"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Modern Day "Circuit Riders": Traveling Mega Church Pastors Finding Another Way to Fleece the Flocks and Recycle Their Sermons

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Methodists used "circuit rider" preachers to minister to rural flocks. In our modern evangelical mega church world, we have our own sort of "circuit rider" - the traveling mega church preacher fleecing congregations by accepting large sums of money for recycled sermons at churches they visit.

Just look at who is preaching where this summer, and you see a virtual guest-speaker fest. It is hard to keep track of 'em all. Johnny Hunt goes on sabbatical, and Woodstock has to not only continue to pay Hunt's salary and bennies, they have to pay to bring in some big name preachers to preach the word.

Steve Gaines was preaching at Johnny Hunt's church last Sunday on his vacation, then on Wednesday he preached at Charles Stanley's church. Not bad, get your vacation fully paid by popping into a few churches to recycle an old sermon and tell the peeps they're thieves unless they give the magical 10%. Gaines' church in turn has to hire speakers for the Sunday night sermons in August. [correction: Gaines' church brings in the big guns on Wednesday nights in August, has for several years]. Mac Brunson is a regular on the preaching circuit as I've blogged about before.

The emergents are masters at this. They travel to each others' churches and conferences and push their books, and expand their market for selling their Holy Land trips and building their brand image.

My word, Steve Gaines is even taking speaking gigs at the Assemblies of God functions!

Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church flew out to Charlotte to be at emergent Steven Furtick's church this weekend, while Kevin Ezell comes to Prestonwood to fill in for Pastor Jack. It is a musical chairs of preachers during the summer as they earn extra scratch for their new boat or condo.

Why do they do this? Of course they will tell you they have the most noble of intentions. They are just spreading the gospel, right?

No, not really. It is another example of how the great masses in mega churches are fleeced by greedy mega men of God. Their sermons are already on the Internet, and we don't need to fly them in. It is all completely unnecessary. You want to hear Perry Noble tell you you're scum? Go to his website. Want to hear the latest tithing nonsense? Dial up Gaines or Young on your browser. You don't need to fly him in to the church. Besides, can't other staff members at the church fill in for the mega church pastor who is on vacation or sabbatical? The sad answer is no, they can't, because they aren't celebrities. Many worshippers view Johnny Hunt preaching behind their pulpit in the same way a giggling high school girl would see Justin Beiber crooning at their high school. It is all about celebrity.

Insiders tell me that visiting preachers at mega churches will earn up to $3000 for a Sunday morning sermon, or $5000 if they do the hard work of staying over and preaching the Sunday evening sermon also. But I'm sure they have not one iota of guilt, since they tithe on the money, which makes them super spiritual.

Not bad scratch. If they earn $3000 in addition to their travel, meals and lodging, that is about $100 per minute for an average 30-minute sermon. Not an hour. A MINUTE. That is professional baseball player per minute money. While churches everywhere are seeing their revenue continue to decline, the mega church pastors are hot and heavy to get out on the circuit to get their share of the visiting preacher dollars.

And usually what they are preaching is a sermon that is recycled from one they just were paid to prepare and preach at their mega church. Nothing new or fresh. Mac Brunson does it. Johnny Hunt does it. Steve Gaines does it. The master is Ergun Caner - as for years and years he was preaching virtually the same story, same jokes and lines at churches all over the country.

Sometimes preachers are brought in to do the dirty work of the pastor. One of the more brazen moves was Perry Noble of NewSpring church hiring Robert Morris to come in for two straight weeks to beat up the sheep over tithing, telling them of the curse on them and their money unless they gave Perry's church 10% of their income. Shameless.

And don't get me started on the Holy Land trips and luxury cruises hosted by the pastor and his family. I'm just amazed that in these days where governments at all levels are searching for creative ways to gain new revenue that they haven't figured out there is an entire market that continues to operate tax-free.

So next time the visiting mega church preacher shows up at your church, put a little extra in the offering plate for the poor traveling preacher.

Next thing you know, we'll have preachers pushing multi-level marketing schemes in their churches.

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to disappoint you but sometimes these guys preach for their buddies free of charge. They do it because they are Christian brothers and enjoy sharing with their congregations. Not all preachers are bad.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

That is a good one Anon. I got a good chuckle over that.

Anonymous said...

Next week at Prestonwood it’s James McDonald followed by Paige Patterson on 8/21

James said...

