Jesus washing expensive Nike shoes
What started as a joke account meant to poke fun at pastors sporting trendy sneakers is now raising legitimate questions about church donations.

If the Devil wears Prada, megachurch pastors might want to reconsider buying shoes with price tags that exceed most people's paychecks. A new Instagram account called @preachersnsneakers has caught on like wildfire in recent weeks, gaining over 125,000 followers (Christians and non-believers alike) by calling out high-profile pastors for their taste in expensive shoes and swag. 

But what started as a joke account meant to poke fun at pastors sporting trendy sneakers is now raising legitimate questions about how church donations are managed. Each post shows a well-known pastor wearing fancy shoes, juxtaposed with the jaw-dropping price attached to each example of "high fashion."

One post features pastor John Gray, of South Carolina's Relentless Church, wearing a pair of Air Yeezy 2 red sneakers that recently sold for $5,611:

But the account isn't limited to just shoes. Seattle-based pastor Judah Smith and his wife Chelsea were recently featured after heading out in public wearing Gucci pants and a matching tank top, listed at $980 and $490 respectively:

Is This Holy Behavior?

The account has been praised for launching a difficult conversation about how popular faith leaders spend the money they help bring in to the church.

"I've had hundreds of pastors and people in ministry message me like 'Thank you, keep doing what you're doing. It's prompting a discussion around what leadership and stewardship look like within the church,'" explains account founder Tyler Jones (a pseudonym). Jones, himself an Evangelical Christian, created the account after noticing a preponderance of high-end sneakers appearing on stage in churches around the country.

But Jones says it's not just the religious community that appreciates his work. Non-religious people who are highly critical of so-called "prosperity preachers" have reached out as well, expressing gratitude for the account's role in bringing inequities to light.

"I also have this whole other component of the secular, questioning or atheist community that are messaging me like, 'Dude, this is hilarious. It's crazy the money that these preachers make,'" Jones explains.

Squirming at the Pulpit

Each of the account's 28 posts seem to have hit a nerve with followers. And that message is getting back to the faith leaders being featured. In fact, pastor Chad Veach of Los Angeles' Zoe Church was actually forced to change his Instagram handle after one post showed him sporting a $1,980 Gucci backpack and $794 Rhude track pants. Veach had first insisted he hadn't paid for a single item he was wearing, but then deleted the comment.

"That's when I was like oh, this just got way more real than I ever intended," said Jones, who has maintained his own anonymity and insists he's not out there simply to take passive-aggressive swipes at trendy pastors. "I'm not
trying to cause a division; me and him both believe inherently the same things. I just think that if you're in church you should know how your pastor is spending the money."

Living Lavishly

Even if it turns out some of those sneakers are gifts made to these so-called public influencers, Jones - whose own wife works in a church for a very modest salary - doesn't see why any pastor would wear items most of their congregants could never afford. As he puts it:

"It'd be one thing if they were to come out and explain, like, 'this is why I bought this pair of Off-White Chicago 1s, because I feel strongly about how they're made.' If you could get a congregation to somehow agree that their money going to those $2,500 pair of kicks was good for the kingdom of God then I can't have an argument with that."

But how exactly do expensive sneakers help one to better spread God's word? Does being an effective preacher mean winning over hearts, or winning fashion contests?

Jesus probably wouldn't say so. Such displays of opulence stand in stark contrast to the image of Jesus portrayed in the Bible a man who wore sandals and willingly washed the dirty feet of his disciples. That picture would look a lot different if the entire group was decked out in Gucci pants and limited edition Nike sneakers.


  1. Eric k's Avatar Eric k

    Competition in the church to be looking like your someone is like a nasty infection that spreads. Its keeps others away that cant afford the fancy duds or the Michael Korrs bag. The problem is most in the church are clueless about the pastors that they follow.

  1. The Messenger's Avatar The Messenger

    To whom this may concern, I might not be signing marriage certificates or a baptism, but I let others know I can. What I have been my time, feeding others, clothing w/shoes, gas, rides, talking to them about the way we should carry ourselves, you see, it's not all misleading, the faith we have is in the Father, not pleasing man, but Him above. Aman

    1. Miss Amy's Avatar Miss Amy

      Minister Parkhurst sounds like you are a wonderful Minister.

