Richest pastors in the world 2023 (their churches and net worth)
Explore the lives and fortunes of the richest pastors in the world, with a spotlight on the wealthiest in Nigeria and US, in this revealing exposé.
Within the sphere of religious leadership and spiritual guidance, there exists a unique subset of individuals who have amassed more wealth than many could ever fathom. Referred to as the "richest pastors," their financial success has become a subject of fascination and debate in both religious circles and the public eye.
Among these affluent spiritual leaders, some have been labelled as having "more money than God," a testament to their immense wealth and prosperity.
In the vibrant tapestry of the global religious landscape, one country that consistently stands out for its wealth of spiritual leaders is Nigeria. This West African nation has been home to numerous influential pastors, many of whom have risen to incredible prominence within and beyond the Nigerian border.
Among them, there is one figure who stands out as both the "richest pastor in Africa" and the "richest pastor in Nigeria."
In the following article, we will embark on a journey to explore the lives and fortunes of these remarkable individuals. From the opulent lifestyles they lead to the sources of their incredible wealth, we will delve into the stories of these pastors who have transcended the traditional boundaries of religious leadership to become financial titans in their own right.
As we examine each pastor's profile, we will strive to provide a comprehensive and unbiased overview of their achievements, controversies, and contributions to the world of faith and prosperity. So, join us as we uncover the intriguing narratives of the richest pastors in the world, with a special focus on the wealthiest among them in Nigeria.
Joseph Prince is a prominent pastor from Singapore who has made significant contributions to the Christian ministry and stands as the 20th richest pastor in the world. He serves as the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, which is recognized as one of the largest churches in Asia.
In addition to his pastoral role, Joseph Prince is known for hosting a television show called "Destined to Reign," which reaches viewers in 150 countries, spreading his teachings and messages to a global audience.
Being one of the richest pastors in the world, Prince's influence extends to the world of literature, as he has authored two bestsellers. His books have garnered acclaim, with one of them being considered one of Christian Retailing's "100 Best Books."
Thomas Dexter "T.D." Jakes is a prominent American bishop, filmmaker, and author known for his significant contributions to the field of Christian ministry. The 19th richest pastor in the world, he is the bishop/chief pastor of The Potter's House, a nondenominational megachurch in Dallas, Texas, boasting a congregation of over 30,000 members.
Jakes' journey in ministry began in 1981 when he became the pastor of the Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith before later joining Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies, where his congregation gradually grew.
In 1995, before moving to Potter's House in 1996, he established a publishing company to release his books.
T.D. Jakes' influence extends beyond the pulpit as he is a prolific writer, preacher, and film producer whose work has earned him recognition in various fields. Jakes' impact in ministry is reflected in the construction of The Potter's House, which has been estimated at $45 million.
In addition to his pastoral and literary endeavours, T.D. Jakes is known for his lavish lifestyle. He resides in a $1.7 million mansion situated on 8 hectares of land and owns a garage for seven cars, which houses vehicles like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible, and a 1960 Trans-Am, among others.
Jakes' recognition extends to mainstream media, as he was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, earning him the title of the best preacher in America.
His multifaceted career and charismatic presence have contributed to his reported net worth of $20 million, cementing his status as a prominent figure in the world of Christian ministry and one of the world's richest pastors.
Rick Warren is a notable American pastor and author renowned for his contributions to Christian ministry. The 18th richest pastor in the world, his journey into pastoring began at the young age of 19 before he later, along with his wife, co-founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, which has grown to become the eighth largest church in the United States.
In addition to his pastoral role, Rick Warren is a prolific author, with notable books such as "The Purpose Driven Church" and "The Purpose Driven Life" to his name. His book "The Purpose Driven Life" gained global recognition, becoming one of the most widely translated books in the world after the Bible.
Rick Warren is known for his commitment to charitable work and global harmony. He has devised a "PEACE Plan" consisting of five points: planting churches, equipping servant leaders, helping the poor, caring for the sick, and educating.
