Dedicated to Elevation Church: “Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity.” —Jerome
The infamous compensation committee
Furtick, along with his buddy, the erstwhile "Chunks," refuse to tell you, their church contributors, including the leadership, how much money Furtick (and probably "Chunks" as well) is paid by Elevation. Furtick claims to be overseen by an "appointed" group of mega church pals to set his salary and benefits. I guess only those who labor daily in the fruitful vineyards are capable of understanding the intricacies of pastor wealth acquisition and how it is tied to the gospel.
One would assume that Furtick would go to great lengths to have some folks on the committee who are not "raking it in." That does not seem to be the case.
TWW has expressed concern about the theology of John Piper. However, in this area, he demonstrates great restraint. There is no doubt that he is one of the most prolific writers of modern times, a regular conference speaker and the lead pastor, for years, of Bethlehem Baptist Church. However, he lives in his original home in a decidedly non-tony area of Minneapolis and eats at the same modest restaurant each week. He gives all of the proceeds of this books back to the church. Rumor has it that his salary is $100,000 range. Think about this when you compare the lifestyles of Furtick and his BFFs.
So who are these guys?
- Ed Young Jr: Fellowship Church, Dallas/Grapevine, TX
- Perry Noble: NewSpring Church, Anderson, SC
- Stovall Weems : Celebration Church, Jacksonville, FL
- Kevin Gerald : Champions Center, Seattle, WA
- Jack Graham Prestonwood Baptist, Dallas/Plano,TX
Why Is Dee, rolling on the floor, laughing at the makeup of Furtick's compensation committee? Watch this clip from Stuart Watson, WCNC.
Let's look at two of these guys.
Ed Young Jr.
Elevation Church members, it is important to know that Dee, too, has been bamboozled. You are not alone. You see, I was member of Fellowship Church when it was called The Fellowship of Las Colinas. On October 31, 1991, I went trick or treating with Ed Young Jr.and our kids. We were neighbors, back in the day when Ed lived in a 3500 sq.ft. house. However, over time, I realized that I was tricked into giving money to the church and Ed was getting the treats. But, thankfully, my husband and I finally cut our losses, admitted our stupidity and ran to a wonderful church which made a major difference in our lives.
Ed Young Jr has been the subject of media investigations for his self indulgent lifestyle. Brett Shipp, an excellent investigative reporter for WFAA in Dallas, uncovered Ed and Lisa's life of luxury link. See if you can spot the similarities in the stories of Ed and Steve.
News 8 has also learned that Young's 10,000 square foot, $1.5 million estate on Lake Grapevine is not listed on the tax rolls in his name, but rather in the name of "Palometa Revocable Trust."
Records show that Young was paid $240,000 a year as a parsonage allowance; that's in addition what sources say is a $1 million yearly pastor's salary.
Young declined to discuss his salary and compensation with News 8, but his spokesman said the pastor's pay "is governed without his participation by an Independent Compensation Committee, relying on outside consultation with knowledgeable and experienced church leaders."
News 8 has also learned that in 2007, Young sold the intellectual property of Fellowship Church's marketing Web site, CreativePastors. He also sold the church's membership mailing list to a newly-formed, for-profit company called EY Publishing.
Today, CreativePastors.com is used by the Youngs to sell his sermons and books for profit.
You might enjoy Ed showing off his @$10,000 espresso machine in his mansion here. (Scroll to the second video-the first was done in his "modest" first house.) What an example of humility and sacrifice! Ask yourself: Is this the guy you want giving away your money to his buddy? You can read more about his antics here, here, and here. There is plenty more where that came from. Just Google it.
Furtick has said that Ed Young Jr. gave him a vision of what the local church can be. The question is "What is the vision, who pays for it and who benefits from it?" Ed sure did really well for himself with his vision.
Perry Noble's church was involved in one of the most despicable stories that I have ever read and I have read a whole lot. It involved a blogger, Dr James Duncan, Associate Professor of Communication at Anderson University, who prevailed in a lawsuit against NewSpring Church. Tom Rich, of FBC Jax Watchdogs reported on this here, here and here. That last link brings you to the Pajama Pages, the blog of Dr. Duncan in which he outlines the whole, sordid affair. I urge you, church contributor, to read the entire post and see if you can sleep well while knowing that Perry Noble is advising your pastor and allocating your money.
Here are a couple of excerpts. One involves Furtick.
