Joyce Meyer—once widely regarded a prosperity preacher and one of six televangelists targeted in a 2007 Senate probe—was embraced last weekend by leading evangelicals at Meyer’s “Love Life” 40th Anniversary Women’s Conference.
Passion Band member and Dove and Grammy award-winning artist Chris Tomlin led worship for the conference. Thousands attended September 22-24 at the Dome at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
“Wonderful night at the 40th anniversary of the Joyce Meyer conference…grateful to be a part of the celebration!” Tomlin posted on Instagram.
More than 4,000 people liked Tomlin’s post, but most comments on his post’s thread were critical.
“She is a false teacher, this is a reflection on what you believe about the gospel,” commented “mississippi_mama.”
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“Who’s next? Singing at (Kenneth) Copeland’s conference too? . . .” someone else wrote.
The conference featured another televangelist commonly associated with prosperity theology—Joel Osteen. As The Roys Report (TRR) previously published, Osteen owns a home in Houston appraised for tax purposes at almost $12 million and one in California valued more than $7.3 million.
Tauren Wells, a worship leader at Osteen’s Lakewood Church and Platinum artist, also sang at Meyer’s conference.
Other performers and speakers at the event, like popular author and activist Christine Caine, have some ties to prosperity gospel ministries, but are not commonly regarded as prosperity preachers. Like Osteen and Meyer, however, Caine has a television program on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). (Her show is also carried by the Hillsong Channel.)
TBN broadcast Meyer’s Love Life conference. According to jet records obtained by The Roys Report, the network also flew its private aircraft worth tens of millions of dollars to St. Louis prior to the conference.
Evangelical author Lisa Harper also spoke at Meyer’s conference. Harper formerly worked as the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry and has advanced degrees from Denver Seminary and Covenant Seminary. She is not considered a proponent of the prosperity gospel but is a regular on TBN’s Better Together show.
Two popular Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) artists—Phil Wickham and Brandon Lake—performed at Meyer’s conference, as well. Neither artist posted about the conference on social media.
Caine, however, posted several pictures from the event on Instagram.
“I thank God for a spiritual mother and role model who inspires me to run hard afterJesus (sic) until my last breath,” Caine wrote in her Instagram post.
Unlike the response to Tomlin’s post, the comment thread on Caine’s post was largely positive.
Meyer thanked Caine for her friendship in a comment on Instagram. Meyer added that she’s looking forward to being with Caine and Shelley Giglio at the upcoming Grove Conference. (The conference was postponed due to Hurricane Ian.)
Giglio is co-founder of the Passion Movement and the wife of Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta Georgia. Shelley Giglio is hosting The Grove Conference, which according to a video at the conference website is not announcing speakers. However, Giglio promises in the video that those speaking at The Grove are a “trusted group of women who are Bible-believing, trusting women.”
Meyer’s prosperous theology & lifestyle
Meyer has long been considered a proponent of the “prosperity gospel,” which teaches God will bless people financially when they give to Christian ministries. (TRR reached out to Joyce Meyer Ministries for comment for this story, but the ministry did not respond.)
However, in 2015, Meyer’s ministry clarified that these blessings from God are not always financial, but can also “apply to the spiritual, emotional, physical and financial areas of life,” The Christian Post reported. “A ‘prosperity gospel’ that solely equates blessing with financial gain is out of balance and could damage a person’s walk with God,” Meyer’s ministry stated.
Meyer herself lived such a prosperous life that in 2007, she became one of six televangelists to be investigated by the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Senator Chuck Grassley.
The investigation resulted in no sanctions against Meyer or any of the other televangelists suspected of abusing their nonprofit status, including Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar. However, as MinistryWatch President Warren Cole Smith explained in a podcast with TRR, Grassley likely ended the investigation for political reasons.
Prior to Grassley’s investigation, the St. Louis-Post Dispatch had reported that Meyer’s ministry owns a $10 million Gulfstream IV aircraft, which the ministry is still using. The Dispatch also reported that Joyce Meyer Ministries owned five homes for Joyce Meyer and her family members worth nearly $4 million.
Two of those homes were sold in 2005 for a total of $2.55 million, according to Religion News Blog.
Meyer’s current salary is unknown. However, the Dispatch reported that for 2002 and 2003, Meyer’s board approved $900,000 in compensation for Joyce Meyer and up to $450,000 for her husband. However, a later apology published by the outlet noted that the board minutes did not disclose the salaries Joyce Myer and her husband actually received.
After these revelations, Meyer announced she would take a reduced salary of $250,000 from her ministry in 2004. Plus, instead of donating her book royalties back to her ministry, the ministry said Meyer would retain the royalties on books sold outside her ministry at various retail outlets. According to Christianity Today, the royalties were more than double what Meyer and her husband had been paid by the ministry in salary.