What sets him apart from some other megapastors is his relatively modest lifestyle. Despite being one of the richest pastors in the world, Rick Warren is not known for owning private jets or yachts, and he is said to live on only 10 percent of his ministry's earnings.
The rest of his income is dedicated to charitable causes, including helping the poor and sick, as well as saving for the future.
Warren's approach to ministry and his commitment to giving back to the community have made him a respected figure within the Christian community with his story serving as an example of how faith and purpose can be intertwined with philanthropy and charity.
Known as a teacher, preacher, and the founder of the non-denominational church called World Changers Church International, Creflo Dollar, a prominent figure in the realm of Christian ministry, is the 17th richest pastor in the world.
In addition to his preaching and pastoral work, Creflo Dollar is also involved in publishing. He is an editor responsible for several publications, including a quarterly magazine called "Change," a bimonthly resource newsletter known as "The Max," and a series of books.
However, Creflo Dollar has faced criticism and controversy due to his association with prosperity theology, which emphasises the idea of financial prosperity as a sign of God's blessing.
Being one of the world's richest pastors, Creflo Dollar's extravagant lifestyle, which includes owning a $2.5 million home in Manhattan, a private jet, two Rolls-Royces, and a million-dollar home in Atlanta, has also garnered attention and scrutiny.
The discussion surrounding Creflo Dollar's wealth and lifestyle raises questions about the relationship between faith, prosperity theology, and the use of church funds for personal luxuries.
Ray McCauley is a notable South African author and religious leader who has made significant contributions to the Christian ministry. Currently serving as the Senior Pastor at Rhema Bible Church and holding the position of President of the International Federation of Christian Churches (IFCC), Ray McCauley is the 16th richest pastor in the world.
McCauley's journey in ministry began humbly when he opened a branch of Rhema Bible Church in his parents' home, with only 13 people attending his services.
Over time, his ministry experienced substantial growth, prompting him to change the location multiple times to accommodate the increasing number of attendees.
The continued growth and large congregation at Rhema Bible Church have remained his primary source of income with McCauley's leadership role within the church and the IFCC has allowing him to have a significant influence in the South African Christian community and beyond.
Ray McCauley's dedication to his faith and ministry has played a pivotal role in his life and career, contributing to his reported net worth of $29 million.
Enoch Adeboye is a well-known Nigerian pastor and the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Before his ascent to the list of the world's richest pastors, Enoch Adeboye's journey in the church began as an interpreter until being ordained.
Under his leadership, the RCCG has experienced significant growth and has established numerous branches both in Nigeria and around the world which has contributed significantly to the church's financial success.
Using the profits generated through the church and its affiliated activities, Enoch Adeboye has ventured into various endeavors, including the establishment of Dove TV, a gospel television station. He has also played a role in founding Redeemer's University.
Being one of the richest pastors in the world, Adeboye's personal wealth is notable, and he is known to own a bulletproof Rolls-Royce Phantom, a $65 million G550 luxury jet, a Land Rover Discovery, and a Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen.
Benny Hinn is an Israeli televangelist, public speaker, and preacher known for his prominent role in the world of Christian ministry. Having gained significant fame in the late 1980s through his "Miracle Crusades" faith and revival summits, which were broadcast globally, Benny Hinn is the 14th richest pastor in the world.
His Christian television program, "This is Your Day," further propelled him to international recognition in the 1990s.
Born on December 3, 1952, in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel, Benny Hinn in 1983, founded the Orlando Christian Center, and in 1999, relocated to Grapevine, Texas.
Hinn is not only known for his ministry but also for his contributions to Christian music having authored 250 praise songs and released 14 albums.
However, Benny Hinn's career has not been without controversy. He has faced scrutiny and criticism for the financial aspects of his ministry, particularly the costs associated with his "healing and deliverance" events.
These controversies have contributed to his reputation as one of the "preachers of prosperity" who profit from their ministry. In April 2021, Hinn's church was taken to court for unpaid bills totaling $3.1 million.
Benny Hinn's personal fortune is estimated at $40 million, and his church reportedly earns around $100 million annually.