    2. Ted Prettyman's Avatar Ted Prettyman

      Way to go, Mark.

  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    The materialism among "clergy" is disgusting. Jesus' cloak was seamless, and therefore very valuable at the time, and His family wasn't poor, but He did not try to gain a following by dressing flashily. Yes, we should wear good shoes, and they should fit the occasion, but to go out and just spend to indulge oneself shows insecurity and narcissism to an unhealthy degree. A suit doesn't have to be Armani and shoes don't have to be Guchi. Again, it's disgusting, particularly when the people in question are begging tithes and offerings from people with little to spare and mouths to feed.

    1. Rev. Dr. B.L. Nielsen's Avatar Rev. Dr. B.L. Nielsen

      I appreciate your sensible reply. You might be interested to read mine, below.

  1. flugo's Avatar flugo

    These 'prosperity' preachers are obscene, shameful and sinful!
    Jesus said you can't serve both riches and God. He said it's harder for a rich man to get to heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
    Jesus, Himself lived a simple life.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Look no further than the Pope and his dirty patriarchal cult for all the gold and refineries. Their net worth could rid the earth of thirst and starvation if they used it wisely.


  1. James's Avatar James

    Whats the problem?............... This has been going on since the Pre-Tami Baker era. Just now catching it ? Be careful, they may be buying jets and abusing little boys soon...

    1. Carrie's Avatar Carrie

      They do! They also get caught with prostitutes, male and female, making themselves show as the liars they are. If you take on the task, make no false claims and help those in need. I am not wealthy yet I give what I can and expect those I help to help others. This is how we make the world a better place. Blessed Be.

  1. kimberly's Avatar kimberly

    that's nothing....check out what the cult leader of the Worldwide Church of God left behind when he died.!

  1. Lynn Gideon's Avatar Lynn Gideon

    Who are we to judge leaders and government. They are anointed By God. We are to pray for them, not judge them and condemn them. Have we become the Pharisees of Jesus' time

    1. kimberly's Avatar kimberly

      This is neither a "leader" or a "government official". They are false preachers of ideas that perpetrate the idea of tithing (which was disannulled in Heb 7) and/or the idea of "giving to get". With the "giving" to them so they can "get". They have usurped a commission they were never given from the biblical record and the only "power" they hold is their ability to cajole money from the gullible who listen to them. There is precedent in the biblical record to reject them and rebuke them sharply. Practically speaking, anyone with discernment about the scriptures should immediately see them as fakes.

      Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake (Money)……....rebuke them sharply...…………...

    2. flugo's Avatar flugo

      Lynn: A very important truth you've shared, that seems to have largely fallen by the wayside.

      Romans 13 is very explicit that authority comes from God. This includes the President, governors, cops, bosses, teachers, down to the parents. If we criticize authority, we find fault with God' decisions.

      But, we are to honor people of authority; pray for them.

      It's easy to point out poor leaders of the past and the damage they may have done. But, the Bible says our thought are not God's thoughts and our ways not His ways. We don't always understand.

      God will 'reward' the authority figures to the degree they rightly (or wrongly) performed their duties. Our job is to pray and respect them.

    3. Ted Prettyman's Avatar Ted Prettyman

      They are reasons why many with reasons to disdain Christianity and its church. And they discourage seekers and suffers from coming to church. so, also, do those laity who send their ego ahead of them displaying the super-sanctity.

      1. Ted Prettyman's Avatar Ted Prettyman

        Sorry for the error: Should read "They are the reasons why many disdain....'

    4. Let Lynn Live's Avatar Let Lynn Live

      Nobody tell Lynn about the Biblical passage of camels passing through eyes of needles. It will destabilize her entire world view. Nobody quote the Bible to Lynn! She clearly hasn't read it, let her be blissfully and completely ignorant.

      1. kimberly's Avatar kimberly

        the "needle's eye" was a very narrow gate into the city at that time. If a pack animal was overloaded or was too large, it wouldn't be able to enter the city. please understand the Bible meaning before attempting to use a specific passage and applying it generically for your attack agenda against someone.

