The following is originally published by Herescope and is republished here with permission:
The Cult of Evangelical Leadership, Part 2
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them;
Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle
and between the lean cattle.
Cash Cow: “A cash cow is a product or a business unit that generates unusually high profit margins…. A customer or organization that has no control over its spending.”
Fat Cat: “A rich, greedy person who, due to ownership of large amounts of capital, is able to ‘live easy’ off the work of others.”
The widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4). It is one of the most durable myths in Evangelicaldom. Leaders perpetuate the myth with their endless fundraising. “Your dollar will help my project to … fill in the blank.” These leaders say they are doing “the Lord’s work” and every mite you send to them will “bless you” in return.
But is Evangelicaldom fueled by widows’ mites alone? No! The whole Mega-Ministry Empire operates like a giant Cash Cow, and its Reigning Monarchs act like Fat Cats. Since most Fat Cats are treated like Sacred Cows, their people rarely question them about money matters. But where does all their money come from? Surely not just from tiny widows’ mites!
“Seed-faith” giving was re-branded as “Faith-Promise” giving in the 1970s by the new army of dark-suited Church Growth Consultant Fat Cats, who used persuasive and subtle techniques to finance the rise of denominational-less Community Centers – a new breed of Cash Cow Mega-Churches. Meanwhile, the Prosperity Teacher Fat Cats issued prophecies about a “great outpouring of wealth,” and promised if you followed their teachings you’d get rich. “I must be doing something wrong,” a friend complained. “I keep giving them money but I am not getting wealthy. What is wrong with me?” She didn’t ask what was wrong with the Fat Cat, nor question what might be wrong with his teaching.
The well-oiled Evangelical Cash Cow Machine operates on Fat Cat Big Money but it reaches into your pockets incessantly, too. Hang on to your wallets! Everything costs money! Cash Cows thrive on the money derived from conferences, book sales, DVDs, promos and special events.
The gospel isn’t free anymore. The Gospel of Salvation is still free – you can read it online here: http://www.blueletterbible.org. But the other gospels that Fat Cats manufacture? – these cost money. You have to buy their books, curricula, training, workshops or programs. You have to invest in their exclusive formulas and innovative strategies for church or personal growth. Presumably these investments will reap benefits for you. Benefits like status, significance, stardom, influence, self-esteem, profits and promotions. That’s the thinking.
Most Cash Cows cultivate their Image. Money talks, people listen. The Elites have it. Chances are, you don’t. It is only human nature (unredeemed) to want to associate with, emulate, imitate, and esteem those with lavish lifestyles and lucrative endeavors. But understand this – these Fat Cats want YOU to finance THEM! They are busy building an empire and it is your job to be the cannon fodder. Well, okay, maybe it is not that bad, but note that it is YOU who are expendable. YOUR money, your time, your talents…. all part of THEIR plan.
Question: Is your money going to the Lord Jesus Christ? Or to a Fat Cat who is building a Cash Cow Empire?
Empire Builders & Their Costly Gimmicks
The Modern Monks of Status and Significance flaunt the latest fashion, and do all their “emerging” through chic urban artistic and cultural pursuits – all of which comes at huge price. Can you afford it? Just try to emulate it! Richard Foster wrote The Freedom of Simplicity, but the actual cost in real-life to go plain and simple was sky-high. I know; I tried it. Leadership Mucky-Mucks travel the globe while espousing sustainable lifestyles, and sacrificial missional tithing. YOU are the one who must become sustainable and sacrificial, not the Fat Cats.
Eradicating poverty is a popular slogan for those who want to build the kingdom of God here on earth. This is a great agenda to support because it deflects attention away from the well-financed Cash Cow programs. Sadly, mission work has now become “transformational,” and it costs way more money to share the complex, culture-changing, new-fangled gospel programs than it used to cost sharing the plain Word of the Gospel. Concerning one such conference, Ed Silvoso promised:
These practitioners are men and women who are leading transformation churches, directing companies that are uprooting corruption and eradicating systemic poverty, and in so doing they are seeing the Kingdom of God bring down the Gates of Hades. They will be available to connect with you, sit down for a meal, answer questions, exchange insights, and by the end of the week when you go back home, nothing will be the same.
