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How a Church Responded When a Trusted Minister Embezzled Funds

Experts weigh in during a panel discussion on what happened.

Last Reviewed: January 25, 2022
How a Church Responded When a Trusted Minister Embezzled Funds
Image: erhui1979 | Getty

As the congregation and staff of Houston’s First Baptist Church were getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2017, a storm was brewing that threatened to shatter the holiday mood. Irregularities were noticed in the credit card statements of a popular associate missions minister, speaker, and Bible teacher. The investigation deepened and discovered that this individual had embezzled more than $830,000 in church funds since 2011.

The associate missions minister confessed to church officials, resigned, and was later convicted of embezzlement. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but has been released on a special probation program for first-time nonviolent offenders.

Houston’s First Baptist is far from alone. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimates fraud in churches worldwide will grow to $70 billion a year by 2025, according ...

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Posted:
  • August 20, 2020
  • Last Reviewed: January 25, 2022

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