Many people don’t believe that pastors can make much money. However, these mega pastors will show you that they can indeed make the big bucks! Here we list the huge net worths of the richest mega pastors in America (and the rest of the world) along with whether they’re spending their money wisely. You’ll see even pastors can anger people and the community, especially when in their greatest time of need.
Charles E. Blake
Charles E. Blake is a California bishop who reportedly earns $900,000 per year and lives in a 10,000 square feet Beverly Hills mansion. He earns his massive salary from the help of 25,000 weekly members who attend his church, and 50,000 online weekly participants. While he lives the good life, his average parishioner earns just $27,907 while living in poverty in South Central Los Angeles.
The HuffPo recently reported a new salary figure, taking Blake’s alleged earnings down to $227,750.
William Franklin Graham III is the son of the famous pastor Billy Graham, and the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. In 2008 he came under fire after claiming total compensation of $1.2 million (from both the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), during a period of slowed economic growth. According to Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association board, $300,000 of that huge amount was actually deferred retirement money from the previous three years.
In 2009, Graham announced that he would give up new contributions to his retirement plans and not take a further salary from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. His wealth, estimated in the millions, shows that a family dynasty can be created in the religious world.
Bill Moyers started his career with a journalism internship with the United States Senate, after completing a degree at the University of Texas Austin. While Moyers was a student, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson developed a liking for the young man and gave him a job. After Moyers graduated, he worked for radio and television stations owned by Senator Johnson’s wife.
Moyers later hosted several television programs, including many on PBS. Several years later he pursued a Master of Divinity, and in 1959 he was ordained a Baptist minister. He would serve as the 13th White House Press Secretary under Johnson from 1965 to 1967. Moyers has made at least $20,000,000 from public broadcasting — taxpayer money! He refuses to officially disclose his income and his net worth is not known.
Richard Rossi is a healing evangelist, musician, novelist, filmmaker, actor, painter and poet. Some sites report Richard Rossi’s net worth to be over $1,000,000, a number that has not been verified. But Rossi isn’t your typical Christian leader. In fact, he is one of the most colorful personalities on this list.
His family was a musical one, and performed together professionally from the time Rossi was seven years old. In 1980, Rossi formed a folk rock band with John Walker, his high school best friend. “Walker and Rossi” were soon playing their music on national TV, in a documentary called “Teens Songs Reflect Positive Outlook,” as well as on the “700 Club.”
Controversy And Crime
Rossi met his wife Sherrie at Liberty University. The newlyweds moved to Pittsburgh in 1986, where Rossi began promoting his healing services and playing guitar at local music venues. He attracted huge crowds with his act. Rossi and Sherrie founded “The Fellowship” during this time.
But in 1994, Sherrie was discovered, covered in blood, in a coma near the side of a Pennsylvania road. At first, responders thought she’d been in a wreck. Rossi and his wife provided bizarre, conflicting stories about the incident, and he was later convicted of second-degree aggravated assault. He served 96 days in Butler County Jail for the incident. During his time in jail, their congregation dropped to only 12 members, and it was revealed that he’d suffered from mental health and addiction problems. Rossi enrolled in a recovery program that he still follows.
Church For Celebrities
The Rossi family relocated to Los Angeles in 1997, and founded Eternal Grace. Eternal Grace is a church movement specifically targeted to celebrities who have difficulty attending public services due to paparazzi. At one point, ABC News called Rossi the “Pastor to the Stars” when it was revealed that he was acting as spiritual adviser to some of the most famous celebrities out there.
Rossi has guest-starred in many television episodes, written three books, and produced several films. To this day, Rossi host his radio talk-show “Richard Rossi Live” as a podcast, and is currently producing a new filmCanaan Land, which is highly critical of fake faith healers.
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell Caught In $3.5 Million Fraud
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell was recently accused of selling $3.5 million in Chinese bonds. Caldwell and business partner, Gregory Smith, allegedly told investors that the worthless Chinese bonds would return on their investment if they, “remain faithful and that they would receive their money,”
Photo Credit: YouTube (Screengrab)
Both men are facing significant jail time because of their reported deception. Caldwell’s lawyer was quick to claim that his client was “falsely accused” and would “be absolved” of any wrongdoing when the truth comes out. If the fraud is true, Caldwell definitely cashed in on his status as a mega pastor and perhaps in the worst way, by scam his parishioners and investors.
Paul Cain became one of the youngest ministers of the Voice of Healing Revival in Europe during the late 1940s. He was only 18 years old when he stepped up onto the pulpit. In the late 1950s he did the unthinkable and disappeared from the public eye. Supposedly he had become upset with the corruption of his movement.
He resurfaced in 1987, while working as a consultant for the CIA. He was known to work closely alongside men like Bill Clinton and Saddam Hussein. In April 2004, three fellow ministers claimed that Cain was a homosexual and was frequently inebriated in public. Cain denied the accusations initially. In 2005, though, he posted a letter of confession to his website and to Charisma magazine. He returned to the pulpit in 2007 and now preaches in Santa Maria, California. One public estimate puts Cain’s net worth near $1 million.