    5. angel's Avatar angel

      Actually, your not very far off. The church is everything Jesus despised of the church back in his day, fancy suits, flashy jewelry, hundreds of thousands of dollars in electronics, selling books at coffee at the church starbucks! You people ARE the Pharisee's!, Don't believe me, read his description of them in the bible and see how many boxes your church checks off!

    6. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Lynn, they are not anointed by god they are elected by the people. You are being mislead by your belief structure. That’s what comes of being indoctrinated Lynn. You might not see that now, but hopefully you will one day.

  1. Eric k's Avatar Eric k

    I showed my wife this article and when she seen Pastor Grey with those Red sneakers. she was thinking for sure the devil is doing a real good job., very sad situation when some of these individuals could be doing good for god are just thinking of their own ego;s

    1. angel's Avatar angel

      Sorry, but the devil didn't make him do it. At some point, people need to understand that the true evil lurks in the shadow's of HUMAN souls!

  1. Mark Hannon's Avatar Mark Hannon

    2nd Corinthians 11:5-13 and 1st Timothy 3 are condemnations of the actions of these ministers. I wonder if they hold other people to The Word but the mote in their eye keeps them from seeing themselves.

  1. Lauren Hubbell's Avatar Lauren Hubbell

    If satan is real, where would he be most likely to be found?

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Oooooh! I love quizzes. Let me guess. At the pulpit in churches? My second guess would be the Vatican! My third guess would be living with the Clinton’s. Am I close?


      1. Shudo Yakushin's Avatar Shudo Yakushin

        at the White House, grinning merrily.

  1. Rev. Dr. B.L. Nielsen's Avatar Rev. Dr. B.L. Nielsen

    I think that if these ministers are able to gather such large support for their work, that they can afford the expensive duds, more power to them! They are obviously affecting peoples' lives positively. However, I think that they might want to consider that it could be in poor taste to wear these expensive duds or drive flashy cars or whatever, as not all members of their congregation can afford the same, in fact, with the price tags above, many can't and they could become intimidated or alienated, so not a smart move for the minister. Amongst those who can afford such things, there can arise speculation about how wisely the minister is utilizing church funds. Again, not a position that any minister wants to be in. Generally, it seems to me that it is okay to wear what that wish but like all of us, rich or poor or in between, we must choose wisely if we want to avoid too many "bumps" on our road of life and career.

    1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

      Yep. Good stuff. We should always be wise stewards of whatever resources with which we are entrusted, endowed, blessed, or just plain lucky enough to have.

  1. Bill Fox's Avatar Bill Fox

    Last time I checked, I don't have to joint one of these organizations, or contribute to them. They have every right to be rich and display their wealth.

  1. Secretary3rd's Avatar Secretary3rd

    Harvest Bible Church in Illinois as I was told fired their Pastor who brought a Lear jet for himself and have two 3000 foot homes and a very large salary. The church is 40 million in debit and guess who is going to pay off that debit. Tough to have co-signers is it not. My church does not own any money to anyone. As Mother says about debit "being haunted will be just one of your problems with debit". There was a book form the 1970's called "The Preachers" kind of exposed what preachers of that era were up too.

  1. Miguel's Avatar Miguel

    "When you are preaching to tax collectors you dress like a tax collector." I'm sure I've heard that excuse before. It's not completely without merit though. Would people take a preacher dressed in sackcloth and sandals seriously? Does that even matter?

    As an aside, I did some of my own price checking on those shoes. Most are not even close to the prices shown. They are still more expensive than any I would buy, but offering misinformation in the pursuit of truth makes the entire case crumble. There are many better reasons to criticize Prosperity Christianity.

  1. Eric k's Avatar Eric k


    This is what these pastor have as a mindset

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    Trump's 1040? Nah, I wanna see Joel Osteen's!

  1. Renya's Avatar Renya

    It doesn't matter what the Pastors are wearing, we shouldn't pass judgment because of the shoes or clothing could have been a gift we dont know ...nothing wrong with liking or having expensive things ....what matters is the WORD of GOD that precedes out of their hearts the truth to God's children.

