Megachurch Methods: Preaching for Profit

Many people have commented on the memo from Sutton Turner recommending a $650k salary for Mark Driscoll in 2013. However, beyond the extravagance of the salary, something else caught my eye:
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In this memo, Sutton Turner pulled back the curtain to a聽megachurch universe few of us will ever know. In doing so, he disclosed something of the ministry practices of Board Members of the Association of Related Churches. Apparently being a lead pastor at a megachurch is a platform for celebrity status that leads to the preaching circuit where the real money is to be made. Turner said such jet setting was not beneficial to the local church and “drove up the total cost of the preaching role.” I have no doubt that he is correct.
On the other hand, Turner’s response isn’t much better. According to Turner, Driscoll wanted to teach more frequently: “nearly every weekend of the year!” Actually, that is better than what Turner says about the other pastors (you know who you are). However, should meeting basic expectations lead to such a huge level of compensation? My concerns in this post are less about one more reason why Mars Hill finds itself in a fix right now, and more about the corruption of evangelical megachurches. It is still, after all I have seen, beyond my comprehension that it is considered to be business as usual to use the church as a place of personal enrichment. These ministers are not just making a living, they are living the good life with little earthly accountability for how God’s money is spent.
Obviously, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is no help. In fact, their guidelines on executive salaries may be part of the problem. Church boards are supposed to use compensation studies of other similar churches to determine salaries. It appears that these churches are using each other as benchmarks. You raise yours and I can raise mine. In this way, salary inflation is far outpacing the income growth of the rank and file, leading to mid-year, end of the year, and all kinds of special offerings. Some of the donations go to the intended purpose, but much goes to propping up the infrastructure (e.g., Global Fund).
Something is very wrong when the benchmark is a pastor who preaches in his own church 15-30 Sundays, engages in a lucrative speaking tour, and forces the church to pay for someone else to do his job.