Perhaps you’ve heard that question asked before. It’s a good question, along with how much does a pastor need in order to provide for his family. There is too little, which is what most pastors make. And then there is waaaay too much!

The Atlanta Black Star recently published one measure of waaaay too much. The newspaper featured “Eight Black Pastors Whose Net Worth Is 200 Times Greater Than Folks in Their Local Communities.” Whatever figure you had in your head as “too much,” I’m guessing you weren’t anywhere close to 200 times what average people in the congregation and neighborhood make!

Net worth is simply a person’s total assets (what they own) minus their total liabilities (what they owe). When all the bills are paid, whatever is left is your net worth. So, after these pastors have paid all their bills, they still have in their accounts more than 200 times what the average person in their congregation makes in a year! Actually, they appear to have more than 200 times what the average person in the neighborhood makes in their lifetime. Most reasonable persons with a sense of justice and compassion would conclude that that’s too much.

The Pastors

So who are these eight high-rolling pastors? They span both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Turns out Atlanta and Nigeria have a lot in common when it comes to producing obscenely opulent lifestyles for clergymen. Here’s the list:

Creflo Dollar, World Changers International
Net worth: $27,000,000
Neighborhood’s avg salary: $29,640 (College Park, Ga)

David Oyedepo, Living Faith World Outreach Ministry
Net worth: $150,000,000
Nigeria avg salary: 55% of Nigerians earn less than $2/day

Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
Net worth: $5,000,000
Neighborhood’s avg salary: $25,154 (Lithonia, Ga)

Christian Oyakhilome, Christ Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria
Net worth: $50,000,000
Nigeria avg salary: 55% of Nigerians earn less than $2/day

T.D. Jakes, Potter’s House
Net worth: $18,000,000
Neighborhood’s avg salary: $56,954 (Dallas, TX)

Temitope B. Joshua, Synagogue Church of all Nations in Lagos, Nigeria
Net worth: $15,000,000
Nigeria avg salary: 55% of Nigerians earn less than $2/day

Matthew Ashimolowo, Kingsway International Christian Center in London
Net worth: $10,000,000
Nigeria avg salary: 55% of Nigerians earn less than $2/day

The article also lists Charles Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in South Central Los Angeles. The article doesn’t mention Blake’s net worth but refers to his 10,000 square foot Beverly Hills mansion and $900,000 per year salary. The average salary for South Central LA where the church is located: $27,907. Whatever else Blake is and does, he doesn’t run with your typical boyz in the ‘hood. This ain’t “doughboy” and crew; this is just plain dough.

Objections

I’m certain some well-meaning persons will defend these men. They will want to push back on what they see as unfair attack against deserving, faithful men. (By the way, this is The Front Porch. We welcome respectful and thoughtful disagreement.) As far as I can tell, two broad defenses are usually offered.

1. “They made their wealth from things other than preaching.”

But here’s my response to such defenses: Every one of these men have used the pulpit and the local church as a platform for their other ventures. Were it not for their fundamental role as pastor, they would be unheard of and unable to amass this kind of wealth from their derivative products and ventures. They would have no credibility and standing to even attract interest in their books, cds and the like.

2. “God’s servants deserve the best in life.”

Men of God do deserve the best in life. Only the best is God himself–not wealth. In fact, we wouldn’t even think to defend such lifestyles among clergymen if their prosperity teaching wasn’t already affecting our thinking! There was a time when every one of these men would have been written off as a “Daddy Grace”-type cult leader on sight. But their teaching has convinced some (many!) that this is God’s plan for the preacher. But God’s best for the preacher is God himself. This is precisely why the priests of Israel had no inheritance in the Promised Land–the Lord was to be their inheritance (see Ezek. 44:28, for example). What we want are pastors who live modestly and live as if Christ is their great Treasure (Matt. 13:43-44).

Conclusion

There are no magic guidelines for setting a pastor’s salary, but you can be sure that 200 times the average neighborhood resident’s salary is far too much. Let’s call it what it is: fleecing the sheep. I fear the Father’s judgment on such practices will be more horrible than we can imagine.

