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Pastor Jeremiah Steepek: Heartwarming Homeless Preacher Or Hokey Hoax?

Pastor Jeremiah Steepek

The story of Pastor Jeremiah Steepek, a new pastor at some mega-church with a 10,000 member congregation, is making the rounds this week. According to the tale flying around social media, the socially conscious preacher decided to pose as a homeless bum and sit in the back of the church to see how he was treated.

To make a long story short, the good preacher has the look and feel of a real homeless dude, and he gets the treatment that real homeless dudes usually do. Then he stands up, unveils himself as the new pastor, and pretty much shames the congregation with his guilt-trippin’ sermon.

There’s even a black-and-white picture of a very homeless-looking man indeed who is alleged to be Pastor Steepek himself. You can see it down below.

So that makes the story for realz, right?

Wrong. Multiple media sources have looked into the story, and there’s no there there. Snopes, Hoax-Slayer, and all the rest of the usual suspects haven’t been able to run down any Pastor Steepek, and I doubt I’m going to out-do that crowd. If they can’t find the man, he probably doesn’t exist.

A 10,000 member mega-congregation is going to have a name. It’s going to be in a city that’s in a state that’s in a country. Heck, it might even have a denomination.

Social News Daily pointed out that the alleged Jeremiah Steepek photo had been grabbed from Tumblr. The photographer is Brad Gerrard, and the subject is some random real homeless dude.

Not a preacher who plays a homeless bum on TV.

But people are still sharing the story, claiming that it’s somehow inspirational even though it’s a hoax.

Say again? Yes, Jesus told parables. But I don’t think he especially advocated telling out-and-out lies.

And, stupid me, but I thought he liked to send more of a message of love than of guilt.

As blogger David Hayward noted, even if the Pastor Jeremiah Steepak story was true, it’s a pretty cr*p thing to do. Well, he’s too nice to say cr*p, but I’m not. Here’s a small excerpt of Hayward’s thoughts:

“The church’s number one tool to get what it wants is shame. I have been the victim of shaming so many times I can’t even count…

“This poor congregation was embarrassed just for a good sermon. Warning: this pastor will do it again. He is going to use shame, fear, embarrassment and guilt to motivate his people to fall in line with his wishes.”

I am just so not in the mood to be lectured because I don’t want to sit next to the homeless dude. If I’m going to hell, so be it.

Please feel free to send me any evidence that there’s a real Pastor Jeremiah Steepek. Right now, I’m putting this fable in the same circular file where I dumped the Casey Anthony’s pregnant hoax.

[homeless man top photo by Anton Oparin /]

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20 Responses to “Pastor Jeremiah Steepek: Heartwarming Homeless Preacher Or Hokey Hoax?”

  1. Elaine Mackenzie

    The only reason one feels shame….is if one is guilty. I think the lesson here is not to just impress shame upon these people, but to encourage them to follow Christ's teachings. Too many so-called Christians, claim the title, however, when push comes to shove, their pride and egos fail them. Whether this story be true or not, it should be used as a tool for all of us to look beyond ourselves and at those around us. So many take pride in donating to organized religion….giving their tithes to the church, Cancer, etc., when just as many need assistance closer to home. And isn't that what the church is supposed to be for? Christ didn't snub those less fortunate when he taught, so why do we condone it?

  2. Heather Jean Rideout

    Whether it is a real story or not does not matter. What matters is the message being conveyed. Church was not established for a social status, it was established so one can heart God's words without fear of judgement. Yet to this day people brag about "what THEIR church has done" and what charities they have contributed to. During my youth I also attended these types of churches. There is only one sermon out of the thousands that has stuck with me. It was about a man working to achieve his goals and praising God for those opportunities to achieve those goals. I have yet to find these church goers actually lift their hands in action rather than just a prayer. The end of the sermon was stated "Faith without action is no faith at all".

  3. Cheryl Ann Heislar Thompson

    This might not be a true story, but who cares, except someone who takes joy in proving others wrong! I for one think it's a great story, a story about people professing to be one thing, when in reality they aren't. It's reminding people of God's word, how we should treat others. I don't think it's to shame anyone, it's to open eyes to what God is telling us to do, how to be. I for one have seen something like this in my own church quite a few years ago. A very poorly dressed lady, wearing tattered clothing, carrying her worn out bible, came into our church. Most everyone avoided her, not everyone, some spoke to her and were kind to her. But for the most part, they didn't treat her as one of our members. It was sad, and it shouldn't have been that way! I for one think this STORY was a good story, true or not… :)

  4. Gay Storm

    Shame has no good purpose. All it does is make someone feel bad about themselves. If his purpose was to make people feel bad about themselves, then he should not be a pastor (if this is real). Now if his purpose was to get people to change how they think, that is different.

