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MinistryWatch List: 50 Highly Paid Christian Ministry Executives

Warren Cole Smith

Below is a list of 50 highly paid Christian ministry executives. The information was derived from the Form 990 prepared by the ministry itself.

We are not calling this list the “50 Highest Paid Christian Ministry Executives” because we know that many pastors and other church leaders who might make more are not on this list, because churches are not required to make their Form 990s available to the public.

Also, MinistryWatch has identified a growing trend among Christian ministries to identify as churches and thereby withhold their Form 990s. Among the fifty largest Christian ministries in the country who have made this election include: CRU/Campus Crusade for Christ, The Navigators, Gideons International, Willow Creek Association, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and Ethnos360/New Tribes Mission. In addition, many megachurches and their related radio and television ministries. These organizations and individuals include: Joel Osteen, David Jeremiah, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland.

A word about timing: This information comes from the most recent Form 990 available on Guidestar.org. For some ministries the most recent year available was 2016. For most years, the most recent year available was 2017. For a few ministries, the most recent year is 2018.

Finally, a few executives have asterisks by their name. That means they received compensation that year from two or more organizations. In the case of Franklin Graham, only his Samaritan’s Purse compensation is listed. He also serves as president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and (for the reason cited above) we were not able to determine what compensation he receives from BGEA. Carlos Campos received compensation from both Regent University, where he had previously served, as well as from Ashland University, where he now serves as president.

In the case of the Inspiration Networks:  Some executives receive their salaries from a for-profit subsidiary.  The for-profit subsidiary, INSP LLC, is wholly owned by the non-profit organization The Inspirational Networks, Inc.