If you’re in one of these churches or another church preaching the false gospel of prosperity, I pray the Lord gives you strength to leave. Find a healthy church where leaders live modestly and shepherd the flock of God in their care. Your soul is too valuable and you work too hard to entrust either your soul or your money to men who have already grown filthy rich off the backs of others.

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Thabiti M Anyabwile

Thabiti M Anyabwile

Thabiti is one of the pastors of Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC and the president of The Crete Collective. He is the author of several books and as an introvert enjoys quiet things at home.

44 Comments

  • Avatar Donald John says:

    It really is mind boggling the salaries mentioned here. Respect, trust, love, and support for he and his family are deserving of a good pastor but I’m afraid extreme luxury is off the mark and an easy distraction. My mind goes immediately to small churches who’s members might be tempted to feed into this idea leadership should be showered with monetary reward – only they’re working with a much lesser budget. I’ve seen a number of cases where after paying the pastor, mortgage, and musicians, there is little left over for other ministry or savings. I understand this may just be the reality for lower income congregations but that reality doesn’t sit well against the fact that the pastor is driving and living in luxury in comparison to the congregants. I understand pastors come from different economic backgrounds and we don’t want to constantly compare pastor/congregant salary or else we might end up with pastors making more/less based on who they pastor which doesn’t seem right either. This is a sticky issue – I don’t think it’ll be around for much longer as we see it now though because ultra-high income pastors are likely going to have to compromise on quality and accuracy of teaching in order to maintain the church’s and their budgets. Then, it’ll be harder to defend unsound teaching and much easier for the faithful to point it out and at that point we’ll be having conversations about convincing those congregants to leave and find a biblically faithful church instead of a making plans for the fair payment of pastors who’ve abandoned good teaching. So a part of me feels this is the beginning of a pruning process for the black church.
    I’m really appreciating The Front Porch. I think the black church will only get stronger if we bring issues like this one out in the open.

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Perhaps integrity would require us to post the net worth of say… the top ten reformed pastors?

  • Avatar Todd says:

    We disagree and agree.

    So Yeeeeaaah, I’m about to push back on the porch but I’ll
    watch it because mama will whoop us both if we break anythingJ

    Pastor T., You know I love you and with that being said for
    brevity sake I am going to bypass Pauline amenities and cut to the chase.

    This is not just a problem on the porch. This is an evangelical neighborhood
    problem!!! Rather you are in the hood or
    the “burb” this is a consistent issue.
    Rather your theology is Reformed or Deformed THIS IS A CONSISTENT ISSUE!!

    So let me ask you Pastor T.
    How many zero’s and commas have to come behind the numbers before this
    becomes problematic?

    For example I know multiple “African American TRULY PHYSICALLY
    DISABLED FIXED INCOME WOMEN” who would consistently listen to reformed leaning,
    popular evangelical preachers on our local Christian station. They passionately love the Lord, and
    fervently love His people and His work.
    A number of these preachers made impassioned pleas over their broadcast
    for financial support for the work to continue and even asserted how they had
    to release or cut back on staff to ensure the work continues. Of course, these women wrote a check. Some for 20 and some for 100. This is a small portion but with their income
    it is large in proportion.

    Imagine my shock when I started realizing the type of money
    these preachers she was supporting was making.

    For example: Look
    here since its public record.

    http://baylyblog.com/blog/2012/05/you-cannot-serve-god-and-wealth (I do not recommend the blog; only public
    records found on the blog)

    This does not include: Book deals, Speaking engagements,
    Being President of a Seminary and College, or compensation for being a pastor
    or how much is gained from hosting conferences.
    (By the way, I do not endorse the majority of opinions that come from
    sites such as these but the unbiased facts are telling)

    I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH POINT NUMBER 1!!!!

    Heresy is not just found in wrong orthodoxy its found in
    wrong orthopraxy also. My concern is
    this: There is a fast growing number of brothers and sisters who lament the
    greedy practices of the black preachers you have just mentioned. However, they are sideswiped and caught off
    guard when they find that others who seem more “sound” are just as out of tuned
    where this issue is concern.

    Now let me clarify a couple of things:

    I am
    not excusing any of the preacher’s behavior that you mentioned in this
    article.

