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    How many megachurch pastors are faking it for the money?

    How many megachurch pastors are faking it for the money?

    That is the title of a post that caught my attention at a website called "The Free Money Maker Zone".

    The post starts out by saying they heard a rumor that a certain megachurch pastor is really an atheist.  He just got into the megachurch business to make money.

    That's laughable.  But it brings up a point that I've heard leveled against large church pastors quite a few times.  They thrive on the ego and money and glory of having a large church.

    Knowing a fair number of megachurch pastors, I can say that this is just not the truth.  That's not to say that there isn't a large degree of ego thrown in the mix in some situations... but really no more than I see if a pastor of any sized church.

    Truthfully, the notion of anyone getting into the 'megachurch business' is ludicrous.  With 300,000 churches in America, very few ever reach megachurch size.  Those aren't very good odds from a business standpoint.

    Besides... there are a lot of much easier ways to make a buck.  Much easier.

    So... what's your view of megachurch pastors?  Do you have a negative attitude toward them?  Are you skeptical of them?  Do you question their motives?  What's a stereotypical megachurch pastor look like to you?  

    Do you lump megachurch pastors and tv evangelists in the same camp?  (I think some people do).

    And if you're a megachurch pastor, how to people stereotype you?

    Finally... did any of you choose this line of work for the money?  I bet that percentage is REALLY low!



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    1. Peter Hamm on Tue, January 11, 2011

      Oh, yeah, I got into this for the money… absolutely… (FAIL!)

    2. Brian L. on Tue, January 11, 2011

      Considering the fact that I was bi-vo for the first 9 years of pastoring here, and that there is a real possibility I may have to go back to that, I can honestly say that YES - I’M IN IT FOR THE MONEY.  I LIVE IN THE LAP OF LUXURY OFF THE BACKS OF MY CONGREGATION - BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      Okay, back to the question.  Is it possible some are only in it for the money?  Sure.  Likely?  I don’t think so.

      The nearest mega-church (about 3500 on a weekend, so not Saddleback or Willow Creek) to me is about 200 miles from me, so I don’t feel as threatened as I do by the “newer” church that just started a couple years ago and has 400 people when we’ve been here 125 years and have a hard time breaking 60.  But I’m also aware that says more about MY church than about theirs.

      The mega-church pastor I know is completely sold out to reaching people for Christ and making disciples.  Everything he and his staff do is geared to that.

      So personally, no problem with those I’ve met.

    3. Paul Clifford on Tue, January 11, 2011

      There’s too much pressure on megachurch pastors for too many of them to be in it just for the money.  It’s next to impossible to start small and grow to megachurch status based on greed.

      Maybe you could come into a megachurch that already exists, but building one…I don’t believe that.


    4. Allen White on Tue, January 11, 2011

      There are MUCH easier ways to make money.

    5. Rev Eric on Tue, January 11, 2011

      I would think a mega church pastor would be extremely motivated, committed and passionate about what he/she does. I think they would be great at both delegating and communicating.

      Nevertheless, I just don’t know how we can comment on the character or motives of any pastor until we come to know him or her.

      I did not choose my line of work for the money. That’s laughable. Anyone who accuses a pastor of being in the ministry for the money is either ignorant or mean and probably a combination of both. My salary gets reviewed by my congregation annually so it’s hard for anyone to accuse me of being in it for the money (not that anyone has where I am) . If I am doing well financially it’s because I am a good steward of my finances… and my wife works full time too. smile

    6. Eddie Williams on Tue, January 11, 2011

      I heard a pastor of a church tell his people in his resignation address, “I have always felt that God was calling me to megachurch ministry.  I believe the church I am going to has that potential.”  Effectively telling these people that their potential in the Kingdom was irrelevant.  Not long after he began his ministry at that new church he was discovered in a number of shady financial circumstances and was dismissed, leaving the church in dreadful condition, both financially and spiritually.  Now, I believe and hope that this is an exception rather than the norm, but I certainly see in our current atmosphere in the Church in Western culture, the potential danger for this kind of enticement for pastors.