"Anonymous said...
I hate to disappoint you but sometimes these guys preach for their buddies free of charge. They do it because they are Christian brothers and enjoy sharing with their congregations. Not all preachers are bad.
August 7, 2011 4:54 PM"

True, there are some good honest preachers who speak for a love offering or just to spread the word of God. However there are speakers (would not classify them as preachers) who require retainers and cashiers to take money for book sales and dvd's, etc. Those (such as Caner) who require security due to the Muslims or others they have ticked off. These are the speakers being spoken about here!

rabbi-philosopher said...

Pretty weak article today Tom. Hopefully you have got some better posts on the horizon. I'm counting on it.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I agree, one of the worst. :)

Anonymous said...

WD,
It's ridiculous how little you actually know.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Absolutely, very little. Almost nothing.

:)

Anonymous said...

3000 is cheap. we once paid a big name author (also preacher) 10,000 for 2 services on a Sunday. the only reason I know is cause I was on staff at time involved in booking him. we paid 1st class travel, nice hotel and meals in addition to the fee. Oh, plus a personal assistant

Anonymous said...

oooh. people don't like your post. looks like the truth is a bit embarassing. these guys don't do it often for free. I know used to have the job booking the big names. Some of these full time preachers make up to 50,000 per year with supplimenting their preaching/personal ministry income by guest preaching. Some were raking in half mill a year.

Check out navigator sometime. it will blow your mind.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Sure, they don't like it one bit. Let's get some names. What mega church pastors are going to preach at their buddies mega churches for free?

Give us names and dates.

It doesn't happen. They earn thousands. They should. They are rock stars. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have served on staff in a large megachurch and the information in this article is more true than your readers realize.

Not only are the 'speakers' given large 'honorariums' ($2,000 for one morning service) but they are also reimbursed for hotel accommodations, travel expenses, and meals under the guise of 'hospitality.'

I have had to find rooms with certain amenities such as 'sleep number' mattresses, ocean views, and suites that met minimum square feet requirements. I wish I could say that I'm joking and this article isn't true but I would be lying.

I now work for a small church in a rural community where the people want a preacher of the Word and not a celebrity and I couldn't be happier.

I can't leave my name because I would likely be connected with a particularly large megachurch where I used to to serve. For now, I choose to post anonymously.

Seneca Griggs said...

I to think the post on hospitality wasn't particularly noteworthy and the fact that Steve Gaines teaches tithing leaves me scratching my head.
But I thought the post on James Merrit schlepping a financial system of possibly dubious integrity was a good post. Hopefully James has taken blogger's criticism to heart and indeed removed himself from that issue.

Anonymous said...

I know that some of them preach for free because I've had them in my church. Its not unreasonable for the hosting church to pay for their hotel and meals while they are visiting.

Its interesting that so many of you claim to know the truth about mega church pastors when you can't even find out for sure what their salary might be. However, your speculations are amusing and always on the high side. Maybe if you were on the Personnel Committee at Jax or Bellevue and could tell us the truth you would have more credibility.

Sharon said...

It seems to be more about entertaining Christians than spreading the gospel. What is the visiting preacher gonna say that the regular pastor hasn't said a million times already?

In my experience, when a revival was planned or a big-deal preacher was coming, you were supposed to try really hard to get your friends and neighbors there. I guess the thinking was that the special speaker had more powers somehow in getting people saved. Or the speaker is coming to try to get people to do what the regular pastor can't get them to do-give more, witness more, or something.

In my day, the visiting evangelist stayed at the preacher's house and ate meals with different families. The plate was passed for a "love offering." I don't know if they were paid in addition to that or not, but that concept would have never crossed my mind. Why? Because I truly believed it really was all about proclaiming Jesus, period.

John H said...

How do I get on this list?

I preach for my church and receive less in two months than these guys get for a single day.

Oh, wait, I'm not awesome enough for that.

John H said...

Actually, I have no interest in being in those circles. I can sleep at night.

Sharon said...

It's kinda funny when you think about it. The church is paying the visiting speaker a lot of money. So evidently the church has plenty of money. So it doesn't make sense that they need more money. They so obviously ALREADY have the money.

Would they not have saved quite a bit of money by not having the special speaker and just listening to the same ole guy yet again? It would be cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe these Pastors are furthering the kingdom by rotating through each others pulpits in the summer? If so, I'd like to hear the explanation. Why not stay home and save your church the expense of paying the guest preacher? These are typically tired worn out sermons, nothing earth shattering. (I have heard them for 4 weeks straight now)In most cases a junior staff member would love the opportunity to finally preach in "big church". These guys can bring a fresh word and get valuable experience. Of course, that doesn't put people in the seats. Summertime is notorious for low attendance, and lower giving. Perhaps they have compared stats on attendance and giving results for stay at home Pastors vs. the guest speaker strategy and have determined this approach makes the best "business" sense. God help us all.