    Discernment
    should be exercised. Abraham,
    Peter, David and MYSELF have a problem with inconsistency in our obedience
    to God. So I do not want anyone to
    think that you can not benefit from the men I expressed my concerns
    over. (Peter was inconsistent in Gal. 2 but I’m not tearing out 1st
    and 2nd Peter!!!!!)

    I return to my question Pastor T. This medium does not always convey the tone
    behind the question so before I ask again, let me reiterate my appreciation for
    you.

    However, the question remains.

    How many zero’s and commas have to come behind the numbers
    before this becomes problematic?

    I agree 200 times is entirely too much. What do you think is fair?

    I’m praying for your Church Plant and your family.

    3rd John 2

    Todd

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hey bro,

    Thanks for grabbing a seat on the porch. We love having the comp’ny!

    I’m not sure we disagree. At least I can’t tell where the disagreement is. I completely agree that this is not a problem isolated to African America. That’s the focus a The Atlanta Black Star took, a Black newspaper. So that’s where we jumped off.

    But I know the same could be said for the Kenneth Copeland’s, Paula Whites (had she and her husband not squandered everything), and many others. I don’t doubt you can find well salaried Reformed types, too, though I would be surprised if their net worth Was anywhere near these figures.

    As for your question, I would suggest a couple of biblical starting points.

    First, God has promised to meet our needs (Matt. 6:33), and it’s clear that pastors can and should earn their living from their ministerial labors (1 Cor. 9, for ex). So the most logical question to begin with is: What does our pastor need iven the cost of living in our area, his family size, comparable to similarly sized organizations and backgrounds? That gives you a reasonable starting point based on his needs and your location

    Second, the congregation leaders should ask, Does our pastor faithfully work, especially in the word? If so, Paul makes it really clear that those whose work is preaching and teaching the word who do an excellent job are worthy of double honor (1 Tim. 5). The phrase there has to do with financial pay, as “do not muzzle the ox” illustrates. So, at some level of appropriate honor well short of greedy for money (1 Tim. 3) and “the love of money” (1 Tim. 6), a congregation should increase a pastor’s pay. This is a matter of prayer and wisdom. But the aim should be to honor, not enrich.

    This post us about inordinate pay. But the reality is most pastors are underpaid. We need to bring equal attention to that as well.

    I hope this is helpful. Grace and peace,
    T

  • Avatar Warner Aldridge says:

    Wow this was very informative. Thanks brother.

    By the way where will you be serving in DC now that you are moving.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hey bro,

    Thanks for joining us on the porch.

    Lord willing, we will live and serve East of the River in the Anacostia area. Are you in the DC area?

    T

  • Avatar Warner Aldridge says:

    Oh ok. Church plant?

    No sir. I am actually in Saint Louis. Would love to connect though with you wanted to run some things by you. Questions about ministry etc.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Good things happening in St. Louis. Happy to chop sometime. Let me know.
    T

  • Avatar Warner Aldridge says:

    Sure I know your going to be busy these next couple of weeks with the move when would be a good time and where can I send you my info

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    Ok another article about black pastors… Where’s the critique for their white counterparts. To be honest these guys pastor mega-churches. Mega-church pastors make a lot of money period. And I’m pretty sure that given their skin color, they are on the low end for what mega-church pastors make. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to look at mega-church pastors in general? You are being extremely unfair and unhelpful.

    Take for example the median income for TD Jakes church… $56,000.

    If you know anything about how much blacks in this country make you would know that this is on the high end. This means that those blacks are doing well for themselves, more so than other areas with high concentrations of African-Americans. If TD Jakes is able to garner the support of these folks, and these people want to support him with their incomes that are on the high end for blacks, then why stop them.

    Why is this site the go-to place for black church criticism??? What is your fascination with these institutions? Now I’m not one to defend mega-church pastors in general… I think the whole premise is flawed. But you best believe I will defend black folks when an uneven and unfair standard is being levied against them. We have enough of that as it is.

    I happen to live in Anacostia now and am praying that this level of critique will not be applied to the black pastors there when you come. I’ve spoken to you before about issues such as this and it may be appropriate to speak more about these issues when you come. At the end of the day there are enough pressures coming against the black community (like a corrupt DC council and unhindered gentrification), and we need more help, not unwise critique.