Yes, Silvoso’s right. Nothing will be the same, and next week your checkbook will be emptier. Are you having trouble coming up with enough grocery money to buy potatoes, sugar, flour and eggs? Never fear! Invest in the T.D. Jakes Cash Cow and:
- Learn to make money from what you were born to do
- Increase your cash-flow immediately
- Relieve all financially related concerns
- Develop 8 income streams to create generational wealth 
Another promo for the same T.D. Jakes conference advertises that if you want to be a “VIP” you can pay $100 EXTRA, in addition to the regular fee. Who wouldn’t want to be a VIP?! Here’s what you get for your initial investment with T.D. Jakes… MORE MONEY!!!….
Why CONQUER? With 23 million people looking for a job and many families and business in search of financial security, it’s time to end the economic drought. When you attend CONQUER on November 15 & 16, you will:
- Expand your ideas into new markets
- Develop 8 “REAL” income streams
- Meet the people that will mentor you to wholeness and success
- Learn how to make your 1st million dollars
- Turn your gift into a corporation
- Attend a special women-only “financial relief” session
- Develop Wealth from your natural gifts
- Attract leaders to serve your vision
- Monetize Facebook and Twitter to Market Your Dream Learn leadership skills that give you the edge
Do you fancy yourself an up-and-coming Leader? Were you raised in the self-esteem generation? Register for a hip leadership conference where “Everyone is a Winner” – after you cough up the $319 registration fee. The road to becoming a Fat Cat is paved with gold. Your gold.
Mega-Cat Rick Warren is being featured at the Orange County, California “OC Business Summit” on October 19th that will “highlight some of the world’s brightest minds in business development, entrepreneurship, and marketing.” Warren is also doing a course on “Contemporary Preaching” at the online Global Church Learning Center, a project of Billion Soul Network where Leonard Sweet is a major player. Here’s how you can get rich quick off a billion souls:
Last week, a key Billion Soul Network investor chose to give $155 toward each new membership for the next 50 Global Church Learning Center Memberships!We now only have 34 Memberships left! He has chosen to do this so that the price can remain at $195 instead of the regular price of $350 per year. That’s right! If you or someone on your team chooses to become a GCLC member right away he/she will receive a $155 discount for joining. All of these will be gone soon!A Special Billion Soul Investor Rate $195 For Annual Membership [bold in original]
The reader may wish to start calculating the added costs of travel, airfare, fancy hotels, workbooks and meals to attend all of these Cash Cow events. For example, you are cordially invited to have “Christmas Dinner with Chuck and Nancy [Missler] on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at their new home, The River Lodge, Reporoa, New Zealand. Only $55.00 per person. Limited to 50 people!” This type of exclusive offer obviously only applies to those who are already well on the road to Prosperity. Fat Cat Wannabes and their Big Donor cousins enjoy this type of special attention.
Tim Keller, intent on Transforming New York City and other cities, is sponsoring an October 2013 Mega-Event for his Mega-Plan. You can attend the “New York City Leadership Center’s Movement Day 2013 Summit,” and stay at the ritzy New York Marriott Marquis Hotel at 1535 Broadway. Only $149 per person to attend! Keller, an emerging Fat Cat, is launching a massive Cash Cow program – a “Leaders Changing Cities Through Gospel Movements” campaign for the purpose of “building the Kingdom together.” There is no reference to theGospel of Salvation. Rather, the conference registration promo states:
Our Mission is to Cultivate Gospel Movements in Cities by:
- Facilitating unity and collaboration amongst Christian leaders to address today’s urban issues.
Keller’s Grandiose Plan to impact “whole cities and cultures” will effectually create a whole new strata of elite, well-educated Salaried Evangelical Professionals – the list includes: “Ministry and Marketplace Leaders,” “urban church planters,” “Church Planting Network Leaders,” “Dynamic Leadership,” “Alliance Building” types, “Social Sector Leaders,” “Emerging Leaders,” “Marketplace Leaders,” “Non-profit Leaders,” “Church, Business and Government Leaders,” “Prayer Leaders,” “Collegiate Ministry Directors and Practitioners,” “Youth Ministry Leaders and Practitioners,” “Community Mobilizers,” “Marketplace Executives,” and, oh yeah, don’t forget… “Pastors.”
