How Much Money Have Black Churches Collected From Members?

If there is ever an area which can demonstrate black people's prowess in business, it is in the house of God.

How Much Money Have Black Churches Collected From Members?
Black couple giving in church: Image/The New York Times

Why does the church want all of my money? They don’t, but God might, hence church giving is serious business. Scores of newsletters, workshops, and books are devoted to it, and consultants exist to advise institutions on how to maximise funds.

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There have always been incentives, for generations, to give generously to churches.

The reasons could be any of the following; the promise of 100-fold blessings returned to you when you give; thankfulness for a social and spiritual institution that meets many needs; the wonderful pastor instilling unflinching loyalty; the willingness to give because God has been good to them; the threat of hell-fire and damnation; and simple obedience to a section of the Bible which asks for tithes and offering where tithes is 10% of what one’s earnings.

Bear in mind, not everybody is paying into the church coffers. Its voluntary, and thus usually only those who can afford it, and want to pay actually make donations. Although there have been stories of bounced cheques written to churches, most of these donations come from the occasional person with good intentions, but a low bank balance.

In recent years, however, several mega-churches and their much-lauded “Prosperity Movement” have been targets of mounting criticism from inside and outside the Church. Specifically, some affluent ministries have drawn the attention and ire of some clergy and laypeople alike.

In 2009, a USA research institution LiveSteez showed that Black churches, in aggregate, have collected over $450 billion in tithes and donations since 1980.

Researcher Henry E. Felder’s study of Blacks’ donation habits demonstrated per capita spending of $508 per year in 2009 dollars.

Another source, Tyler Media Services, estimated that Black Church revenue approached $17 billion in 2006.

One church, the Reverend Dollar’s World Changers, reported $69 million in 2006 income, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mainstream politicians and community leaders are demanding a better accounting of the “return on investment” offered by churches to the communities that fund them.

According to Dr Love Henry Whelchel, professor of church history at The Interdenominational Theological Centre in Atlanta, US, church ministers have strayed from their frightful mission.

“The church has gotten caught up in materialism and greed, a lifestyle. Many ministers today want to live like celebrities and they want to be treated like celebrities. In other words, instead of the church standing with the community, the church has become self-serving. It has strayed away from its mission,” he said.

Other people have accused the mega-church clerics of outright larceny, and congregants generally approve of their pastors’ luxurious lifestyles.

Some pastors are in fact money hungry, they say.

However, it would be ludicrous to criticise them all and generalise them all as being money hungry. That is the devils plan to attack these men of clothes and get people to give up hope concerning their salvation.

That is why you see so many people lost because they don’t know what to believe and at the same time it is important that we know the word for ourselves so that we can understand when we are being bamboozled.

We should, nonetheless, forget that many of these men of clothes have viable businesses.

For instance, Bishop T.D Jakes has been putting books out since the early 90s and has directed movies, and Dr Dollar (the Dr means he is a PhD) was a Psychology Counsellor for years making $150 an hour, and he has books out, and he has a record label that is under universal music group, with Grammy nominee artist.

When these men put books out they get million dollar contracts.

For this reason, people should not call out all ministers of the word for larceny. Most of them, the likes of Uebert Angels, Prophet Bushiri are acute businessmen who own multi-million companies.

However, to those who have no accountable means of earning money and yet spent so much on private agendas, perhaps what is needed is an overview of what that money is spent on.


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