How much is sharing the word of God worth? The typical church pastor performs religious services, directs church operations, provides spiritual counseling, and more. There’s no doubt that pastors have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Getting rich is likely the last thing on most preachers’ minds; however, some persons of the cloth have accumulated their share of riches through public speaking, books, network TV shows – and of course, the collection plate. Here we’ll look at 10 of the richest pastors around, their net worth, and just how they accumulated their fortunes.
10. Joyce Meyer
- Net worth: $8 million
During a childhood of sexual abuse, Joyce Meyer became a born-again Christian while in elementary school. She started teaching Bible classes that eventually were broadcast on the radio. In 1985, Meyer formed her own ministry, Life in the Word, and she also began airing a weekly TV show, Enjoying Everyday Life in 1995. She has a net worth of $8 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Meyer, 74, travels to public speaking engagements on her private jet. In 2004, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article listed her and her husband’s assets, which were reportedly all paid for by her ministry. They included her $10 million jet and several million-dollar homes, as well as a $107,000 silver Mercedes. After receiving criticism for these financial perks, Meyer announced plans to take a reduced salary and derive more of her personal income from her outside book sales.
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9. T.D. Jakes
- Net worth: $18 million
T.D. Jakes might be best known for speaking at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. He also accompanied President George W. Bush to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Jakes founded The Potter’s House, a nondenominational megachurch. His sermons can be seen on Trinity Broadcasting Network and other religious channels.
Jakes’ net worth has been estimated at $18 million. He talked about his wealth with Oprah in a 2012 interview, and stated that he draws income from his megachurch, in addition to earning money off his best-selling books and producing movies.
Next: Preaching runs in this wealthy family’s blood.
8. Franklin Graham
- Net worth: $25 million
Although Franklin Graham is an evangelist and son of well-known pastor Billy Graham, he didn’t convert to Christianity until he was 22 years old. He eventually went on to take over organizing events for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, of which he is now CEO and president. He has also authored many books and frequently takes part in Christian revival tours. His net worth is reported as $10 million.
The younger Graham, 65, came under criticism for calling Islam “a very evil and wicked religion” after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He came under further scrutiny when he remarked, “True Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can’t beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery … which they do practice in these other countries.”
Next: This rich pastor lives on 10% of his income.
7. Rick Warren
- Net worth: $25 million
In 1980, Rick Warren founded the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Today the evangelical megachurch church is America’s fifth largest, and weekly attendance averages 20,000 people. Warren has also written best-selling book A Purpose Driven Life. His professed philosophy is to bring global harmony to the world by founding churches, promoting education, and helping the poor and sick.
Warren, 63, and his wife Kay Warren live on 10 percent of their income and donate the rest to charity. “I drive a 12-year-old Ford, have lived in the same house for the last 22 years, bought my watch at Wal-Mart, and I don’t own a boat or a jet,” Warren told Forbes. His net worth is $25 million, reported Celebrity Net Worth.
Next: His career-long audience has topped 2.2 billion.
6. Billy Graham
- Net worth: $25 million
Billy Graham, a Southern Baptist minister, became one of the first pastors to reach celebrity status. He gained popularity as his sermons were broadcast on radio stations and TV channels around the country. In 1950, he founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis. He also served as spiritual advisor to presidents Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower and preached alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.
Graham, 99, is estimated to have an audience over his career of more than 2.2 billion. He has written 33 books, some of which became bestsellers. His net worth is reported as $25 million.
Next: His congregation bought him a new jet.
5. Creflo Dollar
- Net worth: $27 million
As his last name suggests, televangelist Creflo Dollar has amassed some riches – and he has the possessions to prove it. Dollar is an American Word of Faith teacher, pastor, and founder of the non-denominational World Changers Church International, based in Fulton County, Georgia. In 2007, he had a congregation of 30,000 as well as $69 million in cash collection revenue. Dollar preaches his philosophy that “it is the will of God for you to prosper in every way.”
Dollar has a reported net worth of $27 million. He has been criticized for his lifestyle and possessions, including two Rolls-Royce cars, a private jet, and million-dollar homes in Atlanta and Manhattan. When his Gulfstream jet ran off the runway, through the congregation and website donations, the ministry board was able to acquire a new one.
Next: A Houston mega-pastor is no stranger to controversy.
4. Joel Osteen
- Net worth: $40 million
Joel Osteen is senior pastor at Lakewood Church, the largest Protestant church in America. Weekly attendance at the Houston-based church is 52,000. In 1999, Osteen, now 54, inherited the church and its television ministry from his late father John Osteen. Today, Lakewood Church broadcasts are seen by 7 million people per week in 100 different countries. Osteen’s book Your Best Life Now was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 200 weeks.
Royalties from Osteen’s book sales, radio show, public speaking fees, and church collection reportedly generate $55 million per year. He and his wife, co-pastor Victoria Osteen, live with their two kids in a $10.5 million mansion in the Houston suburbs. Osteen’s net worth is reported as $40 million. In August 2017, after receiving criticism for not helping Hurricane Harvey victims, Osteen opened his 16,800-seat Houston megachurch to evacuees.
Next: The IRS famously raided this pastor’s headquarters.
3. Benny Hinn
- Net worth: $60 million
Israeli-born televangelist Benny Hinn is best known for his “Miracle Crusades,” or faith healing summits, which are held in stadiums around the country and broadcast on his TV program This Is Your Day. He founded Orlando Christian Center church in 1983 and began holding his healing services there. Followers believe Hinn can heal any of their ailments if he prays over them.
Hinn has been criticized for personal use of church-owned luxury goods. In April 2017, IRS and U.S. Postal Service criminal investigators raided Hinn’s headquarters in Grapevine, Texas. Hinn was also one of six televangelists investigated by the Senate Finance Committee in 2007. After several years, Hinn and the other pastors were cleared of wrongdoing. Hinn’s net worth is reported as $60 million.
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2. Pat Robertson
- Net worth: $100 million
Televangelist Pat Robertson is a Southern Baptist with a charismatic ideology. In 1960, he founded Christian Broadcasting Network. The network’s TV shows are now broadcast in 180 countries in 71 languages. The flagship show, The 700 Club, airs daily, featuring news, live guests, music, and testimony oriented around the Christian lifestyle.
In addition to his TV network, Robertson, 87, is a former Marine who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president in 1988. He also founded Christian Coalition, a Christian Right organization that raises money for conservative political candidates. He is also founder, CEO, and chancellor of Regent University. Robertson’s net worth is reported as $100 million.
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1. Kenneth Copeland
Net worth: $300 million
Kenneth Copeland converted to Christianity in the 1960s and went on to become a giant within the Word of Faith branch of Pentecostalism. He currently heads Kenneth Copeland Ministries and preaches through TV, books, DVDs and CDs. Copeland preaches abundance and prosperity, commonly referred to as the prosperity gospel.
Kenneth Copeland Ministries is located on a 1,500-acre campus near Fort Worth, Texas. The grounds include a church as well as a private airstrip and hangar for a $17.5 million jet and other aircraft. Copeland reportedly lives in a $6.3 lakefront mansion funded by his church. Although Celebrity Net Worth reported he’s worth $300 million, other reports say Copeland could be worth $750 million or more.
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