Paula White

Paula White and Concerns Over Ministry Nepotism

on May 10, 2019

President Donald J. Trump’s spiritual advisor and non-denominational televangelist Paula White officially stepped down as senior pastor of her Apopka, Florida megachurch, New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC). She has pastored NDCC since 2012 and made the unexpected announcement to her 10,000-member church on Sunday, saying:

All along I knew that God had said, meaning this, you’re a transitional pastor. Not meaning that I would ever leave Apopka or New Destiny as it was. Not that. But I knew that I wasn’t taking us into the promised land.


The Lord spoke to me very clearly and said if you miss this moment you’ll delay things. Do not miss this moment. So today I am officially installing Pastor Brad and Pastor Rachel as the senior pastors over city of destiny. Everybody stand up on your feet because this is God’s plan.

White then immediately installed her only child Bradley Knight and daughter-in-law Rachel as the new senior pastors over her multi-cultural, majority-black megachurch.

“Welcome to your new beginning,” White declared to standing applause.

Interestingly, White does not plan to entrust New Destiny to her son and daughter-in-laws’ hands entirely. Her new role is now “oversight pastor,” which will allow her to expand New Destiny Christian Center under the new banner “City of Destiny.” She aims to plant 3,000 church plants, be a “pastor to pastors,” launch a university, and, of course, continue Paula White ministries.

White is a controversial Christian figure. She has been called a prosperity preacher and criticized for her unquestioning public support of President Trump, which cost her church between 200 and 300 in members and $10,000 in weekly giving, as reported by The Christian Post. Critics have also questioned her personal life, including the purchase of a private jet, a condominium in Trump Tower, and three marriages.

Here, it is White’s decision to elevate her son and daughter-in-law as her successors that has me rolling my eyes, in all honesty.

Perhaps NDCC’s staff website is outdated, but the staff page lists Doug Shackleford as the executive pastor and Edward Boateng as associate pastor. Just this last month, Shackleford preached during at least two services (available on NDCC’s Facebook page), which tells me that he is likely still on staff. More interesting, White’s daughter-in-law Rachel Knight is listed as “Donor Relations Coordinator.” There is no mention of White’s son Bradley, although a 2017 Christian Post article identifies him as an associate pastor.

It’s not uncommon for Evangelical leaders to establish their children as successors to their massive ministries. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee to a degree, and others have handed the torch over to their sons.

Personally, I’m skeptical of this seemingly nepotistic trend. But at times it is difficult to critique a person’s decision without knowing all of the facts. Does it seem like favoritism to elevate an associate pastor and donor relations coordinator as senior pastors when, seemingly, there are more qualified church members on staff? To me, yes. But I can also understand that it is probably challenging to build a church or parachurch ministry and not want to choose your child, who you trust, as successor. But even for those who built churches and ministries from the ground up, the church is not theirs but belongs to God and entrusted to the congregation.

It’s good that children of famous Christian leaders want to do good works for the Lord. Great! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to bless their child and give them a hand up in life? That’s a parent’s natural instinct. So as a mother, I can honestly say that I would be tempted to do the same if in the same position. Who doesn’t want to see their child succeed? But as fallen sinners, we all want to do things in our own timing and according to our own fleshly desires.

Perhaps it is not for me to say or know if pastors who choose their children as their successors is a precarious trend. The flesh in me wants to call it nepotism. May God convict me if I’m wrong. But may we all be convicted of our own egos and the temptation to determine God’s plans for ourselves, always remember that our purpose is to further His kingdom, not our own.

  1. Comment by Jim on May 10, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    The apostle Paul wrote to Pastor Timothy about false teachers- Paula White is of the same ilk as Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers and other spiritual hucksters. It saddens me that she has such a prominent place at the White House. President Trump needs authentic and sound spiritual advice. The health and wealth prophets will do more harm than good.

  2. Comment by Toshe on July 28, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Jim, I am so glad you did your research and pointed out these people. I am sure you have been insteeped of the Word of God and become our watchman on the wall. God forbid we release people into thinking that God is not mad at us, and we should suffer as Christians so that will bring Him glory.

  3. Comment by Harry on August 5, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    God can take a crooked stick and draw a straight line.

  4. Comment by Calvin Roach on January 6, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    Is there a passage/story in the Word that illustrates your ‘saying’ and just what does it mean and who/where did it come from?

