Does it bother you when your clergyman lives "well"?

I have had the opportunity to visit the homes of many clergy over the years. I have been to the homes of ministers, rabbis, and others. In almost every case, those homes were in nicer neighborhoods and were priced well above the average for the city; much nicer than the homes of most of their congregation. There are also frequent stories of clergy from 'mega churches' living in mansions and driving expensive cars.

Churches and other religious institutions are considered charitable and non-profit organizations. When it is discovered that a charity like the United Way or a Susan G. Komen Foundation pays their directors fat salaries and gives them huge perks, there is usually significant complaint and backlash. Does the same happen with churches?

As a member of a congregation, how do you feel when you go to the minister's or rabbi's home and see it is nicer than yours? Does it bother you that money you gave to the church is going to fund their lavish lifestyle?


Debbie - Perhaps those I met were anomalies, but it has happened enough that it made me wonder. In about half the cases, the spouse did work, and in half the cases, they didn't (except for caring for the family and helping out at the church/synagog). Most of them had large congregations and favor with the wealthiest and most influential members.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I've never been a member of a church that could afford to pay their leadership lavishly. Most churches have a changing committee that allocates where the church money is spent. Perhaps the church was given a house in some ones will for the ministers/ priests use. I served on such a committee.Our church was often the beneficiary of money or property in a will.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this information because I really want to tell my pastor about this. He's only making $28,000 a year gross for full time ministry.

    Please, would you give details about whether or not these ministers are making these kind of salaries on their own or whether spousal income, self-employment ventures, second jobs, etc. are also included in their income? Also, what are the names and locations of the churches where they minister, if not too personal to share? Perhaps my pastor can find another job at one of them. He works so hard and deserves the best in life and he has a wife and three kids to support.

    Since you have been in many of these homes and know these people and their personal finances so well, I'm sure you have much personal experience and knowledge to share. I understand you will not want to betray the confidences of these ministers that you are so close to, but if you could give me some idea on what they're doing to be so successful, that would be great.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  • 7 years ago

    Nor have I ever had a pastor who lives lavishly. I've been to lots of pastors' homes and rabbis' homes, and that of other congregants, and I have yet to see a pastor or rabbi who lives better than his parishoners.

    We do know that pastors like Joel Osteen or Rick Warren do have a lot of money. So what? They write books and people buy them. They go on speaking engagements and they get paid for them. This is honest work, and honest money, just like it is for Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, or any other world leader, or anyone else who derives a salary from anything other than their day job.

    Lily says, "Yes, shouldn't that money be used for the needy?"

    Who says pastors and rabbis aren't needy? Do they not have bills and mortgages and car notes just like the rest of us? Families to feed and clothes? Kids to put through college?

    Churches and synogogues don't typically pay their leaders very much, and their salaries are almost always derived from donations of the church/synagogue. And since they are at the fore taking care of their parishoners, and the communites in which they serve, and always donate to their congregations themselves -- and donate their time every day of the week -- why should they not get paid for what they do?

    My tithes do not actually go to pay for the pastor's lifestyle, lavish or otherwise. My tithes go to the upkeep of the church, including lights, mortgage, running water, a food bank for the congregants, other food banks in the community, paying someone else's light bill or water bill, providing for single mothers, helping those with addictions overcome their addictions, and missionaries in foreign fields.

    I have seen my pastor's car. It's being held together with paperclips and bubble gum. And the guy who lives across the street from him says, Yeah, your God is so great, you're driving a 15 year old car with a chipmunk for an engine.

    See, the flip side of "you're a hypocrite for living lavishly" is "you're a hypocrite, telling everyone what God can do for me when He doesn't do anything for you or you would be more successful, have a nicer car/house."

    Can't win for losing, these pastors and rabbis.

    Does it bother me if a pastor or rabbi lives well? Why should it? Last I read, "Thou shalt not covet." Why should I be jealous for what someone else has?

  • 7 years ago

    I have never had a pastor who lived lavishly. I grew up in the Methodist Church, which pays it's pastors salaries that range from salaries comparable to salaries of teachers or school administrators. They live middle class lives. I am now Catholic and most orders of priests take vows of poverty. They are guaranteed food, shelter, and health care, but they have very few possessions.

    Most denominations put limits on a pastor's salaries. It's the non-denominational churches where pastors can get rich.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    it doesnt bother me, there are two things in the bible to consider.

    jesus said dont stop them. and they have their rewards already.

    IF "they" are criminally pedophilic in sin, they will not even be given the rewards they earned. guaranteed. Jesus is teh jduge and has all authority. no man gets to heaven except through him....

    however, that said, all of the preachers i know that are not catholic do live under the minimum wage level. and yet the people i know in leadership positions, are usually self made millionaires or they have their own businesses or 2 or 3 to be able to afford their own manisons. i think some have made contracts that perpetuate treason but thats not always confirmed.

    i do know in the LDS scriptures theology teaches us that a man can obtain his own testimony, raise a family and also seek after riches, if it is to continue the growth of the kingdom of God. remmeber its not all RICH people that wont be able to enter heaven, its only the rich that God makes it possible that enter His Kingdom. such things are possible with God.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    They are there to get rich.

    It works. there are many old ladies who donate their pension checks each month to rich preachers who have sold them the idea that giving a preacher money will somehow get them into heaven.

    God doesn't need ANY money if it is really god. Nobody representing any real god would ever need to ask a human for a dime.

    God is supposed to support good humans, not bleed them of their living!

    Any preacher asking for money is a fraud. All churches are frauds.

    Anyone reading the bible would know that.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Usually the only one's that live high upper. Are those of Mega Churches. Or as you say, Those Crooked Charities.

  • 7 years ago

    Religion, politics, and rape are all about control which includes control of other people's money.

  • I admit it bothers me a bit. God comforts and reassures me however.

  • Mimi
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    It doesn't bother me. As long as my Pastor does his job and does good deeds, then "who cares".

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