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
10 Pastors Who Are Absolutely Loaded
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)

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. (More pastor stories.)

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