  5. Comment by Mark Wayne Smart on February 28, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    These are some examples of what I believe Harry is saying. Abram was a flawed man. God used him to create the nation of Israel. His sons, grandsons and great grandsons weren’t paragons of virtue either. Unfortunately, Moses missed the mark by a long shot. David and Solomon made some major mistakes and there are many more examples. I think what he is saying is that God can use anyone in any way. We should strive to be the best example of Christ we can be and leave the results to Him. We see the outside but God sees th ed thoughts and intents of the heart.

  6. Comment by Ryan on September 7, 2019 at 1:03 am

    I feel like rebuking many of you in love and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s hard to even know we’re to begin with a post like this or comments like this, but a good place to begin is wisdom and balance. Which sadly Many believers are lacking nowadays it says in the last book of Ecclesiastes that all those that truly love God shall avoid all extremes! Note it says the word all and then Extremes. The Bible neither calls being rich or poor a sin in and of itself, so here we must apply wisdom and balance. After all the gates in heaven are made up of very rare and exotic stones and gems, streets lined with gold. The river is like a sea of glass, like crystal mingled with fire. He left to prepare a place for us in Hid Fathers house there are many rooms/mansions if it were not so He said, I would of told you. Then there’s Job the most influential person in all of the Middle East, May I also not be was the wealthiest! After God said there were none as righteous as Job it began much suffering and tribulations, but after God multiplied him and mad his latter greater then his former. Then there’s King David a man after God’s own heart, but I de-progress! And Solomon the most wealthy even to date and in wisdom also. There are always to sides to a coin. Jesus told us not to store up are treasures here on the earth, but rather in heaven. He commanded us to not love money, and to give to the needs of the poor. If I had a different platform I would go into both sides with much greater detail. But above all know this, God is s God of hearts..

  7. Comment by Calvin Roach on January 6, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    “Verily I say unto you: It is hard for a rich man(woman) to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”! (Matthew 19:23)

  8. Comment by Erik on October 14, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Joyce Meyer? I’ve listened to her for 20+ years occasionally on TV, read a couple books, never gone to a conference. I have never heard her say anything anti-God or anti-Jesus, or what I thought in error (believer for 40 years). We may never all agree on every bit of doctrine, but shouldn’t lump her in that lot. My opinion.

  9. Comment by Mary Frances Begley on May 10, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Get over it! We do not possess all the information in either subject started here! This is a woman of God who has had many challenges and has met them all through faith; worked hard by faith and stands in faith to further the Gospel! Leave her alone!’n

  10. Comment by Donna Roberts on June 8, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Hey Ms. Begley. I think the author did a good job of checking herself. She admitted her feelings about this were personal but if you are a child of God, that could be discernment and a call to prayer. I don’t she should “get over it” as you suggest but perhaps we ought to all “pray over it” Jesus is real. His church is real and He is really going to return and all of us have to give an account for how we behave now. God Bless You, Ms. Mary.

  11. Comment by Paul Simpson on August 3, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Test all things and hold fast to that which is good. Paul had plenty to say on checking doctrine and conduct. Plus a minister of the gospel is to be above reproach. The prosperity gospel belongs to the Christian science church not the authentic apostolic church. Please I beg you for your own sake and others. Examine the clarity of paula whites teaching sadly it isn’t biblically sound or orthodox. Sadly many have decided to follow the rubbish of ear tickling and popularity greed gospel preaching.

  12. Comment by Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary on May 12, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Clerical nepotism in the independent, non-denominational (IN-D) church world has a mixed record. While Franklin Graham appears to be doing good and well, the son of Granville Oral Roberts isn’t well known outside the Oral Roberts University venue.

    While nepotism in clerical advancement in the UMC isn’t a common factor in appointments, other manifestations of favoritism are not unknown.

    There is a crack in the nepotism scheme, though. In the IN-D world, the direct descendent of a departing pastor may be selected to succeed their parent, but that does not guarantee their success.

    If the successor to an effective pastor turns out to be a disappointment, the laity will eventually seek a replacement. (I witnessed that in a IN-D church where six of my family members attend.)

    Correspondingly, on the UMC side, I’ve watched generally ineffective pastoral leadership come near to driving what was once a successful church into the ground before the Cabinet acted. Same for the occasional overtly incompetent Bishop.

  13. Comment by Michael Stidham on May 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    At least in our conference, I’ve seen some people get their choice of appointments due to family connections. It happens in the UMC too.

  14. Comment by Geary Rowell on May 12, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    That “keep it in the family” thing didn’t work out so well for Robert Schuller! There has to be some degree of competency in the donee if it’s going to work.

  15. Comment by April on May 12, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    Where is apostolic succession in all of this? Under whose authority is this taking place? “So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to Him…” Some have made God in their own image and have anointed themselves to be His priests. Run, don’t walk, away from this!

