“Is he not doing the exact same thing that the money changers were doing in the temple? Using God's house to make a profit?” “Do you know what Jesus did? He made a cord of whips and drove those damn people out of God's house. The church does not exist for this.” Chris Rosebrough link
I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. Stuart Watson's excellent expose' on the lifestyle of Furtick, along with the Charlotte Observer's informative article, made it clear that there is no time like the present. This post is aimed at well compensated pastors, not the majority who never make the news, slogging along in the trenches and living on a shoestring. We respect your hard work and labor of love.
Are you, church contributor, vaguely discontented by what your money actually supports? Do you ever wonder if your money supports anything of eternal value? If you are a member of a church with a well paid pastor, and you see any of the following, maybe you should consider giving your money elsewhere.
But shouldn't you stop attending such a church? Well, that's what I would do. However, some people have lifelong friends within a given entity. Others have a family member who really wants to keep going. Some may just like the coffee. This post is for those of you who want to stay. I am also going to assume that you give some money to the church. If you don't, good for you.
Recently, I read a story on SGM Survivors in which a family ate oatmeal for dinner in order to scrape together money to give to an SGM building campaign. This reportedly happened while SGM employees were reportedly traveling to conferences, sending their kids to private Christian schools, living in nice homes, etc. SGM was begging for money to build and grow and were telling other people to sacrifice.
I remember an article in the PDI magazine that focused on a large family who ate oatmeal every night so that they could give to PDI. They were praised for this wonderful sacrifice beyond their tithe.
I say enough of this nonsense.
Stop giving if you cannot find out your pastor's salary and compensation package.
From the Charlotte Observer we learn
(Chunks) Corbett would not divulge Furtick’s salary,
If you give money to the church, you have the right to know exactly how your money is being used. For example, we have reported on pastors who make $700,000 a year and also gets a parsonage allowance. Parsonage allowances are tax deductible which also should be figured into the total compensation package. One needs to also look at FICA, sabbaticals, conference and travel fees, etc.in order to fully understand how much money is involved. If they will not tell you, why would you give them money? Also, ask yourself, given all that you know from reading this blog, why should you "trust" them to handle all this money appropriately?
Stop giving if the church hires outside "well to do" pastors to be on a compensation committee in which the proceedings are kept secret. Also, ask if any of those people on the committee are ever given perks like paid speaking engagements, etc.
(Furtick's undisclosed salary) which is set not by a group of lay members of the church, but by a board of five out-of-town pastors. Furtick is also on the board, but doesn’t vote on his salary, Corbett said. These out-of-town board members are friends and mentors to Furtick and, like him, lead growing megachurches. They include Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C., and Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, Texas.
Can you really trust other mega church pastors, who all live well, to actually police their buddy's income? Take a look their names and try to find out how well they live. I bet that they keep their income a big, fat secret, as well. Also, besides being on a committee, see if they ask each other to speak at each other's conferences and are paid for doing so. If so, could you see how can I get involved in this cash cow? I have heard of another church which has a retention fund in order to keep the pastor when he starts threatening to go elsewhere. Such Godly behavior demands rewards.
Stop giving if the church also has to hire an attorney to do a compensation study.
This board bases Furtick’s salary, Corbett said, on a “compensation study formulated by an attorney’s office” that’s not tied to the church.
Why in the world are your precious donations going to attorneys to figure out how much to pay your pastor? You can be sure that it will not be the median of the congregation. They want more, a whole lot more. Then ask, why do they need an attorney? Attorney's are always involved in limiting liability. So, think of it this way, your donations this year may have paid for a well off attorney to up the compensation for your very wealthy pastor. What a way to give to back to God!
Stop giving if your well paid pastor lives better than most of the congregation
Drive by his house. See what kind of car he drives. See what kind of vacation he takes. Think about it.
Stop giving if your pastor won't answer the question of how much he makes while acting like a wuss by sending his "good ol' boy" friend to speak for him.
Corollary: Be suspicious of any spokesman who tries to sound like a good old boy who drives pickups (For example, they have names like Chunks or Bubba.) They are not good old boys; they just play one at church.
(Chunks) Corbett said
Stop giving when your pastor says, in a sermon, that the church is being made to look bad when it is he who is looking bad.
You may view such a cowardly act on the infamous video. You, the hard-working contributor, are supposed to take the hit for your pastor's poor judgment? He should take it on the chin like a "real man." Instead, he is hiding behind his congregation and his wife, Holly. He gets the glory for his books and fame. Holly gets tacked on when he is in trouble.
Stop giving when your money goes to more buildings, expensive equipment and well-off pastors.
Look at the church budget. Add up the salaries and administration and building debt. Look at the top of the line audiovisual system. Look at the glossy presentation materials and expensive, personalized videos. Now ask yourself a question. Do you really think your money is making a "difference" for the kingdom when you compare it to example of Jesus and His apostles?
Stop giving if your pastor, who is well paid, claims he owns intellectual rights to his sermons.
Your pastor presumably develops his sermons during his expected work week. Would Proctor and Gamble give away the rights to a new dish detergent to a researcher who was hired to do just that?
Stop giving if your well paid pastor complains he works more than 40 hours a week.
How many hours should your pastor work? Well, I have read of some pastors who make $500,000 a year, plus benefits, complaining that they have to work more than 40 hours a week. They need "family time." Most people in the real world who make that kind of money usually work far longer than 40 hours and don't whine about it.
Stop giving money if your well paid pastor writes books on church time and then gets all of the proceeds.
See my comments on intellectual rights above. Also, if he asks you to purchase his book in order to be an intern at the church, ask who gets the profits. (Thanks to a new commenter.) Ask to see it spelled out in writing.
Stop giving if your well paid pastor is double and triple dipping.
Here is how this plays out. The pastor gets a certain amount of conference time a year for which the church pays room, board and fees. In fact, Kevin DeYoung says that this is what you should do to really show you care for your pastor link.
So, your pastor could speak at the conference and be paid by the sponsors as well as being given room, board and the conference fees. He could also get to sell his book, developed on church time, and then keep those proceeds. He could even encourage his church to use the book in Sunday school classes and small groups which means more book sales.
True story: My friend walked into a room in his former church and found copies of the pastor's books stacked ceiling to ground. I wonder. Did the church purchase those books, hoping to sell them? Perhaps someone's hard earned tithe money went to furthering the kingdom by purchasing stacks of books to hold up the ceiling? Ask questions, folks, ask questions.
Does the Bible say you must give to the local church?
All authoritarian pastors tell us that we must give to support their vision and enterprise. Many of them also demand a tithe which they define as 10% gross. But, if you look carefully at Scripture, this is not said anywhere in the New Testament. And the actual percentage of the tithe in the Old Testament was greater than 10% but that is a subject for another day.
I would urge all of you to stop giving to rich churches and pastors or abusive churches and pastors. Do you think they even give a hoot about your sacrifice? Instead, look around you and find Christian ministries that are housed in old buildings, sacrificially serving the poor, the let down, the homeless, and the disenfranchised.
How about an African American church that helps poor kids after school or feeds people under the bridge? How about rescue missions that reach out to the unloved? There are ministries that look after persecuted people groups or victims of human trafficking. I bet each of you know quite a few. I know such ministries would be thrilled with your donation and you might feel like your have done something worthwhile and eternal. Your money would actually do more good with these groups than the purchase of one more Bose speaker for Sunday morning. Think about it as you view the video from last evening. I will post tonights follow-up after it appears.
Stop Giving Money To Rich Pastors and Churches!
Lydia's Corner: Job 23:1-27:23 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11 Psalm 41:1-13 Proverbs 22:5-6