    1. angel's Avatar angel

      Ahhh, but isn't the minister also suppossed to be an example? Oh wait, they are! They show the example of how rich God will make you IF you have enough faith and learn to be a manipulative fast talker!! Even though Jesus said not to place your treasures on the earth, but what does Jesus know, he was just a poor carpenter! the brain washing never ceases to amaze me! Please enlighten us how a man of greed could possible be holy enough to preach the word of God!

  1. corsair red's Avatar corsair red

    Matthew 25: 37-40 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 6:19-21 King James Version (KJV) 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

    20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

    21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    How many times have any of the prosperity preachers gone into their own congregations, much less into the world, and fed and clothed those who needed help? There is the measure of these people.

    Flashy cars, big houses, expensive clothes are inarguably treasures on earth.

  1. Lee's Avatar Lee

    Churches need to pay taxes. It seems the only way the needy will benefit from them.

  1. fred klink's Avatar fred klink

    ok I read article and comments lot of bible quoting judgement calls but no one said if you believe and follow the leader and talked out of your hard earned money what they do with your money . what they do with their money is after up to them. remember god planned it working the way god in all his wisdom caused right? believer's will always blindly pay unquestioning just for the fact it is comforting knowing throwing money might get a room with a virw

  1. Rev Allen Las Vegas nv's Avatar Rev Allen Las Vegas nv

    As a non respected El cheapo clergyman or as my friends call me scamister..I am ok with that .I realize being a shake and bake ulc ordained minister offends some.well that's ok. I believe that I am doing God's works as a routine Prophet doing veteran eulogy's at VA cemetaries for free..My respect is from Jesus to me to him.. regardless what shoes or bling I wear.

    1. kimberly's Avatar kimberly

      That should not be your (or anyone's) perspective unless your agenda was based on a secular need. You are as much a clergyman as anyone else in the field of philosophical expertise or you wouldn't have asked for such an honor. ULC ordinations are an amazing and wonderful blessing to those of us who had the courage to ask for it. My ordination might have been obtained from ULC but I requested it based on 50 years of study and learning to felt qualified in asking for it. I value my certificate of ordination even above my college degree.

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    the "Gifts" Justification is as Wrong as the rest of the Richass Apologies for Greed and Vanity.. If They are serving the Prosperity of their followers then They should GIVE IT ALL Back To THEM;) by the way political leaders are limited in amounts of gifts they get and must donate any Larger ones Use the Rolls or Caddy Limo to Pick up homeless and Take them to the Million dollar Home...

    (But "send in your Love Offerings and we Will Pray for You" has Been around Almost as long as Snake oil..;)

    YES; Churches and Leaders should Pay Taxes.. unless they really live a life of poverty and denial; and if they campaign or Condemn politically they should Pay and Be as limited as any political fundraiser No; Real Nonprofit Missions and Outreaches should be taxed but they should be audited and held accountable. and that means Money raised goes to the Cause Not to Fat Salaries and Fundraiser Costs

    By the way anyone that by choice or Circumstances live below poverty level should not pay taxes; Else how can they ever invest in their Children or get out of poverty; The entitlements and Legal loopholes for Profits for the RIch and Big BIz Should be balanced by Incremental Taxes Like we used to have.. if they invest and donate to Real causes; Not Vanity Libraries Museums and their Spoiled Kids Trustfunds to avoid inheritance taxes

  1. Mark's Avatar Mark

    God is abundant.. An expensive pair of sneakers is nothing if it attracts and opens the eyes of some young man searching for the truth.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      God is not real Marky.. The money for an expensive pair of sneakers could have been better used to feed the poor, but is worth nothing if it's used to attract, and further close the eyes of some young man searching for lies, that someone has indoctrinated him to believe is the truth.


    2. angel's Avatar angel

      Please tell me your joking. It might bring 1 man to God, but I guarantee, it will send another 1,000 away!

  1. angel's Avatar angel

    The shoes are way more important then the 3 houses, 4 convertibles, and 10 high dollar suites! The only God that resides in these churches is the God of MONEY! And this is one of many reasons I left the church!

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