Mark said...

Hey WD...

Any chance you can document these claims of $3000-$5000 for a sermon? Makes it much more credible than saying "I have people who have told me."

While I don't doubt what you say, it would be nice for something more substantive.

Anonymous said...

I to think the post on hospitality wasn't particularly noteworthy and the fact that Steve Gaines teaches tithing leaves me scratching my head.
But I thought the post on James Merrit schlepping a financial system of possibly dubious integrity was a good post. Hopefully James has taken blogger's criticism to heart and indeed removed himself from that issue.

August 8, 2011 6:45 AM

seneca has spoken. you see, this guy is making his way around..from TWW to SGM Refuge telling them how stupid they are. Seneca has not met a charlatan he has not defended. interesting to see he found this site, too.

Anonymous said...

"Its interesting that so many of you claim to know the truth about mega church pastors when you can't even find out for sure what their salary might be"

This person needs a course in logic 101

William Thornton said...

Don't know about others but Kevin Ezell will be preaching at my church this Sunday. I asked, he accepted. Money wasn't mentioned. We will happily give him the honorarium we usually give to guest preachers. NAMB is fairly close to us.

I'm looking forward to meeting him and hearing him preach.

William Thornton

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,

Many of the mega church pastors certainly accept more than I would feel comfortable with. I'm not sure, however, what is wrong with "recycled" sermons. Jesus likely repeated several of his parables and teachings as did Paul when he taught in the Jewish synagogues. What's more important than being original in every sermon is simply preaching the Gospel. The problem, as it seems to me, isn't that the mega church pastors are preaching recycled sermons, but simply that they are accepting an amount of money that brings their motivation into question.

BL

oldcalvinist said...

(...well, not only "old" but senile apparently...just saw that I posted this first on the wrong article...)

Well, I'm gonna have to go "Anonymous" on this one.....sorry.

I'm a member of a 1000-member SBC congregation with a minor-celebrity pastor.

On several occasions I have seen the "Fall revival" type visiting preacher paid $25,000 or more. That's for 5 services. (Sun-Wed) Several of those speakers are, of course, personal friends of the pastor and make regular appearances.

We have the "month off with pay" thing going for the pastor, too. He's not quite up to Brunson's $300,000 but it's a much smaller congregation.....so "per head" our man is getting about $150/year/member. Maybe that will become the new salary metric!

It's a racket!

Anonymous said...

William Thorton said.....

"Kevin Ezell will be preaching at my church this Sunday. I asked, he accepted. Money wasn't mentioned. We will happily give him the honorarium we usually give to guest preachers."

Your transparency is refreshing Pastor. May I ask how much your standard honorarium is?

Tobie Tyler said...

Great post...interesting comments but ALL of you are missing the real point!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't these "Pastors" CALLED to be the "Pastor" at their own churches??? Isn't serving Christ at the church you were called to enough??

If you want to preach at every church in the world be an EVANGELIST...not a Pastor! If you're skilled as a speaker you'll make a ton of dough going around the world preaching!

If you're a "Pastor" of a church...STAY home and minister to your congregation!! These dolts that run all over the country don't realize what they're missing at "home" when they're gone!

Forgive me...I forgot when you reach a certain level as a Mega Church Pastor, you are elevated to an elite status as a "man of God" and the same rules don't apply to you the way they do to the bi-vocational Pastor at the little 100person congregation in the middle of nowhere. Church aint church no more...it's big business...but that's ok, right?...as long as it's in the name of spreading the Gospel!

Anonymous said...

William,

If you get the chance, would you ask Ezell if he is a Calvinist or not. Many in Louisville are confused. Calvinist have basically taken over Highview but most in the pews do not know unless they have been paying attention becasue they don't use the word Calvin.

There are many who claim he isn't but others think it is obvious because of his close associations and bringing guys like Moore in to be "teaching pastor". Moore is double dipping, btw, as Dean at SBTS, too.

Seneca Griggs said...

"seneca has spoken. you see, this guy is making his way around..from TWW to SGM Refuge telling them how stupid they are. Seneca has not met a charlatan he has not defended. interesting to see he found this site, too." anon

Anon will probably be pleased that I have been banned from SMGrefuge - I believe it was my lack of compassion for the victim class.

I don't know if Jax Watchdog bans commenters who consistently disagree with his screeds.

Anonymouse said...

Is being on the secret finance committee in one of these megas such a prestigious position that one would want to participate in these shenanigans? Are these “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” financial decisions really in the best interest of the church membership? Truly amazing stuff.

Anonymous said...

In a church that I worked for, not only did we pay $7K for a megapastor to come in for a Sunday Morning, he had a rider!