Swaggart is one of the most popular pastors of all time. Ordained in the 1950s, he would eventually launch his own AM radio network. He then turned his attention to TV, hosting a weekend telecast that was aired on more than 200 networks. Swaggart lost public favor in the 1980s and 1990s when he was faced with both prostitution and sex scandals. He later admitted to these transgressions in his infamous “I have sinned” speech. Swaggart regained some of his followers and went on to earn $1.5 million through his music, radio and television ministry.
According to theLA Times, Swaggart’s ministry made over $150 million a year in the 1980s. All of the family members (22!) he keeps on payroll receive a combined payout of more than $350,000 each year. And the parsonage where he lives was built with a reported loan of $1.8M from the ministry.
Jesse Duplantis Requests Donations for $54 Million Jet
Based in Lousiana, Jesse Duplantis is a televangelist who already owns a jet and wants a bigger and better one. He’s asking his viewers to donate money so that he can replace his current Dassault Falcon 50 with a $54 million Dassault Falcon 7X.
In his weekly video posted on his ministries website, Duplantis tells watchers, “I really believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ was physically on the Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey. He’d be in an airplane flying all over the world.” His net worth is currently estimated at $50 million, so if he were to use his own money for the jet, he would only need $4 million more!
Stanley started work as a minister in Virginia when he was just 14 years old. Following this, he received Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Doctor of Theology degrees. He then moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There he became the pastor of the First Baptist Church, and he started “The Chapel Hour” TV program in 1972. In 1978, his program was syndicated across the country by the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Stanley eventually started In Touch Ministries, which led to a syndicated radio broadcast that took his message worldwide. His program “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley” is translated across hundreds of radio and television networks in over 100 languages. His ministries earned about $73,000,000 a year when surveyed nine years ago. The official executive salary was listed as $126,931.
Joel Osteen Ignores Local Hurricane Harvey Victims
Joel Osteen, comes in pretty high on our list with a net worth of $40 million. Osteen is an author, televangelist and pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Lakewood Church is the largest Protestant church in the United States and is broadcast in 100 different countries.
When Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas in August 2017, Osteen tweeted that he was praying for everyone affected. However, instead of helping victims and housing them where he can seat 16,000 people, he kept the doors of the megachurch shut. Claiming it was “flooded” the church lined the perimeter with cones while Twitter users posted photos and called his bluff, sharing images of the street and entrance perfectly accessible.
Joel Osteen’s Wife Accused of Assault
In 2005, a Continental Airlines flight attendant accused Joel Osteen’s wife Victoria of assaulting her while on a flight from Houston to Vail. The attendant, Sharon Brown, claimed Victoria was angry about a stain on her first-class seat, pushed Brown against the bathroom door and elbowed her.
The Federal Aviation Administration fined Victora $3,000 for the assault but the jury found her not guilty when the case was sent to court in 2008. The flight attendant was seeking $405,000 in damages. When she was let off the charges Victoria stated, “Thank you, God. Praise God.”
Janice Crouch was the daughter of a Georgia pastor. She met and married Paul Crouch in 1957 and joined her husband in the ministry. They teamed up with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker to establish the Trinity Broadcasting Network. TBN would eventually become the largest Christian television network in the country.
Crouch was highly criticized for how she spent her network’s windfall. Crouch’s granddaughter accused her of squandering money on such luxuries as homes, private jets, and expensive wigs. Crouch died in 2016, at the age of 78, after a stroke. At the time of her passing, the network was embroiled in several lawsuits. One involved a rape and others were over financial issues. Crouch’s fortune at the time of her death was $50 million. Crouch’s son Matthew now has control over Trinity’s assets, which according to a recent tax return are now worth more than $1 billion.
Dr. Robert Charles Sproul, a Pittsburgh born and raised pastor, is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries. The church was established in 1970 and was started as a college and seminary for students. The faith-based organization was soon built into a nationally recognized program which hosts theological conferences with renowned speakers from around the world. Sproul founded the internationally broadcasted Sirius XM radio program “Renewing Your Mind.” Unlike his contemporaries, he avoided television and launched the Reformation Network (RefNet), an online radio station for reformed Christians, in 2012.
RC Sproul wrote a blog post about how much pastors should earn. In it he says “Pay him well enough that he is able to give with great generosity.” One conservative estimate puts Sproul’s net worth at $2 million.
Nicholas Thomas Wright retired from his position as Bishop in 2010, but not before amassing a $2.5 million fortune. He is a popular British New Testament scholar who traveled all over Great Britain after being ordained as a minister in 1975. Wright wrote the popular seriesChristian Origins and the Question of GodandFor Everyone.
Wright was consecrated in 2003 as the Bishop of Durham after spending five years as the Dean of Lichfield. He continues to work today as a professor at St. Mary’s College in the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Apparently book deals pay very, very well.
Jack Van Impe
Jack Leo Van Impe graduated from the Detroit Bible Institute in 1952, and has earned the nickname “Walking Bible” for his ability to quote the scripture. Van Impe started his career as an evangelist on the Billy Graham Crusades. In 1954 he married Rexella Mae Shelton. Together, the newlyweds started Jack Van Impe Ministries. Rexella served as his co-host of the television series, “Jack Van Impe Presents.” Sixty years later, the TV series is still shown across North America. Reports have suggested that the Jack Van Impe Ministries International Foundation has a yearly revenue of about $2.5 million.
