Nearby, Westside Baptist Church in Fort Pierce

Nationally known pastor drawing thousands to Port St

WednesdaysPORT ST. LUCIE? Tucked away near a residential area in Port St. Lucie, cars fill a parking lot on any given Wednesday or Sunday evening. They are parked along the grass, near the side of the road. A nearby sign reads “FaithWorld.”

The name and swarms of people might make the spot seem like a religious amusement park, but FaithWorld is a satellite church of the 6,000 member FaithWorld in Orlando, one of Florida’s largest churches louis vuitton look alike bags , according to a database of megachurches by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

While many long standing churches on the Treasure Coast have roughly 700 members, the local FaithWorld has , in a year, attracted nearly 1,000 churchgoers who come from all over the three county area and as far as Orlando. They come to watch the twice a week sermons from Pastor Clint Brown, a nationally known gospel recording artist recognized for more than just his musical and pastoral roles.

Records from Brown’s 2005 divorce, which Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers obtained from the Seminole County Courthouse, revealed Brown’s lavish lifestyle? cars, houses and shopping sprees? had been paid for in part with the Orlando church’s money.

The church had been making payments to Brown’s $1.4 million mortgage. Records show he still lives in the same gated, Central Florida community.

FaithWorld was paying replica designer handbags for two of Brown’s Mercedes Benz cars, as well. Brown had five other vehicles, including two Harley Davidson motorcycles and a Porsche. Reports also showed thousands of church cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk dollars were used to pay for aaa replica designer handbags monthly clothes shopping sprees. Credit card statements show Brown and his then wife often shopped at stores such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Louis Vuitton.

Also in 2005, Brown was the target of a lawsuit in which a widowed church member from Orlando said the pastor failed to repay a $200,000 loan she made to the church. A similar lawsuit came months later, when a Denver church claimed Brown borrowed $100,000 from its congregation and never repaid the money. Both cases were amicably resolved later that year.

Despite his past high quality designer replica handbags wholesale , Brown is the reason Port St. Lucie’s FaithWorld is growing, say church members.

Through a church representative, Brown declined an interview with Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, but in September brought up the issue during a sermon at the Port St. Lucie church in which he knew a Scripps reporter was in attendance.

“Ain’t nobody perfect to your left. Ain’t nobody perfect to your right. Ain’t nobody perfect in front of you,” Brown cheap louis vuitton bags from china said, regarding the past media reports about his finances. “If you’re going to publish the evil, take the time to publish the good.”

His listeners agreed.

“No one is perfect. As a pastor, he has a private life. Just because our pastor has a relationship with Jesus, that doesn’t make him perfect. What matters is how his message connects us to God,” said Jenny Posadas, a teacher at Treasure Coast High School who volunteers at the Port St. Lucie church as an usher.

Posadas trusts her tithing money is going to a good cause, although she isn’t sure what that might be.

“My responsibility as a Christian is to tithe,” she said. “If (Brown) spends my money for himself, that’s out of my hands. That’s between him and God.”

Megachurch in the making

FaithWorld officials had been looking to expand its ministry in 2010 when it learned about a vacant spot in Port St. Lucie. Brown had visited the former New Life Christian Centre in the past.

In 2007, New Life came to the public’s attention when its pastor, the Rev. Ronald McCaskill, was arrested in West Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica Palm Beach for prostitution solicitation. The misdemeanor charge was dropped, and McCaskill continued leading the church until FaithWorld took over in 2010. New Life still owns the property, which the St. Lucie County Property Appraiser office has valued at $3.5 million.

“A lot of the people at New Life knew of Pastor Clint because he had visited us and done a fundraiser for our pastor,” said church member Brenda Sposato, who works at Vero Beach’s The Source. Sposato attended New Life and, after hearing Brown speak, started visiting the Orlando church.

“For a man to travel this far for a church, we knew he was amazing,” she added. “And when some of us heard he was coming to Port St. Lucie, it was over. We couldn’t wait.”

There were about 20 people in attendance the first Sunday FaithWorld’s doors opened in Port St. Lucie, church members said.

“It was a leap of faith, that Sunday,” said Anthony Spell, the church’s campus pastor who oversees the Port St. Lucie church while Brown is in Orlando.

Within a year, additional rows of seats were added to the back of the church to accommodate its nearly 1,000 visitors. FaithWorld staff declined to answer how much money was spent on cheap replica handbags church renovations and purchases.

The church’s leaders have a short term goal to make it one of the replica louis vuitton bags from china area’s only megachurches? meaning it would have more than 2,000 weekly attendees. Nearby, Westside Baptist Church in Fort Pierce already has reached about 2,000 attendees since its start in 1946. Also, a church in the making in Stuart will be a satellite location of megachurch Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach, which has about 9,000 members and is one of the fastest growing churches in high quality replica handbags china the state.

“We’re going to hit 3,000 very soon. I believe Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags it,” Spell said of FaithWorld. “This church is just getting started.”

Megachurches are common among members of the evangelical Christian faith. The bigger megachurches often have nationally known leaders such as Joel Osteen, of Houston’s Lakewood Church, or Benny Hinn, who once was the pastor of the World Outreach Center where FaithWorld now replica louis vuitton is located.

The average salary for a lead pastor in a megachurch is about $147,000, according to a 2010 Large Church Salary Report Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags by Leadership Network. In 2002, Brown’s income topped $520,000, according to the reported divorce filings. More than half of that salary came from music sales and performances, while about $150,000 came from FaithWorld.

Florida, along with California, Texas and Georgia, have the highest concentrations of megachurches, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. The institute’s database shows there are 120 Florida megachurches.

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