NameTitleOrganizationTax YearSalaryOther CompTotal Comp
1David Cerullo*PresidentThe Inspiration Networks2017 $3,281,387 $494,183 $3,775,570
2Dale Ardizzone*General CounselThe Inspiration Networks2017 $1,474,063 $47,678 $1,521,741
3Jay SekulowFounderAmerican Center for Law and Justice2017$- $1,421,188 $1,421,188
4Marc Favaro*Former OfficerThe Inspiration Networks2017 $1,377,466 $22,913 $1,400,379
5Kim SekulowSpokespersonAmerican Center for Law and Justice2017$- $1,053,432 $1,053,432
6Jerry Falwell, Jr.PresidentLiberty University2016 $959,802 $58,725 $1,018,527
7Gary SekulowCFO/COOAmerican Center for Law and Justice2017 $734,117 $251,730 $985,847
8Mark Kang*Former OfficerThe Inspiration Networks2017 $932,874 $41,678 $974,552
9Rabbi Yechiel EcksteinPresident/CEOInternational Fellowship of Christians and Jews2017 $616,618 $251,116 $867,734
10Kevin WashingtonPresidentYMCA2017 $777,294 $51,961 $829,255
11Jeffrey Arthur*Former OfficerThe Inspiration Networks2017 $744,647 $18,528 $763,175
12Colby MayDirectorTrinity Broadcasting Network2017 $751,414 $- $751,414
13Franklin Graham*CEOSamaritan's Purse2018 $636,451 $59,742 $696,193
14Carlos Campo*PresidentAshland University2016 $527,997 $138,661 $666,658
15Matthew CrouchPresidentTrinity Broadcasting Network2017 $505,671 $131,506 $637,177
16John Russo*Former OfficerThe Inspiration Networks2017 $576,608 $24,000 $600,608
17Michael NovakCEOEducational Media Foundation (K-Love)2017 $553,284 $27,344 $580,628
18Barry CoreyPresidentBiola University2016 $522,645 $56,817 $579,462
19Gordon RobertsonPresidentChristian Broadcasting Network2018 $550,290 $28,690 $578,980
20Philip RykenPresidentWheaton College2016 $376,765 $162,072 $538,837
21Thomas MonaghanSenior CounselAmerican Center for Law and Justice2017 $508,376 $29,364 $537,740
22Richard StearnsPresidentWorld Vision2016 $456,503 $78,002 $534,505
23Kent JohnsonCOOYMCA2017 $468,391 $48,130 $516,521
24Cary SummersChief Relationship OfficerMuseum of the Bible2017 $493,012 $17,030 $510,042
25Tony ZeissExecutive DirectorMuseum of the Bible2017 $490,602 $7,786 $498,388
26Dennis RydbergPresident EmeritusYoung Life2016 $441,659 $54,652 $496,311
27Robert Brace*CFOThe Inspiration Networks2017 $447,212 $38,491 $485,703
28Robin MahfoodCEOFood For The Poor $445,463 $24,191 $469,654
29Alan SearsFounderAlliance Defending Freedom2017 $433,856 $33,475 $467,331
30Pierre FerrariCEOHeifer Project2017 $429,483 $29,083 $458,566
31Keith Woodard*Former OfficerThe Inspiration Networks2017 $402,588 $43,984 $446,572
32Roy PetersonPresident & CEOAmerican Bible Society2016 $378,189 $59,268 $437,457
33Andrew CalhounSVPYMCA2017 $383,220 $47,074 $430,294
34Santiago MelladoCEOCompassion International2018 $364,964 $52,350 $417,314
35Angela WilliamsEVP/CAOYMCA2017 $361,174 $46,801 $407,975
36Randall SmithEVP/COOLiberty University2016 $365,591 $37,305 $402,896
37Michael FarrisPresident/CEOAlliance Defending Freedom2017 $382,973 $19,826 $402,799
38Reinhard BonnkeDirectorChrist For All Nations2018$363,343$35,044$398,387
39Jonathan ReckfordCEOHabitat for Humanity2017 $348,816 $45,748 $394,564
40Edgar SandovalCOOWorld Vision2016 $348,600 $34,309 $382,909
41George MamoEVP/COOInternational Fellowship of Christians and Jews2017 $351,821 $25,894 $377,715
42Charles StanleyPresidentIn Touch Ministries2016 $237,054 $138,618 $375,672
43Benjamin Cerullo*EVPThe Inspiration Networks2017 $274,877 $100,055 $374,932
44Yael Eckstein-FarkasSVPInternational Fellowship of Christians and Jews2017 $357,766 $16,834 $374,600
45Philip BowenCEOIn Touch Ministries2016 $361,527 $9,613 $371,140
46Barbara Cerullo*EVPThe Inspiration Networks2017 $336,579 $34,183 $370,762
47Travis ArnoldCEOFeed The Children2017 $349,385 $17,929 $367,314
48James AckermanPresident/CEOPrison Fellowship Ministries2017 $340,072 $26,912 $366,984
49Don StephensPresidentMercy Ships2017 $293,186 $70,000 $363,186
50Gerson Moreno-RianoEVPRegent University2016 $326,422 $36,218 $362,640
51Chris DoornbosCEODavid C. Cook Publishers2016 $345,053 $16,479 $361,532
52Michael LindsayPresidentGordon College2016 $293,614 $60,419 $354,033
53Louis IsakoffN/ARegent University2016 $304,765 $40,260 $345,025
54Scott MillerCOODavid C. Cook Publishers2016 $328,121 $8,639 $336,760
55Robert OwenCFORegent University2016 $299,234 $37,479 $336,713
56Phyllis PayneVice PresidentSamaritan's Purse2018 $285,628 $45,922 $331,550
57Susan RowanCEOBible Study Fellowship2017$215,382$115,807$331,189
58Arthur BrownVice PresidentInternational Fellowship of Christians and Jews2017 $257,417 $72,038 $329,455
59Gary HaugenCEOInternational Justice Mission2017 $292,267 $34,398 $326,665
60Ryan DunhamPresidentIntegrity Music2016 $295,432 $17,187 $312,619
61Shane WilliamsonCEOFellowship of Christian Athletes2017 $243,972 $65,858 $309,830
62Jim DalyPresidentFocus on the Family2017$271,240$32,885$304,125
63Mark HanlonSVPCompassion International2018$265,135$37,346$302,481
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Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine and has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 20 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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