    -Peterson Onyeukwu

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    I totally agree george…

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Wouldn’t you agree that our own transparency might lend a hand to confidence in message? And if an investigation reveals a slide, do you think it possible the discussion will produce some fuel for our much prayed for and desired revival ?

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hi Peterson,

    Good to hear from you again. I pray you’re well and finding the Lord’s fresh mercies this morning. Sounds like you’ve made a move since we last talked. I thought you were in Virginia (or were you going to church there? I could be wrong).

    At any rate, a couple of quick replies to your comments. I don’t want this to turn into a long back-and-forth, but I want to at least reply.

    1. “The Atlanta Black Star” reported on the Black pastors in their article, and this post simply re-posts that information with a question, “How much is too much?” Had they reported white mega-church pastors’ salaries I would have included those also. Are they unfair and uneven for reporting these facts?

    2. We really must get past responding to criticism by saying, “White people do it, too.” We need to be able to discuss issues in our community (whether or not they exist elsewhere) without pointing to other communities. Whether or not they get fixed elsewhere, they need to be fixed in our own churches and communities–the only places where we can do something about it. And we certainly can’t afford to wait for problems to be fixed elsewhere before we start work where we live.

    3. Your defense of Jakes doesn’t really help Jakes’ case. The fact that the average income of AA is higher in his area should make it more difficult for him to reach that 200 times mark. But he, as you point out, is making 200 times more in a community that is already wealthier!

    4.Defend who you like, man. But two things: (a) defending rich mega-church pastors is not at all the same thing as defending Black folks; and (b) if this site is the go-to site for criticism of the Black church, that’s unfortunate. It means there must not be that much self-reflective criticism out there because it’s not like the majority of posts here are criticisms. But even if they were, people who love truth have a responsibility to chew the fish and spit out the bones. It’s The Front Porch, bro. Opinions are welcome–even critical ones.

    5. When I come to Anacostia, I’m coming I pray with an open Bible and a clean heart. I intend to love the people of the community and to proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord.” That means affirmation at points and critiques at points because the word of God will find us all out. That’s what biblical love looks like. I pray God gives me the grace to walk in love.

    Grace and peace Peterson,
    T-

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    Black folks have is soooo rough in this country. Even 50 years after the advances made during the civil rights movement. How can anyone level any criticisms against the black community w/o an understanding the terrible history that we’ve undergone? It would be immature and unhelpful to do so.

    Criticisms leveled against blacks have always been extremely racialized. For example, “The unemployment rates among blacks is so high… It just proves that blacks don’t want to work.” Or the recent opinion expressed by representative Paul Ryan. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”

    That’s why I think wisdom is necessary especially in a public forum like this… My defense of blacks is in line with this reality. Is this criticism just another form of veiled racism or is it genuine? That’s my question whenever blacks are criticized publically, because most of the time it’s the former case.

    So my question is this… will this site continue in the tradition of this nation with its history of prejudice against blacks?? Or will this site apply its criticisms in a loving nature, properly keeping in mind this nation’s terrible history?

    I did make a move to Anacostia within the last year and half. The church that I attended/still attend in Dumfries is Pillar Church with pastor Clint Clifton whom I believe you are familiar with.

    The community that I currently live in and which I have grown to love needs to hear the true gospel. Not the ahistorical mess that’s preached in most predominantly white congregations. The gospel that they need to hear is a gospel that understands their struggles and offers them hope in the midst of them. That’s ultimately my prayer and hope.

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    Re: the atlanta star… Their reasons/motives for writing are not the same as yours. You are a proponent for the gospel.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Not sure why this makes a difference. We have a common concern for Black peoples on both sides of the Atlantic. We have a common concern for the effect of the so-called prosperity gospel on our people, especially the poor who are sold this bill of goods.

    I don’t know the author of the article. I don’t know if they’re Christians or not. But assuming their facts are correct, they’ve simply pointed out the truth. And as a proponent of the gospel, I join them in pointing out truth and injustice.

    I’m wondering why you’re so defensive of admittedly wealthy men and less concerned about the poor people on whose back they’ve made their wealth??? The wealthy men in this article can take care of themselves with a legion of lawyers! The poor in Nigeria, Atlanta, Dallas, etc. who are taken in by their false teaching in the name of Christ are the ones who need our defense.

