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A preacher urged his church to donate $3 million. Then he changed his story.
Hank Kunneman said he quickly needed to buy land "for God." After collecting $1.3 million, the purchase was put on hold.
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Nebraska preacher Hank Kunneman just delivered an example of religious grifting so textbook-perfect, you’d think he was ripping off from The Righteous Gemstones.
On Sunday, September 3, Kunneman told his Lord of Hosts Church congregation in Omaha (and his more expansive online audience) that he recently came across a giant swath of land that he wanted to purchase for his ministry.
It was over 100 acres, he explained, and it was already developed. All they needed to do was pay for it.
There was just one problem: Another buyer was already offering the $3 million asking price—albeit with the help of a loan—and they were ready to sign the paperwork already. Kunneman told his audience that he wanted to walk into the real estate agent’s office as soon as possible with $3 million in cash and “steal this deal for God.”
Are you ready? So I found this land that's acres upon acres of land, and it's already developed… We could step right in today and I could put a tent up right now.
I approached this guy and he was real interested in the deal. But somebody else came along. And I knew it, the minute I kind of hinted about it, that the Devil was going to try to steal it. Because that's what he does.
Here's the deal: The asking price for the land. Are you ready?… They want $3 million for it. $3 million. But he's got financing, so he really doesn't have a cash deal.
So you know what I want to do? I want to do something. If “Shiloh” means the extravagant gift of God, I want an extravagant offering. And I want to walk into that man and into his real estate agent, and I want to put it right down on the table and say, ‘Here's $3 million.” I'm serious!
Let me just tell you, when I say acres upon acres, you're talking 100-something… Oh yeah, it's over 100 and some acres. It's big. And there is enough trees and trails and places to pray and bring our kids and raise up a generation—and not let China take our land.
And I'm going to tell you this: This is the part that upsets me. And I want you to hear me because I feel the vengeance of God. When I found out who the company that wants to buy this land? It would go against everything that we are standing here for. And I said to the Devil, “You sure picked a nasty one.” He did! And I said, “How dare you? I am going to cut your head off and I am going to steal this deal for God.”
Not only was he going to swipe the land away from some unnamed-but-apparently-awful company, he was going to murder Satan in the process! It would be a two-fer! He just needed enough money to pull it off.
There’s a good reason Kunneman thought this gambit might work.
In July of 2022, he told his congregation that he needed to raise $2.4 million within 100 days to purchase a different piece of land. If he didn’t intervene in time, according to a prophetic dream he had, that land was going to become an apartment complex and prevent the physical expansion of his ministry.
Six months later, Kunneman’s wife informed the congregation that they actually needed to raise over $16.2 million to complete the project. (Whoopsie.)
So how did last week’s fundraiser go?
Yesterday, Kunneman gave everyone an update. It went well! They didn’t raise all $3 million… but you know what? None of that matters because Kunneman now has second thoughts about buying the property.
God and Hank’s buddies spoke to him over the course of the week, he said, and told him he didn’t need to buy that land after all, so Hank’s just going to hold onto the money until something better comes along.
But if you all want to send him even more cash, he’ll gladly take it. For Jesus.
… [Sister-in-law] Christy had found this one property that we looked at, and last week, we fought very, very hard for it.
It was to the point, on Labor Day, last Monday, I was spending most of the day praying in tongues, and I couldn't get it out of my spirit.
Well, we contacted [the real estate agents], and they needed $3 million. They needed it now. They wanted it now. They wanted a fast closing.
Well, there are important things. We have experts, okay? I have an expert board, but I also have experts that are part of brokerage. They do this all the time. We've been in a relationship with them 27 years. They're part of the [?] company. They know what they're doing. I trust them. They wouldn't let us make a bad decision.
Well, here's the thing. I am always… As a pastor, I always present things to the board. I always go through my advisory council, okay? And anything that's rushed, and you're not allowed to do due diligence because it's rushed, is not a good deal. And I didn't like the feel of that, and that's why I couldn't shake it out of my spirit.
So we'll just see what God does, but in the meantime, we have options that are better…
And we said we would start a land fund, and that's what we did. So you ready? I'm just so excited to tell you how well you did. This is like a record!… Are you ready? $1,300,000 came in in one week!
Now we got a war chest. And I'm telling you, when you have a war chest like this… You know what? Can we believe God for $2 million? Let's believe for $2 million. So keep giving, and I tell you, because it'll put us in a better position, because I am going to get as much acres upon acres upon acres of land that I can.
Let’s recap: Last week, Hank Kunneman needed millions of dollars very quickly because God told him he needed to purchase some land before a Very Evil Organization™ got to it first. Time was of the utmost importance! He needed to steal the deal for God!!!
But it’s never smart to just rush into a multi-million dollar deal, he realized a week later, after the urgency had dissipated but also after the bags of cash had arrived.
His advisory council—a group of wise men that, for some reason, doesn’t exist anywhere on Kunneman’s church’s website—told him not to make the purchase. Got it? Weird how that same group had no problem with Kunneman asking for money for that purchase a week earlier, but what do I know about church hierarchies.
I suppose the land must not have been that important after all.
Does it matter that Very Evil Organization™ will now be able to purchase the property? We won’t talk about that. All that matters is that there’s always more real estate on the market. And, oh, by the way, can you all just keep throwing money Hank’s way? He needs another $700,000 real soon…
Part of me wants to laugh at the blatant money-grab, but I’m mostly sad for the people in his congregation who are falling for this. Kunneman specifically said in his Sep. 3 sermon (only half-jokingly) that there were likely grandmas watching him who had money hidden away in their mattresses that they ought to give to him. Grifters like him have no problem going after the lowest hanging fruit on the tree. Preachers’ wallets are lined with the earnings of the most desperate and devout Christians.
Kunneman knows his audience is gullible enough to fall for his schtick—and he knows they’ll never connect the dots between two sermons to realize his change of heart looks no different from a basic con.
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