by Warren Cole Smith, MinistryWatch
We are not calling this list The 50 Highest Paid Christian Ministry Executives because we know that many pastors and other church leaders who might make more are not on this list, because churches are not required to make their Form 990s available to the public.
Also, MinistryWatch has identified a growing trend among Christian ministries to identify as churches and thereby withhold their Form 990s. Among the fifty largest Christian ministries in the country who have made this election include: CRU/Campus Crusade for Christ, The Navigators, Gideons International, Willow Creek Association, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and Ethnos360/New Tribes Mission. In addition, many megachurches and their related radio and television ministries. These organizations and individuals include: Joel Osteen, David Jeremiah, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland.
A word about timing: This information comes from the most recent Form 990 available on Guidestar.org. For some ministries the most recent year available was 2016. For most years, the most recent year available was 2017. For a few ministries, the most recent year is 2018.
Finally, a few executives have asterisks by their name. That means they received compensation that year from two or more organizations. In the case of Franklin Graham, only his Samaritan’s Purse compensation is listed. He also serves as president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and (for the reason cited above) we were not able to determine what compensation he receives from BGEA. Carlos Campos received compensation from both Regent University, where he had previously served, as well as from Ashland University, where he now serves as president.
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