Thinking Out Loud

January 1, 2013

2013: A Whole New Year of Church Statistics

If you show up for clergy hour at the local fitness club, you often see pastors in the locker room comparing size. Church budget. Membership. Number of baptisms. That sort of thing. (What did you think I meant?)

The term for this is “church metrics.” It’s a term that shouldn’t exist, but it does. And you don’t want to hear the, “God’s okay with numbers, He’s got a whole book of them” line.

I guess you just did.

But these days, in a mega church world, the metrics are different. Number of weekend services. Number of satellite campuses. (Or is the plural campi?) Rank in Outreach magazine’s list of top churches, churches to watch, most influential churches. Number of books published. Highest position on the New York Times list for your last book. (Even if it’s the New York Times list of books that didn’t make the real New York Times bestseller list.)

Well forget all that.

I’ve got a new church metric… thing that separates the pastor men from the pastor boys.  You’re not really playing the ministry game until you’ve got data to add to this chart.

How many jet airplanes do you own?

Jets for Pastors

Hey, all the cool pastors in Nigeria are doing it. Well, one for sure. Christianity Today reports:

Allegations of extravagant living among Nigeria’s Pentecostal preachers have deepened following the gift of a private jet to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

The multi-million dollar jet—a 10-seater with a range of 3,900 nautical miles—was presented to Ayo Oritsejafor by members of his congregation, Word of Life Bible Church in the oil-rich Delta state city of Warri. The gift celebrated the pastor’s birthday and his 40th anniversary in ministry.

Oritsejafor, who also serves as president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, joins a growing list of preachers with private jets in the West African nation, which is Africa’s largest oil producer.

David Oyedepo, the founder of Living Faith Ministries (popularly known as Winners’ Chapel) in Lagos, Nigeria’s major port and most-populous city, owns three Gulfstreams (plus a Learjet) worth almost US$100 million. (By contrast, Oritsejafor’s Bombardier Challenger jet is worth less than US$5 million.) Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, also owns a private jet. So does the flamboyant founder of Christ Embassy Church, Chris Oyakhilome.

Apart from preachers, only top business tycoons and a few governors and politicians own private jets in a nation where more than 70 percent live on less than US$1 per day.

Nigeria’s wealthy have spent US$6.5 billion on private jets in the last five years, making it Africa’s biggest market for private planes. The number of privately-owned aircraft rose by 650 percent between 2007 and 2012, up from 20 to 150 planes at an average cost of US$50 million.

continue reading here

Okay, more than one pastor. And one guy owns four of them… C’mon pastor; you know you want one. And you’ve got a lot of work to do to catch up to the guy who has four. Size matters.

To expedite your order as quickly as possible, the image here conveniently links to the website for Gulfstream – The World’s Most Advanced Business Jet. Or if you prefer a different route, this link.

UPDATE:  Much more on this in the comments today!  Be sure to click through to read more.


  1. One of my new years resolutions is to try to provide more bicycles to street evangelists in India so they can go to more remote regions. They cost $110 each. If I cut corners and avoid shopping when I don;t really need anything, I will likely ne able to send 4 or 5 in 2013. But what could the purchase money of one of these jets do for the kingdom call?

    Comment by Cynthia Clarke — January 1, 2013 @ 8:02 am

  2. The area of Nigeria is less than 1 million square kilometers. That’s roughly half the size of Alaska. Where are they going? It has to be to destinations outside of Nigeria.

    70% of people live on <$1 per day, clergy are riding multi-million dollar jets? Sounds very Roman Catholic circa the Middle Ages.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — January 1, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    • Also sounds very Joyce Meyer, but three years ago I wrote on that subject;

      But the private jet always comes up in conversation. You gotta be careful here, however, since the counter argument is always to look at the places she travels in a year and then compare the cost (and time) involved in commercial flights. I’m willing to let her have the thing.

      But as you say, Nigeria isn’t a huge land mass. It’s just something that has gotten into megachurch pastor culture there, and now everybody has to have one.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 1, 2013 @ 9:56 am

  3. How Forbes Magazine sees it:

    It’s not cheap to own a private jet. On average, it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain a personal plane. The majority of Nigerians frown at such flagrant displays of opulence, particularly on the path of their clergymen, given that 60% of Nigerians still live below the poverty line.

    Paradoxically, the same people who complain about the extravagant lifestyles of their spiritual leaders are the same ones who finance it. Every Sunday, swarms of worshipers rush to the church to give away their hard-earned money to the pastors’ coffers in the form of tithes, offerings and special gifts with the deluded hope of multiplied financial blessings in return. For many, this is but a pipe dream. Deep down, the pastors smile; they’ve got just the perfect suckers.

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 1, 2013 @ 9:59 am

  4. The actual planes (not all are jets):

    Agape Church: Cessna 500 (N700VC)
    Creflo Dollar/World Changers Church: Learjet 25B (N65A)
    Dave Roever/Roever Evangelistic Assocation: Learjet 25D (N43DR)
    Eagle Mountain Int’l Church (Kenneth Copeland): Cessna 500 N501KG; Cessna 550 (N888H)S; Cessna 750 (N1962J)
    Fred Price/Crenshaw Christian Center: Grumman G-1159 (N132FP)
    From the Heart Church Ministries: Gulfstream G-1159A (N357PR)
    Greg Powe Ministries: Rockwell NA-265-60 (N141SL)
    Jerry Savelle Ministries: Cessna 500 (N715JS)
    Jesse Duplantis Ministries: Dassault Falcon 50 (N770JD)
    John Hagee Ministries: Cessna 650 (N800GM)
    Joyce Meyer Ministries: Canadair CL-600 (N7JM)
    Kenneth Hagin Jr./Rhema Bible Church: Canadair CL-600-2B16 (N91KH)
    Leroy Thompson Sr./Word of Life Christian Center: Cessna 650 (N818DE)
    Mark Cowart/Church for All Nations: Learjet 24D (N929MC)
    Michael Freeman/Spirit of Faith Christian Center: Grumman G-1159 (N685SF)
    Moore Life Ministries: Cessna 421C (N74KP); Cessna 560 (N61KM)
    Nahum Rosario/Maranatha World Revival: Cessna 550 (N741T)
    Paula White/Without Walls Int’l Church: Grumman G-1159 (N374PS)
    Tony Brazelton/Victory Christian Ministries: Rockwell NA-265-60 (N1GM)
    Word of Faith Christian Center: Learjet 24D (N711PC); Hawker HS-125-700A (N225BJ)
    Word of God Fellowship: Cessna 550 (N717DT)

    The Cost to fuel the Plane averages anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000 depending on the destination and the airport by which the pilot fuels the plane.

    ( last updated, October, 2011)

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 1, 2013 @ 10:04 am

  5. Bring it watchman :) Much appreciate… Love this post Darrell

    Comment by darrellcreswell — January 1, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

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