Everywhere you turn in Evangelicaldom you will find opportunities to UPGRADE your Status by giving more, which results in more Prestige. At Cindy Jacob’s USRPN.org you can become a “Premium Member” for $20/year and get a “Stand for Right” wristband with a USRPN pen and bookmark. For $40 you get all this, plus a “Stand for Right” coffee mug or T-shirt. And for $80/year you will receive a “specially designed USRPN Personal Prayer Journal.”
Continuous Quality Improvement for Cash Cows costs money. Want to expand your church, increase your profits, and turn it into rapid growth organization involved in Kingdom collaborations? Here’s what the Leadership Network, the Premier Organization that trained pastors how to become Fat Cats lording over Cash Cow Mega-Churches, advertises:
Accelerate your efforts to develop a “culture of generosity” in your church through a series of highly specialized, interactive gatherings, enhanced by relationships with fellow pace-setting churches. Outcomes include an increase in financial stewardship and generosity among church members, increased funding through donor support, and funding for mission initiatives.
Extravagant lifestyles are the norm in Cash Cow universe. For example, is this Elephant Room curator/pastor an emerging Fat Cat?:
- James MacDonald is rumored to have made “OVER $1 MILLION DOLLARS per year from various income streams connected with the church.”
Extravagant operations can be a financial windfall for any savvy Pastor. One Leadership Network Fat Cat explains:
The new official statistic is that there are more than 5,000 multisite churches in North America. That’s more than 5,000 different churches, each of which has two or more different geographic campuses – one church in two or more locations.
Indeed, Multi-Site churches are a huge source of Operating Cash. The off-site churches are usually required to tithe upline, giving a generous amount of additional operating capital to the Mother Church. These “multi-site” churches are built around the charismatic figurehead of the “visionary leader” – a “meticulously stage-managed image of a spiritual giant” who preaches via satellite in a “carefully scripted and controlled environment.” In other words, a Multi-Site church is the perfect Cash Cow situation for a pastor who wants to become a Fat Cat. But some question this sort of multi-site leader:
You don’t know if he’s a gambler, a prescription drug addict, or an abuser of children. You know nothing about the man save for the image that is meticulously crafted, cultivated and finally “beamed” to your campus for your spiritual consumption. Consequently, you don’t truly have a pastor. Instead, you have a pleasing “image,” an “image” that knows how to turn a witty phrase as he delivers a sermon he often didn’t even write by his own hand.
Cash Cows and Fat Cats finance the 7 Mountain Mandate to build the Kingdom of God on Earth. This comes in as many guises as there are many streams of Dominionism. Craig Hill, who runs the Family Mountain in cahoots with Os Hillman (who runs thehttp://www.reclaim7mountains.com website), has published a new book Five Wealth Secrets 96% of Us Don’t Know. The aptly named Hill says the problem is that “96% of us have never been taught to practice the Five Secrets that result in natural, supernatural, and generational wealth multiplication.” Mountain Building requires Monetary Multiplication.
In fact, some Fat Cats have very creative Cash Cow operations that collaborate with downline marketing and other money-making schemes. See Quantum Collaborator David Van Koevering’s websitehttp://www.davidvankoevering.com/groundingsystems.htm for an intriguing example. TheElijahList even advertised Hyssop Health Therapy in conjuction with Van Koevering’s teachings on Quantum Physics (8/07/12).
There’s even money to be made in hyping potential eschatologicaldisasters; returning Nephilim for example. Some of this works like an elaborate gambling operation, predicting dates and events. For example, you can attend the New Age conference “Maya 2012: Transform at the Source” (see www.maya2012tour.com) with L.A. Marzulli this December 13-22 to watch firsthand “the birth of the Great Cycle of transformation and renewal!”
The Other Money
Despite the public fund-raising hooplas, it is a myth that Brother Fat Cat’s Mega-Ministry depends on widows’ mites – small, humble contributions. In fact, it is much more sophisticated than this. Fat Cats get money from other Fat Cats. It is how the game is played.
Where does all the money come from to finance the Evangelicaldom Empire – the big media moguls, the large advocacy groups, the huge mission endeavors, the megalithic parachurch movements? The money most likely comes from a host of foundations, philanthropic entities, other non-profits, and complex financial organizations that offer sophisticated “giving” strategies. Some demand accountability and attainment of outcomes. Others target specific causes and agendas that may be political, cultural or… even spiritual. But this is just the tip of the iceberg….