In 2009, Joyce Meyer Ministries joined the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and now publishes an annual report.
However, the ECFA does not require that member ministries report the salaries of their top executives—a requirement imposed on all secular nonprofits by the IRS. And, as TRR has previously reported, ministries accredited by ECFA have faced bankruptcy or been embroiled in potentially fraudulent activities, raising questions about whether ECFA accreditation is simply a rubber stamp.
Joyce Meyer Ministries maintains a 10-person board, which includes four members of Meyer’s family. The ECFA encourages its member organizations to have board members who are independent—not related to staff of the organization or other board members, or employed by the organization. However, ECFA requires merely that a majority of the board members are independent.
This article has been updated with a revised link for flight records.
Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. Before that, she hosted a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network, called Up for Debate. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate, a newswriter for WGN-TV and Fox News Chicago, and has published articles in numerous periodicals.
27 thoughts on “Leading Evangelicals Embrace Joyce Meyer at 40th Anniversary Event”
Julie, thank you for reporting on Joyce Meyer. She is mainstream enough that I am sure you will receive some negative comments, but I appreciate your even handedness in covering her ministry. Actually the biggest issue with her theology is not her well packaged prosperity message, it’s her little God’s theology, which she shares with Dollar, and Copeland. I know your job is difficult, but in times such as these your ministry to the Body at large is so important. I am amazed at the lack of discernment from such beloved Christians as Tomlin and others who seem to turn a blind eye to the obvious theological and practical issues in the church today.
Tim it’s real simple. Money money money why eyes are turned.
Gary, Thank-you for a little reality – there is FAR more to the walk in Christ than affirming a silly little creed. To keep it real – Meyers is a joke….grifting off horribly gullible religious people.
Money money money money money
Who cares what Joyce Meyer owns or has. Did everyone forget she has written almost 100 books, put in conferences, etc. Also she does a lot of evangelism in poor countries. Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, all of these ministers do other work than just preach and the income they make is theirs to do as they see fit. We don’t know how much money they are putting into their church or the kingdom of God. This is why people don’t want to join the church. If we’re do disunified, how can we help those not saved. SMH
Get over your love of these things. Don’t care what you think they do. Ask yourself would Jesus live there life style. Did Jesus rides donkeys or golden chariots. They’ve turned our saviors name into gold. Nothing humble. And the singer who went platinum. Using emotional show for financial gain. Recently heard of the Christian dove awards. No different than the Grammys. Look at me look at me look at me. All self love and using Jesus name. Ya notice only in America are Christian’s so full of self love. Most other countries humility is how Christianity is practiced.
Kelly , Who cares we all should! What is the example Jesus set? You can’t serve two masters ? What does that mean? God or mamon. These mega pastors try to justify their using the gospel to enrich themselves but people are leaving Christianity because of their excessive life styles! That includes Franklin Graham. What did Jesus say to the rich young ruler?? How much more would he hold these pastors to account. Only about 55 percent of Americans considere them selves christian today I’m sure these churches are part of the reason. It’s just heartbreaking.
1 Timothy 3:2
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
I find it interesting that this article comes about the same time the article on Brother Andrew passing away. I can’t help but be struck by the difference in their ministries and i suspect one of them will be far better rewarded in the life to come.
The Christ she preaches is not a saving Christ. False teachers were reviled by the Lord for this very reason. The circus has indeed come to town.
I’ll say something unpopular here. I have NO problem with ministers having wealth or large followings. I don’t think being in ministry equals taking a vow of poverty or that congregations over a certain size are automatically ungodly. In scripture we see God blessing many of His prophets and followers with wealth – which was ultimately used and needed to provide for His people and advance His purpose; and we see His disciples preaching to THOUSANDS at a time.
What matters to me: Are ministers using their wealth to honor God, feed His flock, and advance a Biblically-accurate gospel? (I have more concerns about the last part of that, based on what I’ve learned about a few of the speakers).
Years ago, I attended a Joyce Meyer Love Life conference to hear Priscilla Shirer (daughter of Tony Evans) speak, as I grew up attending Evans’s church in Dallas. I was unexpectedly blessed by the ENTIRE weekend, and particularly moved by Meyer’s testimony of surviving abuse. Given what I was going through, I believe God had me there for a reason. I didn’t hear any prosperity gospel, yet I admit I haven’t been a close follower of Meyer since. I DO know that she works (books, conferences, prison ministry) AND she gives (I donated my stock of hotel toiletries to one of her homes for abused women). Her conference was free – and there were easily thousands of women there.
I’d like to hear more if and about the problemmatic gospel being touted. And let’s make sure we are taking the plank out of our own eye: many of us criticizing the wealthy lifestyles of an Osteen, Meyer, etc. don’t tithe or give generously to ministries or charities.