We had to clear out the adjacent choir room so he could have time to himself before the service. Our pastor asked him if he'd like to sit in on some of our Sunday School classes and he literally scoffed at the idea. He sat alone in the choir room all morning sipping on high dollar spring water that we had to order online and have it shipped overnight. We also had to have breakfast made and brought to him. The men's prayer breakfast earlier that morning apparently wasn't good enough.

The kicker was that he already had check in hand before he stepped out to the pulpit. His check was in his coat pocket as he preached.

He finished, stepped off the stage while clumsily handing the alter call to our pastor and left.

Literally left, got into his high dollar rental that we furnished and drove to the airport. Never once spoke to anyone on staff other than the pastor, music pastor, or me because I was the soundguy. He never once even bothered to look me in the face.

So $7K and expenses (about 10K total package) got us one sermon that we weren't even allowed to record or reproduce.


This pastor did visit our local mega and did his sermon pro bono. Of course, he also did hawk his new book at the time which also happened to be coauthored by the local megapastor. My source over there said that a 5K printing run sold out that weekend with many of them signed by both pastors after the service. My source also stated that a love offering to "assist" with the visiting pastor's expenses in sharing the gospel that Sunday morning was paraded through after the offering went through once.

Anonymous said...

Is Kevin Ezell allowed to take any money for speaking as an employeee of an SBC entity? Wouldn't it be part of his job to speak at SBC churches?

If he is allowed to accept honorariums for speaking while NAMB President, I have a big problem with that. He is our employee.

oldcalvinist said...

Anonymous 7:26 sez: "... you can't even find out for sure what their salary might be. ... Maybe if you were on the Personnel Committee at Jax or Bellevue and could tell us..."

Now that raht thar is real interesting, ain't it!

Why is it us ignorant pew-warmers are kept in the dark about salaries? I see the annual budget proposal...where all the salaries and bennies are lumped together and we see the total (far in excess of $1 million)...about 50% of the budget. But as to how much of that goes to whom?.....oh, no! the old "need to know" thing, I guess....LOL....all I need to do is keep throwing it into the plate.

Seneca Griggs said...

"seneca has spoken. you see, this guy is making his way around..from TWW to SGM Refuge telling them how stupid they are. Seneca has not met a charlatan he has not defended. interesting to see he found this site, too." Anon

Yep, I got tossed by SGMrefuge for my lack of compassion for the victimization class.
WATCHDOG hasn't tossed me yet but maybe he will.
He's had some good posts, he's had some crappy ones.
He allows comments, sometimes I comment. It's like pastor's sermons; some are better than others.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:55 If you had a guy like that in your church and let him rip you off like that its your own fault for putting up with it. If the pastor knew it and authorized it, then you need to get rid of him too. We had a guy like that in our church years ago and I went to pick him up at the hotel. His "male companion" met me at the door and said Rev. ___ prefers that you and I walk behind him. Too bad because he had to go out and get into my 1988 Oldsmobile--and I got a great laugh at his expense. You can be sure we would never invite a "thing" like him ever again.

They get away with it because we put up with it. When they start acting like that and demanding things we should just show them the door--and without their check in hand. That would cure them in a hurry. And what's worse, they probably get up and preach on servanthood and humility.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:19pm Said
"If you're a "Pastor" of a church...STAY home and minister to your congregation!! These dolts that run all over the country don't realize what they're missing at "home" when they're gone!"

The above is why many of the members of FBCJ left and why they lost respect for Mac Brunson. He was hired given a huge salary, lots of amenities but came to Jackonvill as a part time preacher. No wonder he says he loves this church & community.

Mac now only host half of what the original membership was & those that faithfully come, do so out of loyality for the Sunday School teachers, not him and openly say they don't like him.

Anonymous said...

"Yep, I got tossed by SGMrefuge for my lack of compassion for the victimization class."

Yes, I remember your diatribe on victims. The subject matter pertaining to many such stories from SGM contained the latest about the "victim" as 3 year old being molested by a teen and the SGM pastor protecting the predator. And telling the parents who were members NOT to call the police.

You say the victims are whiners. May God protect our children from your type.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Dr. Vines had his son-in-law preach at First Baptist around Christmas time. The money he received from preaching got him through Christmas.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Interesting comments. My responses to a few.

Mark said: "Any chance you can document these claims of $3000-$5000 for a sermon? Makes it much more credible than saying "I have people who have told me."

No, I don't have any paystubs or affadivits. I do have people who are insiders at mega churches who have told me this is so. So you just have to trust the WD. I'm God's man, and I'm sure the Holy Spirit will convict you that I speaketh the truth. :)

Anon said: "I'm not sure, however, what is wrong with "recycled" sermons. Jesus likely repeated several of his parables and teachings as did Paul when he taught in the Jewish synagogues."

Are "recycled sermons" wrong? I don't know, but they are what they are: Sermons they preached to their peeps that they tweek a bit and give a "fresh word" to the next church.

Tobie says, TIC: "Forgive me...I forgot when you reach a certain level as a Mega Church Pastor, you are elevated to an elite status as a "man of God" and the same rules don't apply to you the way they do to the bi-vocational Pastor at the little 100person congregation in the middle of nowhere."

Now you're getting it.

Seneca says: "Yep, I got tossed by SGMrefuge for my lack of ompassion for the victimization class. WATCHDOG hasn't tossed me yet but maybe he will."

If I never tossed Jon Estes, I doubt I'll toss you. :)

Seneca Griggs said...

"Yes, I remember your diatribe on victims. The subject matter pertaining to many such stories from SGM contained the latest about the "victim" as 3 year old being molested by a teen and the SGM pastor protecting the predator. And telling the parents who were members NOT to call the police.
You say the victims are whiners. May God protect our children from your type." anon

Tsk, tsk anon. I certainly never told anyone not to call the police and my concern about the professional victim class has to do with the adults of course.

I believe the young man's father ended up committing suicide. Ugly that.

But I think they hated the Eagle's song - Get Over It. I believe that was my final straw.

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin’ everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I’d like to find your inner child and kick it’s little ass

Get over it
Get over it
All this bitchin’ and moanin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it

Anonymous said...

To the several who asked:

I'm not quizzing Kevin Ezell on calvinism.

Sorry, I'm not sayin' what we pay in honoraria. It is very modest. Our staff took a pay cut this year with me taking the biggest hit.

Denominational employees aren't required as a part of their job, sfaIk, to take every invitation to preach and not be paid. Even if they were, I'd give the honorarium.

Show up this Sunday. Lunch afterward is free but you have to stay for the offering.... ;)

William Thornton

Anonymous said...

WD the $5000 figure was around back in the late 90's. Additionally, some of the highest paid singers make this or more by singing one or two songs when they visit a mega. Don't let anyone fool you its called Big bucks if you hear some of them speak or sing.

Seneca Griggs said...

Steely Dan makes about $400,000 for a night's work. That's considerably higher pay for a couple hours work than Brunson makes in a year.

But that's comparing apples to oranges.

Anonymous said...

Reading the post....watchdog. You will ruin your online audience and credibility if you will not verify.

Anonymous said...

Get Mac to show his tax returns so he has credibility

Anonymous said...

Seneca, please tell me you are not a pastor

Anonymous said...

William, would you consider asking him how much NAMB money goes to Acts 29? :o)

Anonymous said...

"Denominational employees aren't required as a part of their job, sfaIk, to take every invitation to preach and not be paid. Even if they were, I'd give the honorarium."

that is strange. Ezell gets his salary from these same SBC churches where he might speak. So, they pay him twice. I would think he would consider it part of his overall job.

But then, logic was never the SBC strong suit.

Anonymous said...

Now I know why they call it awesome August.

Jmsham said...

You are bitter person, it is obvious from your posts.

Anonymous said...

Who is bitter?

Anonymous said...

Jmsham said...
You are bitter person, it is obvious from your posts.

August 9, 2011 9:15 AM

Hate to disappoint you but I couldn't disagree with you more if your statement is directed at W/D. I'm amazed that he allows the most stupid comments to be posted but it does show me he has a sense of humor, is open minded, fair & balanced. He's got a great attitude!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon...you forgot "jealous". Get it right. When you describe the WD, it has to be "bitter and jealous", those are the talking points.

Not bitter, just better!

Got that from Joel Osteen

JC said...

I am always amazed when I hear stories about pastors (not just megas either) acting like they are Justin Beiber with security, how they want to walk and the demands they put on the churches they preach in. Are you kidding me? I am appauled at the very thought of doing such a thing. I am not a "traveling" pastor (I pastor the church God has called me to) but I pray that if I ever become one that I will in no way, shape or form act like I am better than anyone else. Why in the world would anyone listen to a word someone said who is prideful, rude and selfish? I would like some of these guys names so I can never listen to them again. I know that will probably never happen, but if your are willing to tell about them you need tell who they are. They need to be exposed!

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: CNN > Clinton earns $65 million in speaking fees as private citizen

Anonymous said...

I would bet that he gives a good portion of that away.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, WD. The Gospel is not for sale!