  5. Samantha LeMarchand

    I'm not a religious person & whether this is fake or true. All people can be judgemental. If a cold, hungry homeless guy did walk into a church, I bet most of those so-called God loving people would judge him & be cold towards him. Doesn't matter how many times you go to church & pray, doesn't mean you're a good person on the inside. We all have badness inside us & we are all flawed. It's in our nature & no higher being will change that… We are too ignorant & arrogant a species!

  6. Jace Mead

    Todays society should feel shame, they do not practice the teachings of the Bible at all and glorify only the rich…that's shameful period, I'd love this pastor real or false, we should learn humility one way or another as we have become shallow and greedy with no care for our fellow man.

  7. Anonymous

    I saw this story on Facebook today and knew it was false. The snubbing that this "pastor" took from his 10,000 member congregation was over the top–it would never happen in a Christian church. It has a bad odor to it and I wonder if it wasn't planted on the Internet by some leftist person wanting to speak poorly of Christians. There are many trolls on the Internet who spread lies about Christians and enjoy doing it.

  8. Jeff Davis

    He used the Word of God in conjunction with the homeless attire. The conviction of the Holy Ghost is what caused the people to feel shame and it should, if we are not acting as Christ taught. I thank God every day that He checks my spirit when I do something contrary to His teaching. He also picks us up and brushes us off and says He loves and forgives us. Thank God for His grace and mercy. See, I know first hand what it feels like for Him to take worthless clay and use it again for His purpose. God Bless!

  9. Jeff Davis

    I agree that it hopefully would never happen like this. Unless the pastor before had no back bone whatsoever, the people should be grounded enough to love the ones needing it the most.

  10. Jeff Davis

    Whether true or false, this should bring a conviction in our spirit as Christians. We all need a wake up call from time to time and it is not only in the "mega" churches. Jesus taught to give whatever we had if someone needed it. I have witnessed similar situations, not with a new pastor, however. Next time that homeless person, hooker, drug dealer, different race or anyone that does not fit the church mold stumbles into a church service, tent revival or singing, be the first to greet them and tell them about Jesus' love. In doing this you will fulfill the greatest command: "Love One Another". To God Be The Glory!

  11. Elaine Mackenzie

    It happens and I've seen it first hand, in a much smaller church mind you. People look away thinking "Thank you God that I'm not where he is" instead of, "Thank you God for allowing me to reach out to this man." Too many folks use the name Christian as a title, as what they are rather than making it WHO they are.

  12. Donna Green

    I have often wondered if the churches today would welcome a man Like Jesus in their church. He was homeless and had nowhere to lay his head. It was the common people, and sinners who welcomed him into their homes. And being in the desert there couldn't have been alot of water around to bath in. I'm not a homeless person but I have been in churches where people hardly speak to you or give you a welcoming smile. We all need to search ourselves and see what kind of christian we are and if we are following the example of Christ. I think people want to discredit this person because it's another way of saying that we live a lie by serving Christ.

  13. Parris Ja Young

    I've heard this story over and over during the years. Sometimes the preacher leaves the pulpit and goes and sits beside the man. In the magical version the visitor begins to emit light before he leaves. I like the story in all its variations. Why? Because I like to see the difference between lip-Christians and real Christians illuminated. Truth is that sometimes we are any one of the characters in the story; preacher, dirtbag streeter, good Christian or hypocrite appearance poseur.

  14. Julio Diaz Calvet

    Una gran mentira disfrazada de lección… engañó a todos haciéndose pasar por quien no era… la lección es… NO HAY QUE MENTIR, pues el diablo es el padre de la mentira… Jesús nunca se hizo pasar por quien no era… Jesús es el pastor verdadero.

    A great lesson disguised lie… fooled everyone pretending to be who was not… the lesson is… NOT TO LIE, because the devil is the father of lies… Jesus never pretended to be who was not… Jesus is the true shepherd.

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