Famous African-American Televangelists: Where God and Business Meet

September 23, 2010  |  

The Christian church assumes a complex role in the lives of African-Americans. On one hand, it’s a place to soak in the word of God and connect with one’s spirituality. On the other, it’s, at times, a place that can function to represent hypocrisy and promote mis-interpretations of the Bible.

This week, megachurch leader, Bishop Eddie Long made headlines due to accusations of past sexual abuse by at least three men.  The news made headlines of course because Long is essentially a celebrity. He’s a man who’s garnered notoriety for his televised sermons and his leadership of one of the many mega-churches strewn across the country. It’s safe to say that Long  looks like the stereotypical televangelist; one who bestows the word of God but dons the lifestyle of a flashy millionaire.

Being a televangelist takes much more than knowing your Bible. It’s about on-screen charisma and business sense.  Just ask the king of televangelists, Joel Olstein, who’s amassed a fortune as America’s go to preacher. We’ve included a short list of African-American televangelists who’ve managed to achieve fame and business success by building a brand amongst churchgoers. Eddie Long still makes the list although it’s unkown how his fate will turn in light of recent events.

Bishop Eddie Long

Bishop Eddie Long Ministries
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church — Lithonia, GA
Congregation Size: 30,000 members (estimate)

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  • BB


    If what you are saying is true you must be brave enough to at least seek help for yourself. A therapist maybe? Now once you do the therapist will report it to the police department. You see therapists are mandated reporters meanning they are obligated to report any illegal activity. If you're not ready to go public I suggust you talk to GOD maybe you'll find courage threw our Heavenly FATHER. However, if you are lying may GOD have Mercy on your Soul.

    Be Bless, stay Strong and always tell the Truth.

  • terry

    He hurt me too, I don't know where to turn. It to hard to go public.

  • Kristin

    Saundra…I understand your concern. I am a christian & i know that there are & will be times when the enemy/satan will usee others to destroy the God's work. I am trying not to judge anyone involved in this situation.
    BUT, what these men are accusing Eddie Long of is not that far fetched, despite their age. I know of many college-aged men who have been seduced & groomed by college professors. It starts out the same way these 4 men describe. The young men are lacking a father in their lives, and some may be unsure of their sexual orientation. The predatory adult man knows & senses this & begins the grooming process. Which begins with gaining the young man's trust, establishing friendship, becoming a father-figure or mentor. Giving them gifts…just making the young man feel special. Once that occurs the sexual manipulation begins.
    We are taught to respect & follow our leaders. Besides our parents, a pastor of the church is one of the most influential person in most people's lives. Some pastors use this "godly" influence to mainipulate people into giving away their money or into sex. Being wealthy does not automatically equal being BLESSED.
    So, please keep your eyes upoon God, not people. Read and study God's word for your-self. People are not perfect & we will all make mistakes. While we are all forgiven & should not judge. We have to use wisdom and spiritual discernment in who we allow in our lives & to feed us spiritually. Forgivness does not mean we should follow anyone blindly.

  • S. Denise

    Take care in being judgemental my people… but predators prey on the innocent. Children and adults who live, love and give freely to the ones they love, trust and look up to should not be further abused by those of us who are Christians. We should all be in continual pray for these young men as well as the accused person.
    There is only one true and living God and my faith is not shaken by the potential fall of a fallible man. Peace and Blessings to all.

    • ellen

      my daughter loves me with all her being but, she said to me mommy i trust you you know that right? i responded yes.she said but i trust know one more than GOD.my heart was doing something inside of me i don't know what but for the first time i couid'nt speak.tears of joy over came me and i wanted to shout ,cry,praise the LORD because if it was not for GOD and how i speak to hershe would not know who to trust or to call on.i never used too-too,down there,or kitty cat i used the correct words because if i had not she would not have known what anyone was talking about.until this day she said's mommy i was two years old and all i wanted to do was go play but she is now 30 yrs old and say thank-you mommy for being real.a woman ask her child did anyone touch your too-too or kitty cat? she said my too-too is in my room and mom we don't have a cat.keep people out of your bussiness,pray for the children old and young because we all are Gods children so sweep around your own front door and keep it real with your family and most of all GOD for he already knows all,see's all so spend all the time you can conversating with him and not the phone it's so hard sometimes but the spirit always know when i need to hear that little whisper i'm here you are not alone talk to me.it has not always been like that because i was not born saved. get it.but those mothers in the 50's,60's kept those prayers store up for us and i miss that i still don't do everything wright but there is know one i hate or would'nt do anyting for so in saying all that i thank the G OD I SERVE not man.some of those old mothers are still around in their 80's-90's and move better than me.they are sharp and wise a lot of wisdom to share the church has failed them also because of what GOD has instilled in them to speak on.but the pastors,mother's,some father's do not want you to say nothing about how to run the house of GOD or anything else.i'm from the old school because you need someone to talk and pray with and for you.so i go to them not sis.quanna who calls the telephone book before because that prayer never reaches the ceiling.these are trying times for GOD is soon to come.older people have said that for years….but i now know and feel what they meant.use your blessed oil and keep on GOd's AMOR.WE need it now more than ever. i sleep fine because i have the blood of JESUS protecting me.PRAYING and FASTING listen and wait on the LORD.DON'T let all this stuff going on mess around and take your eyes off GOD. HE is in charge always.all our covers will be pulled good or bad.every second is numbered for we know noot the time or hour and our time is man's time not GOD''s.our birthday,dates,church dinners,all are man's.we might be in our 400's,500's of age in GOD'S eyes.think about all the stuff man has done and doing in and out of the church building.but let us all repent daily for not only our souls but for the one's who see's this kind of stuff and say why get saved.the song came to me just now i'm living this life just to live again with the LORD.be bless everyone every were.