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone think that Bill Clinton gives away his huge speaking fees. Of course he doesn't have to pay for his women so that should save him some bucks.

Just keep in mind that not all pastors are mega-church pastors and not all pastors are corrupt and money mongers. There are a whole lot of good ones out there.

Seneca Griggs said...

Kobe Bryant makes $304,000 PER GAME. Brunson makes the same in 1 year but is responsible for a huge staff and the continued maintenance of a huge facility.

Kobe's responsibilities include paying off old girlfriends.

One brings the game, the other brings the Word of God.

Anonymous said...

"You are bitter person, it is obvious from your posts."

Ad Hominem. Speak to the issue. Or we will think you are bitter AND judgemental. :o)

Anonymous said...

"Why would anyone think that Bill Clinton gives away his huge speaking fees. Of course he doesn't have to pay for his women so that should save him some bucks."

The people who make comments about Clinton giving a lot away were not paying attention in the 90's. Hillary was taking 1.00 deductions for used underwear she donated to Good Will. Presidental tax returns were proof the Clintons gave very little away.

But most democrates like to be ignorant.

Anonymous said...

"Kobe Bryant makes $304,000 PER GAME. Brunson makes the same in 1 year but is responsible for a huge staff and the continued maintenance of a huge facility."

So that is the problem. Mac is underpaid! So was that poor Paul who made tents so as not to be a burden to the Body.

Why not compare Mac to Paul instead of a sports figure?

Anonymous said...

"Kobe Bryant makes $304,000 PER GAME. Brunson makes the same in 1 year but is responsible for a huge staff and the continued maintenance of a huge facility."

"Kobe's responsibilities include paying off old girlfriends."

"One brings the game, the other brings the Word of God."

Now I understand what the WD was talking about when he compared you to Jon L. Estes.

This is probably the most ridiculous comment I have read on this site since Jon was active.

You realize that you are comparing Brunson to an adulterous entertainer right?

I'll bet Brunson wishes you would shut up.

Anonymous said...

This discussion is not about Kobe Bryant or Bill Clinton or anyone not using the guise of the Christian Gospel to enrich themselves. It's like comparing apples to watermelons. Let's keep the focus on "sheep-fleecing" preachers and their bad habits in the name of Jesus. Most of them, I have come to realize, are just "white trash with money." Sad, really, but they are not the Church. They represent but a small percentage of Christians in our country. Expose them, blog about them, but don't ever believe they are representative of the "body of Christ" in the world. They are about as significant as a mirage in the desert.

Anonymous said...

And you all seem to love to postulate about Mac's salary when not one of you knows the truth. Sad.

Anonymous said...

And you all seem to love to postulate about Mac's salary when not one of you knows the truth. Sad.

August 9, 2011 3:11 PM


Question: Then why did the Florida Times Union report Mac's salary? Are you saying they don't know the truth either? What's sad is that many of us know do know the truth - now that's what is really sad!

Seneca Griggs said...

$57,000,000 a year for Phil Mickelson it means $4,750,000 per month, $1,187,500 per week or $237,500.00 per day!

Golfer Phil earns $237,500 a DAY!

WHOA

Anonymous said...

Seneca Griggs is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Seneca, who gives a rats rear-end for what Mickleson makes per game or per day. Are our values upside down? Absolutely, but he is playing golf, not "playing" church. Perhaps the reason the mega boys require the big salaries and lavish perks is that they stopped being church, and started playing church long ago.

Anonymous said...

Come on guys, Seneca is not his real name and he is only out to rattle people. He is like a little kid seeking to make people mad. Just ignore him and he will leave.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to take a consistency test. Those of you who have a problem with Mac Brunson's salary or Steve Gaines salary, did you ever have a problem with Dr. Lindsey's salary or Dr. Vines' salary or Dr. Rogers' salary?
Those who have problems with Dr. Brunson or Dr. Gaines or any other preacher traveling and preaching in other churches did you have a problem when Dr. Rogers, Dr Lindsey and Dr Vines traveled and preached in other churches or wenton cruises and tried to get people to go with them?
Kyle

Seneca Griggs said...

APPLES TO APPLES

I attend a smallish church, active membership of 150 people. We pay our senior minister a little over $80,000 a year. In other words, each member contributes $533 dollars to the pastor's salary.

AT FBCJax
9,000 active members and Brunson makes $300,000. In other words, each member contributes $33 dollars to Brunson's salary.

If Brunson was paid $533 dollars per member he would be making four million, 797,000 dollars a year (533 X 9,000).

Compared to what my little church pays our pastor Mac Brunson is aboslutely being ripped off if all he makes is $300,000 a year.

My pastor ears $533 dollars a member compared to Brunson's $33 dollars a member.