    T-

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Brother, you trippin’. This ain’t even in the same stratosphere as historical racist comments about the community. This is an intra-community critique about injustice in the community. If a person thinks the prosperity gospel is a false gospel and preys upon people, then that’s a theological, economic and social justice issue. That’s where I stand.

    I know there’s unjust perceptions and comments of the community–even within the community. But we don’t ever want to turn a blind eye to one form of injustice because we’re aware of other forms of injustice. As King put it, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    I appreciate your prayer for the community, though. I join you in that!

    Say “What’s up” to Clint for me. Looking forward to meeting him someday.

    T-

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Anybody have a report on the “top ten reformed pastors”? It’s only an integrity issue if someone has the data and doesn’t report it. I don’t have it. But I think someone in this thread has a link to some kind of report. You might check that.
    T-

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    I share the same desire not to make this a back and forth…
    But. The one community that needs the most critique in this country, but does not receive it in any measure equal to that of the black community, is the white community. My question to you and other moderators on this site is where is the OPEN and full critique on predominantly white congregations? These congregations supported segregation in the South, came up with awfully constructed Biblically supports for slavery , promoted/continue to promote an American domestic and foreign policy that is destroying communities/nations all over the world, and continue to malign blacks in the media and in their private lives. They sure do need critique, even more so than the Black community.
    Can you honestly say that you’ve leveled equal amounts of criticisms against the majority people group in the US? Please show me and I’ll shut up. You spend time critiquing blacks when they have been put through guantlets of oppression and subordination even though the obvious and most terrible evil is before you. How does this even make sense? It’s unfair. When I see critiques of blacks in any forum without an equal measure of critique against whites I will always consider this unfair. Period. It’s liking kicking a man when he’s down. No even better, it’s like beating a man senselessly and then when he’s on the ground, kicking him so more and asking why and how he got there. It’s fundamentally unfair.

    This country is not mature enough to critique blacks in fairness. Period.

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Pastor, you and I are part of a reformed “community” also. I would think Peterson just in his acquisition into what an accounting of the entire community that we are a representative of looks like , in an effort to avoid the appearance of partiality.

  • Avatar george canady says:

    To my sometimes reliable memory no reformed pastors that I know of who I have heard speaking out on this excesses of the prosperity preachers has, in the same sermon, given any data on our own net worth.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Peterson,

    Here’s just one post I’ve written weighing in on the same sorts of issues with White mega-church folks: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2013/04/15/chh-christian-hip-hop-or-controversial-hip-hop/.

    Here’s another from this site: http://thefrontporch.org/2013/12/what-are-we-going-to-do-with-our-crazy-confederate-uncles/

    And another: http://thefrontporch.org/2013/12/keeping-black-christians-at-arms-length/

    And just for good measure, here’s a positive comment on people in prosperity, mega-churches: http://thefrontporch.org/2013/11/what-i-love-about-the-people-in-prosperity-gospel-churches/.

    So, brother, let’s keep our focus on the issue of this post–which is the exorbitant salaries and wealth of some pastors serving among us. If you don’t want to discuss that, that’s fine. Just don’t try to jack the thread with your brand of black-white grievances and assume unless we all see it the way you do then we haven’t addressed problems in other communities. You’d be wrong, and you’ll continue to miss the point of this post.

    To stay on the porch, stay on the topic.
    T-

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    George,

    There could be several reasons for that. Let me give two: Either said persons do have that information in order to comment, or there aren’t any reformed pastors with net worths of 15 to 50 or 150 million dollars! Apparently, the IRS investigation of mega-church pastors a few years back didn’t turn up any. I certainly don’t know any. And if I knew of any, they’d be open to the same questions lodged in this post.

    It seems to me that integrity also requires we not cast accusations where we don’t have any facts. Let’s produce the data, then we can have the conversation. Until then, let’s stay on the question of whether anyone whose net worth is 200 times the average congregant is making too much.

    T

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hi George,

    Here’s one prominent Reformed pastor addressing the issue:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/piper-on-pastors-pay/.