In 2011, Van Impe ceased airing his program on Trinity Broadcasting Network after they refused to air an episode of his show. In the episode, Van Impe had expressed criticism of Christians who wish to incorporate Islamic practices into their organizations. His annual salary is believed to be around $150,000.
Davis might be better known for his time as a songwriter, singer and actor than as a minister. He wrote some smash hit songs for the Jackson 5, like Lookin’ Through the Windows and Never Can Say Goodbye. Davis studied theology at Andrews University, earned his Master of Divinity, and was ordained in 1987.
He also hosts Gospel Superfest and makes other appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Many people would recognize him from his role as Ephraim Ware on the TV drama Madam Secretary. Davis is said to be worth $3 million.
Ernie Fletcher has played a politician, a preacher, and a physician. The Kentucky native started his professional career with the United States Air Force, in the hopes of becoming an astronaut. After cuts to NASA’s budget and eyesight concerns, Fletcher earned a degree in medicine and opened a private practice.
He started working as a lay Baptist minister in his community and became active in Kentucky politics. In 1999, Fletcher joined the United States House of Representatives, where he served until 2003. Fletcher was elected as state Governor in 2003, over state Attorney General Ben Chandler. He held that position until 2007, when accusations of impropriety surfaced.
However, while Fletcher was in office, he was accused of unethical hiring practices that overshadowed his reelection bid. During his time in office, Fletcher also almost lost his medical license. He signed a death warrant for a man who had been convicted of a double murder and sentenced to death. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure investigated him for this, as the state’s laws state that doctors are ineligible to participate in executions in any way. The Board determined that Fletcher had acted as Governor and not as a physician when he issued the death warrant. Bowling died of cancer in prison before the execution could take place.
Despite many years spent in the ministry, Fletcher amassed most of his rumored $3 million net worth with his work in politics. Congress members can earn as much as $223,500 a year from salary alone. YouBrite reports his net worth as high as $16.7 million, which is an unconfirmed amount.
Now that’s a fun name. Evangelist Leroy Jenkins, born in South Carolina, came from a family of religion; his mother was a prominent evangelist in Florida during the 1960s and 1970s. Jenkins declared himself a born-again Christian after he was convicted of arson in 1979.
After spending 12 years in prison he was released and by 2011 he married 77-year-old Eloise Thomas, who had won the Ohio Lottery Jackpot worth $6 million. Thomas passed away shortly after marrying Jenkins. An Ohio court annulled the marriage and denied Jenkins any of Thomas’s fortune. None of this stopped Jenkins from founding a ministry, as we’ll read about next.
Leroy Jenkins Ministries And Miracle Water
Although he was known for much of his life as a con-artist and convicted criminal, he began Leroy Jenkins Ministries in the 1960s anyway. He used a “miracle water” to help heal his followers. In 2003, his ministry was hit with a big scandal when it was discovered that the “miracle water” contained harmful chemicals (coliform bacteria).
After being fined a mere $200 for selling the water without a license to do so, Jenkins took his ministry and moved to Arizona. His ministry is still located in Scottsdale. He has a musical inclination and has released many Gospel albums over the course of his ministry career. His rumored $4 million fortune continues to grow as he continues to work as an internationally recognized televangelist. A biographical film about Jenkins,The Calling, was released in 2002. Interestingly, there is a “World of Warcraft” character with the name “Leeroy Jenkins.”
Tony Campolo is known as the former spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton. The Philadelphia native is an ordained Baptist minister and evangelist who is closely tied to the Democratic Party. He’s also the founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) which helps at-risk youth throughout North America. Some have estimated Campolo’s net worth to be around $4 million, but this number has not been confirmed.
Campolo has angered the GOP by appearing as a talking head on programs like “The Colbert Report,” “Nightline” and “Larry King Live.” In 2011 he took his opinions about politics, religion and social issues to his own platform with the launch of the program “Red Letter Christians.” He has also published more than a dozen books and appeared as the featured speaker at hundreds of events. He’s one of the few evangelicals to open his doors to LGBTQ members.
Reinhard Willi Gottfried Bonnke is best known for his various missions across Africa for the past 50 years. Born in Königsberg, Germany, he felt the calling to learn about religion by the age of 10. He completed his preaching degree at Bible College in Wales before pastoring in Germany for seven years. He went on his first African mission, with his wife and one-year-old son along, in 1967.
Like many of the pastors on our list, he started with only a few dozen followers. But Bonnke’s popularity spread across Africa and soon he was packing venues with more than 100,000 people at a time.. The Pentecostal evangelist found his success with his autobiography,Living a Life of Fire, which helped increase his net worth to an estimated $4 million. Religious Tolerance reports his annual salary as roughly $162,000!
MacArthur was ordained in the 1960s as a Christian evangelical preacher. He stepped onto the pulpit of the Calvary Bible Church in Southern California in 1964. By 1969 he had joined Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. As his popularity grew he launched a daily radio broadcast,Grace to You,in 1977. The show was first broadcast only in Baltimore, Maryland, but grew to become an internationally syndicated show.
