Monday Morning Insights

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    Local Media Continue to Take On Ed Young, Jr.

    Local Media Continue to Take On Ed Young, Jr.

    Another very negative media piece has hit the Dallas/Fort Worth airwaves.  The subject:  Pastor Ed Young, Jr. and Fellowship Church.  The issue:  private planes, lavish lifestyle...

    It's round two in Ed Young vs. WFAA-TV.

    This time the issue is continued reporting on a private plane, when it's traveled, how much it costs, and Ed's Florida condo.

    Below is the report from WFAA, followed by a video post on Ed Young's blog responding to the charges:

    My initial thoughts:

    1.  If you're a pastor/church and you lease a private plane, it's better to be up front about it before having it broadcast on the local media outlet.

    2.  The plane is paid for by 'other resource streams' not by church offerings.  Not sure what that means.  I thought it could be book/conference/resource sales, but Ed says he gives the 'majority' of that back to the church.

    3.  I'm not sure how much of this Ed should respond to and how much he shouldn't.  Should he respond about the days the plane was at resort cities?  Should he respond to the million dollar condo overlooking the marina in Miami?  I don't know.

    4.  Once these things are out there (especially via TV reports), about the only way to come clean is to come clean.  Financial records, flight records, deeds, reimbursement records, etc.  That's, unfortunately, about the only thing that will clear this up after the accusations have been made public.  Also unfortunately, it doesn't appear that FC or EY want to release those type of records.  That only makes things worse.

    5.  Ed complains that no one has a problem when an entertainer or professional athlete or CEO uses private aircraft, but they do when a pastor uses one.  Yes, that's true.  For good or for bad.  But this really shouldn't surprise anyone...  The American public a stereotype of megachurch pastors and tv evangelists:  they take in a lot of money from people; and they keep a lot of money for themselves and live an extravegant lifestyle.  That's what this is all about.  It's not about private planes.  It's about extravegance.  It's about living large.  And it's all about living large and not telling people how large you're living.  That's where Ed's being attacked.

    6.  That said, I'm not sure that most people (including fellow pastors) will buy the 'we would have not been able to do all that we have done over the past years without utilizing private aircraft' line.  He's been able to speak to 200,000 church leaders because of private aircraft.  Wow.  How many could he have reached if he had flown commercially?

    Bottom line:  I really don't care whether Ed has a condo or what transportation mode he uses to get there.  But I do think there is a lesson here for all churches... even (especially) smaller ones.  Financial accountability is crucial to being able to minister effectively in any community.  And the ability to legitimately explain the use of financial resources is imperative.  Fellowship and Ed may truly have financial accountability.  But the recent TV campaign against them is causing them a problem in having to legitimately explain the use of financial resources after the fact.  That... is not good.

    What lessons can your church learn from this?  What can you personally learn from this?

    Is this kind of thing even worth talking about?




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    1. Peter Hamm on Wed, April 28, 2010

      First off, typical of the misinformation that’s in the news report. “and while his church is open only one day a week…” what a crock… The story is so biased it’s amazing.

      Second, Ed is not very forthcoming about what seems like an extensive and expensive use of that jet for private (like “vacation”) purposes… but if the congregation’s money truly wasn’t used… let’s make that clear. I have a bad sense there.

      Problems on both sides, and Ed’s a master politician when it comes to evading the issue and answering different questions than are being asked. I wonder if he knows he did that.

      There may indeed be no wrongdoing here, don’t get me wrong… but it “feels” fishy.

    2. Richard on Wed, April 28, 2010

      There is some of the main stream sensationalism and misrepresentation going on here, but seriously, when viewed as a whole, this whole thing is so unseemly.  Defend it all you want, but really, is this what ministry is all about?  When do you say enough?  When have things gone too far?

    3. Fred on Wed, April 28, 2010

      When we listen to a pastor we should learn all about Jesus and not be able to remember the pastor’s name. Jesus should be the Celebrity.
      I’ve already heard Ed describe himself as a CEO and as a Franchise Player.

    4. Brandon on Fri, April 30, 2010

      You can judge all you want but until you’ve had to live his life, I’m guessing you don’t know. Is all that stuff a necessity? No. but neither is your TV, internet, cell phone, etc., etc., etc. I think we all give ourselves a little too much credit. You have more than you need as well.

      Side Note; As I recall Paul was a pretty famous guy, even the demons knew who he was. Just sayin’.

