Should Pastors Live in Extravagant Homes?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by gb93433, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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  2. annsni

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    He is spending his own money that he has earned from book sales and his salary. Honestly, if he wants to spend his money that way, fine.

    However, I do think that he is now setting himself up way above his congregation. Now they look at him as a different level and while that usually happens with a pastor anyway, now he's just confirming it. I want our congregation to see that we're not better than anyone else and honestly, many in our congregation have nicer houses than us - and some have worse houses than us. But it doesn't matter. I don't want to look "better" or "bigger" or "richer" than them. I worry that something like Furtick's house will do just that in his congregation.

    I don't see why ANYONE needs a house that big. My house is under 3,000 square feet and I'd like to someday do some nice renovations on it that will probably increase the square footage a bit but still - that house is HUGE!!!!!!! What is he going to do with it? If he's making a bunch of rooms so he can house those in his congregation who are in need then awesome. Otherwise, I can't see justifying a place that big for anyone in any way.
     
  3. preacher4truth

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    Here's my take on this.

    While in school and pastoring, we had rented a house. No one had a problem with it, and it was actually bigger, newer, and valued higher than the house we bought after living there.

    After college we bought a house, and our payment for this house was somewhat less than the rental property. Guess what? People now began to complain about us 'buying' a house that was older and in worse shape than the other, and not as valuable even if remodeled. People can be petty like this.

    I've also seen believers complain about the things others have &c. Although there can be legitimate rebuke for this in some cases we should also be aware that those who do not have much can be as much or more covetous than those who do have things. Having things doesn't equal covetousness or sin.

    We now live in a 4500 square foot house. My wife drives a Tahoe, I drive a duramax diesel Silverado crewcab. The cost of living here is lower than where I am from. We find gratefulness in what we have, but we know joy and happiness do not come from these things, they come from our relationships and our salvation.
     
    #3 preacher4truth, Oct 29, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2013
  4. Crabtownboy

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    I am not a pastor. Saying that, I would not criticize my pastor for living in a large house. Good grief, why would I be so little a person to worry about that?
     
  5. gb93433

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    Because I buy homes and fix them up to sell I see who buys the homes. The last one I sold was bought by a couple who recently graduated from college and wanted to buy something smaller so they could pay off their loans quickly. I have seen others who buy a bigger home with the idea in mind of only buying one home and getting all they can afford at the time.

    Recently I spoke with a young couple about how to get where they wanted. They felt trapped in their home and saw no way out. They were upside down on their house. In about one year they were able to save enough money to get from under their home and put a down payment on another home. Because homes had gone down they were able to buy a much larger home for a mortgage payment of $25/ month more.

    Much of my career has been spent working on homes for the wealthy. It is interesting to see how the they make decisions. Not all are greedy and not all are wise. Some live on little and give most away while some live on a lot and are stingy. I have known some who did very well in business only to see it vanish due to a poor decision that might not have happened if they had less money. I know a man who went from being wealthy and hoping to double his money on his last investment and went broke. Today he rents has almost nothing. The good thing is that God got his attention.

    I have tried to live in such a way that if something happened I would be able to sell everything and all the bills would be paid so I would not owe anyone anything. That limits what I will do to ensure that my testimony is good. No amount of money will help me in eternity but I sure can cause people to focus on it if I do not pay what I owe. While there are no guarantees there is wisdom we should heed.
     
  6. InTheLight

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    Not quite. The church and his books are intertwined. He promotes his book from the pulpit. The church buys 1,000's of his books at a discount, the church promotes his book. There was a promotional tie-in whereby if you bought a copy of the book, the church would give you a free kids backpack (with church name and logo printed on it.) The church provides free advertising for the book in their publications.

    Anybody that looks you in the eye and says, "you want to know something crazy? Some people think I'm building some great house or something--it's not that great", when talking about a $1.7M property on 9 acres shouldn't be trusted.
     
  7. annsni

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    Any new 16,000 square foot house is not going to be "not that great" unless he's building a 15,000 foot warehouse attached to a 2 bedroom trailer.
     
  8. JonC

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    Should Christians live in extravagant homes?
     
  9. gb93433

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    I like people who have lots of money. They keep me busy. If we only bought what we needed most of America would be out of work. Most of what is produced is not necessary.

    We could ask someone who is poor in Zimbabwe to examine our lifestyle. We could ask a multi-millionaire to examine our lifestyle. We could get someone who is declared poor in America to examine our lifestyle. If we did that we would get three very different opinions about how we live.

    The real questions is what does God want.

    If I know that over time I will have a million dollars available to me to invest or spend however I want what will I do. I know a man who sought to buy homes over the years. His goal was to buy 12 in his lifetime. Many years ago he bought 12 over a period of about 20 years. He never paid more than $10,000 for any or them. The last time I spoke with him about his homes he was renting them for about $30,000 per month. For a long time he completely supported missionaries in the field with the rent money.

