The Lexus Legend

Legend has it that the “father” of the Calvary Chapel “denomination,” Chuck Smith, reprimanded some of his fellow pastors for each buying a Lexus during a season of ministry success.  Apparently the pastors traded in their cars the next day.

So what do you think?  Was Chuck right?

Is it wrong or inappropriate for a pastor to drive a high-end vehicle?  If you were to see a pastor in an above-average car, what would be your first impression?

NOTE:  I am not a “car guy”…never have been, so to be honest I never notice a person’s car, but would love other thoughts.  (To prove my point:  I drive a ’95 Ford Windstar and like it!)


~ by Dave Smith on April 15, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Lexus Legend”

  1. Great post and question. Tough one for sure. I have known a few pastors that had very nice vehicles and it was always strange for me to see them tooling around in them…I am talking 40-50k worth of car. It’s strange for me because I would feel inappropriate owning something like that knowing that I can have a very nice car for much less and do something more constructive with the money. At the same time, the men I am referring to were awesome people and I have no doubt that they were comfortable with the purchases. I guess I feel like it gives the wrong impression but I certainly wouldn’t argue over it with someone for more than a minute.

  2. My dad’s a pastor and has what I think to be a pretty good rule of thumb:

    A pastor’s income and lifestyle should not exceed the income and lifestyle of the community to which God has called him.

    Obviously, there are exceptions, nuances, room for debate, and on and on. But, I think it’s at least a good place to start that conversation.


    I can’t help but wonder if those pastors went into huge debt in order to purchase those cars. If they did, I think it’s pretty irresponsible.

    But, that’s because I think fiscal responsibility demands that one should do whatever one can to avoid going into debt to purchase a depreciating asset.

    That point should be incredibly clear to anyone involved in nonprofit work in this economy, church-related or otherwise.

  3. if the second greatest commandment is love your neighbor as yourself, i think your car choice should align. so unless you can somehow justify that loving your neighbor is more capably reached by you having a ridiculously nice car, then i think you ought to spend the difference on loving your neighbor in a tangible way.

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