The jury is out there on whether pastors and ministers of faith should be able to accumulate so much wealth. While some may say they are after all in charge of an organization that is sometimes larger than your average commercial enterprise, others point to the fact that the very notion of being a wealthy pastor or minister runs against the very idea of spreading God’s words.
Chris Okotie, Nigeria
Net Worth: $10 million
Chris Okotie is a Nigerian televangelist and the pastor of the Household of God Church International Ministries, a Pentecostal congregation in Lagos since February 1987. He started the congregation in the living room of his home in Nigeria which now boasts thousands of members.
Okotie is also an author, a businessman and a politician, and has run for the office of the President of Nigeria three times on the platform of the Fresh Democratic Party which he founded.
Okotie is known to love cars. He reportedly acquired a 2014 Bespoke Edition of the Rolls Royce Coupe, worth about $650,000 to mark 30 years of being a Christian and 27 years as a pastor.
Chris Okotie has been married twice. He separated from his first and married his second wife in 2008 despite his congregation and family being against it, the Daily Times Nigeria reported. He split with his second wife in 2012, citing “irreconcilable differences”.
As of 2021, he is reported to have a net worth of about $10 million.
David Oyedepo, Nigeria
Net Worth: $150 million
David O. Oyedepo is a Nigerian preacher, Christian author, businessman, architect and the founder and presiding Bishop of the megachurch Faith Tabernacle in Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria, and Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners’ Chapel International.
The Winners’ Chapel International network of churches is located in over 300 cities, in all states of Nigeria, and in several cities in 45 African nations, Dubai, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Oyedepo is one of the original pastor of the Christian charismatic movement in Africa and is reportedly one of the most powerful. He is the Chancellor of Covenant University and Landmark University in Nigeria and is reportedly one of the richest pastor in Nigeria and perhaps, the world.
He reportedly received a mandate from God in 1981 to “liberate the world from all oppressions of the devil through preaching the word of faith”, he founded the Living Faith Church Worldwide, which is also known as Winners Chapel.
Oyedepo apparently owns two private jets and a convoy of luxury cars. He is also said to own bakeries and petrol stations in Nigeria.
He has helped improve the standard of education in Africa through his philanthropic work and he also owns a publishing house, the Dominion Publishing House.
As of 2021, he is said to have a net worth of about $150 million.
Joseph Prince, Singapore
Net Worth: $5 million
Joseph Prince is the evangelist and senior pastor of New Creation Church based in Singapore. He was one of the church’s founders in 1983.
Born the son of a Sikh priest of Indian origin and an ethnic Chinese mother, Prince spent his early years in a school in Malaysia. He finished secondary and high school in Singapore.
He adopted the name Joseph Prince while employed as an IT consultant. He was appointed senior pastor in 1990.
In 2008, it was reported that Prince received a monthly stipend of some $50,000, putting his monthly income on par with some of the island state’s CEOs.
Prince has preached at churches in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and the United States.
New Creation church is extremely popular with young worshippers, and is seen by many of his congregation as a place of not simply worship but a fun and energetic social place with live music and avenues to build confidence.
Although disputed by his church, as of 2021, Prince’s net worth is estimated to be about $5 million.
Chris Oyakhilome, Nigeria
Net Worth: $126 million
Chris Oyakhilome is said to have more than 40,000 members in his ministry. He started Believers Loveworld Ministries as a university student and now his members of 40,000 span across five continents.
The pastor has a healing school and is a television host and author. According to his church’s website, he pioneered the first 24-hour Christian Network from Africa to the rest of the world in 2003. He now owns three television channels. He also has his own social media site, called Yookos.
According to website Buzz Nigeria, he bought an entire airline in 2006 and called it Skypower.
Oyakhilome’s Inner City Mission Project works to help orphaned children in inner cities in several countries. The organization is under the auspices of the Chris Oyahkilome Foundation, which aims to help the poor and those in the inner cities.
The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation is one of the major sponsors of the inner city orphanage homes in Africa managed by pushaboo, an organization spearheading the care of mothers and babies around the world.
As of 2021, he is thought to have a net worth of some $126 million.
