Megachurch Finances – How Much Money?

Usher: OK Deak, here’s the first in a series of megachurch economics (I know, I’m a day late).  We’ll touch on lots of things, but here’s a little food for thought for those who attend, give and endorse (and those who don’t) these types of institutions referred to as “megachurches“.

Facts from our last post on tithing:  5% of today’s churchgoers actually tithe, the average church is 50-301 people & the average salary for a pastor of a church of this size is $72K.  At a median income of 48K (US Census 2007), All a pastor has to do is grow the congregation to 300, have 5% faithful tithers (15 salaries) and he’s making 150% more than his faithful tithers!

Let’s move to Megachurches (churches with the top 10 numbers in attendance weekly in the US).  Here are the top 10

1. Lakewood Church, Houston Texas – Joel Osteen (47,000)
2. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill. – Bill Hybels (23,500)
3. Second Baptist Church, Houston – Ed Young Sr. (23,198)
4. Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif. – Rick Warren (22,000)
5. LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, Okla. – Craig Groeschel (19,907)
6. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky. – Dave Stone (18,013)
7. North Point Church, Alpharetta, Ga. – Andy Stanley (17,700)
8. Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (17.445)
9. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Bob Coy (17,000)
10. The Potter’s House, Dallas – T.D. Jakes (17,000)

Let’s just take weekly and yearly income and do the numbers based on the data we used in the last study:

Top 10 Megachurches and their weekly attendance figures Attendance 5% tithe  $   48,200.00 weekly net yearly net
1. Lakewood 
47000 2350  $   48,200.00  $    2,178,269.23  $ 113,270,000.00
2. Willow Creek  23500 1175  $   48,200.00  $    1,089,134.62  $    56,635,000.00
3. Second Baptist  23198 1160  $   48,200.00  $    1,075,138.08  $    55,907,180.00
4. Saddleback  22999 1150  $   48,200.00  $    1,065,915.19  $    55,427,590.00
5. LifeChurch.tv 19907 995  $   48,200.00  $         922,612.88  $    47,975,870.00
6. Southeast  18013 901  $   48,200.00  $         834,833.27  $    43,411,330.00
7. North Point 17700 885  $   48,200.00  $         820,326.92  $    42,657,000.00
8. Thomas Road  17445 872  $   48,200.00  $         808,508.65  $    42,042,450.00
9. Calvary Chapel  17000 850  $   48,200.00  $         787,884.62  $    40,970,000.00
10. Potter’s House

17000 850  $   48,200.00  $         787,884.62  $    40,970,000.00
 $ 10,370,508.08  $ 539,266,420.00

Usher: This does not include offerings, special offerings, building fund drives, missionary giving or special giving when it comes to programs or events. Numbers on these things are nearly impossible to obtain as there are no constant criteria with which to measure.  So Deak, could you manage a church on say, 787,884.62 per week?  Other questions:

1. If you had a congregation of this size, why would you not continue to ask for money any time it is needed?

2. If you didn’t have to publish your finances, why would you? (Mr. Grassley has the same question)

3. Even independent surveys are confidential and sold to those who want them with all of the names scrubbed.  If men of God aren’t doing anything wrong, then why won’t they come out with the real numbers? (another Senator Grassley question)

4. Just how much money should a great orator pastor put in his pocket as fruits of his labor? (Kenny, Creflo, Richard, Joyce and Benny all seem to think there’s no limit to that number.)

5. Here’s a megachurch that did post its numbers and the blogger gives them kudos for posting it but that’s about all: Neo-Baptist

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One Response to “Megachurch Finances – How Much Money?”

  1. Alan Paul Says:

    Not sure if this relates too closely to what you are discussing, but in response to a blogger taking issue with what people in ministry made – in particular, what some employees at the ministry I work for made, I wrote this:

    http://stumblingaboutfortruth.blogspot.com/2007/08/how-much-is-too-much.html

    Since I respect you two as fellow cynics and realists, I’d like to know what you think…

    -AP

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