Kid Preacher Can't Make Believer Out of Everyone

Terry's father, Todd Durham Sr., 28, a nighttime security guard, is the marketer-promoter of the Terry Durham Ministry.

"I see Terry Durham as a major icon for the Christian industry," he told ABC News. "Jesus is the product."

Todd Durham said that he had looked up the earnings of Christian evangelist Joel Osteen.

"Joel is at 76 [million dollars a year] -- one day I am hoping that Terry will be at about $86 million," said Todd Durham. "So you know ministries are profiting these days. Everyone is buying into this."

The ministry already has a fully operational marketing arm. Terry's sermons are offered for sale along with T-shirts, Web videos, even pin-up photos.

Following a sermon at the Second Canaan Baptist Church in Miami in March, congregants came forward with cash. According to Todd Durham, the offering was a couple of thousand dollars.

"We do not charge no money for him to preach," said Monroe. "We only ask them if, you know, after he speaks, they let the crowd bless him."

Kid Preacher Benefits From Preaching, Dad Says

Todd Durham said the proceeds feed a trust fund for Terry and his twin brother, Todd Durham Jr.

"Yes, I forgot to mention that, it goes towards his trust fund," Todd Durham said. "Uh, him and his brother's trust fund. You know, a lot of that, half of that is deposited into that for college and future references."

The family did not say how much money to date has actually been put aside for the boys.

Randall Balmer, an Episcopalian minister and professor of religion at Barnard College, counts himself among the skeptics.

"I think that the case of a child preacher feeds on two of the worst instincts in religion: The cult of personality, and show business," said Balmer. "This is very deliberate on the part of his father and his grandmother to make him into a product. I think it cheapens the faith, it cheapens the gospel. And I find that very unfortunate."

Balmer sees an element of exploitation in Terry's story and says he worries money may motivate the adults in his life.

In the course of reporting on Terry's ministry, ABC News discovered that both the adults managing Terry's money have criminal records. Since Terry was born, Todd Durham Sr. has been convicted on weapons charges and has served nearly three years in prison on drug charges. Monroe, Terry's grandmother has a criminal record of her own, including a conviction of grand theft and organized fraud in 2000, in conjunction with a phony sweepstakes operation targeting the elderly. She served three years probation.

When asked about the conviction by phone, Monroe said she was unaware the operation she worked for was involved in illegal activities. Asked if she was part of a scheme targeting the elderly she replied, "That was a job. That was a job I was working on. I did not know that this was what these peoples was doing ... I did not know that job was illegal ... I don't know, I don't know what you're talking about ... I don't know nothing about all of that."

Todd Durham Sr. said his convictions didn't set a bad example for his kids.

"It's being a great role model," he said. "If my children can see that I had a little bumps and bruises in my past and I overcame them, that signifies, you know, hope, change."

For now, Terry continues his ministry, seemingly untouched by the controversy swirling around him.

Does he see himself as one of history's great prophets, a Jesus, Mohammed or Moses?

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