Jeff Brumley, religion writer for the Florida Times Union, had an interesting article last Thursday about how the slowdown in the economy has hurt the giving of parishioners of churches around town. Click here for his article.
I found his article headline and sub-headlines interesting:
Offering plates take hit in lean economy
TITHES: Parishioners cut back on their giving to buy gas and food.
MINISTRIES CUT BACK: Less money coming in, but more are in need.
Although Brumley didn't differentiate in his article between large and small churches, a quick review of how the pastors of the areas larger churches are living, including Mac Brunson, would suggest that the weak economy might be affecting their church's giving and their ministries, but not certainly not the pastors' lifestyle.
Looking at the home values of some of the areas most popular churches and ministries reveals that a number of pastors are "living large" in homes well above the average parishioner.
Here are the "Top 5" home values of local pastors...for all but Gilyard and Brunson I have left the names off...I'll let Brumley or someone else publish those:
1. $1,600,00 - Pastor of Mandarin area church
2. $1,100,000 - Pastor of local church and TV minister
3. $1,030,000 - Mac Brunson, Pastor of FBC Jacksonville
4. $992,000 - Pastor of historic Baptist church
5. $724,000 - Darrel Gilyard, former Shiloh Pastor
All but FBC Jax are predominantly African American churches.
All but Mac Brunson have lengthy tenures at their church of 10 years or more. Mac began construction of his home just weeks after he arrived in Jacksonville in 2006, on the $300,000 1/2 acre lot given to Mac just weeks after he took the helm of FBC Jax.
The only Southern Baptist Convention church in the list is Mac Brunson at $1.03 million.
Two of these top 5 churches have pastors or former pastors serving on Mayor Peyton's crime prevention steering committee, both have woeful attendance records at the committee meetings of less than 30%.
The other pastors of rather large local churches, some of them multi-campus, some even that are on TV in the local market, are in the $500k and below range.
Do you suppose if the economy gets much worse it will be harder for parishioners to stroke their weekly check, knowing that while they are getting the squeeze, their pastors are living large?