    T-

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    Please. You didn’t answer the question. Is your critique equal in measure? Is your approach equal in measure? Yes or no.
    Don’t list 2 or 3 articles and expect me to believe that you have an even handed approach on issues such as this. I’ve been in and I regularly participate in reformed circles and I see such little criticism of their American branded Chrisitianity that I often want to thrust reformed thinking to the wayside and continue on following the Lord in this godless nation. I get no encouragement from reformed circles when it comes to issues of race. None.
    Brother, I don’t want nor do I need affirmation from this site. I know injustice when I see it. And I know I’m not the only one. If the front porch’s secret agenda is to make black churches look bad then go ahead and continue. But please provide historical context on how this nation has forgotten black folk in general and how this society still endeavors to forget them.

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Thank you pastor for your patients with my “accusations.” This is ,as you know, a very difficult subject in the whole of the church. I am only interested in the clean house that the Holy Spirit might bring revival to. We hear the accusations that the church has become just like the world….lets compare. We are not of those who shrink back.

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    Brother, I can level critiques against TD Jakes and other prosperity preachers all day and would happy to do so. My question to you is why focus on blacks alone when there are white pastors who propogate this false message? Blacks are so maligned in the media and you are doing nothing but promote this image in this reformed circle when the message ought to be broader and more inclusive.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    My answer is simple: Mentioning TD Jakes in a blog post is not “focusing on blacks alone.” You’re taking a giant steps from Jakes to some supposed criticism of Black people as a people. Nothing like that has happened here. I’m not promoting the maligning of black people by pointing out that a handful of preachers are, imo, fleecing the flock. There’s no news flash in that. Everybody and their mother has probably already thought that; this just puts numbers to the reality where these handful are concerned. But you’re misrepresenting the post by suggesting it’s about Black people in general.

    And as I’ve supplied in the links, I’ve long ago criticized this false gospel and white proponents of it. I don’t feel the need to mention white people every time I want to say something about Black people. Any fair reader would know that.

    Let’s move on.
    T-

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Mr. Onyeukwu, I appreciate your take on some of this and I have felt your frustration. I know sometimes I am a poor representative of my biblical views. I also don’t always agree with Pastor Anyabwile’s approach, but I do not consider myself near equal to his biblical and historical prowess. But this thing I know for sure, he loves the black church I Think enough to lay down this life for her. I believe that he graciously condescends to my leave in love. I can talk here on this blog and be sure the writer cares and prays for me. I love him for that and thank God for him. I have read what you said with interest and hopefully a teachable spirit.

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Checking it out. thanks.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Peterson,

    My critique doesn’t need to be equal in measure. My concern isn’t equal in measure. I’m more concerned about the mess that affects my own family, about the false teaching that finds its way in my mama’s church and living room (via TBN and the like). I’m more concerned about “sweeping around my own door” (as one older gospel group put it) than I am about all the other doors around.

    I’m not asking you to believe I’m “even handed.” This site is about “conversations about biblical faithfulness in the African American church and beyond.” We have a clear primary focus: the African-American church. We know what we discuss here has application “beyond,” and we welcome everyone to the discussion. But we’re focused on the African-American church. No apologies.

    Also, we don’t answer for “Reformed theology.” We each regard ourselves as theologically “Reformed.” But that doesn’t make us culpable for everything ever done under that name, nor would we use that label of some others who use it. The best thing to do to profit from this site is deal with us as we write what we think–not according to what others are dealing with, or others have done. Deal with them on that.

    If you don’t find encouragement on “race,” it might be because you don’t know how to talk about it in a productive way. So far, it seems like you believe everything is a vast conspiracy and the only thing that needs to be said is “white folks are guilty.” Okay, then what? Has life for us changed? Who is going to change it? It won’t come from a thousand public apologies, denominational resolutions, or even in reparations–though I support them. Our people have long known that we have to deal with us. Bottom line. Let’s make our case against injustice, but let’s keep puttin’ in the work at the same time. And puttin’ in the work requires honest self-critique or else we’re living a delusion.

    Finally, we have no “secret agenda.” It’s right there in the slogan: we want “biblical faithfulness in the African American church.” Now if you think the church doesn’t have any room to grow in that regard, then you obviously won’t agree with what’s written here and can save yourself some headaches by not reading. But if you think the church is less than perfect and can grow, then deal with the ideas presented. Stop blaming everything on white racism or acting as if we’re unaware of it. We’re well aware–and yet we still have to “do us.” That’s what we’re up to. Love it or lump it, man.