Actually Marin when it’s about self. Then it’s called OOJ. Opposite Of Jesus. Notice the godly man known as the Bible smuggler was barely known to many other than Christ. He didn’t need large homes big cars expensive jets and ongoing award ceremonies telling the world how godly he is. The longer it takes to introduce someone based on listing all there deeds, the less it’s about Christ vs themselves. And all this started in the seventies and mostly it’s an American curse.
Question for you: do you think they see those things (cars, homes, awards) as proof of how Godly they are? How so? (Do they say, “How do I know I’m Godly? I have a fancy car!”)
I believe one can have those things and not think that way AT ALL, and yet people can ASSUME you do.
From my view, if Danielle Steele or Tom Clancy writes 100s of books and is well compensated for it, it’s not a problem – why would it be an issue of Joyce Meyer does the same? And isn’t it a plus if her books are pointing people to the Bible? If they aren’t (I’ve only read 1 and found it very helpful in a season of grief), lets discuss. This is why I think more of the focus should be on if the message is problematic.
Real easy to differentiate. Clancy and Steele ain’t using Jesus for the basis of there wealth. There is nothing modest or humble about there life styles. They just happen use Jesus as the base. I’ve done the research. Only in America do evangelicals profit and use the excuse god’s blessing them. FYI. In Nigeria recently a few churches were burned down and many Christian’s were slaughtered. Ya think some of Meyers or Copeland or olsteens vast wealth could have provided some protection. Yes or no. Do you think they would dare go there and proclaim the gospel knowing that AK 47 rounds are zeroing in on them? I doubt it. Especially olsteen. He wouldn’t want to get his hair messed up. I know brave Christians who go there and risk there lives. And they never mentioned they ran into any American evangelicals while over there.
Gary – I’m in the comforts of my own home, so I can’t judge anyone’s willingness to go to a war zone. I do believe if Joyce was called by God to do that and ignored Him, He will let her know. But even the apostle Paul acknowledged that the life of a persecuted missionary was NOT the calling on everyone. I do know Joyce has a prison ministry, and yet I’m not called to do that either, so no comment. IMO it comes down to obedience to one’s calling. I’ve known wealthy Christians whom the Lord has called to buy homes, cars, and buildings for less fortunate believers and small churches. They also share the importance of a spirit of discernment, as others will pressure them into giving in ways the Lord isn’t calling them to, and accuse them of not being real Christians if they don’t.
Just because it’s Christian work doesn’t mean the Lord has specifically called one to do it. So how do you know what Joyce is being called to do?
Again, I haven’t heard Joyce refer to her wealth as proof of her salvation, so I could be missing a valid critique here. But I have no problem with Chistians writing books or leading large flocks, especially if they are called to do so and tithe accordingly. If a person has a gift for writing or speaking, I’d rather them do it for the Lord than for the world. But that’s not up to me. I will say God bless them, because if they do, Lord knows Christians will be the FIRST in line to judge them for it.
There is something that seems antithetical to the Christian faith to become fabulously, lavishly, wealthy FROM ministry. I won’t belabor the point but it just doesn’t feel right at all. I will not compare her to others because I do not know her heart and I do not doubt that she is also quite generous.
As for her teachings she seems to have, until very recently, always taught that hardship can be countered or avoided by having faith. She admitted this herself, which is encouraging.
I don’t know Marin. I would never say somebody cannot have come to faith or grown under the teaching of Meyer. I’m sure many have. I’m equally sure many have been distracted by her worldly success and come away believing that if only they have some faith they can have a piece of that kind of success, too.
For every prosperity preacher there’s several thousand poor people who gave more than they should have to their ministries with the mistaken belief they were going to get a ten fold return.
So far there’s been no check in the mail.
Marin: You said:”And let’s make sure we are taking the plank out of our own eye: many of us criticizing the wealthy lifestyles of an Osteen, Meyer, etc. don’t tithe or give generously to ministries or charities.” I’m not sure what you are saying.
And Marin how do you know we do not tithe generously. Jesus said be a cheerful giver. If I’m giving because I being told god will get me or if I don’t tithe enough then those going to hell is my fault. That isn’t a cheerful giver. And from the looks of the Meyers and olsteens and dollars and Copeland look like they need to reverse tithe. Maybe they need to give 90% of there income to a church. Again I can only see American evangelicals pushing tithes as the ultimate sign of godliness.
Gary – I said make sure we take the plank out of our own eye. Looks like you don’t have that issue. But the data shows that most evangelicals are NOT tithing. So my comment is for those who are blasting wealthy Christians for not tithing or giving enough (whatever that means) while ALSO not tithing or giving enough themselves.