Extravagant giving is the norm in the Fat Cat giving universe. For example:
- The Koch Brothers, “whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars,” funds the political Right in America, which is intertwined with the Evangelical Right.
- Chick-Fil-A, which came into controversy for funding anti-gay marriage activists as part of its multi-million dollar giving.
Just so you aren’t buffaloed, be aware that the Cash Cow entities that finance the Evangelical Universe aren’t always in the foreground. These creatures pasture in the back forty where they can flourish sight unseen. They often act in herds, making operations they support, and breaking those that they dislike. And many recipients cloak their financial Fat Cat sources. No wonder so many church groups now utilize elaborate screening devices to handpick elders for their board of directors! And this point doesn’t even begin to consider the interlocking boards of directorates of Evangelicaldom’s massive and diverse Parachurch Empire.
Money talks. These Mega-Cow foundations distribute Megabucks. Fromhttp://www.generouschurch.com/about you can read about certain Fat Cat Financiers such as:
National Christian Foundation National Christian Foundation
National Christian Foundation (NCF) is America’s largest donor-advised fund focused on the unique goals of Christian givers. As the 22nd largest charity in the country, NCF helps Christians give more by providing innovative charitable solutions and expertise. Through their home office in Atlanta, GA, and national network of Affiliates, NCF has granted more than $2 billion since 1982 to thousands of churches, ministries, and nonprofits. When it comes to maximizing charitable gifts for Kingdom impact, the nation’s most generous givers, professional advisors, private foundations, churches, and nonprofit leaders trust NCF …NationalChristian.com
The Maclellan Foundation, Inc.
The Maclellan Foundation, Inc. is the largest of the Maclellan Family Foundations, as well as the oldest. Incorporated in June of 1945 by Robert J. Maclellan, his son Robert L. Maclellan, and his sister Dora Maclellan Brown, the Maclellan Foundation, Inc. has served the evangelical and Chattanooga communities for over sixty years. With a heart to invest in evangelical faith-based solutions throughout the world and to encourage wise giving among Kingdom Investors, the Maclellan Foundation, Inc. partners with many ministries worldwide …Maclellan.net
Generous Giving is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to spread the biblical message of generosity and grow generous givers among those entrusted with much. The Maclellan Foundation, a recognized leader in Christian grant making for more than 50 years, launched Generous Giving in 2000. Privately funded, Generous Giving does not solicit donations, permit solicitation at its events, or award grants. But Generous Giving is more than an effective organization; it is the manifestation of the passion and compassion of many dedicated individuals who work together to create a safe, inspiring, and enlightening environment in which Christians can learn more about the joys of generosity, free from pressures about where to give or how much to give. Generous Giving works to affect transformation in the hearts and minds of God’s people with the goal of creating revolutionary generosity …GenerousGiving.org
Matthew 28 Foundation
The Matthew 28 Foundation helps Christian leaders develop generous people within their spheres of influence – in their churches, ministries, businesses, and families. Matthew 28 provides education and consultation services to support and further their mission … m28m.org 
This is the tip of a gigantic iceberg. This list could go on and on. Follow the money trail if you want to find out who actually controls the agendas of the organizations you see in Evangelicaldom.
As Pastor Larry DeBruyn once warned, there are dire spiritual consequences for those who get caught up in the lucrative world of Cash Cows and Fat Cats:
Prophets for profit are proliferating, and millions are buying into spiritualities that are cheating them out of their eternal life savings.
All this excessive financial activity is a sign of the times:“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
(Revelation 3: 17-18)
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_cat_(term) andhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Subsidised_Mineowner.jpg
5. Ed Silvoso, Email 8/31/12, “30 Days From Today Hawaii Becomes God’s Pulpit to the World!” advertising the ITN Conferencehttp://www.transformourworld.org/en/blogs/11295-meet-inspiring-practitioners-from-6-continents. See Pastor Gary Gilley’s review of David Platt’s book, Radical, for another example: http://www.svchapel.org/resources/book-reviews/4-christian-living/688-radical-taking-back-your-faith-from-the-american-dream-by-david-platt. See also the review at:http://www.opc.org/review.html?review_id=375
6. Email from Dr. Robert Watkins of Kings & Priests Unlimited, 8/20/12, advertisingwww.ConquerAtlanta.com scheduled for Nov. 15-16, where you can “join Robert Watkins, T.D. Jakes, Dale Bronner, Luther Ragsdale, Evelyn Watkins, Bruce Cook, Johnny Enlow and other seasoned business experts.” You can even earn 20% from referring others this event by going to this link and signing up.