    T-

  • Avatar Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    Thanks george. I appreciate your comments. I burn with such intensity on matters like these because I feel like there is so little defense for the black church… for black folks in general. If there were others doing the work then I would be able to calm down and go about my business. But who’s doing the work?
    Reformed circles are so gospel sick with prejudice and no one is talking about it. So sick in fact that these circles border on being unbiblical.
    Am I the only that thinks this? I don’t think so. At least I’m willing to dialogue with people on this site. Most people who feel the same way that I do avoid the “porch” altogether.

  • Avatar george canady says:

    Man I felt alone too until this site and John Piper and the RAAN network and the TGC. I myself have calmed down some but the anger still burns and I have to ask for forgiveness because of some of the things you see I see. Let me encourage you to check out some old posts on this sight from pastor “T” and Tony Carter has some good ones too like something about keeping people at arms length was a good one. I have taken my scolding from Pastor “T” , gone off and thought about it and come back because I always want to know more, because I want to be used more. Its a great resource for us. You might say I am in school here and I have been sent to the “office” a few times.

  • Avatar Vince says:

    Hi Sir, It does sadden me as a saint first to think that other sound saints are prejudice without a cause. We are to discern everything. I am a ‘reformed short old (or young) southern , slightly disabled, medium income, separated, single father African American.’ Ok, soooo I admit that I am not so much into the ‘black church’ because I have been disillusioned by the lack of sound theology coming from the black churches in my area. My life was affected by the black church in a good and bad way. I was saved via the black church BUT I am a divorcee due to some of the twisted teachings in a black church that was a cult (based on twisting the scripture better than a trained contortionist). All in all, I find Pastor Anyabwile’s reporting of the facts to be God honoring and if the chips fall on the ‘black church’ so be it. Hmm, isn’t the truth from a friend better than a kiss from a stranger? Forgive me for sounding myopic, but it does look ‘pretty dark’ in the AA churches in regards to sound teachings and showing forth any fruit. I do think we need more ‘crying aloud and sparing not’ to help our brothers and sisters -regardless of the degree of melanin in their cells, or their logistics.

  • Avatar muscleinabmw says:

    HOW DARE ANYONE CRITICIZE WHAT A PASTOR MAKES……when you consider what NFL OR NBA OR MLB players make……or heads of corporations or even rappers and entertainers……..PASTORS watch for our souls…….granted I would not listen to or take the counsel of any of the top money earners that are posted……but if they are blessing the people that are giving to their ministries how dare anyone raise a question about it…….I SENSE A WHOLE LOT OF HATERATION UP IN HERE…UP IN HERE! I love my pastor and he is worthy of double honor. I am fed by his labor in the WORD and he is worth every dime, house, car, suit, piece of jewelry, vacation and ANY other material thing this world has to offer. I am a better man because of my pastor and his encouraging me to stay close to God and obey His Word. As along as the pastor follows GOD and His Word and I am blessed……TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH!!!!!!

  • Avatar QuiverFull says:

    “As long the pastor follows God and His word and I am blessed” Given the nature of this comment coupled with nature of these pastor’s theology by its own definition the comment disqualifies them from making a single dime.
    A couple of questions, why would you not listen or take counsel from the pastor’s that are posted? Why did you feel it was necessary to make that remark given the context of your post?
    Making accusations of hating based on an observation by Pastor T, at some level disqualify you from stating your own opinion.
    We are on the porch discussing issues in regards to the Black Church. We shall not be silent or lose vigor in our commitment to Christ.
    Much Love Brothers
    Peace

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Ain’t that something? I walked into the house for a minute and folks come up on the porch trippin! Yelling in ALL CAPS like they pay bills up here or something 😉

    “Muscleinabmw,” thanks for joining us on the porch and leaving a comment. I appreciate you engaging the discussion. And, I agree with the basic sentiment of your comment. In a sense, there’s no amount of money that is “too much” for someone who cares well for your soul. After all, the Lord himself asks, “What will you give in exchange for your soul?”, pointing out the infinite value of the soul. In that sense, I agree.

