Ms. Meyer and her husband run the ministry from a 560-employee office park outside St. Louis. amzn_assoc_asins = "B08DF8KM1N"; The ministry says it distributes books, holds youth programs, provides medical care, digs wells and runs food programs in Asia, South America and the U.S. — including the inner-city St. Louis Dream Center, which the Meyer ministry says serves 23,000 meals a month. “If donors would stop being so dumb and start thinking like investors, then there wouldn’t be so much fraud and misuse,” he insists. Donors should be informed of those ministries that have failed to display transparency. “Maybe it’s sincere. A spokeswoman said the move is partly the result of criticism that they lived in a church-owned house. “It is kind of ironic,” she says, “I am financially better off doing it this way. Indeed, there was far more that they could have reported on.

The practice isn’t illegal, however, as long as there’s a disclosure that money may go into a general fund. You are here: Home | How Rusty Leonard watches over donors to TV ministries.

The ministry spent about $107 million in 2005, including $33 million on its missions and outreach programs, its biggest expense.

But that is what the 63-year-old Ms. Meyer has been doing, insists Howard J. Mr. Leonard began looking at the Meyer ministry in 2000, and three years later put it on donor alert and called for the IRS to investigate whether the nonprofit ministers’ buildings and workers were involved in for-profit sales of Ms. Meyer’s books and tapes. MinistryWatch gave some advice and counsel to 20/20 but we had no control of the story and did not know what would be broadcast until the show was aired. He posts reports online, along with “analysts’ comments” that describe the history, philosophy and outreach programs of each group.

Actually, Mr. Leonard and his wife founded the ministry in June 1998 while still employed by Templeton. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge. PHOENIX — In the soaring sanctuary of the Phoenix First Assembly Church here, television evangelist Joyce Meyer recently assured 6,500 evangelical Christians that the money they were dropping into her collection buckets would feed the poor, educate the ignorant and minister to the willing.

DONOR ALERTS ISSUED BY MINISTRY WATCH. Neither the Meyers nor the Internal Revenue Service will go that far. According to the 2005 annual report, the ministry also spends a lot on itself, including $18 million on undetailed “management and general operations” and about $11 million on “meetings and conferences.” The report includes a $347,412 line item for “books, flowers and gifts for outreach,” and $2,048,816 for travel. He also sends researchers to church services to see, among other things, how a minister asks for money. […] Theological Differences. Ms. Meyer and her husband are about to move from their church-owned house to one nearby that they own themselves. Mr. Leonard says about 85 percent of the ministries he asks for financial information eventually fork it over. Donors should be informed of those ministries that have failed to display transparency. The MinistryWatch Transparency Guide, says Wall Watchers founder and president Rusty Leonard, "seeks to inform donors about which ministries are failing to …

MATTHEWS, N.C. –Wall Watchers, through its donor empowerment Website,, has issued a Donor Alert for those ministries in the database with a Transparency Grade of F. Wall Watchers CEO Rusty Leonard explained, “ is committed to the belief that all Christian ministries have a responsibility to be good stewards of the financial resources they have received from donors. ➜, Releases ‘F’ List Ministries,, Extremist street preacher Michael Woroniecki still at it, The man who can see the jinn, and make them go away. The claims made about the various preachers mentioned were researched by ABC 20/20.’s desire is that TBN will undertake meaningful reforms of its business and ministry practices and enter into a process that will restore the TBN network and its leadership to full effectiveness as a sound, biblically-based Christian ministry. ➜, How Rusty Leonard watches over donors to TV ministries, Extremist street preacher Michael Woroniecki still at it, The man who can see the jinn, and make them go away. Amplifications to ABC 20/20's Story on MinistryWatch Founder Rusty Leonard. Rusty Leonard, the founder of Ministry Watch, an independent evangelical group that advocates for financial accountability and transparency, agrees. But that is what the 63-year-old Ms. Meyer has been doing, insists Howard J. Based on our most recent request for basic information, there are at least 27 ministries that did not provide financial statements of any kind to”, To read the Donor Alert and see the full list, visit:, Leonard stated, “The refusal by these ministries to release the financial information is reason enough for donors to find other ministries to support, whether for tsunami relief or other purposes. amzn_assoc_design = "enhanced_links"; Does Mike Murdock's 58 days seed covenant really work?

