Kip McKean and his favored elite--"Living Large"

The ICC takes in many millions of dollars each year, which is derived from the often sacrificial giving of its members. But is all this cash flow really responsibly used to "advance the 'Kingdom of God'?"

January 2000
Edited by Rick Ross

  • Note: All the real estate recordings below regarding "International Church of Christ" (ICC) leaders is accessible to the public and can be obtained by calling a local Assessor’s office. The facts cited below were not initially compiled by Rick Ross. Instead, others deeply concerned about the ICC leadership and their conduct gathered these facts. A special thanks is extended to "SOS" for its posting of this material. The general public and/or any potential target of ICC recruitment efforts can certainly benefit from the information gathered and posted by the dedicated and committed individuals who took the time to do this important research.

Kip's Condo and lifestyle

Kip McKean and his family currently reside in a 2,100 square foot, 3 bedroom, 3 bath condominium located on the cliffs of Pacific Palisades, two blocks from the ocean. For those not familiar with California and its real estate--Pacific Palisades is one of the most affluent/wealthy areas in Southern California. Former President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan once called this neighborhood home. The ICC purchased Kip's condo as a "parsonage" for the man once called "the greatest living treasure that God has given the kingdom on the face of the earth today" for $480,000.00 in 1998. The ICC claims that the McKeans pay "fair market value rent" for this property. But it should be noted that any "rent" Mr. McKean (the "Evangelist" for the Los Angeles church) pays comes from his housing allowance that he and all other full time leaders receive. Any money for such a housing allowance would thus come from the donations received from ICC members.

Before moving to Pacific Palisades, the McKeans lived in Manhattan Beach, which is yet another very expensive area--Mike Piazza once lived there when he played for the Dodgers. Eric Karros, another highly paid professional ball player for the Dodgers (first basemen), also once made his home there. In fact, Manhattan Beach was a favorite place for many celebrity athletes--such as the Raiders when they were located in Los Angeles. The McKeans apartment was three blocks from the beach.

All three McKean children were sent to the Brentwood Academy, which is a very exclusive school. When their first child enrolled, the ICC stated that a "rich relative" had paid the tuition (1998-1999 tuition was listed as $12,800.00 per student).

Kip's kids have always been very active in tennis. His children have even taken private lessons from nationally ranked professionals and entered tournaments. How much money does it cost to support just one child, let alone three, in such an active tennis regimen?

Kip McKean's eldest child was also a varsity cheerleader her freshman year--this could cost thousands of dollars per year.

Kip's first child is now enrolled at Harvard, which does not give athletic scholarships. The ICC stated that the McKeans were fortunate to receive a good financial aid packet from the university.

  • Note: While dedicated ICC missionaries and/or their loved ones may often experience difficulties and hardships serving the church around the world--Kip McKean's family appears to live a life of luxury. Perhaps while ICC missionaries are struggling the McKeans may take a stroll on a nearby beach, enjoy an ocean sunset from their cliff-top condo or play tennis. And though the parents of the ICC's college recruits may have serious concerns about their children's future if they quit school to better serve "God" (i.e. the ICC)--Kip McKean prepares his kids for "Ivy League" institutions like Harvard by sending them to private exclusive academies--while being tutored in tennis.

Other key ICC leaders also live comfortable lives Albert and Gloria Baird live in El Segundo, California in a rented home with an assessed value of $365,512.00. Mr. Baird is an "Elder and teacher" at the Los Angeles Church of Christ and his wife Gloria is a "Women’s Counselor." Al Baird once compared Kip McKean to the Pope, but it seems the ICC prefers property in California instead of Italy. Mr. Baird is perhaps best known to the general pubic for his conflicting public statements regarding the "Sin Lists" that are gathered within the ICC about its members.

Cory and Meagan Blackwell were "World Sector Leaders" until October 1999--they live in Los Angeles, California in a home purchased during 1998 for $470,095.00.