…What did Duncan get for his criticism? In 2009 Noble's employees and volunteers smeared Duncan's reputation by starting a phony Twitter account with gross and profane sexual posts attributed to Dr. Duncan, a fake resignation letter to his employer, and perhaps worst of all, sabotage of Dr. Duncan's adoption efforts in 2009. You can read all about these here.
Thankfully, Dr. Duncan fought back. It is not an easy process to fight a powerful church and pastor for the harm they have done to your reputation, but Dr. Duncan fought back by filing a lawsuit against Noble and NewSpring. Since December 2009, Dr. Duncan's blog has been silent as he has fought the difficult legal battle
Maxwell repeatedly mentioned my family in his twitter posts in a way that felt like we were being aggressively stalked. He identified by wife and son by name, and even correctly revealed my son’s age and the location of his school. He also correctly described the make and model of our cars, and described journeys my wife took in our minivan.
The tweets include vile descriptions of my wife’s sexual behaviors and anatomy (you’ll excuse me, I hope, if I don’t quote those ones). When Steven Furtick preached a series on cow tipping, Maxwell invited him to come and tip my wife over. Maxwell repeatedly described my son as abused and someone who wore women’s underwear around the house. He seemed to enjoy threatening me, warning me that I could “only shelter a child for so long.” One post seemed to promise vandalism against my home:
Oh yeah, Perry also blames homosexuality on non-tithing Christians link, showing a profound lack of Biblical, and medical, knowledge.
In the interests of time, I will not review the other three. However, they all preside over mega-churches and all of them live very, very well. Ask the question. What in the world is Furtick learning from these guys? Why them and not a Wade Burleson or David Platt?
Are these guys serving out of the goodness of their hearts, hoping to advance the kingdom of God by righteously utilizing the tithes of the good people of Elevation?
Do the committee members benefit from being on this committee? Yep. And will you, the contributor, be allowed to know how or how much? Short answer: Nope.
From Stuart Watson WCNC, link, who did a yeoman's job sifting through Christian celebrity culture:
Furtick recruited a so-called “board of overseers” to set his salary. The board is made up entirely of other megachurch pastors, just like him. Smith said to him, the board looks like a paper tiger. “The financial well being of those guys are intimately intertwined.”
That means Furtick agrees to pay them to preach at Elevation, and they pay him to preach at their conferences or megachurches. “They attend each other’s conferences and are compensation for that regularly,” said Smith. When Furtick held his Code Orange Revival last year, three of the headliners, pastors Stovall Weems of Jacksonville, Fla., Perry Noble of Anderson, S.C., and Kevin Gerald of Seattle, were all board members at Elevation. Those are three of the five votes that set Furtick’s salary.
Executive pastor James “Chunks” Corbett told NBC Charlotte that pastors get paid for appearances at Elevation Church, but said the pay is “small in scope,” and he won’t disclose the amounts.
Let's review this. These guys get paid to preach at Elevation and Elevation related conferences. Where does that money come from? From you, dear contributor. But, you cannot be told how much they get paid. Ask the questions. Why on earth not? What are they afraid of?
While you are at it, consider the following. What sort of life did the apostles lead? Remember, under their guidance, the church went from a tiny sect to a force to be reckoned with. Did the apostles get what they deserved? All of them died martyrs, except for John who was imprisoned on the island of Patmos. What happened to their followers? Many died horrible deaths, serving as human torches for Nero's garden parties.
The example of the apostles and the early church in no way demonstrates that a pastor, who presides over a growing church, should become wealthy and venerated. Kind of a bummer, isn't it? It's a really different outome than the American Dream. And Steven Furtick feels prevailed upon because a reporter is looking at his "not so great" house? I wonder if he would have had the chops to stand up to real persecution in the Coliseum?
Finally, it appears that Furtick has become quite friendly with another one of these pastor "in-clubs." It is called ARC (Association of Related Churches). TWW has been contacted by some folks asking us to look into the lifestyles of some of the pastors associated with this group.
These three videos are illuminating when viewed in the context of this post. TWW hopes that serious Christian will consider giving their hard earned money to Christian groups that really, really need it. Ask these questions. If Elevation has given $10 million to the community during its existence, how much did it keep and what was it used for? What percentage of the entire giving was the $10 million? Was it really that impressive? I am also curious how much Chunks is being compensated for his role in "face the press."
Steven approves a lot of stuff.
Perry Noble discussing greedy Christians (It's not about him).
Look at the guy (Ed Young) who is "advising" Elevation on how much to pay Steven Furtick.This is Deb's favorite video. Note the $ necklace.
Lydia's Corner: Job 28:1-30:31 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 Psalm 42:1-11 Proverbs 22:7