    7. Eric on Tue, January 11, 2011

      Eddie, I don’t think all churches are called to be mega churches. Just as not all pastors are called to be mega church pastors. A small church can do great things for the Word. However, I agree that that pastor’s words to his congregation, if he did say it that way, were not well delivered.

      I believe his behavior is an exception to the rule. But it does embarrassingly point out to the fact that we pastors face the same temptations everyone else does. Maybe even more so since we are constantly under spiritual attack given our callings.

    8. unknown on Tue, January 11, 2011

      Here is some food for thought:  I am a pastor at a mega-church and my Uncle is a pastor at a church of about 150.  I get paid markedly less than he does.  Even historically, all the churches he has pastored over his career have paid him much more than I get paid as a pastor at a Mega-church.  I think there is a misunderstanding that if you are a pastor at a mega-church, you are bringing in the big bucks.  I can see why some would think that, but in my experience (and having other friends that are pastors at mega-churches) that is not the case…

    9. Michael Cooper on Tue, January 11, 2011

      I believe most successful pastors and mega church pastors would make significantly more money doing something else.  Even though many mega church pastors are paid well, the business world would pay them much more for their skill sets.

    10. Kimberly on Tue, January 11, 2011

      God is not please with the State of His Church, “PERIOD”!

    11. Jim B. on Tue, January 11, 2011

      I don’t know about pastors getting into the ministry for megachurch salaries, but I do know some that got into ministry for an easy living.  I know, it sounds ludicrous, but it’s true.

      In seminary, we had a young Lutheran pastor who didn’t believe the Bible, and shared that he got into the ministry because he wanted a job that didn’t require working hard, had a decent salary, and allowed him a lot of free time.  I know, it’s ludicrous, but it’s true.  So, he decided on the ministry.  I don’t know where he is today, or if he stayed in the ministry, but he is an example of many who get into the ministry for all the wrong reasons.  This fellow gave the example of being able to hang-out at the local tavern a couple of afternoons a week and have a drink with his friends, and he could write it off as outreach. 

      So, I’m sure that there are those, and some in megachurch situations, that are drawn by the fame, power, and money.  Greed and pride are not respectors of persons or positions.

    12. Dave M. on Tue, January 11, 2011

      I worked on staff for several years at a “megachurch” (4100 plus each weekend in attendance) as an associate Pastor and can relate to what some have said here.  You don’t go there for the money.  If it was money or fame I was after, I probably should have gone a different route in grad school instead of seminary.  When I was working there, I wasn’t making enough money to support my wife (and it was just two of us).  We were literally living paycheck to paycheck in a small apartment with nothing more than basic expenses (rent, utilities, groceries (not eating out ever), and gas (sometimes)).  Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and was exactly where God wanted me to be.  But that’s sometimes the cost of following God, putting everything on the line for Him.  Being willing to live below what we expect is a “normal” standard of living, because other things matter more…

      Unless there are mega churches that don’t expect their pastors to actually help people, I can’t imagine surviving for long at a church if money is your only motivator.  I can’t really imagine anyone willingly subjecting himself or herself to a 70+ hour a week job (which is what was expected on staff where I worked and is expected in other mega church leaders that I’ve networked with in the metro Phoenix area), at least not for the kind of money I was making or the kind of money that the guys I know still make.  Could one join the staff of a large church to slack off or have extra time?  I highly doubt it.  Could you do it for the money?  Maybe, but by the time you add up how much money you actually earn for the time you put in, you’d probably be better off being a plumber or electrician. 

      Some probably could fake it short term - but I would think they’d burn out in a hurry or God would supernaturally do something for the sake of the church.  You can’t really work 70 hours a week for long in something you don’t believe in.  We’re not wired that way…

      BTW - I don’t work there now because I was asked by my senior pastor to join the leadership team of a recent church plant from that church.

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