This news outlet has been careful up to this point not to wade into the drama surrounding Greenville, South Carolina-based Relentless Church and its scandal-scarred pastor, John Gray.
Gray is the pastor who made national news last month when it was revealed he bought his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV for their wedding anniversary. Earlier this month, it was further revealed that Gray and his family reside in a $1.8 million home owned by his church.
Wait … isn’t there a Bible verse someplace about rich men entering the kingdom of God?
Why have we refrained from criticizing these expenses? Because as much as we believe them to be out of line, Relentless is a private (well, parochial) organization. Its business is its business. Which means the church is well within its rights to compensate Gray in whatever manner it chooses.
Those decisions are up to the leadership of the church, which is accountable only to its members.
Which brings us to reports we have been hearing out of Greenville …
According to our sources, Relentless Church is already feeling the impact of the scandal in the two places where it matters most … butts in pews and clinks in the offering plate.[su_dominion_video_scb]
Earlier this month, the church reportedly had a conference call with employees informing them that cost-cutting measures – including possible layoffs – might be implemented due to what one source described as “a massive drop in giving and lower attendance numbers since the scandal.”
Specific declines in giving and attendance were not cited on the call, according to our sources, but church leaders “did discuss the potential that staffers may (be forced) to take a ten percent reduction in pay with the understanding the church will pay them that money back down the road.”
That’s not a bet we would take …
Not surprisingly, “staffers on the call wanted to know where the money (from the cost-cutting) would be going and how it would be spent,” with several conferring after the rumored telephonic gathering and concluding “they didn’t trust the church to manage the money.”
We wouldn’t either …
Again, it is not our place to criticize Relentless Church for its compensation of Gray. Nor is it our place to criticize Gray for how he chooses to spend the money the church pays him (or the money he makes off of his many other ventures).
Still, churches are subject to the accountability of the marketplace just like businesses … and when business is bad, things can get dicey fast.
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