The idea of a pastor or leader of a religion also being a multi-millionaire tends to offend people from all types of backgrounds. Unfortunately, it’s also a common situation, especially with pastors who regularly appear on TV or cable. Ever since the days of Jim and Tammy Baker in the 1980s, pastors have been consistently eyed with a skeptical eye, particularly when they show up for church at a TV studio and in a Rolls Royce. That said, the trend still seems to be alive and well, with new pastors replacing the old ones. Here are 13 of the richest pastors, alive and well and functioning in regular society without any limitation on their practices. And, unlike Jim Baker, these pastors aren’t spending any time in jail.
13. Chris Okotie.
Worth $3 million, you would be forgiven for thinking this guy looks like a 1980s sidekick of the Jackson 5. That’s because Okotie was a former entertainer and musician, feeling right at home in the fancy Vegas outfits. However, most Americans are not familiar with Okotie because he operates in Nigeria. While he may be rich there, he still needs to make sure Boko Harem terrorists don’t get their hands on him.
12. Joseph Prince.
Who says rich pastors are limited to just the Bible Belt? Singapore has its own rich guy pastor who looks an awful lot like Donnie Osmond when he was younger and still signing on stage. Prince is worth an estimated $5 million and with a huge following.
11. Al Sharpton.
If you see him recently, Sharpton will be most noticeable by the fact he’s lost a considerable amount of weight. However, none of it came out of his bank account. Also worth an estimate $5 million, Sharpton and his civil rights work makes a regular income as a commentator on national news channels as well on the radio, all in addition to his regular preaching job.
10. Jesse Jackson
His son may be spending some time in federal prison for fouling up a political career, but Mr. Jackson Sr. has stayed on the straight and narrow as both a speaker, commentator, organizer and consultant. That has allowed the civil rights preacher to pack away a whopping $10 million in ready savings among other assets.
9. Temitope Balogun Joshua
T.B., as the locals know him, probably has no connection whatsoever to all the famous Nigerian email scams that have transferred millions of duped dollars to Nigerian hands. However, he probably has raked in a number of charitable connections from those dollars. Worth somewhere between $10 to $15 million, the Nigerian preacher also has a big reputation for handing out a lot of his funds to charity work as well.
8. Cindy Trimm
Who says rich pastors only have to be men? Tammy Faye Baker may have been an embarrassment to religious women everywhere, but Cindy Trimm is probably their redeemer. Worth an estimated $15 million, Trimm has built an evangelical business with her preaching, empowerment books, faith writings, and marketing.
7. T.D. Jakes
A well-known name in Texas and Oklahoma, Jakes has a preaching empire worth over $18 million. His events are so popular, an annual festival his organization puts on regularly draws over 100,000 attendees to hear Jakes preach.
6. Rick Warren
According to his own statements, Warren gives away as much as 90 percent of what he earns as a preacher and evangelist, only retaining a tenth for his own means and living. That’s a pretty good haul, however, given that the man is worth $25 million. If the math is correct, Warren is then bringing in well over a couple hundred million of dollars in donations.
5. Billy Graham
A stalwart of the envangelical circle and famous early on for packing stadiums with his events, Graham has always lived a modest life in appearance. However, the man is estimated to also be worth at least $25 million. Now in his mid 90s, Graham should like have an estate plan to figure out where his assets are going to go, because that size of wealth is going to cause a few squabbles among relatives.
4. Creflo Dollar
If your last name is a currency, you have to wonder why people would give you money as a pastor, but in Creflo Dollar’s case they give a lot. Ringing in at more than $27 million in personal worth, Dollar makes a point to justify his living with maxims about God supporting people who prosper.
3. Chris Oyakhilome
Nigeria gets to claim one of its own in the top 3 richest pastors in the world. Chris Oyakhilome runs a church organization that could be classified as a multi-national corporation with addresses in the U.S., the U.K., and South Africa. Ironically, he has no major operation in Nigeria. But he does have a lot of businesses and real estate all over the world.
2. Joel Osteen
The list would not be complete without Joel Osteen whose assets hit over $40 million. However, despite 15 books, a fast-growing congregation, and a TV show, Osteen came in second in the richest pastor ranking.
1. Benny Hinn
Who is Benny Hinn? Aside from being the richest pastor in the world at $42 million, he has a massive TV following that focuses on supposed miracle works and healing on stage. Unfortunately, like his industry predecessors, Hinn is started to come under scrutiny for his preaching and affecting sick people, which may start to cost him his first place ranking soon.