He established his own college, The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, in 1986. He continues to serve as the college’s president and pastor at Grace Community Church. He has over 150 book titles to his name, including theMacArthur Study BibleandTwelve Ordinary Men, both which have become best sellers. MacArthur’s executive pay has been reported at $160,000, with a net worth of $12,485,467.
Kay Arthur’s career did not begin with the ministry, and appeared to be taking a very different direction early in her life as she initially attended nursing school. Arthur divorced her first husband, who had a serious mental illness, and several years later he committed suicide. She admits to spiraling out of control with a series of bad relationships, and later said of this period, “Sin will take you farther than you ever intended to go, it will cost you more than you ever expected to pay, and it will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay.”
Arthur eventually turned to faith. She married for a second time in 1965, and she and her husband founded Precept Ministries International (originally named Reach-Out Ranch). Arthur has published more than 100 books and Bible studies, and she speaks at conferences internationally. She and her husband are reportedly worth $5 million.
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton is one of the most polarizing and controversial pastors of the 20th and 21st centuries. Sharpton claims that he was ordained as a Pentecostal minister at just nine years old. He spent his early years as James Brown’s tour manager and fighting for civil rights alongside Jesse Jackson.
Sharpton moved his focus back to the Baptist church in the late 1980s and became a Baptist minister in 1994. Through hundreds of television and radio appearances he has earned just north of $5 million. In 2014 reports circulated that Sharpton had “regularly sidestepped” his debts and owed millions in back taxes.
This Singapore native is a Senior Pastor at one of Asia’s biggest churches, the New Creation Church. The son of a Sikh priest, he has been associated with the church his entire life and helped establish the nondenominational church in 1984. Membership quickly swelled to a mind-boggling 31,000. Prince has a television program and has also authored books, CDs and DVDs. The church takes in an annual income of $44.7 million.
Prince earns $550,000 per year in salary and is said to be worth $5 million. In Singapore, every non-profit organization is required to report the salaries of their chief executives. His church did not confirm Prince’s identity when it revealed that an employee earns $550,000, but it did issue a statement acknowledging that they “recognize and reward key contributors to the church and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church’s growth and revenue.” He is reportedly the 10th richest pastor in the world.
Nigerian televangelist Christopher Okotie serves as pastor of the Household of God Church (HGC) International Ministries. He followed a very unusual career trajectory on the path to his current role. While Okotie attended law school his father died, and he dropped out to start a career in pop music. He later returned to school and did eventually graduate with a law degree, but decided to pursue a job in the ministry rather than practice law.
He established the HGC in 1987 and since that time has published 17 books, authored various articles, and established himself as a local faith leader. He also ran three Presidential campaigns in Nigeria, but lost each of those races. Okotie is said to have a net worth of $7.5 million, and considered to be a rather flashy pastor, spending some of his religious earnings on luxury high-performance cars, including Rolls-Royce and Porsche.
Ravi Zacharias didn’t become a Christian until 17 years old, after attempting suicide. While he was recovering in the hospital, he was given a Bible and his mother read John 14 to him. The act changed his life. Zacharias broke the mold by becoming one of the few popular evangelists from India. After turning his life around Zacharias moved to Canada with his family in the late 1960s where he completed his studies to become a minister.
He traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970s and was inspired by his trips abroad. He founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto in 1984. He soon published several award-winning books, and is now heard all over the world on his popular radio programs,Let My People ThinkandJust Thinking. Zacharias’ net worth is estimated at $7.5 million.
Popoff was born in Berlin in 1946 and fled with his family to California at a young age. He completed his studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and settled down in 1970. He quickly moved into television ministry where his energetic and aggressive messages were broadcast all throughout the United States. He became famous as a faith healer who would yell, “break free of the devil” to some of his sickest followers.
His claims have included cures for anxiety, depression, heart conditions, and even paralysis. In mid-1980s his methods were questioned and he admitted the miracles were a hoax. He left the spotlight for 10 years but then returned to allegedly continue his shenanigans. Popoff owns a $4.5 million home in Bradbury, California, and is said to be worth a cool $10 million. He drives a Mercedez-Benz and a Porsche.
Jesse Jackson is perhaps one of the most well-known and polarizing pastors and civil rights activists in recent times. While he was first known as a politician, his activism shifted him further into the public spotlight as a religious leader. Jackson accepted a football scholarship to the University of Illinois and eventually transferred to North Carolina A&T, where he became active in local civil rights campaigns.
He eventually enrolled in the Chicago Theological Seminary before dropping out three classes short of earning his master’s degree. Jackson became an ordained Baptist minister in 1968 but continued his focus on politics with presidential runs in 1984 and 1988. He was eventually given his own show on CNN calledBoth Sides of Jesse Jackson. Jackson received a Master of Divinity degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2000. He allegedly has a net worth of $10 million.
With an estimated net worth of $6- $10 million, Matthew Ashimolowo barely even cracks the top richest 15 pastors in the world. He leads the largest church in the United Kingdom. He’s the Senior Pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre.
