This week I heard about Jeff Schreve, pastor First Baptist Church Texarkana (TX), who preached a manipulative sermon on storehouse tithing entitled...get ready for this..."How to Get Right With God". Yes, his sermon was to tell his members that if they want to have a right relationship with God, they MUST immediately begin to give 10% of all their gross income to the church - no middle ground, they must get to 10% right away to stop robbing God and to start trusting God so they can establish a right relationship with Him.
I've heard about Jeff Schreve a number of years ago, when there was some turmoil in his church and a family had contacted me, but I have never done a post on him. Members were fed up with his arrogance and self-promotion and had to hit the road. FBC Texarkana has a weekly attendance of about 1600 according to Lifeway, and as I posted a few weeks ago here, this means Jeff earns somewhere around $140,000 from his church, and that doesn't count his speaking gigs as his star continues to rise in the SBC. He has a weekly radio and TV show called "From His Heart", that his website says reaches over 149 countries, and broadcast on over 600 radio outlets in the United States.
I'm going to do another post soon about the specifics of his tithing sermon, as it really was the most complete compilation of tithing lies and manipulations that I've heard. It is an encyclopedia of all the tricks I've heard pastors pull to get people to fork over 10% of their gross income. In one 45-minute sermon he throws them all out at his congregation hoping at least one of them will stick.
Then as I read Schreve's bio, I read that before he became a pastor, he spent 12 years as a salesman - in waste management and waste treatment. Now it makes sense: Jeff was a salesman. A salesman of garbage, and chemicals to treat industrial waste. My initial observations make sense - he DOES come across as a phony salesman, because he was one and knows the trade.
Sunday Schreve reverted back to his salesman days - he was selling an industrial-size batch of toxic waste - and he did a horrible job, and I don't think he fooled his congregation. Very unconvincing performance.
In this sermon he is nervous, gets lost several times in his sermon notes, jumping around and moving back to make sure he covers all of his manipulations, and tries to pull off at least two instances of emotional pleas and fake crying. It is awful. Schreve can't fake it. His attempt to appear emotional and weeping is embarrassing to watch.
Two specifics I did want to mention about his sermon:
- Schreve pulled a trick from Perry Noble's playbook, doing the old "Parable of the Greedy Christian" routine using Skittles. The point of the object lesson is that if you are a "greedy" Christian and don't tithe, you won't get any blessings (Skittles) from God, but if you set aside your first 10% of your income each month and give it to "God" (i.e. Jeff's church), then you will get all of God's blessings, as Jeff pours the entire pitcher of Skittles into the tither's empty cup, and none go in the non-tither's. Poor non-tither. He get's nothing but God "releasing the devourer" to gobble up his resources. Sick stuff.
- Jeff wanted to make sure his non-tithing members know they MUST give at the 10% level, and giving any percentage less than 10% is to give God "dog food", or a mangled and deformed sacrifice. Schreve also said a member increasing their giving slowly over time, from 4% to 6% giving, is equivalent to Schreve telling the congregation that he is slowly going to decrease his level of stealing from the church this year over last.
Think about it: in that congregation that day, who in the church is the biggest TAKER of money from the church given for ministry and to spread the gospel? It is Schreve, without question. He is taking, taking, and taking. A hard working member working 50 or 60 hours per week comes to church to give as generously as they can, and they sit there and take that arrogant ass telling them they are robbing God. No, they are GIVING. Jeff is TAKING. Jeff Schreve, you are a taker. Jeff, you conveniently left out of your sermon that Malachi was addressing pastors like you who were robbing God. Minor detail.
Watching the video of this sermon is painful. There are many crowd shots showing men, sitting there, listening to Jeff's horse manure sales pitch. These are probably hard-working men, who have careers and love their wives, and provide very well for their children's needs, paying for their schooling, and sacrificing every thing for the benefit of their families. And they sit there and let this con artist tell them for 45-minutes they are criminals - worse than criminals - because they don't fork over 10% of their income to Jeff's church.
Men of Jeff's church, man-up. Get out of Jeff's church. If you are the spiritual leader of your home, then why do you expose them to a salesman pitching you and your family a bunch of manure? If Schreve will sell you this to get his hands on your wallet, you really can't trust his next sermon. Or his next one, or his next one. Does a salesman just lie to one customer and not to the next one? You know the answer. With so many options of churches, you can move to a new one.