10 Pastors Who Are Absolutely Loaded
God's work can apparently bring in a lot of cash
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2012 6:06 AM CST
Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen, with his wife Victoria, talks at Dodger Stadium during his "A Night of Hope" event on Saturday April 24, 2010.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

(Newser) – You probably wouldn't think of "religious leader" as a job that would bring in big bucks, and for the most part, you'd be right: Catholic priests make just $25,000 to $30,000 per year, and the average Protestant pastor brings in $40,000. But get a big enough following, and you can certainly live the good life, as the Huffington Post points out in its list of the 10 best-paid pastors in America. Some of the highlights:

  • Kenneth Copeland: This televangelist's campus includes a private airstrip and hangar, both of which it needs because the ministry also owns a $17.5 million jet and unspecified "other aircraft." The most recent salary information, from 1995, puts his annual wages at $364,577 and his wife's at $292,593.

  • Creflo A. Dollar: Yes, that's his real name—and it fits. As pastor of one of the biggest churches in the US, he drives a Rolls-Royce, flies around in a private jet, and owns one $1 million Atlanta home and another $2.5 million New York City apartment.
  • Charles E. Blake: This bishop reportedly makes $900,000 a year and lives in 10,000 square feet of Beverly Hills luxury ... while most of his congregation lives in the poor area of South Central Los Angeles.
  • Joel Osteen: He no longer takes his $200,000 salary, but still earns tens of millions from his popular books. He and his wife live in a $10.5 million mansion that is a whopping 17,000 square feet.
  • Rick Warren: Like Osteen, he no longer accepts paychecks, but he's also made tens of millions off his books, including A Purpose Driven Life. But, the pastor says, he gives away 91% of his income.
Click for the full list, including one pastor—who was once accused of sexual abuse—who drives a $350,000 Bentley.