    But when you say “too much is not enough” in defense of these exorbitant incomes, then I think you overstate the case in a way that’s actually harmful to both the pastoral office and to the pastor you appreciate. Let me explain.

    Suppose we had a pastor who wasn’t very good at caring for people in his church. How should we pay him? Most people would not say, “He doesn’t care for people well so he shouldn’t be paid well.” It’s more likely we’d say, “He doesn’t need to be a pastor.” Why would we take that view? Well, it’s because we’re trying to protect the dignity of the office. A true pastor lays down his life for the sheep, and that should be seen in every office holder. If he has a pastor’s heart, he should serve as best he can even if he didn’t receive a dime.

    Now, I’m not arguing for low pay. I’m saying the thing you appreciate in your pastor (and I’m thrilled you appreciate it), ought to be expected of every pastor no matter their pay because that’s what it means to be a pastor. I’m certainly not arguing for no or low pay because the Bible says those who serve well should be given double honor. We would not honor the office by suppressing pay; in fact, we would be dishonoring the office.

    But can we dishonor the office by paying a pastor too much? I think so. Have you ever heard someone say, “All the pastor wants is the people’s money”? What are those people saying? They’re saying that the issue of pay and money actually calls into question the pastor and the pastoral office. Exorbitant salaries for what should be a self-denying calling tarnish the dignity of the calling.

    But more than harming the office, paying a guy too little or too much harms the pastor himself. Every survey I’ve read reveals that most pastors feel underpaid and under-appreciated while overworked. That contributes to stress, burnout, depression, family issues and a host of other problems. It’s clear that underpaying a pastor hurts him and his family.

    But what about overpaying? How does saying “too much is not enough” or your pastor “is worth every dime, house, car, suit, piece of jewelry, vacation and ANY other material thing this world has to offer” affect the soul of the man that cares so well for your soul? A couple biblical warnings come to mind. Overpaying him can tempt him into a position where he begins to love the world and the things in the world, which means he cannot love God (1 John 2:15). Or he may find himself loving and serving money, which means he cannot love God (Matt. 6:24). And that love of money could become the root of all kinds of evil and even cause him to leave the faith (1 Tim. 6:9-10).

    How you care for him has a tremendous impact on his soul. If you love an appreciate your pastor who serves well, you’ll show him double honor but you will not take that to mean there is no limit. You’ll apply wisdom and other biblical passages to find a level of pay appropriate to the nature of the office and mindful of the pastor’s soul.

    I hope that helps. We’re not hating on pastors. It turns out that not being careful in this matter is actually hating on them–whether it’s the kind of “hate” that neglects paying well or the softer form of “hate” that pays so much it destroys the soul. Don’t let that be you, my friend.

    Come up on the porch any time,
    T-

  • Avatar Chris says:

    Net worth is not the same as salary.

    It’s not a fair comparison. (I’m not defending those on the list mind you).

    The list would be better to compare salary of the pastor to the salary of the congregation.

    Say Bill gates w/ his 76 Billion net worth gets saved, goes to seminary, takes a job at Podunk Baptist church in the middle of Nowheresville, Somestate. And because of his prior investments takes no salary from the church. Even if he doesn’t pay much attention to what his accountants do to his money already earned and puts his full focus on the church his net worth will always dwarf that of his congregations salary (and likely their net worth as well). But his salary would be much lower than the average congregants salary.

    Would we fault him the same way we fault the guys on the list here who are being unjust? Or would we expect him to give it all away?

    Is it really an issue with net worth, or salary and where they are putting their focus?

  • I am curious Pastor Thabiti, what is your net worth? Annual salary? what is the size and value of your house? and what is the average income of your church members/neighborhood?

  • Avatar itshome says:

    sounds a bit idolatrous to my ears. If talking about The Chief Sheppard, then certainly. But looking broadly at this comment in application, as we see across the listed “pastors” along with others who didn’t quite make the list, but may have come close, there are far too many saints who seem to be putting way too much emphasis on the undershepoards, ahem celeberty speakers?

  • Avatar Brian says:

    I once attended a small Reformed church (in a low-income area) where the pastor was paid a salary equal to the median income of its members, numbered at maybe ten families, or so. That pastor lived humbly, and below the “poverty line”, but was one of the sweetest and richest souls I’ve ever known.

The Front Porch

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