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September 22, 2006


Interesting list. You know, I was actually shocked with how low many of these figures are. Focus on the Family's low number particuarly surprised me. Compare thses "Christian" numbers with their secular counterpart, and I'm pretty sure most of them would be substantially lower.

I think that a far more interesting list would be a look at church pastor salaries. I know of quite a few pastors (non-mega church) that make more than $100K. This is often necessary for the pastor to live among his people (due to property values/cost of living in more affluent areas). The problem with some of these lists is that it's hard to see these kinds of factors.

I'd like to make a correction. I work for Prison Fellowship, and the information you have regarding Chuck Colson is incorrect. The salary listed would refer to our working CEO, Mark Earley. That is his salary, plus benefits, plus expense accounts. Chuck Colson's salary is 72,900. Also, it is worth noting that he donates all royalties from books, speaking fees, and even the 1 million dollars he received in 1993 for the prestigious Templeton Prize back to the ministry. The way this is reported varies from ministry to ministry, by the way. Some leaders may appear to have a lower salary and yet take in income from sources such as these, or may raise support in other ways. That's worth keeping in mind to know that it's not always an apples to apples comparison. The best source of information on this is the public 990 forms. Religious organizations are not required to file these, but some (like ours) do, as a means of full disclosure. You can find these listings on www.guidestar.org. It is also worth noting that the Forbes piece is a bit misleading as it lists highest salary and then "top person"; (I'm not sure how they determined who that is by the way). The top person may not received the highest salary. That may mean there are other mistakes among the list.

I can affirm Steve Douglass' salary--and he has to raise it himself as well!


Thanks for the correction. Interesting that Forbes, ostensibly a prestigous journalistic enterprise, would publish this without more fact checking. Makes you wonder about the rest of the data in their report.


Even more interesting...I just checked the 990 at Guidestar and it lists Colson as receiving 0 compensation in 2004, the most recent available 990.

Here's the info from the 990s for each of these orgs. This is salary only and I looked for the person who was named above. Remember, the Forbes list was a little deceptive in that it listed the top person and the top salary -- the "top" person may not be the one who is earning the highest salary. But here's the real list, using 2004 returns when possible for consistency (Since Catherine already gave Colson's, he's not included below):

Billy Graham: $209,000
John Galbraith: $165,000
Nolan Byer: $0
Pat Robertson: Not listed as a board member of CBN
Robert Hentzen: $78,630
Eugene Krizek: $108,500
Wesley Stafford: $181,119
James Gwinn: $123,059
Don Hodel: $0
Robin Mahfood: $300,197
Alexander Hill: $153,942
Franklin Graham: $255,636
Richard Stearns: $308,160
Robert Creson: $0
Denny Rydberg: $242,293

The others not listed did not have 990s available. As Catherine mentioned earlier, religious organizations may be exempt from filing, so that's why not all of them are available.

This is excellent work! Thank you!

Glenn, the info you're looking at on Guidestar is for Prison Fellowship International. Colson sits on their board without compensation. He is compensated for his position on the Prison Fellowship (USA) board. His salary from the PF-USA 990 for 2004 is $72,900.

So what's your point? By highlighting the ones under $100K what are you saying? I think most everyone in that list if probably a considerate, capable godly person whose salary is set by the boards of their organizations.

So...I had no idea my blog was going to be placed on here. Go to my website if you want to see the full post. My intention was not at all to throw stones, but to raise questions. I try to stay constructive (or at least humorous) in things that I post on my site. However, I will admit that I didn't fully dive into enough research, which should of been done. I just figured that Forbes was pretty reliable...my mistake. As I said, I wasn't trying to be controversial, just maybe raising some questions.

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