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Former SBC President Johnny Hunt Goes From Rags to Riches, Owns 3 Homes

By Sarah Einselen
johnny hunt homes
A ministry watchdog group has revealed that former SBC president Johnny Hunt and his wife own three homes, including a beach house in the Florida panhandle. (Photos via Redfin/FB)

Former Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president Johnny Hunt, who’s accused of sexual assault, frequently talks about his humble beginnings.

“I was in poverty, raised on welfare and government projects . . . I don’t ever want to forget where God brought me from,” he mentioned in a sermon this past Sunday.

He owned just one suit when he accepted his first pastorate, he added.

Now Hunt leads a far different lifestyle, records show. Research by Barry Bowen of the Trinity Foundation has revealed that Hunt and his wife own three homes, including a beach house in the Florida panhandle.

Trinity Foundation exists to “expose religious fraud and excess” in order to keep organizations accountable for donor funds. Bowen, a staff investigator with the foundation, told The Roys Report (TRR) that “really expensive homes can show that there are possible examples of excessive compensation.”

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Johnny Hunt Conference
Disgraced former SBC leader and pastor, Johnny Hunt. (Video screengrab)

Bowen said he discovered Hunt is one of more than 20 pastors who own a home within a mile of a beach.

Bowen added he is still working through a list of 300 pastors and televangelists to document their property holdings, so the number of pastors with beach houses could rise.

Property records show the Hunts purchased both the beach house and their primary residence in Georgia within the last five years.

The 4,400-square-foot home the Hunts have declared their homestead sits on about three acres in the woods outside Woodstock. It last sold in 2018 for $950,000, Cherokee County property records show. Real estate websites estimate it’s now worth upwards of $1. million.

The Hunts’ second home, a 4,400-square-foot homestead in Woodstock, Georgia, sits on three acres. (Photo via Redfin)

Hunt and his wife also own a modest single-family home in Woodstock, according to county property records. That’s estimated to be worth around $350,000.

Then in 2020, the Hunts purchased a beach house in the Florida panhandle for $925,000, according to Walton County property records.

A market listing at the time called the 2,288-square-foot beach house one of the area’s most popular rental properties, with a gourmet kitchen and room to sleep up to 13 people. And thanks to skyrocketing Florida home values, it’s now worth an estimated $1.7 million.

The Hunts’ third home, a beach house in Seacrest, Florida. (Photo via Redfin)

It’s unclear whether any of the properties are rented to other people. Hunt did not respond when TRR reached out through his ministry website to ask for comment.

Bowen suggested that pastors may be looking for some privacy by getting second homes out of town.

“But would Jesus do that?” Bowen asked rhetorically. “Would Jesus have three homes? I mean, the Bible says in one place that Jesus had no place to lay his head.”

“And are they really being faithful to God if they’re living in a multimillion-dollar home?” Bowen added.

A quick return to public speaking

Hunt does not have a church pastorate. He was removed as pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church Woodstock, near Atlanta, after allegations came out last May that he had sexually assaulted a woman. Hunt also resigned as a senior vice president of the SBC’s North American Mission Board just before the allegations surfaced.

A blockbuster report exposing sexual abuse and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) found the SBC pastor’s wife had made “credible” claims that Hunt had sexually assaulted her.

But last November, about six months after the report’s release, four pastors declared Hunt had completed a restoration process and was fit for ministry again.

Johnny Hunt
Pastors Mark Hoover, from left, Mike Whitson, Steven Kyle and Benny Tate in a video about their restoration work with Johnny Hunt. (Video screen grab)

Hunt started guest preaching again in January and is slated to speak at multiple conferences, including his own, in the coming months.

Bowen said Hunt likely receives honorarium payments in exchange for his preaching and conference appearances.

“The money could help him afford his lifestyle,” Bowen added, though he doesn’t believe it’s Hunt’s main motivation for embarking on a ministry comeback.

A cached version of Hunt’s website shows his speaking request form listed payee information for honorarium checks and travel expense checks as recently as December.