His wealth and the financial aspects of his ministry have been points of discussion and debate, both within the religious community and in the public eye.
Founder of Jesse Duplantis Ministries, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, Jesse Duplantis is a charismatic preacher renowned as the 13th richest pastor in the world.
He began his journey as a minister in the Covenant Church, delivering his first sermon in 1976 after being introduced to TBN by John Hagee. By 1978, he had become a full-time evangelist.
Jesse Duplantis is known for his popular sermons, which often incorporate a sense of humour, resonating with audiences worldwide. However, he has also been the subject of controversy.
In 2018, he made headlines when he asked his followers to donate money to purchase a private jet worth $54 million, claiming it would be used for spreading the gospel globally. This request raised eyebrows, as it came to light that he already owned three planes at the time.
In addition to his ministry, Jesse Duplantis and his wife, Cathy Duplantis, founded Covenant Church in 1997, serving as a local extension of Jesse Duplantis Ministries on the international headquarters property in Destrehan, Louisiana.
A Nigerian preacher with a unique life journey, Paul Adefarasin is the 12th richest pastor in the world. He was born into a wealthy family in Nigeria, but initially struggled with drug addiction, which he fueled using his family's resources.
However, in 1994, he experienced a transformation and gave up his drug addiction, following which he pursued theological education, earning a diploma in Christian Ministry.
Equipped with his theological knowledge and newfound faith, Paul Adefarasin established his ministry called The House on the Rock which has grown significantly and now boasts more than 77 parishes across Africa and Europe.
Adefarasin's story of personal redemption and dedication to his faith has resonated with many, contributing to the growth of his ministry.
In addition to his pastoral work, Paul Adefarasin is an author and a television show host, with his TV program, "Something's About to Happen," allowing him to reach a broader audience with his teachings and messages.
Ángel Uebert is a British-Zimbabwean charismatic evangelical preacher known for his role as the founder of the Spirit Embassy in the United Kingdom. His unique background includes a history of wealth and business ventures before entering pastoral ministry which have contributed to his standing as the 11th richest pastor in the world.
Prior to his religious career, Uebert was already financially successful due to various business activities.
Notably, he founded Club Millionaire Limited, a company providing concierge services in Britain, and was involved in the real estate business. His financial success in these ventures provided the foundation for his future endeavours.
Uebert Angel's commitment to philanthropy is evident through his establishment of the Uebert Angel Foundation, which offers scholarships to underprivileged students.
He has also initiated the Free Earth Humanitarian Organisation, which aims to assist disadvantaged individuals in meeting their basic needs.
Joel Osteen is a well-known American televangelist, author, and pastor, recognized for his prominent role in the world of Christian ministry. Leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, one of the largest megachurches in the United States, Joel Osteen is the 10th richest pastor in the world.
His televised sermons have garnered a significant following, with approximately 10 million Americans tuning in to watch them. His reach extends far beyond the United States, with his sermons being popular in over 100 countries.
Joel Osteen's journey into pastoral leadership began when he was ordained as a minister at Lakewood Church in 1992.
Upon his father's passing in 1999, he took on the role of pastor and televangelist, despite having limited formal religious training.
Under his leadership, Lakewood Church's broadcasts have expanded exponentially, reaching viewers worldwide.
Apart from his work in ministry, Joel Osteen is also an accomplished author. He released his best-seller "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living to Your Full Potential" in 2004, marking the start of his successful writing career.
Additionally, he hosts a radio show, further extending his influence and teachings to a broader audience.
Joel Osteen's financial success is evident in his lifestyle, which includes owning houses valued at $10.5 million and a collection of cars, including a Ferrari valued at $325,000.
His televised sermons continue to attract millions of viewers weekly, and he remains a prominent figure in the world of televangelism and Christian ministry.
Pat Robertson was indeed a significant figure in American media and televangelism before his passing at the age of 93 in June 2023. Due to the novel recency of this death, he still stands as one of the richest pastors in the world.
