Ever been ripped off by a pastor? It's embarrassing.
In San Francisco many years ago, my wife and I were relieved of our wedding rings at a Pentecostal meeting. The mega-church preacher had flown in "unexpectantly" from Argentina to host this spontaneous meeting for us pastors and leaders. I don't remember if I handed over my ring before or after he put his hand on my head and knocked me backwards since it was all a little cloudy that night, and still is, actually, but I do remember wondering how the pastor was going to get all that jewelry through customs. And what he would do with the money once all that gold was melted down.
"A church isn't a family business you know; it is a family, but it's not a business." Mark Vrankovich, How Pastors Get Rich.
I may have been ripped off but at least I was done over by a PRO. Lets face it . . . the guy was GOOD. The $10 wedding ring I have now is silver and, due to some knuckle swelling, has permanently mounted itself to my finger so I can safely enter a prosperity church and return without having to explain a ringless finger to my wife. If I wanted to, that is.
There is a great article at cult watch called "How Pastors Get Rich" in which Mark Vrankovich outlines some nasty practices you should watch out for. Its a little scary, and if you see some uncomfortable parallels with your own church then it might be time for a second opinion from someone outside the church.
Top 15 Ways Pastors Get Rich.
1. The Multilevel Marketing Pattern
4. Hyped Conferences
5. The Christian Speaking Circuit
6. Pastor Owned Businesses that Feed Off the Flock
7. The Honor the Pastor Scam
8. High Pressure Offerings
9. Cathedral Building Wars
10. Siphoning Cash into Property
11. Excessive Wages
14. Their Fabricated Tithing Doctrine
15. The Carrot and the Stick
Related on TSK: Ka-ching in the Ka-church