It might be a prosperity scam when. . .
#10 The donation button is bigger than their logo
Being in marketing for a few years has taught me about conversion rates. When you have a website, you identify your #1 objective and make sure that your content and website layout all point to the goal you want your customers to accomplish.
#9 Everything is about sowing seeds
I am not sure what the obsession is with the sowing seed idea, but somehow it seems to be prevalent all throughout the prosperity gospel circles. My guess is that they want you to get your mind off of immediately seeing returns when you give them money. It could take ten or twenty years to see that acorn turn into a magnificent oak tree. So a seed now, but don’t expect anything immediately in return.
#8 You have to pay for their paraphernalia to learn the “simple” steps to prosperity
All the books, pamphlets, audio, videos, workbooks, trinkets, seminars, and classes just to explain the “simple” steps to prosperity? Yikes! All of that helps the preacher be prosperous. Whatever happened to hard work, good ideas, and investments to build prosperity?
#7 The website is colored green and gold
It’s so cliché, but it’s true. The prosperity gospel’s top color choices are green and gold. It’s one of the most hideous color combinations on the planet too.
#6 Receiving God’s blessings sounds like a sales pitch
If they are coming at you like an aggressive car salesman to convince you that God wants to bless you, then it’s time to reconsider sticking around any longer. God doesn’t need your monetary sacrifice to bless you financially. A farmer works hard in the field to grow crops. The hard work pays off and that’s where the blessing comes from. The amount of seed the farmer plants and the costs for the seed are minuscule to the amount of harvest that comes from it. Giving shouldn’t be painful, it should be cheerful.
#5 They display people showing off their bling
If you feel that you are on a casino or gambling site, but it turns out it’s supposed to be about the gospel, then you’ve found yourself a prosperity gospel scam. Playing the lottery doesn’t make you rich. The gospel isn’t associated with FanDuel. Feeding the flesh is not at all what we should be looking forward to.
#4 The usual prosperity preachers are on there
Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch (both), Janice Crouch, Creflo Dollar, Rod Parsley, Freddie Prince, Joel Osteen, Mike Murdock. . . and the list goes on. I get it – I don’t think preachers should promote poverty or living your worst life. Both sides of the poverty vs riches argument are wrong. Saying you should be somewhere in the middle is wrong. How you live your life and how God blesses you for it is not our focus. We are not in a contest about how much we gain or how much we give away. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about glorifying and enriching our lives. The more I focused on myself, the more I felt secluded in life.
#3 They say the Bible contains the secrets to wealth
It’s not a secret, is it? Work hard, build good relationships, and make good decisions. What’s so secret? Many religions and cultures use idols and icons in their homes as a charm to bring good fortune. The gospel is different. There is no lucky charm, prayer, or buried secret that will turn poverty into riches. God is not a slot machine or genie waiting for you to rub him the right way so he can grant your three wishes.
#2 They sound like a QVC commercial or liquidation event
If they need your money now, or if they sound urgent for you to buy their latest trinket, then it’s a scam. When I lived in Pensacola Florida, for six years the same furniture company stood out on the corner of a busy street holding a sign that said, “Going out of business/liquidation event.” For six years this went on. That was 17 years ago and I wouldn’t doubt they’re standing there right now.
#1 Prosperity preachers talk about money and happiness more than the gospel
The two words – prosperity and gospel should not be in the same sentence. It’s a prosperity message. The gospel is something else entirely different. Content entirely about your lifestyle, parenting, work, relationships, finances, etc. may have its place in our lives. We need wisdom, encouragement, hope, and inspiration in all areas of our lives. When God’s people come together to do what God purposed – to worship him; but instead find themselves focusing on worshipping the needs of our own lives, I see a problem.