Robert and Pat Gempel, "World Sector Leaders" and directors of "HOPE Worldwide"-- purchased their home in Radnor, Pennsylvania in 1992 for $412,500.00. The Gempels also reportedly receive $2,500.00 per week (over $133,000.00 per year) in salary from HOPE Worldwide.

Douglas and Joyce Arthur, "Super Region Leaders" own a home in McLean, Virginia purchased in 1997 for $470,000.00. The Arthurs also own a second home in Great Falls, Virginia--purchased in 1993 for $290,000.00. The total value of these two homes is $760,000.00.

Steve and Linda Johnson, "World Sector Leaders," own a home in West Nyack, New York, which was purchased in 1982 for $126,000.00. (Today this may be the equivalent to $250,000.00 or more). While they owned this home, the Johnsons purchased another second residence--a "luxury co-op on the upper West Side of Manhattan." Steve Johnson stated that--"With eyes wide open I'm following Kip McKean," but it could be argued that Steve has surpassed Kip by purchasing two homes.

Bryon Parson, a leader in Chicago, recently benefited from a home purchased for him and his family by the ICC in Wilmette, Illinois for $400,000.00. This is reported to be the same neighborhood that Michael Jordan lives in. The ICC justified this purchase by saying that these leaders needed to reach out to the people in that area. Sam & Jeri Laing, also leaders in the ICC, purchased a house in 1993 for $205,000.00 in Cary, North Carolina, which in that state is known as one of "the places" to live. The Laing’s also reportedly at this time have a customized Jeep sitting in their driveway. Sam Laing who called Kip McKean " the greatest living treasure that God has given the kingdom on the face of the earth today" has also said, "the influence of a man like this…cannot be limited to one place or one situation." Obviously, Kip's "influence" extends to Mr. Laing's home buying habits.

Marty & Chris Fuqua, "World Sector Leaders," rent/lease a condominium with a 1996 assessed value of $203,528.00--that would typically be about a $2,000 a month to rent or lease. Marty Fuqua once said, "I want to be just like [Kip McKean]." Marty seems to be following in his mentor's footsteps in the LA rental market.

Tom and Denise Snyder, the "Lead Evangelist" and "Women’s Ministry Leader" for the ICC "Seattle Church of Christ,"--purchased a home for $420,000.00 on pricey Mercer Island, Washington. Scott and Lynne Green, "World Sector Leaders," purchased a home in Bellevue, Washington for $324,500.00--a well-known "yuppie" neighborhood popular amongst Microsoft's well paid employees. Scott Green has remarked, "I want to be able to imitate Kip McKean… I just want to be exactly like Kip." Well, it looks like Scott is well along his way in Washington.

  • Note: Again, these homes were bought with the money donated from ICC members who are routinely told to live and give "sacrificially." Members are often hounded for contributions and some may take out loans, run up credit cards, sell personal possessions and possibly damage their credit--just to meet the financial demands of the ICC. The disparity between the lifestyles of upper echelon leadership and the less privileged average ICC member appears to be quite substantial.

The IRS has been asked to audit the ICC, but it seems the Kip & Company walks that fine line between legal and illegal activity. It appears though that the ICC crossed that line in other countries outside the United States. Churches in France and England were both fined regarding their financial conduct. The ICC states this was because the leaders in those churches were not familiar with all the rules in those countries. But of course, ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. And despite any legal restrictions, there remain serious ethical considerations--regarding the use of church money by high-ranking ICC leaders for their personal benefit.

Perhaps the most important point is this--who are Kip McKean and his hand picked few in key leadership position within the ICC actually imitating? Certainly not Jesus and the Apostles and or their disciples as described in the New Testament, which they so often claim-- who lived simply without worldly status or comforts. Instead it seems Kip and his chosen elite are imitating "the world"--e.g.. wealthy celebrities. What example of "discipleship" do such ICC leaders really offer to the world? Is theirs "The Kingdom of God," or rather more like the "Kingdom of Cash?" This worldly kingdom or financial empire has clearly benefited certain leaders within the ICC personally.


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