    Another man I knew made about the same amount of money and gave most of it away. His attitude was that he could not take it with him.

    Both of those men lived in the same city in about the same size home.

    My opinion would be to buy what you need and invest the rest. Seek to give rather than keep but be wise.

    The way the wealthy operate is seldom the way most do.

    I remember a multi-millionaire who lived with his family in a tent for 11 years. That man could buy most anything he wanted later in life.
     
  10. InTheLight

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    You seem to be saying that we should examine the house he's living in now before we can determine whether or not a 16,000 sq. ft. house is "all that great?" Is that correct?

    I don't have a problem with a pastor having a large house--and 16,000 square feet is a large house--but for him to flippantly say "it's not that great" is either arrogant, stupid, insensitive, or all a combination of all three.

    Wonder what kind of house the King Carpenter is building him in Heaven?
     
  11. annsni

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    I think you misunderstood me - and I may have typed it wrong. What I mean is that a brand new 16,000 house is going to be gorgeous - not "not all that great". "Not all that great" is what Furtick said. :)
     
  12. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    I can see both sides of this argument. Pastors of large “Mega” churches are also leaders, managers, and essentially CEO’s of multi-million dollar non-profit corporations. Shouldn’t they be compensated on a similar scale to corporate managers who are doing the same thing? Well my short answer would be NO, they are still pastors and there should be a difference, if there is no difference you should look for a new pastor.

    To effectively minister to a congregation I believe that a pastor should be in the same social and economic class as his congregation. Now those of you who know me know I am bivocational and my calling has always been to working class, blue collar, rural churches. If I was called to minister to millionaires perhaps I would be one, but I don’t see that happening. (not trying to limit God hereJ)

    Look at the congregation. What is the average family income? That should be close to what the pastor is paid.

    Some may argue that the pastor needs a large house to entertain and “minister” to the church. Sorry I don’t buy that for a second. That is what you have a church building for. I see no need for the pastor to have church members coming to his home, his home should be a sanctuary for his family and life away from his job. That is the reason for getting a private home instead of a parsonage that belongs to the church.

    When I see a pastor with a 1.7 million dollar home I can’t help but think of other places where that money could have been used. For the record, I would think the same thing if the church had a 1.7 million dollar addition or 1.7 million dollars in a bank account. God does not give us riches to spend on our own lusts, he gives us tools we can use to minister to others.
     
  13. go2church

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    What would Jesus do?

    Matthew 8:20 (NIV)
    Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

    Not saying pastors should be homeless, but this stands in stark contrast to the bishop of Germany that relieved of duties when the extravagant home he was "remodeling" became more then local knowledge. They had taken to calling him the Bishop of Bling.

    This runs deeper as there seems to no accountability at the church
     
  14. SolaSaint

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    I think we (Americans) all have been sold a lie in believing we must have the biggest and best houses. I have seen some palaces that preachers live in and I'm ashamed. I even feel guilty at the house I now live in, although it isn't that great. I think Satan loves that we are so materialistic and especially us Christians.

    I'm sure many in here are like me and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit when confronted by the needy. How can I go home and eat a meal fit for a king and walk right past a beggar. How then can a genuine pastor preach from his pulpit each Sunday to faces in his congregation knowing he lives in a 1.7 Million dollar house? I couldn't.
     
  15. Alcott

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    There's a relation between your size and your worries, is there? How little do you have to be to worry about Republicans,?
     
  16. go2church

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  17. JonC

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    :thumbs::thumbs:

    This isn't a "pastor" thing but a Christian thing. It is a question of stewardship and applies not only to the pastor but the members. How can we live for Christ if our focus is on ourselves? Poor stewardship with all that we have been provided is an area where I often fail.
     
  18. SaggyWoman

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    At this point, I agree with annsni on this one.
     
  19. annsni

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    I absolutely agree. Now, where we live, a million dollar house is not uncommon around here (median home prices are almost $600,000 right now, I believe) and if you live near the water, you can have a dump that runs over a million easily. But the key is what is the make-up of the congregation. If I lived in rural Alabama and lived in a 1.7 million dollar house, I'd be WAY above most of the people their in terms of housing. But then move into New York City and a 1.7 million dollar house is nothing. Like I believe a pastor should make about the average for his congregation, I think his home should reflect about the same. A little better - sure. Go for it. A 16,000 square foot mansion? Ummm - kinda overkill. :)
     
  20. go2church

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    No doubt context is key, I think our folks in Japan could testify to that. In reading the article, there seems to be other underlying issues with accountability at the congregation. Not really my business, if folks want to go to a church where one or very few people call all the shots, that's up to them. It just seems there is a real lost opportunity to squash the whole "churches just want your money" criticism.

    It may not be a fair criticism for all, but we sure aren't helping ourselves any with things like this.
     

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