A North Carolina megachurch pastor is defending his megamansion as a gift from God.
“My wife and I made a decision, and we built a house,” Furtick said during church services Sunday. “It’s a big house, and it’s a beautiful house, and we thank God for it … We understand everything we have comes from God.”
That’s a bit of a reversal from a sermon he gave last month at Elevation Church, when he told his congregation that the 16,000-square-foot home was “not that great of a house.”
Furtick apologized to congregants for any uncomfortable conversations the Waxhaw home may have forced them to have after news reports revealed the size and scope of the house he’s building.
“I have always tried to make this a church where you could be proud of your church,” Furtick said, which earned him a standing ovation from the congregation.
The pastor delivered his sermon to a packed sanctuary at the church’s Blakeney location while worshipers at seven other campuses watched via live stream video.
Furtick, whose sermons include references to prosperity theology, spent about 10 minutes addressing the controversy over his new home, which Elevation Church officials say was not a parsonage or a gift from the church.
Tax records list the value of the 19-acre property at $1.6 million, and the church’s chief financial officer said Furtick paid $325,000 for it, which is also confirmed by tax records.
Church officials say the five-bedroom home was paid for with income from books the 33-year-old Furtick has written or will write.
Furtick told congregants that the church provides followers with access to audited financial statements of the church, although those aren’t made public.
He has declined to say how much he makes from his books and speaking appearances, and Furtick has not revealed his salary, which is determined by an appointed “board of overseers” made up of other megachurch pastors.
The pastor told his church that the media had a right to report whatever it wished.
“I do not call this an attack,” Furtick said. “This is a news story, and the media is not our enemy.”
Churchgoer Cora Morgan said no one had a right to tell Furtick what kind of home to build because “it’s his money.”
“Every Sunday, people are lined up outside of church like they’re trying to get into the club,” Morgan said. “Maybe this is an opportunity for everyone to see how great God is.”
Watch this video report posted online by WCNC-TV: