God can make you rich. Most people think of that sentence in the spiritual sense. No, this article is about the physical worldly dollar and cents wealth.
It might be argued that the reason why ministers are more likely to have a good is because they a heavy burden of taking care of family and grounds. For wealthy ministers, financial problems involve greater amounts of money. Some of which male enough to have private planes (Eddie Long) refurbished arenas (Joel Osteen) and flourishing press houses (Rick Warren).
From church closings and foreclosures of houses of worship across the nation to the limited number of clergy jobs for new rabbis, imams and pastors, the recession has hit religious Americans just as it has affected the tens of millions of the country’s jobless. Even before the recession, most spiritual leaders of small towns and big cities across the United States earned meager salaries, with annual pay for Catholic priests and imams ranging from $25,000 to $30,000 and the average Protestant pastor making $40,000 a year, according to a recent survey. Yet, even in difficult times, some churches and pastors are soaring. While not a definitive guide, HuffPost Religion has has compiled a slideshow of some of the best paid pastors in America. For several, their high income comes not only from employment as pastors, but also from TV appearances, book sales and charity management.
For the lucky few, being a pastor can mean being a multi-millionaire.
So here are the wealthiest in the land:
Televangelist Kenneth Copeland, who runs Kenneth Copeland Ministries, was one of several televangelists whose finances were investigated from 2007 to 2011 by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa. According to an article by the Associated Press that ran in 2008, “His ministry’s 1,500-acre campus, behind an iron gate a half-hour drive from Fort Worth…includes a church, a private airstrip, a hangar for the ministry’s $17.5 million jet and other aircraft, and a $6 million church owned lakefront mansion.” The article later added that while Copeland has not released up-to-date salary statements, “the church disclosed in a property-tax exemption application that his wages were $364,577 in 1995; Copeland’s wife, Gloria, earned $292,593. It’s not clear whether those figures include other earnings, such as special offerings for guest preaching or book royalties.”
Creflo A. Dollar is Senior Pastor of World Changers Church International, one of the nation’s biggest churches which has locations in Atlanta, New York and several other cities. He also hosts “Changing Your World” on cable networks. While Dollar — his real name — has not released his salary information, the New York Times reported that he drives a Rolls-Royce, is transported in a private jet, owns a million-dollar Atlanta home and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment. Above, Dollar is at a signing for his book “8 Steps To Create The Life You Want” at Borders Books and Music in Chicago, Illinois on January 24, 2008.
Bishop Eddie Long, who recently returned to the pulpit at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church outside Atlanta after being accused of sexual abuse, has been a leader in the “prosperity gospel” movement, in which pastors and believers say God will bless the devout with riches. According to a 2005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation, “during the period between 1997 to 2000, Long received more than $3.07 million worth of compensation and benefits from his non-profit charity, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc.” The investigation found that his compensation included a “$1.4 million six-bedroom, nine-bath home on 20 acres in Lithonia; use of a $350,000 luxury Bentley automobile” and “more than $1 million in salary, including $494,000 in 2000.”
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