Benny Hinn, US
Net Worth: $70 million
Benny Hinn recalled receiving a vision in 1974 in which he saw people “falling into a roaring inferno” and he heard that if he did not preach the Gospel, every “soul who falls will be your responsibility”. He gave his first sermon just after he turned 22, and has been an evangelist ever since.
He is constantly in conferences, television broadcasts, and healing services, tending to his worldwide congregation. He is best known for his regular “Miracle Crusades”—revival meeting or faith healing summits that are usually held in stadiums in major cities, which are later broadcast worldwide on his television program, This Is Your Day.
According to the pastor’s official website, he is also involved in humanitarian work in the form of My Father’s House – a chain of children’s’ homes in Mexico and Asia where “abandoned, needy and less fortunate children” live and receive education.
He is also the founder of a pediatric ward in India, as well as other feeding and crisis relief programmes.
As of 2021, he is estimated to have a net worth of $70 million.
Billy Graham, USA
Net Worth: $25 million
Billy Graham was one of the first evangelists who became internationally known in the late 1940s.
He was in fact one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th Century. He served as spiritual advisers to many US presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
His sermons were broadcast on radio stations and TV channels around the country. In 1950, he founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis. He preached racial integration and invited Martin Luther King Jr. to preach together with him in a revival in 1957.
At the time of his death in February 2018 at age 99, Graham was estimated to have preached to more than 2.2 billion people.
As of 2021, at the time of his death, he was estimated to have a net worth of $25 million.
Joel Osteen, USA
Net Worth: $100 million
Joel Osteen is senior pastor at Lakewood Church, the largest Protestant church in America. As of 2018, Osteen’s televised sermons were seen by approximately 10 million viewers in the US and several million more in over 100 countries weekly.
Osteen inherited the Lakewood church and its televised ministry from his late father, John Osteen. Lakewood is one of the biggest churches in the US and has a weekly attendance of over 50,000 followers. The Lakewood church underwent renovation in2003 which reportedly cost about $105 million.
As of 2021, Osteen is reported to have a net worth of about $100 million, given that he receives royalties, contributions and other income of about $50 million a year.
Pat Robertson, USA
Net Worth: $100 million
Televangelist Pat Robertson is not only a televangelist, he is also a media mogul – he owns the Christian Broadcasting Network under which his daily show, The 700 Club airs featuring news, live guests, and music centered around the Christian lifestyle. He is a southern Baptist who preaches charismatic theology.
In addition to his TV network, Robertson, 90, is a former Marine who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president in 1988. He also founded Christian Coalition, a Christian Right organization that raises money for conservative political candidates. He is also founder, CEO, and chancellor of Regent University.
As of 2021, Robertson’s net worth is reportedly $100 million.
Kenneth Copeland, USA
Net Worth: $800 million
Kenneth Copeland is an American televangelist and author of the charismatic movement. He helms the Kenneth Copeland Ministries based in Tarrant County, Texas.
He is a proponent of prosperity gospel which calls for donations to his church, suggesting that his congregation would receive multiple times in return for their donations.
He has stirred controversy over his use of donations and tax exempt status to finance mansions, private jets, an airport and other lavish purchases.
Copeland stirred controversy during the COVID-19 pandemic by claiming that he would be able to cure his followers of the virus and that followers should continue to pay tithes to his church even if they had lost their jobs.
As of 2021, Kenneth Copeland is estimated to have a net worth of $800 million.
Joyce Meyer, USA
Net Worth: $10 million
Joyce Meyer started to teach bible classes after suffering a childhood of sexual abuse. Her teachings were eventually were broadcast on the radio. In 1985, Meyer started her own ministry, called Life in the Word, and a weekly TV show was also broadcast, called, Enjoying Everyday Life in 1995.
Her show continues to this day and now at age 77, Meyer takes her private jet to speaking engagements and together with her husband, they reported own several homes worth about a few millions each. While initially investigated to determine whether the Joyce Meyer Ministries complied with its tax exempt status in 2006 and also whether Meyer had profited personally from donations made, it was finally absolved of any wrong doing in 2007 by the Internal Revenue Service.
Joyce Meyer Ministries is followed by about 500 thousand subscribers on YouTube, though her audience is estimated to be in the millions.
As of 2021, Joyce Meyer is reportedly worth about $10 million.