Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Local Jacksonville Connection to the Steven Furtick Story: Stovall Weems on Board That Votes on Furtick's Salary

 

Last night Stuart Watson's 2nd installment of his investigation into the Elevation Church and Steven Furtick's finances - and Furtick's new $1.7M, 16,000 square foot mansion on 19 acres - aired on WCNC in Charlotte.

And there is a Jacksonville connection to this very hot story that has Steven Furtick's finances under a microscope: as Watson reports our own Jacksonville mega church pastor Stovall Weems of Celebration Church is or was one of the five friends Furtick recruited to make up a so-called "Board of Overseerers" that votes on Furtick's salary!


But that is not all. As reported by Watson, there seems to be a conflict of interest involved with Weems and two of the other 4 "board of overseers" in that they personally have financial connections to the Elevation Church. As reported in the story:

"The board of overseers is made entirely of other mega church pastors just like Steven Furtick. 'The financial well-being of all of these guys are intimately intertwined'. That means Steven Furtick agrees to pay them to preach at Elevation [including Stovall, pictured above] and they pay him to preach at their conferences or mega churches."

So how on earth is it justified that men who earn money from Elevation Church by speaking at Furtick's church - yet have no official connection to the church itself - are on the board that sets his salary, yet none of the members who pay for the salary are able to find out what that number is?

The one Elevation Church official who IS speaking to Stuart Watson confirms that men like Stovall
do get paid for their speaking gigs at Elevation, but the pay is "small in scope". But he won't give any ranges of numbers.

Maybe I can help. I wrote about this practice two years ago in an article entitled "Modern Day 'Circuit Riders' - Traveling Mega Church Pastors Finding Another Way to Fleece the Flocks and Recycle Their Sermons." And in that article I wrote:
"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 that number of $3000 to $5000 is for a more "modest" SBC mega church here in Jax. I am going to go out on a limb and estimate that Furtick's bunch pays much more than that to its visiting Men of God. But of course we'll never know. It is all top secret.

And while I'm at it, let me quote myself again from this article of two years ago, because this circuit-riding practice gets worse - many of these pastors like Furtick pay other pastors to come in and "beat the sheep", or what I would call shake-down the congregation, to get them to give more money. I wrote:
"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."
As I said yesterday, I'm glad reporters like Stuart Watson are finally reporting on these practices that are fleecing congregations all over our country, and which will eventually drive evangelical Christianity into the ground as all of this is exposed.

And I highly, highly recommend that members of mega church pastors here in Jacksonville read the Wartburg Watch article yesterday, "Steven Furtick Proves That It Is Time to Stop Giving to the Local Church."  Dee and Deb give EXCELLENT advice to members of today's modern church regarding their financial support of their church.

26 comments:

PP said...

it may not drive evangelical Christianity to the ground. The true and faithful churches will shine brighter when compared to these false churches...

Bill Rogers said...

Hey Buddy, I don't care if you crucify Steven Furtick but leave my Pastor alone. Pastor Stovall would never do anything for the sake of money. I can guarantee you that he holds Pastor Steven's feet to the fire and does not do anything immoral or unethical. Pastor Stovall has a heart for God and does not preach for money. He has impeccable character and would preach for free if someone wanted him too. go bark up another tree, somebody must have spiked your dog food.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill Rogers, to quote your own church leaders... "It's ALL about the Benjamins!"

Sheldon said...

I've been following the whole Stephen Furtick "it's not that great of a house" debacle online, everybody remotely interested in spirituality from The Wartburg Watch to The Friendly Atheist has been talking about it.

What I found a little odd watching the coverage has been the odd names and nicknames of some of these ministers, like Stephen Furtick's good friend "Chunks", and this minister here, Stovall Weems. I mean, seriously, if you last name is something odd like "Weems", you would think his parents would be gracious enough to give him a more common first name.

Is this unique to the southeast?

WishIhadknown said...

There are none who are so blind as those who will not see.

Anonymous said...

It is disgusting to see that they even have a chart to tell you how much a pastor should get paid depending on congregation size...The modern "church" is a business. You won't find real Christianity there...

Anonymous said...

Is Furtick wearing women's makeup in this picture?

Anonymous said...

Bill slow down and be careful brother ..." He would preach for free if someone wanted him too...".
You dont even realize what a great example of the problem you are. IE following pastor/rockstars.
SO...someone does want him to ... I want to see it. Use that energy and actually go to his office to ask him to schedule it. NO STRINGS attached. Heres an idea to try...the Trinity Rescue Mission is ALWAYS looking for volunteers to speak/minister to the homeless before the evening meal! Of course they have no money to tithe so probably not interested. I helped there for years (now logistically across town and three school children later impossible). Never recieved a dime :) Also the Juvenile Detention Center is Always looking for the same. Personally watched you g men break into tears as we sung and witnessed. So I do know what Im talking about. I am convinced you will be sorely disappointed! Ill bet you dont even get an appointment to speak with him directly. Then you can reevaluate your following a pastor/rockstar and find a real local church to do ministry in :)
We all will be waiting your update!

Anonymous said...

"Is Furtick wearing women's makeup in this picture?"

That is men's makeup.

Mark said...

I find it interesting that they say they gave over $10m to organizations outside of the church. Why? What's the point of giving to a church that gives the money away? Obviously they have way too much money and don't know what to do with it.
And, for the record, a church giving money away doesn't absolve the pastor from fleecing the same congregation and brow-beating them on the doctrine of tithing that ended with the new covenant.

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done, more will be said than done!

Sadly, these reports will only show those crying against it what they already know while many young preachers will continue to learn how he did it and repeat it.