Pat Robertson served as a media mogul, televangelist, and had a diverse career that left a lasting impact. Before delving into theological work, he spent two years in the Marine Corps.
He then pursued theological education at New York Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 1959 and was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister two years later.
One of his most notable contributions was the establishment of the country's first Christian television station, "The 700 Club," in 1960. This program's earnings played a significant role in amassing his wealth, enabling him to acquire numerous automobiles.
In addition to his work in media and televangelism, Pat Robertson ventured into politics, running as a Republican presidential candidate at the age of 90, following a long-standing family tradition. His impact in this realm was also notable.
Moreover, he founded Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 1978, and in 1987, he created the Christian Coalition of America, which supported Christian political candidates financially and in the public arena. These organizations remain integral parts of Christian televangelism and political involvement to this day.
Pat Robertson's multifaceted career and his role in shaping Christian media and politics in the United States made him a legendary figure in American religious and political history.
8.Romildo Ribeiro Soares
Romildo Ribeiro Soares is a multifaceted Brazilian televangelist, missionary, businessman, singer, composer, and author renowned as the 8th richest pastor in the world. His journey as a televangelist began in the 1960s, inspired by reading a book by TL Osborn.
In the 1980s, he founded the Grace of God International Church, which has expanded its presence with branches in various countries, including Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Portugal.
In addition to his religious work, Romildo Ribeiro Soares is involved in the music industry through his ownership of Graça Artes Gráficas y Editora Ltda, a gospel record label which allows him to earn income from gospel music production and distribution.
Moreover, he has authored 10 books in Portuguese, some of which have been translated into English, further diversifying his sources of income.
Soares' career as a televangelist, combined with his involvement in the music and publishing industries, has contributed to his reported net worth of $125 million and status as one of the world's richest pastors.
His ability to connect with audiences through multiple mediums has allowed him to reach a broader audience and build a successful religious and entrepreneurial profile.
Chris Oyakhilome is a Nigerian televangelist and faith healer known for his prominent role in the Christian ministry. Founder of Believer's Love World, a ministry that broadcasts his sermons and teachings to a global audience, Chris Oyakhilome is the 7th richest pastor in the world.
This ministry encompasses various arms, including Rhapsody of Realities, Healing School, the NGO Innercity Missions, and three Christian television channels: LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT, and LoveWorld Plus.
Oyakhilome's wealth is primarily attributed to his ministry's success, which has amassed a significant following and generated substantial resources.
In addition to his work in ministry, Chris Oyakhilome is also a prolific author with one of his well-known publications being the daily devotional Bible called "Rhapsody of Realities," which has been translated into every known language.
It is a requirement for members of his ministry to have a copy of this book, ensuring a steady income stream from its sales.
David Oyedepo is a prominent Nigerian preacher, businessman, author, and the founder of Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel. Before embarking on his religious journey, he briefly worked with the Federal Ministry of Housing in Nigeria.
David Oyedepo has earned a reputation as one of the wealthiest pastors in the world having founded Living Faith Church in 1981, claiming divine ordination through an 18-hour vision.
Within five years, he was ordained as the bishop of the church before the ministry grew significantly to boast a current membership of more than 150,000 members. The church has expanded internationally, with affiliated branches known as Winners Chapel International.
Oyedepo's wealth is closely tied to the profits generated by his church which has enabled him to acquire private jets and homes in locations such as London and the United States. Additionally, he owns Dominion Publishing House, a publishing company responsible for releasing his books, and Covenant University, one of Nigeria's leading tertiary institutions.
David Oyedepo's leadership has been influential in the Christian community, and he is known for presiding over Faith Tabernacle, a 50,000-seat church auditorium reported as the largest in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.
David Oyedepo's significant wealth and material possessions have garnered attention and discussion, with Forbes magazine even naming him the richest pastor in Nigeria in 2011.
Shepherd Bushiri, the 5th richest pastor globally, is a multifaceted Malawian figure with a significant presence in South Africa. He's an author, prophet, motivational speaker, businessman, and founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering, a church with branches across multiple countries, including Ghana, Malawi, South Sudan, and more.