7. Email from Dr. Robert Watkins of Kings & Priests Unlimited, 10/1/12/12, advertisingwww.ConquerAtlanta.com scheduled for Nov. 15-16.http://www.eventbrite.com/affiliatereg?eid=3864627204&affid=17911442
8. “Catalyst Conference/Atlanta/Oct. 3-5/Register Today” e-mail sent out by Todd Rhoades 8/21/12. Too late! You missed the opportunity to have rubbed shoulders with Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Craig Groeschel and other Sacred Cows!
9. http://ocsummits.com/business/. Check out the other speakers.
10. Email from James O. Davis, Second Billion, “Rick Warren’s Course On Contemporary Preaching Coming Online!” 10/10/12,http://www.globalchurchlearningcenter.com/membership
12. http://movementday.com/ To register see:https://www.arrowheadregistration.org/index.php?102&j=javaYes&x=ID()
13. http://movementday.com/ and start looking at all of the webpage information. These quotes came from: http://movementday.com/671785.ihtml. Note that “Halftime” is a project of Leadership Network.
See also: http://movementday.com/496194.ihtml,http://movementday.com/648802.ihtml, http://movementday.com/686610.ihtml,http://movementday.com/501045.ihtml, http://movementday.com/686501.ihtml,http://movementday.com/686555.ihtml, http://movementday.com/647805.ihtml,http://movementday.com/671787.ihtml. Also see: http://nycleadershipblog.com/ and note that Keller has launched a New City Catechism to go with this movementhttp://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-new-city-catechism-a-remarkable-coming-together .
14. Email from Mike Jacobs (Cindy’s husband), 10/2/12, from the United States Reformation Prayer Network at USRPN.org
15. Leadership Network e-mail, 9/6/12, “What’s Next from Leadership Network” advertising “Leadership Communities: The Goal: Twice the results in half the time.” To underscore the complicated financial arrangements of doing this, here is more how this was introduced: “Generous Churches (EUROPE) First Meeting: April 22, 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal Designed to address the increasing need to build a culture of generosity in churches throughout Europe, Leadership Network is partnering with Stewardship (UK), Crown Europe, Christians Against Poverty (CAP), and the Lausanne Committee, to facilitate the European Generous Churches Leadership Community.” See: http://leadnet.org/page/generous_churches1Note that your church must have “an average weekly attendance of at least 500 members” to qualify.
16. Ken Silva, “LATEST AS JAMES MACDONALD ADDRESSES DETRACTORS AT HARVEST BIBLE CHURCH , Oct. 14, 2012, http://apprising.org/2012/10/14/latest-as-james-macdonald-addresses-detractors-at-harvest-bible-church/
17. Warren Bird, “Multisite Churches Number More than 5,000,” Leadership Network, ADVANCE, Sept. 11, 2012.http://leadnet.org/blog/post/big_news_multisite_churches_now_number_more_than_5000
18. Quotes are from “Multi-Site Churches: Paving the Road to a “Cult of Personality,”http://bloodstainedink.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/multi-site-churches-paving-the-road-to-a-cult-of-personality/
19. http://www.tgifbookstore.com/5_Wealth_Secrets_p/bk-2029.htm?Click= See Os Hillman at http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/pages.asp?pageid=106114 andhttp://www.marketplaceleaders.org/ where he is touting Change Agent One-Day Seminars to help conquer the Business, Media & Arts & Entertainment Mountains. Also see:http://kcsot.org/time-to-register-for-classes_826
20. Jane Mayer, “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. http://m.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer
21. See articles such as, “Chick-Fil-A Re-Evaluated Funding for Anti-Gay Marriage Groups – ABC News,” http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=1727253022.
22. “False Profits & False Prophets: Financial greed: occasion for spiritual deception,” By Pastor Larry DeBruyn, 2/24/12, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2009/02/false-profits-false-prophets.html
Read Part 1: Sacred Cows & Stars.
Note that much of the subject matter in this post is covered in a multitude of previous Herescope posts spanning 2005 to the present — posts which have exhaustive documentation on these topics.
Written by Sarah Leslie of the Discernment Research Group.