It’s unclear whether or how much Hunt personally benefits from honorariums. Honorariums were to be made out to Johnny Hunt Ministries, which reported paying Hunt no salary in its newest available federal tax filing.

Hunt’s ministry website also offers numerous materials for purchase, like books, conference recordings, and curriculum packages. The ministry’s tax filing shows the ministry brought in more than $100,000 in income from inventory sales.

It’s unclear what income, if any, Hunt receives in royalties from his materials. His newest book was published through Harvest House Publishers, not Johnny Hunt Ministries.

Correction: This article has been updated to accurately state Hunt’s past role with the North American Mission Board.

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.



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8 Responses

  1. Would Jesus own 3 homes? Whatever happened to shame?
    (Reminded me of the Ray Steven’s song, “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on His Television Show.” See it on YouTube.)

  2. Was he inspired by Tony Bennett’s number one hit, “Rags to Riches” or something else?

    Kenneth Copeland once aspired to be a recording artist. You can listen to his “I Want to Go Steady (With You) on YouTube. Think Johnny Hunt might cover “Rags to Riches” – or some other song? How about “Disease of Conceit” by Bob Dylan? Maybe he’ll have an epiphany.

    We read at

    “Deceit is more of a weakness, Dylan says! We feel that deceit and therefore also the disease of conceit, is part of the human condition! 8ut where does conceit originate from? Dylan gives us a clue by saying that the song has gospel overtones, so this time nobody will disagree that we have to look for an answer in the Gospel, in the Bible!”

    There’s a link at the end to take you to the full article. It’s long but worth reading.

  3. Johnny Hunt was been the pastor of one of the largest churches in Georgia for decades. It is hard to understand why this is even a story when so many who run churches the size of FIrst Baptist of Woodstock are flying around in private Jets. I would be surprised if any pastor of a large church who served over 30 years does not have the ability to acquire three houses by the time they retire. Simple management of his reasonable income would easily allow him to set aside enough to own three houses (one rather modest as pointed out). Why is this even a story? The headline could read that despite pioneering and leading one of the largest church in Georgia he has retired with only three houses, one being rather modest. I wish the focus was on those in ministry that have clearly exploited the pulpit for money. Hunt has not done this at all. This is not to defend his other misdeeds that are a legitimate story. But having $2m of property upon retirement after 40 years of reasonable income as a pastor of a mega-church is not a blight on Hunt in any way. Sad that this is a story at all.

    1. Rob, do you know what Johnnys “reasonable income” was? According to the constitution and by-laws of FBCW at the time, he was pastor AND chief executive officer.

  4. As a general principle, it is one thing if ministers (including Hunt) live extravagantly on their personal earnings – businesses, investments, royalties, media sales, etc. We believers are all answerable to God for how we steward our resources. It is quite another if people live extravagantly off the tithes and offerings of people of more modest means. This becomes a church governance issue, and needs to be exposed and corrected. Since I don’t know where Johnny Hunt falls in this spectrum, I’ll withhold judgment.

    PS: For other reasons addressed by TRR in the past, I think Hunt is unfit to be an ordained minister of any sort, regardless of his talents.

    1. David, when Johnny was pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, I believe he required all church staff and employees to give 10% of their pay back to FBCW under threat of discipline or termination. And they checked those individuals giving records to make sure they did. I know some of those people. And they were of very modest means.

  5. Rob Smith,

    Why is this even a story? Might is be the toxic leadership privilege that someone like Johny Hunt lives out? Saying good savings techniques somehow trumps or ameliorates the character & intentionality of his leadership is missing the point big time. Being like Jesus & leading the flock call out for a far deeper set of accountable boundaries. Suing the church at large is another sign of narcissism and recklessness. I do feel for anyone caught in these lies but restoration will take a dose of humility he appears to have forgotten or never possessed.

  6. It was through the preaching of Pastor Johnny Hunt at FBCW that I came to know Jesus as my Savior. I know him personally, and will always be grateful to him and his sweet wife, for their kindness and love. People are quick to be critical, especially of leaders, and especially on social media. No, he’s far from perfect. I am not making light of sin, but where is the compassion of Christ. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7). DS

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