Beyond his religious endeavours, Bushiri's investments, managed through Shepherd Bushiri Investments, span various sectors like real estate, oil, transportation, and mining.
However, the company has faced legal challenges, including fraud and money laundering allegations, particularly after a ponzi scheme collapse led to pensioners being defrauded. Additionally, it faced litigation in the United States.
The company's diverse portfolio includes over 27 mines, involvement in forex trading, real estate, an airline, television channels, telecommunications, farms, and educational institutions.
Shepherd Bushiri's rapid ascent to wealth is attributed to his innovative business strategies and commitment to supporting his community and global gospel work.
However, it's important to note that Bushiri is a controversial figure. He gained notoriety after releasing a video in which he appeared to walk in the air with his former public relations manager, later disclosing that Bushiri staged miracles to attract media attention.
Despite these controversies, his church continues to draw tens of thousands of people daily helping him maintain his standing as one of Africa's richest pastors.
Kenneth Copeland is a prominent American televangelist, author, public speaker, and musician known for his association with the charismatic movement and his alignment with the prosperity gospel.
Before his conversion to Christianity in 1962 and rise to become the 4th richest pastor in the world, Kenneth Copeland had a career as a recording artist, even achieving a Top 40 hit with his single titled "Pledge of Love." His wealth primarily comes from donations received through his church and ministry.
Kenneth Copeland has faced scrutiny and controversy due to his lavish lifestyle, which includes the ownership of multiple private jets, such as the Gulfstream V, purchased for $20 million from actor and comedian Tyler Perry, and a $6.3 million lakefront mansion. He justifies these assets as a channel to "talk with God."
Critics and observers have speculated that his net worth could be as high as $1 billion due to the substantial donations his ministry receives.
Valdemiro Santiago, a Brazilian preacher known for his leadership of the World Church of the Power of God, is the third richest pastor in the world.
His journey in the religious world began when he worked as a preacher in the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. However, he allegedly experienced disagreements with the church's management, which led to his expulsion.
In response to these differences, Valdemiro Santiago founded the World Church of the Power of God, a denomination he has since expanded. Over the years, he has established several other churches, contributing to the growth of his religious empire.
One noteworthy point in his career is his purchase of a $45 million jet in 2012, which was made possible by his earnings from the church. This purchase, like those of other wealthy pastors, has sparked discussions and debates about the use of church funds for personal luxuries within the religious community and the broader public.
Founder of Alleluia Ministries International, based in South Africa, Alph Lukau is the richest pastor in Africa. His ministry was established in 2002 and has since attracted a substantial following, with thousands of members worldwide.
Lukau's influence extends to various countries, where he has opened branches, including South Africa, Angola, Congo, Zambia, Namibia, DR Congo, among others.
Being the 2nd richest pastor in the world, one notable aspect of Pastor Alph Lukau's public image is his extravagant lifestyle, which includes owning a private jet, motorcycles, a Range Rover, a Rolls-Royce, and a Bentley. These possessions have brought him into the media spotlight from time to time, often attracting attention and commentary.
Edir Macedo is a prominent Brazilian religious leader and media figure who holds the title of the richest pastor in the world with a net worth of approximately $1.2 billion.
His wealth primarily stems from his role as the president and owner of Rede Record, which is the second largest television network in Brazil.
Macedo's journey in the religious landscape began in 1977 when he founded the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Rio de Janeiro, the same denomination that produced Valdemiro Santiago, the world's 3rd richest pastor. Over the years, this church has grown significantly and become one of the largest in Brazil.
His acquisition of Rede Record in 1990 played a pivotal role in his accumulation of wealth with its success as a television network being a key driver of his fortune.
Additionally, he expanded his media influence by establishing another television network in Atlanta, named W67CI.
It's worth noting that Edir Macedo is a unique figure in the religious world, being the only pastor officially recognized as a billionaire. This status reflects both his religious leadership and his successful ventures in the media industry, making him a prominent and influential figure in Brazil and beyond.