If I were to ask you to tell me about the Goodness of Jesus Christ – how much would you charge me for your testimony? Well if you’re Bishop T.D. Jakes then you’re probably going to want $100k before you even clear your throat.
In the world of Preaching, very few Pew Bums are aware of something called an“Honorarium” but all of them have paid it in one form or another. If you have ever had a guest speaker at your church and on that particular day your pastor passed the collection plate 5 times, then chances are he was trying to recoup the speakers Honorarium out of your pockets.
Just about all of the traveling and revival Preachers require an Honorarium. An Honorarium is the fee your church will pay to have a Preacher come share the “Good News” about Jesus. In other words – it’s the Fee you pay to hear the Word of God – and some smaller ministries are nearly going bankrupt trying to pay for Big Name Preachers. Why?
The reason many smaller ministries are willing to drop six figures for a Top Tier Preacher is because the pastor of the little church is trying to become a Bigger Church. Bishop T. D. Jakes is the wet-dream of the majority of the Little Pastors – and all Little Pastors hate being considered a Little Pastor. So they dig deep to pay for someone the likes of Juanita Bynum, Paula White, or even worse T. D. Jakes, in hopes that the crowds will show up with them. The one question I would like to ask every small to medium size Pastor is this:
Why would you even consider paying a fellow Preacher of the Gospel $100,000.00 for a 50 minute sermon?
Such was the case with a really small ministry called Teen Mania Ministries. I was directed to this unbelievable story told by an assistant to a gentleman named Ron Luce, and it captured everything that could go wrong when Little Pastors try to fit in with Big Time Pastors.
The assistant director Jacob Morales gave a heartbreaking account of how much their struggling ministry invested in one event, just to have T.D. Jakes as the keynote speaker. Listed below is a behind the scenes view of the cost to hire Bishop T.D. Jakes, and all of the amenities stipulated in his Honorarium Contract. Please keep in mind that these numbers are from 2007, therefore who knows how much Jakes is charging to preach today. Just something to consider before you pick up the phone to call the Potter’s House in Dallas, and request their pastor to speak at your next revival.
A Tale From Honorarium Hell
“ Late 2007 I had been hired to be Ron Luce’s assistant, director of his Executive Office, and the 2008 New York BattleCry had been my baby. I was responsible for literally every minute of the event with regard to the VIP’s and had been given the directive to spare “no expense” to ensure that we handled our ultimate VIP with “world class” attention to detail. I was tasked with being the liaison for Bishop T.D. Jakes and to do absolutely anything (and everything) possible to ensure that he experienced world class VIP treatment.
The premier speaker for the New York City BattleCry had been decided in 2007 (possibly even before that time). This event was designed to be the biggest and most extravagant display that Teen Mania had ever performed, but in order to do that we needed the “big dogs” of the Christian world to attend to attract a large enough audience for the event. Early on Ron fixed his eyes on Bishop T.D. Jakes. I still remember when I received the “engagement dossier” from Mr. Jake’s offices in Dallas. I opened it and began muddling through the contract, green room requirements, hotel requirements, and ultimately the Honorarium.
While the ministry was cutting back on salaries, expenses, costs, and was sending thousands of letters of year explaining the need for more money, I was hiring Bishop Jakes to speak at the NYC BattleCry.
His Honorarium was $100,000.00. Teen Mania Ministries paid every penny of that cost from the Executive Departments budget. But it didn’t end there…
Bishop Jakes also required a round trip chartered private Learjet from Texas to New York City. This would end up costing Teen Mania approximately $22,000.00. Additionally Bishop Jakes would need to stay in the Presidential suite of the Manhattan Ritz Carlton at approximately $2,200.00 a night. This too was paid by Teen Mania Ministries.
At the instruction and approval of Mr. Luce we spared no expense and paid many thousands of dollars to have a local florist in New York City make rare and exotic imported flower bouquets for the Presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton. I know this because I delivered those flowers to the suite myself. We spent thousands of dollars buying rare chocolates, desserts, pastries and various imported gifts from around the world for the Bishop, his wife and his children. This included several hundred dollars of i-Tunes gift cards, i-Pods, and various expensive trinkets.
Mr. Luce had me draft a complete “minute by minute” of what Bishop Jakes would experience from the moment he stepped off his $22,000.00 private Learjet to the moment he entered the stadium for the NYC BattleCry. This included a green room that was fit for a monarch. We completely transformed the nicest available space in the arena into a virtual oasis of luxury for Bishop Jakes. We rented couches, furniture, lamps and brought the most luxurious items we could find in the city to his green room. The cost for this was astronomical.
When it was all said and done we had easily spent well over $125,000.00 (this is a very conservative number, it likely exceeded $140,000.00 plus. It also should be noted that Teen Mania also paid Kirk Franklin $25,000.00 to come and perform at the NYC BattleCry for his Honorarium.
A struggling ministry barely able to pay its staff, the bills, the ongoing operating costs of the campus, that was begging donors for money to stay afloat had literally blown over $125,000.00 on a man who spoke for about 50 minutes, and wasn’t even the best speaker of the event let alone that night. That is, in a nutshell, why Teen Mania has allowed the bank to foreclose. Reckless spending coupled with a leader who answers to no one is a recipe for disaster.”
For the T.D. Jakes Worshipers who can’t except that he would ask for $100k to preach about Jesus – here is a link to the investigation of Teen Mania Finances by World Magazine. T.D. Jakes wasn’t the biggest part of Ron Luce’s wasteful spending – we made the story go viral once we realized Ron paid Jakes $100k and then went into foreclosure right after. World Magazine Investigation