“Religious Leader” and “stinkin’ rich” don’t sound like they should go hand and hand, but oftentimes, the opposite is true. Admittedly, doing God’s work, as some of them put it, isn’t cheap, and you need to have a personal jet to spread the Good Word. Check out our list of some of the wealthiest religious leaders this world has ever seen. You’ll undoubtedly know who sits on the third spot.
1. Walter Mercado – $5 Million
The late Walter Mercado was a spiritual leader that would leave his audience hanging onto his every word. The Puerto Rico native took an unorthodox approach at religion, influencing his Latin viewers to accept nonconforming roles based on gender. The dancer-turned-singer-turned-astrologer-turned-spiritual leader passed away in late-2019 from kidney failure. Many of his extravagant capes have been auctioned off.
2. Eddie Long – $5 Million
The late Eddie Long was an incredible pastor for the megachurch in DeKalb Country, GA. His exuberant approach to spreading the word was what increased the church’s congregation to unforeseen numbers. He liked to teach that a faithful lifestyle would make a person prosperous in life, and he certainly could talk the talk. He traveled by private jet, had several luxury cars, and would return to a million-dollar mansion at the end of the day.
3. Paula White-Cain – $5 Million
Paula White-Cain was a nondenominational pastor for the megachurch in Apopka, Florda. She’s successful today, but she had to struggle through hardship and hardship to get there. Her father had passed away while she was still a child, and she had experienced all kinds of trouble from her peers. She turned to religion as a source of comfort, and the rest is history.
4. Juanita Bynum – $10 Million
Juanita Bynum is an incredibly talented religious leader. Most of her colleagues can write and preach, but she takes it to a different level with her amazing singing voice. She recently made headlines when she canceled a preaching gig after one of the pastor committee members barged into her hotel room. As a person of religion, the pastor could have at least knocked first.
5. Joseph Prince – $5 Million
The young Pastor Joseph Prince has spread the Bible’s message through best-selling titles, but he also broadcasts his sermons to millions of viewers across the globe. Joseph is a co-founded the New Creation Church where he was promoted to senior pastor. His active involvement in the church was what brought it national attention.
6. Reinhard Bonnke – $4 Million
Evangelical Reinhard Bonkke is recognized for his part in the Crusade event that drew in a crowd of over 6 million people across Africa. He claimed to have received a call to preach in Africa during his earlier years, but his travels brought him to Wales and Germany as well. He was a prominent preacher in Africa until he passed in 2019.
7. T.D. Jakes – $18 Million
Accomplished author T.D. Jakes leads the Potter’s House Church in Dallas, TX. He makes sure that all 30,000 members of his congregation are fully aware of this writing achievements by purchasing his books. He often takes a few moments to promote his daughter’s book while delivering his sermons. He helped found the megachurch in 1996 and has expanded it into the $45 million piece of real estate it is today.
8. Kirk Cameron – $20 Million
Most people only recognize Kirk Cameron from the sitcom Growing Pains. He claims to have been an atheist while growing up but became a born-again Christian at 17 during the peak of his acting career. Because of religion, he asked the Growing Pains writers to remove inappropriate scenes and to try and incorporate religion onto the show.
9. Clifton Davis – $3 Million
Clifton Davis is credited for writing ghostwriting for the Jackson 5 back in 1971. He was a prominent figure in the world of music, often taking part in musicals on the Broadway stage and even co-hosting an awards show for gospel music for a four-year period. His musical history is what helped him gain a foothold in the religion scene, drawing in crowds with his charisma and natural showmanship.
10. Rick Warren – $25 Million
Pastor Rick was one of the key figures behind the founding of Pastors.com and the Saddleback Church. Saddleback was founded in Lake Forest and received up to 30,000 attendees regularly every week spread across 19 locations, four of which are international sites. He uses Church.com as a means to promote not only the Good Word but also to train aspiring bishops on how to do their job.
11. Louis Farrakhan – $3 Million
Lous Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, has been in charge since 1977. His take on religion is very anti-inclusive as he is often pointing the finger of blame at other religions and races. He was initially a musician, taking part in the symphonies of Boston and performing as a dancer and cabaret singer. After listening to a sermon from the ex-NOI leader, Elijah Muhammad, he immediately found religion to be his purpose in life.
12. Jack Van Impe – $2.5 Million
Jack Van Impe, the well-known televangelist, offers the complete archives of his TV programs on the Impe Ministries International website. He and his wife cover religious topics and modern events on their newsroom set. Their controversial anti-Islamic stance is one of their main selling points, and it got so bad that the network TBN banned one of their shows about “Chrislam” from airing.
13. Benny Hinn – $25 Million
Televangelist Benny Hinn has written plenty of books, hosted numerous TV programs, and even has an app to help his followers with religion through technology. The Israel-born bishop moved to Canada in the late-1960s and committed full-time to religion in 1972. It was then that he received the call to minister the Gospel according to his bio. He claims to have received a vision of people falling into an inferno and that his life’s calling is to stop it from happening.
14. N.T. Wright – $4 million
Bishop Wright is considered to be one of the gentlest theologian scholars. He started as a junior research fellow at Merton College in Oxford and worked his way up to a teaching position at the University of Oxford. A year later, he was appointed as dean of Lichfield Cathedral before becoming the canon theologian at Westminster Abbey. He’s published numerous top-selling books in religion to Christian followers across the country.
15. Joel Osteen – $100 Million
Osteen gave up the more-than-livable salary at Lakewood Church and instead rakes in royalties from his best-selling books. The televangelist is worth roughly $100 million, and his wife, Victoria, also a televangelist, is doing pretty well for herself. Some people question whether a pastor should be earning piles of money since religious figures should take on a minimalist lifestyle. Joel received further criticism when he denied shelter to hurricane victims in 2017.