A Missouri pastor appeared to berate his congregation for not giving him enough money to buy a high-priced watch, in a clip that has since gone viral.
The clip, posted to TikTok by a local digital news outlet called The Kansas City Defender, was taken from a livestreamed Sunday service at The Church of The Well in Kansas City earlier this month. In the clip, pastor Carlton Funderburke appears to berate his congregants for not “honoring” him sufficiently by giving enough of the money they spend on themselves. The clip has since gone viral, amassing more than 550,000 views in four days.
“This is how I know you [are] still poor, broke, busted and disgusted, because of how you been honoring me,” Funderburke says in the clip. “I’m not worth your McDonald’s money? I’m not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain’t worth your St. John Knits? Y’all can’t afford it no how. I ain’t worth y’all Louis Vuitton? I ain’t worth your Prada? I’m not worth your Gucci?” he continues to question the congregation, prompting several people to shout “come on” back at him. “Mother, ooh, I’m saying this, and I promise you … it’s not with respect to want. I’m saying it because I want you to understand what God is saying.”
“I even found out that Movado, you can buy a Movado watch at Sam’s [Club],” Funderburke went on, prompting at least one congregant to shout back “yes, you can,” while another tapped him on the shoulder with something. “And y’all know I asked for one last year. Here it is, the whole way in August, and I still ain’t got it,” he said. “Y’all ain’t said nothing. Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters.”
TikTok commenters blasted the pastor for what they viewed as putting material wealth ahead of his pastoral duties — though some in the video seemed to verbally affirm the pastor’s words.
“Ain’t said one scripture he just preaching his feelings,” one user commented.
“That would’ve been my last day in his church,” said another.
“Does anyone know which part of the gospels mentions Movado watches at Sam’s Club? Asking for a friend,” another wrote.
“As a pastor, I’ve got to say this. It’s the Lords command to tithe, but it’s not the churches [sic] job to buy the pastor Anything!” another added.
Funderburke issued a statement Tuesday apologizing for his conduct in the video.
“Though there is context behind the content of the clip, no context will suffice to explain the hurt and anguish caused by my words,” Funderburke said. “I’ve spoken to those I am accountable to and have received their correction and instruction. I have also privately apologized to our church who has extended their love and support to me. … The video clip does not reflect my heart or my sentiments toward God’s people, yet that is not discernible in the clip. Therefore I offer this sincere apology to you today. No context could erase the words I used. I apologize to all who have been hurt, angered, or in any way damaged by my words … I apologize to the Church at large for any undue scrutiny I have subjected you to. … To those who now know me because of this video clip, I regret that your first impression of me is one of anger, hate, and resentment. My actions and my words are inexcusable. I offer no justification or defense. That moment was mishandled and mismanaged. I deeply regret this moment, and I solicit your prayers and your forgiveness as we grow forward.”