Saturday, March 27, 2010

Teen Mania Financial Highlights

When trying to figure out the inner-workings of any organization, it is helpful to take a look at the company's financial statements. Non-profit organizations like Teen Mania Ministries are required to file an IRS Form 990 (highlighting key financial information) with the federal government each year, and these IRS forms are a matter of public record. The most recent Teen Mania IRS Form 990 was filed for the 2007 tax year, and is available for viewing by clicking here. Here are some of the highlights of the most recent Teen Mania financial statement:

2007 Teen Mania Revenue & Asset Highlights

  • Made up mostly of private donations and program fees, Teen Mania Ministries had total revenues of $20,167,167 for the 2007 Tax Year.
  • TMM brought in approximately $6.5 million by selling tickets to Acquire the Fire, BattleCry, Extreme Camps, and leadership seminars.
  • The organization made another $1.6 million selling merchandise (primarily to teenagers) at these events.
  • Teen Mania also has a financial stake in the Creation Music Festivals (held annually in Pennsylvania and Washington) currently valued at $1.9 million.
  • At the beginning of 2007, Teen Mania had net assets worth $11.1 million, but by the end of the year they were $2 million in the hole (largely because ticket revenues did not cover the cost of producing 34 live stadium events).

2007 Teen Mania Expense Highlights

  • Ron Luce and his wife Katie were paid a combined total of $188,745 in 2007 (including retirement plan contributions).
  • Teen Mania Ministries spent almost $1 million on advertising for the year.
  • TMM spent approximately $6.9 million to take 3,111 people on missions trips, at an average cost of $2,212.88 per participant.
  • $9.4 million was spent to produce live events attended by 142,741 people, at an average cost of $65.76 per participant.
  • Teen Mania spent $950,584 to pay the interest due on approximately $10.8 million worth of debt.

(NOTE: There are many more details about Teen Mania's finances which I didn't include here for the sake of brevity, but which are included in the actual IRS form linked to above.)

As you can see, these aren't exactly small numbers...Teen Mania Ministries is a massive, multi-million dollar organization that operates like a big business. We'll be looking at some of these facts & figures in more detail in future posts, but for the time being, here are some important questions that any potential donor to Teen Mania should consider before opening their checkbook:

  • Is it appropriate for Ron & Katie Luce to be making over 3 times the median U.S. household income of $50,233?
  • Why does Teen Mania spend over $2,200 to send a teen missionary overseas, when other Christian organizations can send someone on a similar trip for less than half that amount?
  • Should an organization supported largely by teenagers and their families be taking on so much debt that they have to pay almost $1 million per year in interest?
  • Is is appropriate for a Christian ministry to spend $1 million each year on advertising?
  • Could the massive amount of money being funneled through Teen Mania each year be spent more effectively to help reach people with the gospel?

What do you think about Teen Mania's finances? Where are they being wise, and where could they be better stewards of their donors' money? Leave a comment with your thoughts.


  1. You make a good point. Also note that Teen Mania's media/audio/visual and telemarketing needs are all supplied by interns at their texas ranch. Unlike other big businesses that entice people for unpaid internships, these interns pay to play, and from my experience, get put through hell; and don't come back the same.

  2. Excellent things to note, Ariel! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)