Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Pastor's Mansion and Damaged Credibility

I read a news article about a pastor who is building a house valued at $1.6 million.
The articles covering the story go to great lengths to figure out where the money came from.
The pastor wrote a couple of books that sold a lot and he might charge a lot to speak at other conferences - so he has an income stream separate from his ministries as pastor of the church.
In this way, a spokesperson from the church insisted that the church did not pay for the house.

I don't really care what size or cost a pastor's house is - its really an individual thing how people manage their money - the only clear command is to tithe and be aware that our money is a gift from God and we are called to steward it well.

But, this story raises an interesting point -  the secular news media covering this story for some reason think it is problematic and perhaps even wrong for this pastor to be building such a large house.

Now - where do they get this idea from?
Why would they equate ostentatious displays of wealth as being incompatible with someone involved in Christian ministry?
The recent tv series "Preachers of L.A" raises this same question as several of the pastors live very wealthy lifestyles.
Its fascinating to me that there persists a type of disconnect between wealth and Christian ministry.

It seems that most people continue to equate serving in the ministry with the lifestyle of simplicity that Jesus himself adopted.
Christianity is supposed to incorporate within its incarnation in the world selfless sacrifice to serve the needs of others.
And when this somehow is seen in violent contradiction in how Christians live and spend their money, it seems the world sits up and notices.

So, it might not be "wrong" for a pastor or Christian leader to live in an expensive house or drive an expensive car - but it can harm our perception and witness in the community.
Sadly, this pastor's house is gaining more media coverage than the large amounts of ministry being done under his church and the large amounts of money the church itself has given away to other organizations.

I hope the media coverage dies down, or perhaps is refocused on some of the positive things the church is doing and has done in the community.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is interesting that those in various types of media tend to imply that they may know more about Christianity than actual Christians.