Ashimolowo converted from Islam to Christianity at the age of 20, following the death of his father. The KICC is rumored to have assets valued at $40 million, with an annual profit of $10 million. His church reportedly has over 12,000 members. Part of his earnings come from the popular international radio and television program, “Winning Ways.” In 2005 the pastor was forced to repay £200,000 after it was determined that he mismanaged church funds for his personal gain.
Ed Young, Jr.
Ed Young was playing basketball on scholarship at Florida State University when he decided to change his career path and focused on the ministry — following in his dad’s footsteps. Young eventually transferred to Houston Baptist University in Texas and completed his Masters of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For a short period he worked at his father’s church, Second Baptist Church Houston, as an associate pastor.
Young was later hired as the Sr. Pastor of Fellowship Church, and his ministry soon gained 5,000 weekly attendees. In 1998 he moved into a permanent facility in Grapevine, Texas. His international ministry has joined the Ed Young Television Network with his programs broadcast on the E! Channel and Roku as well as online. Young is also aNew York Timesbest-selling author thanks to his bookThe Sexperiment.Some unconfirmed reports indicate that Young has a net worth of $11,000,000+.
North Carolina native Ernest Angley was born to a Baptist family in the 1920s. He became a Christian in 1939, at the age of 18. He chose to work as a traveling Pentecostal faith healer and evangelist. At the time he had nothing to his name other than a tent, camper, and a Bible. He eventually collected enough money to purchase the Grace Cathedral (Temple of Healing Stripes) in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He also bought the Channel 55 television station.
He soon launched the Earnest Angley Hour to a nationwide weekly radio, television and internet broadcast. The 94-year-old eventually purchased a Boeing 747 registered in Aruba to transport missionaries and aid around the world. Unconfirmed reports list Angley’s net worth at $15 million.
This Bermuda-born pastor started with a career in politics, becoming a Senator at just 30 years old. She soon realized that she could accomplish more in the ministry and moved from the podium to the pulpit. She began leading sermons and writing books about spiritual growth and healing.
Trimm’s popularity grew by traveling around the world while using her political prowess to help rebuild communities in need. She currently serves as the pastor for Florida’s Embassy Worship Center, and is rumored to be worth $15 million.
Another Nigerian evangelist with some incredible wealth ($15 million, according to reports), Joshua is the self-proclaimed prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua. It is claimed that he failed to complete his studies because of his love of the bible and his desire to preach. He attempted to join the Nigerian military but failed to make the military academy because his train broke down.
Joshua founded the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and rose to popularity by claiming to be a miracle worker with thousands claiming to be healed of everything from cancer to HIV. He also claimed to manufacture holy water and expel demons. As one of the most popular figures in Nigeria he has over two million Facebook fans, 120 million YouTube views, and many local accolades.
Kirk Cameron was a famous actor star on the hit 1980s ABC sitcom “Growing Pains.” Since leaving the show he has become a devout Christian pastor who has produced many Christian TV shows and films such asListen To Me,Fireproofand theLeft Behindseries.
In the 1990s he partnered with New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort to co-found The Way of the Master ministry. Cameron also co-hosts a television show of the same name. Cameron and Comfort have come under fire for their creationist beliefs. Cameron drew controversy in 2009, for distributing edited versions of Charles Darwins’On the Origin of Speciesat colleges and universities.
All in the Family
Cameron and his wife Chelsea Noble run a charity called Camp Firefly. The free summer camp provides a week vacation for terminally ill children and their families. The camp was a donation from Sherwood Baptist Church near Atlanta, in exchange for a film Cameron starred in but didn’t receive payment for, Fireproof. With his estimated net worth of $20 million, Cameron probably doesn’t need to collect a paycheck these days.
Cameron has an equally-famous religious sibling, sister Candace Cameron Bure, who starred in “Full House” and now appears in its spin-off “Fuller House.” Bure became a Christian in her 20s, and encourages visitors to her website to find Christ for themselves.
Pastor Ray McCauley
South African pastor Raynor “Ray” McCauley is the founder of the Rhema Bible Church. He started his church after completing his studies in 1979. To this very day he runs his church with help from his family. Much like the other pastors on our list he travels the world, and publishes various pieces that have helped pad his massive fortune. His ministry is said to be worth upwards of $30 million.
McCauley is frequently criticized for his lavish lifestyle. Interesting side note: McCauley enjoys bodybuilding as a hobby and once worked as a nightclub bouncer. He’s also been publicly critical of gay rights.
Like many others on our list, Danforth started his career in politics. He was the Attorney General of Missouri from 1969 to 1976 after being elected to the United States Senate. He also served as the 24th United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
At the age of 79 he retired from politics and spent the majority of his time as an ordained Episcopal priest. He spent part of his $30 million net worth to become part owner of the St. Louis Blues, of the National Hockey League. His most recent book,The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics, sparked political and religious debates around the United States.
Pastor Tshifhiwa Irene
Irene is a South African pastor for the Divine Truth World Restoration Services for World Peace by Jesus Christ. She is also a popular televangelist, with her church situated in Venda. Most of her work has been focused on her own region, which has allowed her to develop a relationship with tens of thousands of followers.Pastor Irene is said to have a net worth of approximately $35 million.