Anonymous said...

Seneca Griggs is an idiot.

August 9, 2011 3:55 PM


Makes me believe Seneca is really just an alias name. We've got a lot of idiot's writing in - perhaps thats the plan to rid some of us from reading the blog. :>)

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: Searching Together [Jon Zens] > WHEN ARE WE GOING TO WAKE UP TO REALITY? The Nightmare of the Pastoral Institution

Anonymous said...

My pastor ears $533 dollars a member compared to Brunson's $33 dollars a member.

August 9, 2011 4:51 PM

This thinking totally fits with the mega I worked in. We referred to the members as nickel and noses.

Our Savior had no where to lay His head and Paul made tents. I would prefer to compare them to what I see in the Word. Not to each other.

Where would it stop? Osteen per head?

Anonymous said...

Seneca reminds me of Jon Estes....hmmmm

Anonymous said...

Never thought to run the figures until this discussion but if you go by our average worship attendance, our pastor receives $240. If you go by total membership, he pulls $92. If you figure it as a % of budget, his package is just under 9% of budget.

Using Les' definition of a small church, we're just barely not one. By no means a mega.

Every penny of everyones salary/package is shown in the budget. Members see that before it's voted on by them and then they see it every month at business meeting.

Anonymous said...

Every penny of everyones salary/package is shown in the budget. Members see that before it's voted on by them and then they see it every month at business meeting.

August 9, 2011 5:47 PM

Surely you must be joking! Why would anyone want to become a member of a church if everyone knows their personal financial status - this my friend is between the individual and the Lord - it is not the business of the church. Blessed is a cheerful giver says the gospel - you will never bring people in asking for a checklist of their $$$$$!

Seneca Griggs said...

And finally, for those of you who think all mega-church senior pastors are primarily entertainers; Brunson is a very poorly paid entertainer.

( And I don't even go to his church.)

Anonymous said...

Surely you must be joking! Why would anyone want to become a member of a church if everyone knows their personal financial status - this my friend is between the individual and the Lord - it is not the business of the church. Blessed is a cheerful giver says the gospel - you will never bring people in asking for a checklist of their $$$$$!

August 9, 2011 6:50 PM

My apologies - re-reading the post, I realize you probably meant the salaries of staff, not the congregation. In doing that, you have respect of your congregation & they will give more if they see a staff members level of income is modest - we want to bless them abundantly! At least this is the way our household feels.

Anonymous said...

Surely you must be joking! Why would anyone want to become a member of a church if everyone knows their personal financial status - this my friend is between the individual and the Lord - it is not the business of the church. Blessed is a cheerful giver says the gospel - you will never bring people in asking for a checklist of their $$$$$!

August 9, 2011 6:50 PM

you must be swilling kool aid. What you want me to believe is they got in ministry for the money. Because that is what you are saying. Would you hire an employee and not know what he makes?

Your pastor is an employee of the church whether you believe it or not.

Anonymous said...

"this my friend is between the individual and the Lord - it is not the business of the church"

BWAHAHA. I cannot get over how ignorant folks are. I suppose you expect the government writes his checks?

No wonder charlatans like Mac exist. This is too easy.

WishIhadknown said...

Ethically, a man who receives a payment when he should be working should turn that payment over to his employer who is paying his salary already. However, as I am learning, pastors do not have to abide by the ethics the rest of us have to live by.

Anonymous said...

My apologies - re-reading the post, I realize you probably meant the salaries of staff, not the congregation...
August 9, 2011 6:58 PM

Of course I meant the staff. Sorry that wasn't made clearer.

We don't even track member's tithing. Only 2 people know what people give and the pastor isn't one of them.

In fact, in the rare times we've had pledge drives we didn't even track that people gave what they pledged. Always figured that was between them and God.

Not saying our way is the best or only way but we operate under the policy that the members have a right to know where their tithes and offerings are going.

Anonymous said...

This is what they call "spreading the gospel" -- Preaching their prosperity doctrines at other churches.

Absolutely hilarious column -- and about as dead on as it gets.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of small church pastor, comparing per member payments is not accurate. It is not apples to apples. You need to add what what they actually do if you desire to go the business route in deciding pay.
I would say that your small church pastor does 2 to 3 times the amount of work as the mega pastor. Mega pastors actually do little more than preach and hob nob with other mega pastors these days. Few visit the sick, counsel, baptize, disciple, administrate, receive complaints, deal with wayward people, lead Church discipline, or lead worship. Many make few decisions because they pay an executive "pastor" 200k plus to do everything. They have other staff that do all the other stuff. And the mega pastor will NEVER receive a late night call for someone needing helping, counsel or complain, because NO ONE has his number except a select few staff and rich people. So I agree apples to apples but not sure that is what we have in Seneca's statement.
In FBC Jax case do they still have 9000 attending? And if they lose members should the leaders recive a cut in pay since we desire to be all about business models? Not sure apples to apples is what we have.