  16. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on May 13, 2019 at 9:50 am

    White comes from a Pentecostal tradition, so her understanding of apostolic succession is different than that of historic, liturgical traditions. In this view, the person’s encounter with the Holy Spirit is one source of authority — although perhaps more grounded Pentecostal Christians will note that this is always tested alongside God’s word in the scriptures.

    White’s declaration that “this is God’s plan” displays her belief in continued revelation, and that she herself is delivering a prophetic message from the Lord. It’s a bold statement, and a significant step further than simply saying “after significant prayer and consultation with others, I believe this is the prudent course of action.”

  17. Comment by Creed S Pogue on May 13, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    “Everybody stand up on your feet because this is God’s plan.”

    What was the discernment for that? How exactly did God communicate His wishes to Rev. White?

    We are all sinners and all fall short. Most of us are humbled by that. Some seem to be oblivious to it and have a difficult time distinguishing between their own desires and God’s.

  18. Comment by Esther Ruth on May 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I’m not surprised. These independent non-denominational churches run their churches like a corporate business adventure with the pastor as CEO. And this thing about spiritual Inheritance, belongs to their children only. They are kings and queens and their children are prince and princesses. Their kingdom is here on earth, it is obvious because of the prosperity they preach in the here and now.

  19. Comment by Stan Jefferson on May 18, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Since I have been through a situation like this (pastor wanted his son to take over after a tenure of almost 50 years–though not well-qualified) I would say like Solomon in Proverbs 15:22, “In many counselors, there is safety.” I don’t care how godly a person is, they can be prone to make bad judgments. I think she was unwise–at least.

  20. Comment by Graeme on May 27, 2019 at 3:21 am

    Good balanced article, New Zealand mega churches follow the same, promoting the children to rule. Like a business, its leaders dealing with the people they trust. It keeps the money in the family. Right or wrong, time and Jesus will let us all know.

  21. Comment by wt carpenter on May 30, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    I prefer the message of love from Barry White not from Paula White
    They asked some Hindu wisemen what they thought about Christianity they said that’s the perspective built around Jesus the Christ ?we support him but we don’t care for the business of the various Christian denominations with their infighting .

  22. Comment by A. Siewert on June 19, 2019 at 9:17 am

    It’s quite clear that Ms. White/Cain is less than she’d like to think and far less accurate than a prophet. That someone can’t identify evil in the current president is its own witness and if that’s not clear, people need a lot more time in scripture.
    If she grasped the text reasonably well, she would also see that the legacy of Jehu makes clear that passing ministry onto children because they are one’s children is a losing idea.
    Franklin Graham has thrashed Billy’s work; the Falwells are faltering. You learn a lot about the foundations of a ministry when a founder leaves and followers take over–Was this rooted in the Word and in Christian community? If it was, it might hold up. If it was built on anything else–fame, personality, attraction power, book sales, a presidential connection, a university, whatever–it’s likely not to hold up.
    Look at Jehu.

  23. Comment by Christine Truncale on June 19, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Just curious…do you realize Billy was a Freemason? He wasn’t what he seemed Im afraid and it seemed like many didnt catch this. Something to look into!

  24. Comment by Dennis Janson on June 24, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    God told me not to bash these types of people but not to listen to them as Christ’s representatives. I have a right to discern false prophets. I would not listen to any ministry from this Trumpite Woman. (nor any pastor, preacher, etc who said Trump was ‘sent from God.) Any Christian who supports Trump there with in, then must disvalidiate the Bible, especially the BOOK OF JAMES. Trump and God seeking DO NOT MIX.

  25. Comment by Brenda Lowe on June 24, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Donald Trump is ordained by God. God picked him to bring his people back out of captivity from the cabal. We are in a war of good versus evil. If you cannot see that then you are in the dark. And you are fighting the wrong battle. You do not have discernment of spirits.

  26. Comment by Kdsl on June 30, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    The same could be said about previous presidents. Unless you are Christ, all people fall short from the glory of God. Perhaps a war of good vs evil is a bit concerning. If I covet or
    work on the sabbath, or divorce, does that make me evil, even if I repent? My biggest concern is that your discernment may not meet my standards and yours may not meet mine. Our mission to is to be the light and make disciples, who are also sinners. This does not mean that we cannot use discernment, but the condemnation and judgement may be considered a sin in itself. (Please refer to the book of Romans, especially Chapter 12) My prayers go out to you and others brought to this site. May the Lord bless you with His Love.