Ms. Meyer, whose ministry has agreed to pay $1.56 million in real-estate and personal-property taxes since attracting Mr. Leonard’s interest, is unapologetic about the riches she acquired. amzn_assoc_linkid = "0f84484859255704ef8899fa20fce1c4"; In 1989, Mr. Leonard had joined Templeton Investment Counsel Inc. We are grateful that 20/20 included Rusty mentioning that the good ministries far outnumber the bad as we were concerned that many viewers might be led to believe that no Christian ministry could be trusted when this could not be further from the truth. Some viewers may have been left with the impression that Mr. Leonard left his employment with Templeton Investment Counsel to devote his full efforts to starting MinistryWatch. Ministry Watch is a program of Wall Watchers.The latter is an Evangelical Christian group whose purpose is to supply the Evangelical community with information "that will lead to increased giving and enhanced ministry accountability." Mr. Leonard’s inquiry caught the attention of Randy B. Holman, the Jefferson County, Mo., tax assessor. The secular world presents it like we are living the high life on poor widows,” she adds. They show Ms. Meyer’s ministry has bought five houses, a private jet worth $6.5 million and expensive artwork for her, her ministry … “I’m not buying clothes or a car or a house with your money,” she thundered. Mr. Leonard doesn’t charge or solicit donations from the churches he researches for fear that it might look like Wall Watchers’ seal of approval could somehow be bought. 1Ministry Watch was started in the early 1990s when a married couple, Howard … 20/20's report left the impression that all religious ministries did not have to release financial information.

After the ministry began giving Wall Watchers financial statements and information about its board, Mr. Leonard lifted the donor alert. (Listed if other than Religion News Blog), The Wall Street Journal, via the Post Gazette, USA, This post was last updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:54 AM, Central European Time (CET), Religion News Blog is a service provided by, The term 'cult expert' is not protected. “I know God is speaking to us through her,” Nina Long, 56, said at the Phoenix service. Americans drop an estimated $90 billion into church collection plates yearly.
Accordingly, transparency is fundamental to long term prosperity in the charitable arena.”.

The 2005 financial statement shows that Ms. Meyer’s salary has been cut to $250,000 a year from about $700,000. He says that he felt God called him in 1998 to “watch” over the donors who sent in donations to religious organizations after he and his wife, Carol, read Ezekiel 33:7: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”. amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; At the Phoenix rally, Ms. Meyer spun an infectious mix of down-home frankness and unabashed exuberance for wealth building, with frequent breaks for sales pitches and fund raising. Some viewers may have been left with the impression that Mr. Leonard left his employment with Templeton Investment Counsel to devote his full efforts to starting MinistryWatch. He compiles data from statements on church Web sites, property-tax records and documents that nonprofits file when seeking tax-exempt status. Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose.

The IRS doesn’t comment on investigations. Nevertheless, we had urged 20/20 to consider reporting on the worthy ministries as well as the unworthy. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit"; That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge. When Mr. Leonard began questioning religious organizations, churches ignored his persistent calls, letters and impromptu visits. According to state property records, the ministry’s gated, 53-acre compound includes a TV and recording studio, a distribution center for books and tapes, a 5,000-square-foot maintenance garage for the ministry’s cars and a small chapel that isn’t always open to the public. Anyone can use it regardless of ability, approach, or level of acceptance by recognized authorities in the field. Mr. Leonard reasons that if the faithful were more careful, the money would be better spent.

You are here: Home | Releases ‘F’ List Ministries, Refusal to release financial information is reason for donors to find other ministries to support – whether for tsunami relief or other purposes. If we are successful we will have redirected between $50 and $100 million annually to the worthy ministries and it excites us to think how any more of those in need would be blessed.
“Rusty” Leonard, who has dug up property-tax records and church financial reports. State real-estate tax and property records show that the ministry has headquarters decor valued at tens of thousands of dollars, including a $5,000 silver eagle, an $11,000 French clock and a $30,000 conference table.

Missouri law says that a tax-exempt organization must be “purely charitable.” Mr. Holman put the headquarters on the real-estate tax and personal property-tax roles, but the ministry appealed, arguing that it is tax-exempt. Our goal is to help donors to Christian ministries to be wiser and more effective in their giving with the hope that we can divert as little as 10% of the giving to unworthy ministries to the worthy ministries. The Meyers say that criticism from outside the ministry prompted the disclosures but decline to credit Wall Watchers. Raised a Catholic in suburban Philadelphia, Mr. Leonard, 47 years old, decided to devote his life to Jesus Christ when he was 19, the same year he became a stock broker.

Using his own money and working from a suburban office park outside Charlotte, N.C., Mr. Leonard is out to make his organization, Wall Watchers, into an investment guide for the religious.

We were also thankful that 20/20 allowed us to note that our website contains not only Donor Alerts but also what we call Shining Lights ministries. Donors want to make wise giving decisions; however, without information it is not possible to make a good decision.

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