Practice what you preach. We expect our leaders—no matter who they are—to maintain certain standards of decency and to uphold the same values they profess to support. Those expectations are very clear when it comes to religious authority figures, whom we hope to be charitable and to focus more on the spiritual rather than the material things in life. Alas!
The ‘Preachers N Sneakers’ Instagram account, run by Dallas-based Ben Kirby, calls out those religious leaders who act like hypocrites by showing how some of them wear extremely expensive designer items. Having amassed a following of 247k followers in two years, Kirby continues to show the dissonance between what preachers, pastors, and priests say and what the details of their clothing reveal about their actual lifestyles.
Bored Panda reached out to Kirby and spoke to him about keeping religious leaders accountable and what keeps his relationship with his faith strong. Be sure to read on for his insights.
When you’re done looking through this list, you’ll find Bored Panda’s earlier article about ‘Preachers N Sneakers’ right over here. Just in case you wanted some more content before your upcoming Sunday service, that is (we sincerely hope your pastor is more down to earth than the ones featured here).
Old Pic, Timeless Style With Pastor John Gray In The Supreme X Louis V Jacquard Denim Parka $9,625
Hillsong Teaching Pastor Nathan Finochio Bringing It At #colourconf 2019 In Some Ferociously Fab Tiger Slides. Gucci Slipper $1,100
Mosaic Mexico Pastor Emerson Nowotny Keepin The Tide Pen Handy While Rocking This Super Fresh Supreme X Louis V Tee $1,407
Kirby told Bored Panda that we ought to encourage faith leaders to surround themselves with people who can be honest with them about their actions. "Many churches today are led by one pastor couple with no elders or leadership team on the same level, that’s asking for trouble. Being a pastor is a tough job; it’s an immense calling to lead others spiritually. Why wouldn’t you put as many safeguards in place to help you stay above reproach?"
According to the founder of 'Preachers N Sneakers,' if you're an active member of your local church and you donate to the ministry, it's fine to ask questions about how the organization is "saving, spending, and giving that money." Kirby is a big believer in transparency and thinks that it's a good way to maintain a strong relationship between parishioners and the clergy.
"If you ask about finance specifics and get a wishy-washy answer with no real reporting, you should ask yourself why," he said. "On a more macro level, I think a time is coming where massive church organizations will at least be required to provide more detailed financial reporting to the government or some other governing authority. So many churches have enormous donation revenues (hundreds of millions of dollars), commercial real estate holdings, and licensing income that seemingly have no reporting requirements compared to a for-profit business."
Pastor Mike Todd Staying Anchored In The Balenciaga Triple S $1,090
Prophet Bryan Maldonado Keepin That King Jesus International 501c3 Status Intact In The Royal Blue Lv Runners $1,020
If Retail On The Kicks You’re Wearing Is $2k And The Resale Market Is Paying $8-9k, What Are Your Shoes Worth? Jordan 1 Retro High Dior $8,100
Kirby added that with the advent of the pandemic, the account's content has changed "significantly" with remote services taking the place of physically going to church.
We also enquired about what keeps Kirby's faith strong and whether his project has changed anything. "My relationship with Jesus, my wife, and my community has helped keep my faith strong. Getting insults from other Christians for two years didn’t exactly make me feel great, but it caused me to really dig into why I believe what I believe and learn to place my worth in what God says about me and not what others have to say," he revealed.
"I’ll just say that I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help others push for a more authentic faith and representation of Jesus to the outside world. I didn’t do this in a perfect way and definitely don’t have all the answers, but am trying my best."
Pastor Troy Gramling Back At It Again With The Super Breathable Givenchy Hoodie $1,240
Kirby, now 31, first decided to draw attention to how famous pastors live after watching some worship songs on YouTube and noticing how the lead singer was wearing 800-dollar sneakers. He found it suspicious how the Elevation Worship megachurch could afford to pay their musicians that much money. What’s more, he started wondering how the church’s pastor, Steven Furtick, could afford new designer outfits incredibly often.
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; it started a new Instagram account that posted the price tags of the shoes that well-known pastors were wearing. In a single month, the IG account drew in a whopping 100k followers, hungry for gossip and righteousness.
In an interview with Sarah Pulliam Bailey from The Washington Post, Kirby said that at the very beginning, it was “easy” for him to make jokes about it. “Some of the outfits are absurd, so it’s easy to laugh at some of the designer pieces. The price tags are outlandish.”
Pastor Maldonado Stayin Ricci In Good Works While Sporting The Primo Belt Of Truth. Stefano Ricci Belt $2,541
Y’all Busting These Out If Your Family Gettin The Inaug? Jordan 1 Retro High Dior $7,210
Pastor John Gray With Relentless Details! Givenchy Sweatshirt $1,145
As time went by, he began asking some more in-depth questions about the relationship between status and wealth, and whether it was right to earn so much money while preaching about Jesus. “I began asking, how much is too much? Is it okay to get rich off of preaching about Jesus? Is it okay to be making twice as much as the median income of your congregation?” he said.
Kirby had kept his true identity a secret, however, he finally shared it with The Washington Post after publishing his new book, ‘PreachersNsneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities.’ Having grown up in a Christian home-schooling family, Kirby is an evangelical and believes in sharing his faith with others.
His family generously donated to their church because they lived a “comfortable but modest lifestyle,” however, Kirby began having doubts about how honest some religious authorities were after he saw his pastor driving an expensive car.
Pastor Furtick With The Fully-Realized Adam-And-Yves Saint Laurent Blessings On Feet $1,095
We’re One Week In And Bishop Td Jakes Has Already Secured The Bag To Secure A Bag. Christian Louboutin Belt Bag $1,250
Pastor Judah (Smith) And The Lion Of All Gucci Jackets. $3,600
The Lord Works In Mysterious Color Combinations. Lv Sweatshirt $725, Air Force 1 Sneakers $1,145
Here’s A Fendi Hoodie $1,290
“Like Hollywood—a world so often criticized by the pietistic—these institutions and their leaders celebrate and reward the ‘blessing’ of fame, popularity, and influence. Pastors function like ‘talent’ performing for an audience or like a spokesman for the church’s ‘brand,’” Kirby scathingly criticizes the hypocrisy that’s found among the ranks of some of the devout in his book.
Transformation Church Pastors Mike Todd And Charles Metcalf Rocking Their Conference-Best At Transformation Conference. Nike Air Fear Of God 1, $1500
Pastor Troy (Gramling) Likes His Tees The Same Way He Likes His Digiorno: Supreme. $1,550
Pastor Jimmy Rollins In The Union Air Jordan 1s And The Crease That Surpasses All Understanding, $1,250
It’s not just what pastors and preachers officially earn. They can get the kicks, clothes, and other things as gifts or donations. Kirby, however, hasn’t lost his faith and doesn’t blame fashion and celebrities as a whole. He encourages other Christians to demand greater transparency and accountability.
“I’m getting people to question the status quo within the church and hopefully push for a reevaluation of what we value. People aren’t going to reach God without this guy wearing Yeezys? Come on,” he told The Washington Post.