or for allowing pilot rest.” Convenient.
According to the Washington Times, Kenneth Copeland has defended his “use of private jets as a luxury means of travel, arguing that commercial planes are full of ‘a bunch of demons’ that will bog down their busy schedules with prayer requests”.
Setting that aside, Kenneth and his wife have been criticized for their anti-vaccination preachings. Gloria Copeland would often preach that doctors give patients “poison that will make you sicker” and that the church is an alternative to medical treatment: “Which do you want to do? Do you want to [get vaccinated] or do you want to sit here on a Saturday morning, hear the word of God, and let faith come into your heart and be healed?”
No 5, Creflo Dollar: $27 Million
True to his name, Creflo is known as one of the flashiest of America’s Ministers to date. He owns a Rolls Royce, and multiple $2.5 million estates. His beginning wasn’t that lucrative, however. Creflo began developing World Changers Church International (WCCI) in 1986. He held the Church’s first worship service in the cafeteria of an elementary school in College Park with eight people in attendance.
His following grew quickly and on December 24, 1995, WCCI moved into its present location—an 8,500-seat facility known as the World Dome. The church has said that the $18 million to build the World Dome was done without any bank financing, which isn’t that surprising seeing as of 2007, the congregation reported having around 30,000 members, and $69 million in revenue.
In 2013, Creflo was arrested for allegedly attacking his own daughter. The charges were dropped after he attended several anger management groups.
A year later, Creflo’s private Gulfstream III jet ran off the runway, but there were no serious injuries. To replace the old jet, Creflo launched a fundraising campaign to get his congregation to pay around $60,000,000 for a new jet. The suggested donation was “$300 or more,” but the campaign was canceled after an immense backlash. Followers were still given the option to donate for the jet on a page of the ministry’s website and lo and behold, several months later, the board of WCCI announced that they were ready to acquire a Gulfstream G650.
No 4, E. A. Adeboye: $39 Million
Enoch Adejare Adeboye began his career in preaching during a professorship at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. With his Ph.D. in mathematics, he worked as a lecturer in mathematics at the Universities of Lagos. At the time, Adeboye joined the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Math and Religion
As an extra job, Adeboye began translating the sermons of the RCCG Pastor and founder, Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, from Yoruba into English. When Rev Akindayomi died, Adeboye took over preaching and eventually gave up his university position to preach full time.
Reaching His Goals
Going full time, Adeboye put forth a goal to put a church “within 5 minutes” of every home in the world. He was quite successful and now his teachings are broadcast in over 100 countries and he has over 14,000 branches in Nigeria alone.
No 3, Benny Hinn: $42 Million
If you were to think “controversial American Televangelist,” Benny Hinn would come to mind. He’s best known for his regular “Miracle Crusades”— faith healing summits that are usually held in stadiums in major cities. Followers believe that if they are prayed over, they can be healed of any ailment.
Upon moving to the United States, Benny claimed that God was using him as a conduit for healing, and began holding healing services in his church. At Benny’s Miracle Crusades, he has allegedly healed attendees of blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS, and severe physical injuries.
He’s 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 several times. Regardless of his shady financial dealings he still has a solid following in both Canada and the United States.
No 2, Chris Oyakhilome: $50 Million
Pastor Chris’s teachings, like Benny Hinn, center on “faith healing;” Chris claims he can inspire faith that will heal any illness… including AIDS. Despite his questionable teachings, his religious “business” is quite impressive. His ministry runs several different branches including the Healing School, Rhapsody of Realities, LoveWorld Books, and an NGO called the Inner-city Missions for Children.
Additionally, they own three Christian television channels: LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT and LoveWorld Plus. The television programs feature the famous faith healings and miracles and have garnered over 2.5 million viewers in a single night’s event.
The Government of South Africa and Treatment Action Campaign have both criticized Chris’s claims that he can cure HIV/AIDS.
In 2016, the South African government threatened to put Chris in jail if his organization didn’t reveal what they do with the donations they receive.
No 1, Bishop T.D. Jakes: $147 Million
Bishop Jakes is one of the more acceptable pastors on this list. He’s accompanied President Bush (during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath) and Obama (leading a morning church service in 2009), who have both commented on his good intentions and actions. President Bush described Jakes as “a kind of man who puts faith into action.”
Abstinence is Everything
Jakes is the bishop of The Potter’s House, a Nondenominational American megachurch with a 30,000 person congregation. He is a strong advocate of abstinence and has spoken on the subject widely ranging from Good Morning America to Dr. Phil.
A Jake of all Trades
While he does make an impressive salary as a pastor, most of his money comes from his sales of gospel music, books and numerous syndicated appearances. He’s even won a Grammy for his music.
So there you have it! Some of the richest Mega Pastors in the world! What do you think about their wealth and life style? Let Me know your thoughts