These 19 millionaire – and one billionaire – pastors have a lot for which to thank the good Lord. Indeed, they live in luxury mansions, own private jets, drive expensive cars, and they do it all by the grace of God. Some head international megachurches where the offering basket brings in millions, while others have turned a televangelical talent into a multi-million-dollar media empire. Here, then, we meet the men and women of God whose riches have reached truly biblical proportions.
20. Chris Okotie
Before he ever found God, Chris Okotie found fame as an 1980s pop sensation. In 1987 the unlikely preacher swapped the stage for the pulpit and set up the Household of God Church in Lago, Nigeria. Pentecostal Okotie now has an estimated $3 million in the bank and owns a fleet of expensive cars.
19. Joseph Prince
Singaporean preacher Joseph Prince hit headlines in 2014 when it was reported he was making $550,000 a year as senior pastor of the New Creation Church. In 2015, meanwhile, the influential televangelist can count more than 31,000 followers in his flock, and, it is thought, around $5 million in the bank.
18. Bishop Eddie Long
In 2007 Eddie Long and his charity became the subject of a Senate investigation after the bishop was accused of pocketing donations of more than $3 million. The inquiry was dropped and today the Bentley-driving Long remains the senior pastor at Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, with an estimated worth of $5 million.
17. Al Sharpton
Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton is worth a cool $5 million. The Brooklyn-born Baptist minister and outspoken campaigner runs his own radio talk show and is the star of MSNBC’s Politics Nation. Sharpton is also reported to be a close confidant of President Obama.
16. Matthew Ashimolowo
Matthew Ashimolowo brought his gospel from Nigeria to London, England in 1984 and founded the Kingsway International Christian Centre in 1992. Today the church operates from 24-acre headquarters in nearby Kent with branches all over the globe. Ashimolowo, who also owns his own media company, is worth around $6 million.
15. Temitope Joshua
Since finding God, Temitope Joshua has found at least $10 million, and he claims he has even been given the ability to cure cancer. The Nigerian healer set up his international megachurch, the Synagogue Church of All Nations, in 1987, and he also runs the Emmanuel evangelical TV network.
14. Jesse Jackson
With around $10 million in the bank, Baptist minister Jesse Jackson can easily afford his $4,000-a-month child support payments for the daughter he fathered with an employee. The political pastor and well-known American civil rights activist is a former U.S. Senator who ran for president twice in the 1980s.
13. Dr. Cindy Trimm
Dr. Cindy Trimm is another preacher who has combined religion and politics, and she has amassed a $15 million fortune. The spiritual leader rose from destitution to become the youngest senator of her native Bermuda. She’s now one of the most in-demand motivational speakers within Christianity, and she is a successful author too.
12. T.D Jakes
T.D. Jakes cuts quite the figure in Dallas where he lives in a $1.7 million villa and preaches to thousands from the city’s Potter’s House megachurch. The spiritual entrepreneur owns his own media company, has published more than 30 books and appears on two TV networks. It is thought that he’s worth around $18 million.
11. Rick Warren
Despite his $25 million fortune, Rick Warren claims he drives a 12-year old car, shops at Walmart and no longer preaches for money. The Californian pastor is the author of the incredibly successful book A Purpose Driven Life, and he is the founder of the global Saddleback church empire.
10. Billy Graham
Billy Graham is the most prolific and well-known preacher in the world, and he has a $25 million fortune to show for it. The Protestant pastor runs his own radio show, film company, magazine and newspaper column, while his outrageously popular sermons reach 215 million live listeners across more than 185 countries.
9. Kenneth Copeland
Kenneth Copeland is another televangelist whose personal wealth – currently estimated at $26.5 million – became the focus of a Senate investigation. Kenneth Copeland Ministries is an evangelical empire and its extravagant 1,500-acre headquarters in Texas include an airfield, a $17.5 million private jet and a $6 million waterfront villa.
8. Creflo Dollar
Creflo Dollar is one of several pastors who apparently need a private jet to preach; he recently tried to raise $65 million for a new church airplane via crowdfunding. However, the head of Georgia’s World Changes Church International is worth around $27 million and, unsurprisingly, he believes that it’s against God’s will to be poor.
7. Benny Hinn
Despite his $40 million fortune, in 2015 Israeli evangelist Benny Hinn still had to ask his followers to fund his international tour. Hinn runs the Worth Healing Center Church in Texas. His controversial crusades attract thousands of sick people internationally, and millions tune in for his TV shows.
6. Joel Osteen
With $40 million in the bank it’s no wonder Joel Osteen hasn’t had to take a church salary in a decade. Osteen took over his father’s Lakewood Church in 1999, and the incredibly popular ministry has since relocated to a 16,000-seat stadium; even the Clintons have graced its pews.
5. Christian Oyakhilome
Chris Oyakhilome has $50 million to his name and is even richer than his neighbor, Chris Okotie. Oyakhilome runs the Christ Embassy Headquarters in Nigeria’s Lagos, right next door to Okotie’s Household of God. The business-savvy pastor also owns a string of media outlets, hotels and property.
4. Enoch Adeboye
Pentecostal preacher Enoch Adeboye is worth $55 million and claims to have five million followers in Nigeria alone. The 72-year-old former math professor became a pastor in 1977 and now oversees 14,000 church branches in 110 countries as the head of The Redeemed Christian Church of God.
3. David Oyedepo
With a net worth of $150 million, David Oyedepo is Nigeria’s richest pastor. Oyedepo preaches to up to 50,000 people at a time from the world’s biggest amphitheater, Faith Tabernacle. The head of the Living Faith Church also has four private planes and even owns a school and a university.
2. Valdemiro Santiago
After being kicked out of Edir Macedo’s Universal Church, Brazilian pastor Valdemiro Santiago set up the World Church of the Power of God. It’s now a multi-national empire encompassing 4,000 churches. But while Macedo is worth a very comfortable $220 million, his old mentor is worth five times more…
1. Edir Macedo
Edir Macedo owes most of his $1.2 billion to a media company he bought with $45 million of church money. Brazil’s billionaire bishop claims his congregants are holy bound to offer a tenth of their salary in tithes, making his Universal Church of the Kingdom of God very wealthy indeed.