Remember - there is one secret now one shares: the experts they hire to happen publicity and how to turn bad to good. In the end, his church will grow and more people will buy his books. Deep down attendees envy what he has and want to satisfy their own greed. Makes them feel good when the pastor is cool with the type of unethical business deals they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Furtick sets any salaries of the guys on his board?

Anonymous said...

i am from Jax and now reside in Chalotte and attend Elevation church. Let me preface by saying I am not one who turns a blind eye to corruption in ministries because I know it exist. But, I whole heartedly feel that that is not the case at Elevation. I have been to ministries where all they do is talk about giving money, and form a $1000 line, and God is going to bless you if you give this, and we are raising money for this or that; you always feel like they are asking for a handout. That is not the case at Elevation. I feel that this ministry has grown due to the work of God as well as the heart of the ministry which is giving back to the community. They volunteer time, money and resources ALL the time. You dont have to be a Christian to know about seed time and harvest or reaping what you sow; they have sown a lot therefore they are reaping. As an example they just gave $5000 to a local charity and $60,000 to another; no special collection was asked for during service either. A million dollar house is really not a big deal but people make it such a big deal just because its a pastor, what size house is ok $100k,$500k... in Charlotte thats not much of a house. So I said all of that to say this, i believe pastor Steven has a good heart and isn't greedy or taking peoples money to live a lavish lifestyle because I just dont get that from him. And trust me I am no brainwashed individual becaue threre are other mega churchs that I have visited and felt their focus/heart may have gotten side tracked from what ministry is about and have become about making money but I honestly dont feel that is what is happening here. Before people are quick to just jump on the bandwagon and think someting negative first review Charlotte and see house here are big and 5-9k square feet is not this huge compound that people are making it out to be; heck the house in the front of my subdivision is 5k square feet and is over half a million dollars. This story is being made out to be something when it really shouldn't be SMH.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but not all that impressed since when I reread your post what I learn is that in Charlotte (where I grew up) $500k and 1/2 million dollar homes "aint all that much..."?!? Yeah.... But kudos to your church for giving $5000 and $60,000 to charities in that same area?!? Im sure if its as expensive as you say there they just did backflips over those contributions. CHEAPSKATES! :(

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "$500k... in Charlotte that's not much of a house."

In Charlotte? Anyone willing to bet that most members of Furtick's congregation do not live in houses worth anywhere near that amount?

Charlotte NC
Median home price $140,000

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL3712000.html

Anonymous said...

Great insight from Dr. James Duncan on the Furtick house issue, with a Perry Noble sidebar:

http://www.pajamapages.com/steven-furtick-and-the-walter-white-conundrum/

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above: "[I] believe pastor Steven has a good heart and isn't greedy or taking peoples money to live a lavish lifestyle because I just dont get that from him. And trust me..."

LOL!
The classic line.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Steve-O Furtick (indirect reference to Steve-O from the MTV series Jackass) of Elevation was quoted is this article on the worst mistakes you can make in your 20s (see point #6 of article).

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2013/10/08/6-worst-money-mistakes-you-can-make-in-your-20s.

6. Trying to keep up with the Joneses. New York Times best-selling author Steven Furtick once said, "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." It's easy to feel financially insecure in today's social media landscape, where every major purchase is announced on Facebook and photos from expensive vacations are shared on Instagram. Don't get lured into that spending frenzy. Your real friends will not care about what kind of cars you drive or whether you have the latest gadget. Figure out your priorities, and don't let other people dictate your financial future.

I guess buying a 16,000 sq. ft. house is OK when you’re a 33 year old _________ ( insert any name of a for profit prophet) wannabe, trying to keep up with the Pastor Joneses (not intended to be a direct reference to Jim Jones but it does work in this case) and build a mansion greater than or equal to his fellow mega church cronies.

I don’t make this stuff up, I just find it!!!!!!!!!!!

Enjoy and distribute as needed.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you. Your passion for dragging others down is revolting. Perhaps the way YOU act and what you spend your personal time devoting yourself to is what might possibly make you part of a dying and thirsty church. I am appalled at your jealousy and envy. Perhaps you should consider spending your research time planning a ,issuing for people who are needy instead of trying to pull the good down. Or, perhaps you should take one simple business course...and oldie but goodie, SUPPLY AND DEMAND. The demand goes up when you provide good service. Just satyin'. You are focusing your energy in the wrong direction, my friend. Go to a quiet place, lean in, fast, get to know Jesus, and I am sure when you are healed you will realize that there is a much healthier and more important item you can be blogging about. Place the envy aside, close this ridiculous blog and start living a GOD FIRST LIFE!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have done my own investigation on Pastor Weems, actual name Charles S. Weems IV. WOW, he lives in a $900,000 home in Queens Harbor Yacht Club. I am saddened that this is now was my church. I'm heartbroken. I don't think other members know his real name and I don't think they know how to search property appraisals and deeds. this hurts

Anonymous said...

So what he lives in 900k home. So do a lot of other people. Why do we care so much when it happens to be a pastor?

Anonymous said...

You are a sheep. Stovall Weems is one of the biggest money-grubbing, unqualified "preachers" around. His million dollar mansion does not reflect the humility of a true preacher. His lack of education makes it worse.

Anonymous said...

Bc they should set example and live modestly

Vickie said...

Totally Agree. Greed was named as "deadly" thousands of years ago... and has not changed.

All want to forget:

"The Love of money Is The Root of All Evil!"

Vickie said...

Ugh hugh.

Vickie said...

Funny. That's exactly what a man named Jesus Christ once said.

Good Word.