Irene’s YouTube account features a (rather graphic) video in which she claims to have healed a woman who was unable to defecate for a week. What an interesting way to make a living!
Prophet Uebert Angel
Focusing on the less-privileged and widows has been very profitable for Uebert Angel. He is a self-proclaimed prophet who runs the mega church Spirit Embassy. As a “healer” he says that there are many unverifiable claims from unknown sources who claim he healed them after car accidents, following cancer diagnoses and more.
Angel inspires much controversy, as his devoted followers and skeptics frequently disagree about his claims to be a healer or a prophet. HIs personal life has also been heavily scrutinized, and there are claims that he has engaged in “illicit relationships” with women. Angel insists that his net worth is $60 million.
Robert Tilton was one of the architects of the televangelism and infomercials movement in the 1990s. The Texas native found much of his early success on a religious program called “Success-N-Life.” His program was set up like an infomercial meant to convince viewers to buy into his vision. The popular series was eventually broadcast in over 200 American television markets.
The show eventually brought in $80 million in annual revenue, and he’s said to be worth $50 million now. In 1991 “Primetime Live” investigated his fundraising methods and quickly accused the national television star of exploiting vulnerable people. His staff would supposedly throw away prayer requests and keep any donations.
“Pastor Chris” is a Nigerian minister and the founder of Believers’ Loveworld Incorporated, AKA the Christ Embassy. Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Pastor Chris identifies as a faith healer. His ridiculous claims include the ability to rid people of HIV through nothing but prayer. Much of his fame and wealth have come fromHealing School,the widely translatedRhapsody of Realities,andInner City Missions for Children.
Oyakhilome also runs three Christian television channels that promote healing and general miracles for an international audience. He has more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter and his e-books are offered in 667 languages. Oyakhilome’s net worth is a reported $50 million.
The richest pastor in Nigeria is author, preacher and founder of Winner’s Chapel, David Oyedepo. Like many others on our list, his career didn’t start in the church. He studied architecture early in his life before concentrating on missionary work. His rise to religious fame started after he claimed in 1981 to have had an 18-hour vision where God called on him to preach.
He soon founded the Living Faith Church World Wide and was ordained a pastor two years later. With an estimated net worth of $150 million, he owns four private jets that ferry him and his team around the world.
While George Foreman is a pastor, almost all of his wealth was the result of a storied boxing career and royalties from the incredibly popular George Foreman Grill. Foreman officially returned from boxing in 1997 at 48 years old. He is an ordained minister who found his faith after a near-death experience in 1977. Foreman announced his faith as a born-again Christian and took a break from the ring to become an ordained minister.
Despite his massive fame, he spent several years preaching on street corners and at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Houston. He has made several appearances on “The 700 Club,” and is worth approximately $250 million.
A $1.1 billion pastor? Edir Macedo lives in Brazil where he is known as an evangelical leader and media mogul. Macedo founded the Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1970s and his numbers grew rapidly.
He successfully grew his church to the point where it now receives $2 billion in donations every single year. He built much of his wealth as the owner and chairman of Brazil’s second largest television network, Rede Record. He has used church funds to purchase radio stations, TV networks, real estate, health insurance companies, and even an airline. He flaunts his wealth, and has been quoted saying “If I preach prosperity and my clothes are ragged, who will follow me?”
Televangelist Kenneth Copeland is one of the leaders of the Charismatic Movement and is known for promoting a controversial preaching style called “prosperity gospel.” He ranks up there as one of the highest-paid mega pastors with a rumored net worth of $760 million. Included in that net worth: a church, an airstrip, a church jet and a church-owned lakefront mansion.
His Kenneth Copeland Ministries has released dozens of books and recordings, including the titlesThe Blessing of the Lord: Makes Rich and He Adds No Sorrow with ItandFrom Faith To Faith: A Daily Guide To Victory.
Copeland’s Angel Flight 44 Promise
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Copeland, an experienced pilot, vowed to establish humanitarian-relief ministry called Angel Flight 44. But according to a source familiar with the situation, Rev. Rich Vermillion, the ministry was never formed. When Haiti was devastated by earthquakes in 2010, neither Copeland nor the ministry could be found.
Vermillion wrote a scathing indictment of the situation: “If Copeland had prepared beforehand as he had pledged, there would have been supplies flowing into Haiti within 24 hours after that earthquake. Instead, the people had to suffer and wait until other groups arrived, and that seems almost criminal in my opinion.”
Copeland And Trump
During the 2016 presidential election, Copeland raised some eyebrows with a television appearance in which he warned Christians that they’d go to hell if they didn’t vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump. “You’re going to be guilty of murder,” he said. “You’re going to be guilty of an abomination of God. You’re going to be guilty of every baby that’s aborted from this election forward.”
And during Copeland’s election night coverage, he boastfully stated that as a member of Donald Trump’s faith advisory council he would now be able to communicate messages from God to the president himself. Copeland asserted that “[Trump] wouldn’t just turn it over to an aide or something and just write it off. He would listen and it would mean something to him.”