And how do you know if Meyers, Osteen, etc. AREN’T tithing? If they are making enough (which they likely are), they can give 10% and STILL live their lives quite lavishly. Rick Warren only takes a $1 annual salary AND does a reverse tithe, yet still lives quite comfortably – and look at how we STILL go after him. It won’t ever be enough.
I know many believe Christians (especially those in ministry) are to take some sort of vow of poverty or modesty. If they choose to do so, good for them; I just don’t think that is a Biblical requirement for us to be demanding of them. I believe the church needs wealthy believers to support the body and influence wealthy and powerful circles for Christ. We even see God make several of His prophets wealthy so that they can bless and/or protect others accordingly.
As long as people are spending their money as God calls them to, then amen.
Hi Tom –
Eek – was typing too fast and left out some words. To be clearer – many criticize wealthy “Christians” for spending their money on luxuries (presumably instead of tithing or giving), yet are guilty of doing the same thing. It may look different to us “regular” people (e.g., racking up credit card debt on luxuries, not tithing), but it’s the same concept. In fact, data shows Christians give about 3% to charities (including churches and religious organizations).
Whether it’s misusing hundreds or millions of dollars, the core sin is the same. Let’s make sure our finances are in order before criticizing others.
Thanks for catching that.
Marvin, I did not disagree with the statement that many Christians are doing the same thing and if they are choosing to live a luxurious lifestyle while there are so many needs, hunger and poverty etc, well that’s problematic.
I DO disagree with your comment comparing the wealth of Tom Clancy and Danielle Steele with the wealth of these televangelists whether they are teachers of a prosperity gospel or not.
The novelist are selling a product on the market. I would find an offense to the gospel to treat it in the same manner. I don’t believe you are actually equivocating but at the most the comparison is not appropriate.
When I see leaders of these large ministries taking big salaries and living luxuriously I think about all the people who are supporting that lifestyle. So many of them are poor or on fixed incomes. Do they know where their money is actually going? I would expect most want to advance the gospel. Do they know they are paying for the expensive clothing, jets, multimillion dollar homes? In some cases these preachers could be said to be taking food off of people’s tables to enrich themselves.
I don’t doubt they are charismatic, preach well and people are helped by their teaching. Otherwise they wouldn’t have such large followings. That is all the more reason though to be careful. The personality can easily distract from the person of Jesus. Be very careful
I am regularly encouraged by Joyce Meyer. I’ve listened to her for years and have grown in my faith greatly from hearing her speak and reading her books. I too have gone to her Love Life conferences completely free and God has used her in my life in many ways. Battlefield of the Mind is one of the best books I’ve ever read and has helped me and millions take every thought captive and grow in grace and faith. Her ministry appears to give generously all over the world and she no longer preaches prosperity gospel and hasn’t for years, even confessing the error of it. I dont see any comparison to Crazy Copeland, Creflo or Osteen other than they’re authors.
I once owned a marketing firm that wound up serving evangelical ministries, book publishers and the like. After attending a few national Christian Bookseller’s events, and seeing all the “celebrity” authors and people lined up to get pictures and autographs, and all the cheap trinkets (junk for Jesus) with Bible verses inscribed, I came away with a deep sadness. Here, I thought I was on the right team and I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. The evangelical money making complex was burgeoning and I was facilitating it. Glad I woke up. Sad to see the whole thing go so far astray. It’s time to strengthen the things that remain.
You bring up a good point, Bruce. As the son of a Christian minister in Christian publishing, I’ve seen what it devolves into. You really can’t maintain a viable literature ministry without compromising on the CONTENT of the wares that you offer. Christian bookstores used to appeal to me, but they sell 100 idols for every Christian book of value. You basically become a dealer in all ideologies, the wicked and the Godly. They really can’t be called “ministries” in any real meaning of the word.
I’ve known a few locally owned Christian bookstores that have standards in what they offered, and they were understandably small. They did not last longer than a decade.
I can’t get past the point that Joyce is a woman occupying a role of ministry biblically reserved for men. The prosperity stuff is just noise in comparison.
One heresy leads to another.
I wholeheartedly disagree. I can’t speak for Joyce but I believe that she and Beth Moore and many other God gifted women ministers of the gospel are using the gifts that God has given them and fulfilling God’s plan for them. Shame on you for thinking only men can minister His gospel and speak hope to a broken world. What purpose do we women have according to you??? Sunday School only? Or is that too, preaching God’s word. I mean it is doing everything the pastor does, preaching, teaching, guiding, leading, serving, etc. Or maybe just preparing Sunday dinner for the Sunday potluck. Give me a break. You can’t know what God’s plan is for Joyce or any other women. I could say so much more but why. Something tells me you’re an older, white male that would not likely be open to God doing things any way other than you think or believe.
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