I am mad, really mad! There used to be sacrifice involved when serving in Christian organizations. Sometimes, far too much sacrifice. However, that is changing – BIG TIME!
Recently, my teenage son asked me what sort of career he could pursue that would "guarantee" him a salary of $100,000/year. Guess what thought immediately ran through my mind? I almost advised him to get into the Christian non-profit game.
I know that I am about to cut a broad swath with my following accusation, so I want to acknowledge that there are many missionaries and pastors who sacrifice financially to serve the Lord. Also, I once stood up in a congregational meeting to urge a higher salary for my pastors. However, my pastors actually posted their salaries, unashamedly, for the congregation to see.
Let's look at some recent financials of some big boys.
Franklin Graham – He received $1.2 million from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse in one year's time. Since the public scrutiny, he took a "major" cut and now makes "only" $600,000/year. The BGEA also pays his father a salary of @$700,000/year even though Billy Graham is no longer able to actively engage in evangelism. This money reportedly is in addition to Billy Graham's retirement plan.
Ed Young Jr. of Fellowship Church – Young lives in a 10,000 square foot lake-front house (he claims it is only around 7,000 square feet of heated space, truly slumming). He has a private jet (leased) and, reportedly, a million dollar condo in Miami. His salary is purportedly around a million dollars which he denies. However, he won't say how much he earns. Some theorize that it is around $750,000 with a $250,000/year "parsonage" allowance. WOWZAA!!!
Mac Brunson of First Baptist Church Jacksonville – He was given property inside a tony, gated community and built a large house. The entire package is allegedly worth around $750,000. He reportedly receives a salary of around $400,000, his wife allegedly gets $100,000 and was able to complete a brand new office complex which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for him, his wife (who is purportedly on the payroll) and his dog who reportedly does not receive a salary at this time.
Now let's take a look at a couple of salaries of our sacrificing Georgia Baptist Convention leaders. The numbers are taken from the following link. These numbers must be made public because the GBC styles itself as a not for profit organization.
CEO- Robert White- His salary and benefits total $560, 300. Interestingly, his assistant executive director makes a paltry $327,000.
TWW received this following comment:
A Baptist in Georgia says:
Thu, Jun 10 at 10:44 pm
"That’s not White’s compensation package. No one’s salaries are made public. That is the line item that the CEO uses for administration, including the Exec. Comm. meetings and Administration Comm. meetings."
Odd – by studying the budget, one sees the following line items:
General Promotion: $1,189,600
Executive Committee Expenses – $146,300
Research Services- $281,400
Even odder, the line item for Prayer and Spiritual Awakening is a big fat 0. I guess this means that the GBC hasn't a prayer!!!!!!
So, to a "Georgia Baptist" I address the following questions.
1. Why doesn't the GBC publish "salaries?" Is it uncomfortable showing how the GBC leaders use the little guy's tithe to live the fat life?????
2. You are wrong about the Executive Committee expenses. They have their own line item.
3. Your two blog queens hold MBAs and know how to read a simple expense report. If you think the 2010 budget is not clearly reflecting the expenses, why not? Who is screwing up?
Here is the bottom line. All of the above individuals are making far too much money. I can't wait for someone to say that this is justifiable. What is too much? In 1964, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said: "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it." Well, I can't give an exact number for what constitutes excessive compensation, but I know it when I see it…
All of these individuals should be ashamed of themselves! We expect the inevitable, ho-hum retort which goes something like this, "If that's what their congregants want to pay them, then so what? It's their right." It may be their right, but is it right?
Pastors are often made in the image of their followers. Brunson hangs out with the rich and famous of FBC Jacksonville. Many of them live a wealthy lifestyle. It's a nice cozy world. Why would they want a pastor who lives a simple life? it might make them feel a bit uncomfortable. It's easier to justify a rich lifestyle when the pastor lives just like they do. It's well…… comfortable and nice. None of this nonsense about selling your stuff and giving to the poor to worry about.
I want to commend David Platt, pastor of The Church of Brook Hills, which is located in a very nice area of Birmingham, Alabama. He and his wife sold their house and relocated to live amongst the poor in Birmingham. Platt and his wife are also in the process of an international adoption of a couple of children. Finally, David Platt is constantly calling attention to the persecuted church throughout the world. My guess is that a large percentage of the congregation at FBC Jax would bolt if their pastor did such a thing. The other half would faint dead away from the shock.
Here is a message to those "leaders" who are profiting from the Christian nonprofits. Do you really think that you are being a role model with your lifestyle? Or do you believe that you are just doing a job and don't give a hoot what anyone thinks? Brunson told his congregation that they are "lucky" to have him since he could be earning lots more money in the private sector. I am sure his humble witness is felt all over the Sunshine State. Blechhhh!
Shame on all of you!
And to remind everyone who it is we serve, I have provided a link to an advertisement appearing on billboards in Great Britain. A Christian group is reminding people what Christmas is all about a little early. The secularist are gnashing their teeth, calling this an underhanded way to protest abortion. I promise you, it is worth your while to view it.