  • evelyv

    our fate is in our own hands.we are the only ones that can send ourself to hell. not know man but,God has the last word. that 's why i know by know means that i am goodie too shoes but i do not,do not judge others for we all will face the almighty GOD and will have our day.every church has someone in place to do their job the gift to gab but i say live life the best you can we all fall short from the word if not GOD would not leave a perfect person here on this earth.i all ways say i don't have 6 months too mind my bussiness and 6 too leave yours alone.i have all 12 months to mind my own an don't want to know yours.life is ending.let us continue to pray for each and every soul and do our very best to do the work and spread the gospel,love and commandments as GOD has ask of us.satan does'nt have much to do because we are doing it to ourself so that thing is just laying back laughing at us all. we are far from perfect but only GOD knows the few that will make it in so,let's us lift each one in prayer and let GOD handle his job.what a mighty GOD we serve.he gave his only son 's life so that we may live again then yet he 's still letting us choose who we want to serve him or satan.so thnk about it we all are sinners trying to make it in.we can still have opinionsas long as it's not gossip.there is something in this life we all have wish we should not have but we did.for the people whomthey say GOD has put together maybe.maybe not because the first man who has relations with a woman that is your husband in the eyes of GOD. NOW WERE your baby daddy and husband? THINK AND let GOD be GOD.

  • Avis

    I am sure that Eddie Long served his purpose, he has brought a lot of people to Christ, but there is no way God would allow him to go on preaching in "Jesus name", the word says, and people please understand…"everything you do in the dark, will come to light"…not my word but God's word, so if you know Him, you know His word will not come back void!

  • Kevin

    I work for the department of justice I am a 25 year old black male you are defending these actions by these pastors Sandra I know you give your whole check to the church we are not going to let God decide this one we gonna let 12 jury members do that you think because he stunts and shines with the suits for no reason he is getting away with using god for money since when do pastors have million doller homes when the people of the church need help look at how many of the members in his church need help and see how many he prayed for but did not put one dime in there hand.

    • evelyv

      you don't know were that man got that stuff from. p. diddy gives alot of people of GOD gifts.some people think they can buy there there way into heaven also.but to me you are judging.are you sin free? or nobody knows because you are not on tv. you are not sin free if so you would not be here.how many stones would it take to stone you to death.ARE YOU SAVED/ no forget that do,are you filled with the holyghost? if so have an opinion but don't judge and watch your tough.

    • dee

      It dont matter how many jurors you have at the end of the day God is the ultimate judge. I think Bishop Eddie Long is guilty but who are we to judge. Theres is nothing wrong with a pastor/minister having nice things people need to stop thinking that ministers/pastors should live poorly.

  • Ashraff Khan

    I don't know what's happening to the American Church. Rev ch 3 tells about the material prosperity of the Church and they will see no need for the Lord. Too much money passing through the Church and it is blinding their eyes. It is very sad to know that the people who we are supposed to be looking at are disappointing us, to the extent that they are bringing the Name of Jesus to the dirt.Wake up Church!!!!!

  • gigglegal215

    Both Black and white televangelists are being punished for not doing right by The Lord. If they are using the Bible to scam money from people who believe in their gift of gab then they will have to answer. All false prophets shall fall by the wayside.
    In Bishop Long's case (thou protest too much!)

  • Janet S

    I agree with Sandra
    Why did these young men wait so long to report this offense, if it was an offense. I believe that they are just as guilty because they allowed it to happen instead of just walking away. Is it really that important to stain someone's name and reputation for money? Has the people of God gotten that greedy that we, as God's people are willing to do anything for money? Including lying on the man of God? People…WAKE UP!! God knows how to handle pastors that go against His Word better than us. We must pray for our spiritual leaders, they are men, human just like the rest of us, and are subject to temptations just like the rest of us. Don't throw stones when your life is jacked up. Jesus said to the accusers of the woman caught in adultery, "He without sin cast the first stone." So if you're so clean and have no sin, then you throw that first stone.

    • In VA

      Janet S and whomever. Have you ever been abused or been done wrong on any level? Did you talk about it right then and there? I hope to GOD The GOOD BISHOP IS INNOCENT. However, God deals with sins in his own way and sometimes his way is letting the world know. NO one in their right mind would admit to being "touched"

      • evelyv

        maybe the pastor said get a job and decided like some of these other people trying to help is getting tired of being the bank roll for so long it's time to give others some help i've been helping you for a long time.you are grow with car and maybe a home i helped you with now go to work.people do and say anything to hurt people today and don't even care. if he proves to be not guity that BOY will be know to be the one who tried to bring down the pastor but the pastor will get the glory.not saying who's right or wrong but come on three young men. it's a setup. to the wife be prayerful,stand with him and let GOD lead the way.i go to church to hear the word for i can read for myself .take your titles and offering and leave it alone.FROM THEN ON IT IS BETWEEN GOD and the men of GOD.i don't care if he wear gucci everyday he is a man like all others except maybe he was or is called by GOD. I go for GOD my soul salvation,GOD'S word,and his spirit that i'm so glad i have and not to see man

  • nikki


  • lala

    I believe when they achieve so much fame and power they don't really know what to do with all of it.

  • wow

    this is the same dude that is on bet in the morning yelling like a fool he is so fake why would anyone put faith in him telling the word of god.