Pat Robertson, a successful businessman and former Southern Baptist minister, created the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia. Estimates of his wealth vary greatly, from $200 million to over $1 billion. The network he created is now broadcast in 180 different countries. Robertson even led an (unsuccessful) run for presidency.
Pat Robertson runs a number of organizations, such as the Christian Coalition and a Christian rights organization that helps raise money for conservative political candidates. In 2012, Robertson announced that God had told him who the next President of the United States would be, and indicated that it would not be Barack Obama.
Coming in with a rumored net worth of $42 million is the Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn. Born Toufik Benedictus Hinn, he is best known for his healing summits, called “Miracle Crusades,” which are usually held in large stadiums throughout major cities. In 2005, Benny Hinn Ministries provided $100,000 in relief and supplies for victims of Hurricane Katrina. His ministry claims to feed over 100,000 children a year.
Hinn has his own television program called “This Is Your Day” which is broadcast worldwide on multiple stations: INSP Networks, Trinity Broadcasting Network, The God Channel, Daystar Television Network, Revelation TV, Grace TV, and Vision TV. His “Miracle Crusade” faith healing summits are broadcast on “This Is Your Day.”
Billy Graham, a Southern Baptist from North Carolina, is one of the most famous pastors on this list. Graham’s claim to fame came when his sermons began being broadcasted on radio and television stations. He’s served as spiritual adviser to a number of presidents, and he has appeared on Gallup’s list of most admired men and women a whopping 55 times. Graham’s estimated net worth is in the vicinity of $25 million.
Billy Graham joined the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Afterward, Graham befriended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and invited him to join him during a 16-week Christian event. Despite future political disagreements, King later said that Graham had taken a “very strong stance against segregation.”
Mega pastor Rick Warren only lives on ten percent of his income and donates the rest to charity. He can easily afford to do so, as his net worth is rumored at $25 million. Warren founded, and is the senior pastor of, Saddleback Church. The Lake Forest, California megachurch is the eighth-largest in the country. Warren gave the invocation at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration in January 2009.
Rick Warren is the author of many books, including The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life. Warren believes his “P.E.A.C.E. Plan” can bring global harmony to Earth.
Warren holds conservative, evangelical views on a number of hot-button social issues such as abortion and abstinence-only education.
Bishop T.D. Jakes
Bishop Thomas Dexter “T. D.” Jakes, Sr. lives in a $1.7 million dollar mansion and has been featured on the cover of Time magazine. As founder of The Potters’ House, this Dallas minister has racked up a huge net worth. His ministry now has over 30,000 members and 50 outreach ministries. According to some sources, Jakes has a net worth of $150 million.
Many do not know that Bishop Jakes is also a writer and a movie producer, in addition to his work with the church. He has produced eight films, including Heaven is For Real, about four-year-old Colton Burpo’s near death experience.
Famous gospel singer, Pentecostal televangelist, and actress Juanita Bynum appears regularly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She is also the CEO of Juanita Bynum Enterprises. Bynum is considered an “empowerment coach” and she speaks at huge events located throughout the United States. She founded the Women’s Weapons of Power Conference in 2000.
Bynum has authored more than a dozen popular books and is a New York Times bestseller.
Her most successful empowerment conference to date was called “Woman, Thou Art Loosed!” Held in Atlanta in 1999, the event was well-attended, with over 52,000 people present. Bynum’s unconfirmed net worth is $10 million.
Mega pastor and author Joyce Meyer has been ranked among the most influential Evangelicals in America by Time magazine. Meyer became a born-again Christian after suffering childhood abuse. She started teaching Bible studies classes at Life Christian Center, and was named that church’s associate pastor a few years later. She eventually started her own ministry and began airing a radio show.
In 1993, Meyer and her husband started a television ministry, called “Enjoying Everyday Life.” Some criticize Meyer’s lavish lifestyle – she has a private jet and owns several homes – but she has said that “…there’s no need for us to apologize for being blessed.” She’s said to be worth a staggering $25 million.
Pastor John Hagee
John Hagee is the senior pastor and founder of San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church. Hagee founded The Church at Castle Hills in 1975, and re-dedicated it Cornerstone Church in 1987, with a new 5,000-capacity sanctuary. Pastor Hagee, who received theological training at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Oral Roberts University in 1989.
Reverend Hagee is also the CEO of John Hagee Ministries, a Christian multi-media empire that broadcasts to 150 million households worldwide. Hagee also serves as CEO for the non-profit organization Christian Evangelism Television. He’s published many book titles and has an estimated personal fortune of $5 million.
After becoming a Christian in the mid-1980s after childhood marred by abuse and poverty, Paula Michelle White went on to launch her own church. Today, she is Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopko, Florida, near Orlando. Prior to that she co-pastored a Tampa church called Without Walls International. Known for the sense of humor she brings to her sermons, White also hosts a television show called “Paula White Today.”
Estimates put her total net worth at $5 million. White has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work and is married to the famous singer/songwriter Jonathan Cain.
Paula White At Trump’s Inauguration
Paula White was selected to serve as now-President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser. The two have known each other for 15 years, and she gave a reading and invocation at Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017. During her prayer, she implored that God help Trump in his new role.
“We ask that you would bestow upon our president the wisdom necessary to lead this great nation, the grace to unify us, and the strength to stand for what is honorable and right in your sight.” White was the first female clergy member in United States history to give the inaugural prayer. A year after Trump’s inauguration, White called upon her congregation to donate up to one months’ salary per year to the church. “[W]hen you keep for yourself something that belongs to God you are desecrating what is to be consecrated to God,” she explained on her website. White further elaborated that those who disobey this request might face “consequences” from God.
Congressional and IRS Investigations
In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley launched an investigation against Paula White and five other televangelists, stemming from concern about their fundraising methods. They were reportedly uncooperative with the investigation, but The New York Times later reported that the inquiry resulted in “no findings of wrongdoing or penalties.”
White and her (then) husband Randy were also the subject of a nine-year IRS investigation beginning in 2004. The agency looked into the couple’s personal and organizational finances. In a laterChristian Postinterview, Paula opened up about the ordeal and admitted that the pressure was difficult to handle, even with her strong faith.
Bishop Eddie Long
The late Bishop Eddie Long was the senior pastor of megachurch New Missionary Baptist Church in DeKalb County, Georgia. Church membership grew from just 300 to a staggering 25,000 under his leadership. Bishop Long was the subject of some scrutiny, as he was investigated by the United States Senate regarding New Birth’s tax-exempt status. He amassed a personal fortune of $3 million during his career.
Bishop Long authored written many best-selling books such asIt’s Your Time: Reclaim Your Territory for the Kingdom,The Elect Lady,I Don’t Want Delilah, I Need You,and his most recent:60 Seconds to Greatness: Seize the Moment and Plan for Success.
Eddie Long’s Death
Bishop Eddie Long of New Missionary Baptist Church in DeKalb County, Georgia, died on January 15, 2017. He was the megachurch’s senior pastor. Long, who had been accused of impropriety with several young male congregants, had an aggressive form of cancer. He was 63 at the time of his death and died “after a gallant private fight” with the disease, according to a church statement.
The official death announcement read, “Bishop Long transitioned to be with our Heavenly Father on January 15, 2017. Bishop Long, Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, was deeply devoted to his family, church and service to others through his global philanthropic efforts.”
Bishop Noel Jones
Bishop Noel Jones earned a PhD from the International Circle of Faith, and went on to become the pastor of Bethel Temple of Longview in Texas. He now serves as senior pastor of the City of Refuge Church, located in California. His current church has about 17,000 active members, and his net worth is estimated around $5 million.
Bishop Jones’ church’s choir, the City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir, released a successful gospel album back in 2007. The album, titled “Welcome to the City,” made it to the Billboard 200 and even reached the #1 position on gospel charts. In 2013, Jones appeared on a reality television show, “Preachers of LA.”
Minister Louis Farrakhan
A leader of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., Minister Louis Farrakhan (born Louis Eugene Wolcott) is known as one of the most controversial, highly-praised, and heavily criticized religious and political leaders in history. He leads the religious group Nation of Islam, and has been the head of mosques in Harlem and Boston.
Although not a Scientologist, Farrakhan is a proponent of some of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics practices, especially the “auditing” techniques. Many do not know that Farrakhan gained most of his net worth (supposedly $3 million) through leadership and a brief musical career. He has also published several books.
If you want to become a multi-millionaire pastor there really is no better place than Nigeria. This native to the country started his career as a mathematics professor after graduating with his PhD from the University of Lagos. Adeboye joined the Redeemed Christian Church of God in 1973 and soon began translating sermons into English for the current pastor.
Just one decade later he was appointed the General Overseer of the relatively unknown church. The church now has more than 14,000 branches in Nigeria and an additional set of churches in 100 countries. Adeboye’s goal is to place a church within five minutes of every person on Earth.
Creflo Dollar is known as one of the most successful preachers in America. He was the founder of the World Changers Church International in Atlanta, Georgia. The first church service with the World Changers had only eight people in attendance. The church now meets in a 8,500-capacity building. Dollar runs the Creflo Dollar Ministries, the Creflo Dollar Ministerial Association, and a record company — Arrow Records. He’s said to have a net worth of $27 million.
He has repeatedly refused to divulge his annual salary, but the church reports an annual revenue of $69 million. Reverend Dollar’s secrecy over his financial affairs nearly cost him jail time after a Senate committee asked him (along with other religious leaders) to explain the source of his wealth, and he refused.
This entry on our list might not be a mega pastor and he might not be the wealthiest in the world, but he sure brings a lot of name recognition to the profession. Actor Demond Wilson, best known for playing Lamont Sanford, opposite Redd Foxx, in the 1970s NBC sitcom Sanford and Son, is now a minister.
Although he acted briefly after Sanford and Son ended, Wilson later became ordained and founded a ministry called Restoration House in 1995. Restoration House helps former prison inmates. Wilson also writes Christian books, including some for children. He travels the gospel circuit frequently, preaching to groups as large as 6,000 people. He was tired of the showbiz lifestyle and has now found peace with himself.