    5. Gary on Sat, May 01, 2010

      Honestly, if it smells like a skunk….  It’s pretty obvious.

    6. Mark on Sun, May 02, 2010

      That’s why you should never give money to a church.  Instead, give it directly to the poor as Jesus commanded.  Jesus is a smart guy.  I wander where he got it from?  Probably from his dad.

    7. Peter Hamm on Sun, May 02, 2010

      Mark, look again. Jesus definitely supported the idea of tithes when he praised the widow’s gift, and he told the Pharisees that their tithes were a good thing, even if their motives were not.

      In Matthew 23:23, he clearly says they should not neglect tithes. He doesn’t say to just give your money directly to the poor.

    8. Mark on Sun, May 02, 2010

      Peter, I have indeed looked again and the words of God are very clear.

      In Matthew 19:21 God himself said “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

      In Mark 10:21 God said “One thing you lack…Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…”

      In Luke 18 it says: “A certain ruler asked him… what must I do to inherit eternal life? ...  Jesus heard this, he said to him… Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”

      So, Peter, its very clear that God wants us to give our money to the poor and not the church if we want to be “perfect” in God’s eyes… unless of course you are trying to argue that God forgot to mention the church in those passages above. Does God forget to mention things, Peter?

      Perhaps you are one of those church people who is taking offerings to God and putting them in your own pocket? A lot of church employees are doing just that.  In church I believe they call this a salary - such an innocent name for such an evil deed.  You have to decide how evil that is but never the less, the people here should know if you have a conflict of interest with what you say.

      I believe that its a hideous crime if I’m telling innocent and trusting people that their money is given to God but then I take that money and slip it into my own pocket.

      Wouldn’t you agree, Peter?

    9. Peter Hamm on Mon, May 03, 2010


      Way to quote scripture out of context…

    10. Neil schori on Mon, May 03, 2010


      did you have a bad experience with a dishonest church?  The scripture that you both quote clearly show that Jesus was demonstrating that giving to the poor and giving to the church are not mutually exclusive.


    11. Tim on Mon, May 03, 2010

      News reports like this make me think - what if a news team came and did an expose on my church?  How bad they could make me look!  And I’m hardly anybody!  If you take 5-12 seconds out of statements I make every week - you could make me look like a heretic.

      Could the uprising in cynicism in our culture be due to the fact that many people have been burned by the “news” media outlets?

    12. don bryant on Mon, May 03, 2010

      As to your line, “I really don’t care whether Ed has a condo or what transportation mode he uses to get there,” this is why the press has to out the lavish lifestyles of our evangelical leaders. There’s a lot of money to be made in church and some get the knack of it. No matter how many pastors serve sacrificially, the ability of entrepreneural ministry leaders to gain large wealth is a scandal that is soon to hit. And it is a scandal. It is not a matter of being upfront. It is a matter of being sane, rejecting self-importance and some sense of moderation.

    13. Gary on Mon, May 03, 2010

      Guys…you’‘re missing the obvious:

      Ed is justifying a lavish lifestyle.  Period.  He’s comparing what he does to a CEO in a secular company does.  So much so he’s adopted another secular way of dealing with the issue—hiring a professional PR firm to spin the whole thing.  This whole thing has become about the spin, not about the real issues. 

      I heard him talk in these videos.  It couldn’t be clearer that he is trying to justify his lavish lifestyle.

      Why can’t we have a backbone and be angry at why some Christian pastors live lavish lifestyles?  The last time I checked, Jesus was poor.  The disciples we’re rich. We should live modestly.  I can’t imagine Jesus affirming any lavish lifestyle.  I know you could say that about all of us, but honestly, in the light of Christ’s humility, would He condone this?

    14. Gary on Mon, May 03, 2010

      Sorry..the disciples “were NOT” rich.  Typo…

    15. Casey Sabella on Mon, May 03, 2010

      There is no prohibition in scripture regarding the remuneration of church leaders - period. We live in a church society that revels in keeping pastors poor in the name of overseeing their humility. All it is, plain and simple is envy.  Would to God that all true ministers were millionaires - all of them. I would love to see what would happen in a world when true men and women of God would use their resources to bless people instead of construct yet another useless strip mall.

      That said, in our covetous society who lie in wait to pounce on ministers, it is probably not a “wise” thing to own a jet. I believe this falls under the “all things are lawful for me” clause in scripture. If travel is frequent and an aircraft is needed, there is always Netjets which executives use to hop around the country faster than commercial airlines will allow.

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