  27. Comment by Cece on November 2, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    You think you have the spirit of discernment. You may be right that God choose him but wrong about the reasons he was chosen. Your prayers should be intervention on the behalf of your country for it would be brought to its knees after Trump’s reign. There would not be full understand until it’s over.

  28. Comment by Gary Anderson on November 8, 2019 at 1:04 am

    Oh please…. I can’t believe that you or anyone else could possibly believe that Trump is “ordained by God”. This is a man who has cheated students (Trump University), veterans (Trump Foundation), scores of vendors and others who have worked for him- – – not to mention the hurtful and disparaging comments about so many different people of all types and persuasions. Let’s not forget the infidelities and the accompanying payoffs, the constant and daily lying and what now appears to be, at the very least, use of taxpayer funds (your money and mine) to go after his political opponents. No matter if you lean left or right or centrist (as I do), this guy is not a good person or a good President. And, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that he would align himself with a “pastor” with no formal divinity training who preaches the Gospel in a manner that serves her needs more than those of her flock. When you look at the facts, they are both a lot alike. I think that, if Trump were a woman and a pastor, he would probably be Paula White. Kind of scary, huh?

  29. Comment by Dale on June 25, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Some of the members of Trump’s evangelical advisory committee.

  30. Comment by Kenny on October 4, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Three marriages, an adulterous affair, an a hard to follow money trail makes this a woman of God? The only way White exists is because of a multitude of followers who are undiscerning and almost completely uninformed about what the Bible teaches. What has been discovered about the majority of her fans is that they don’t attend church regularly. Also, a surface study of comments, not just here but in other formats, reveal many of her supporters have little knowledge or comprehension of the Scriptures. When someone has a following of people who don’t go to church or know much about the Bible, well, three, four, say ten divorces are ok. Appropriation of millions of dollars of donations, no biggie. An affair with the biggest religious fraud in the history of the church, that’s cool. White has duped and conned her adherents to the point they will accept whatever she does. She could kill someone on stage and the kool aide drinkers would shout “hallelujah.”

  31. Comment by sarah lautenschlager on December 31, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I thought God put rulers in power.
    “Submission to Authorities
    1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. 2Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.…
    Berean Study Bible”
    I think God used “bad” people to do His work more than once. A harlot saved the disciplines & she was spared death. I think her family, too. So He can use whomever He wants, ” “good” or “bad”. For all we know He may be using Him to bring in the end times. Or maye to get Christians to finally stand up and protest and do something about all the bad in our country. As for Trump being so awful… I seem to remember a Presiddent having sex in the oval office, one, & his brother fooling around with Marilyn and our soldiers being killed by a politician doing wrong and a President giving money to our enemies and a bunch of oliticians fooling around with little girls….. If you are going to accuse one, accuse them all. If someone did something in the past, but no longer does it, we should be glad. Most of ouir politicians are doing bad things. Some are screaming, yelling, ranting and raving like lunatics. We need to elect better people.nes who are mature and don’t have hissy fits, and also DO have some experience in government. As for Paula, I watched her a few times many years ago. I don’t remember exactly want she said, but she read out of the Bible to prove her saying a bad thing was good more than once, when the Bible was saying it was bad. Finally she said a VERY bad thing was good & I turned her off, for good. She and a lot of females should also read Proverbs 7 where it describes harlots & in other verse, too. At least half of the females dress like them. “Instructions to Women
    9Likewise, I want the women to adorn themselves with respectable apparel, with modesty, and with self-control, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess to worship God. 11A woman must learn in quietness and full submissiveness.…”
    The Bible says not to tempt your fellow man and cause him to fall, which is what females are doing when they wear skimpy and/or tight, low cut, short clothing. The Bible says when he looks and lusts he committed adultery. So females should cover up!
    People are so far from what the Bible says Christians should be, they are unrecognizable. In the Bible it seems people would see someone and know they were a follower. Not today!!!

  32. Comment by Nadine Perry on January 4, 2020 at 5:43 am

    I stop listening to Paula White when she strong armed her way into this church and now to place HER kids as senior pastor speaks volumes this church is another Woman ministry but people are so quick to say God sent ME here you can change the name but you cant change the plans God has for a family let her run behind the White House and fame God has this

  33. Comment by John Ward on March 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Can the plans of God be thwarted…..nah. With that truth, not mine but His, what leader has not been established by Him-careful what you or who you say. Did He ever say, with the one exception, that they were going to all be god fearing followers of Him? Come on folks, we have other tasks at hand rather than vain disputing.

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