Sharon said...

I have no quarrel with the sincere pastors who may preach at another church now and then and accept a small love offering.

But the ones we're talking about here should be viewed as professional speakers. That's what they are. Can't think of any famous ones right now-Suze Orman, Zig Ziglar?? They are good at presenting a topic, and people feel motivated afterward or just enjoy the presentation.

What makes the "Circuit Riders" sickening to me is that I always thought there was no money involved, and they just loved the Lord so much and were "Men of God,", etc. But in reality (which they keep under wraps,) it is a business, pure and simple. They make money by doing it. It's a job just like being the pastor of their church is a job. It involves money, benefits, prestige, lots of opportunity to travel. I don't see how it has anything to do with being a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Since all of you think pastors and staff are rich and overpaid, I have the following truth for you to digest.

In the past two churches where I have worked the pastor and staff made up three of the top five givers in the church. I know because I saw the giving records and btw, the church also had a lot of very rich (untithing) members.

I do however agree with most of the assessments of mega-church pastors.

hopeandfaith said...

Sharon posted: "I have no quarrel with the sincere pastors who may preach at another church now and then and accept a small love offering.

But the ones we're talking about here should be viewed as professional speakers."

Sharon, you are correct....they are professional speakers. I am no fan of mega churches. What a great comfort it is to belong to a small church where the pastor is so much more. Some of these pastors not only preach....even on Wed. nights (Steve Gaines...just is too busy), counsel people in dire need of a personal touch, visit the sick and support the mission field.....These pastor's wives are so busy with helping their husbands, there should be added praise to them as well. You won't find many rich pastors in these churches....just rich in everything that counts. There may be a big revival coming in the mega churches....the flock may begin to speak out instead of following behind a man whom most have never met face to face. These mega preachers have it rough...they have staff to do the touchy feely for the congregation....They are the Head....???? I think not. Too long have Christians been afraid to dispute their professional speakers....It is time for the human touch that we so sorely miss.

Anonymous said...

To answer annon. August 10, 7:19 AM's question about does First Baptist still have 9000 attending, the answer is NO. Under Mac Brunson First Baptist is now the 3rd largest church in Jacksonville with Bethel Baptist being #1 and Celebration being #2. Not bad for a preacher who uses church money to hire a consulting firm to tell him how to run a church. Funny how Dr. Lindsay's way to run a church was to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Didn't Dr. Lindsay know that's not how to run a church, I mean look how crowded First Baptist has become since Mac Brunson arrived in town.

Anonymous said...

For the record, all of Perry Noble's speaking fees go directly to NewSpring church.

Anonymous said...

People pay Perry Noble to speak? wow

Anonymous said...

Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Southlake this weekend asked people to buy his book and then come to an upcoming book signing. He said this helps with ratings on Amazon and getting on the best-seller lists.

What about telling people how great and useful the book is instead of telling them to buy it so you can get on the best seller list.

Then he goes on to say, you know me, I'm just doing this to help people.

For $15, you can get an autographed book of Morris and get to say hello to him. So go ahead, he'll never give you the time of day on any other occasion, unless you're a multi-millionaire writing a check to Gateway.

If you buy my products I'll say hello to you. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I had to chime in on this...One of the reasons why I don't even go to church anymore, because I have seen this side with Woodstock First Baptist and Johnny Hunt. Doesn't he travel now more than he preaches at Woodstock, while salary/hospitality etc continues to be paid? Just about every weekend, a different beach? Just follow his facebook page. A new diamond bracelet for his wife this week... What amazes me are the followers that continue to let him do it. I had a laugh today at a facebook picture of his daughter (in Haiti) on another "missionary trip" with a disgusted look, wearing a sun dress, flip flops carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag. Needless to say she was not hugging the poor Haitian children.

Anonymous said...

Listen to what preachers are saying in their sermons. Compare it with what the Gospel says. You can follow false teachers. Let them make merchandise of you with their book sales. Or follow God. It's your choice. He has given us free will.

Anonymous said...

I've been a church planter for close to 10 years. The mega church will not come right out and squash another church they merely do it by attrition. They bankrupt the struggling churches yet create no more Christ followers. Transfer growth is not Kingdom growth. These pastors that participate in things such as this are not men of God rather educated MBA s with a good business plan. And we wonder why churches are empty on Sunday.