In March I first wrote about Creflo Dollar, the mega-Church pastor and preacher of “Prosperity Gospel,” who was asking his members to help him fund a $65 million Gulfstream G650. The church even created a fundraising video, which at first I thought was a joke:
After much public outcry, the campaign was eventually halted, though that didn’t stop the church from making all kinds of excuses. They explained that the church needed the Gulfstream G650 so it could carry a dozen people plus 100,000 pounds of food. Clearly they didn’t do any research on the plane, because the Gulfstream G650 has virtually no cargo capacity.
Then in April, Creflo Dollar addressed the situation with his congregation, explaining that the devil didn’t want him to have a Gulfstream (and he actually makes a frighteningly compelling argument):
Well, Creflo Dollar Ministries is at it again, and the only thing they apologize for is that the original video may have caused “confusion.”
Creflo Dollar Ministries issued the following statement, explaining that they plan to move forward with Project G650, though they’ll have a better video this time around. Why are they acquiring a Gulfstream? Because “it is the best, and it is a reflection of the level of excellence at which [their] organization chooses to operate.” Goodness, this Prosperity Gospel is almost convincing, it’s scary.
Here’s the statement (and while it’s long, it’s well worth a read):
Dr. Creflo A Dollar is the founder, senior pastor and CEO of this organization. While he is the spiritual leader and the public face of CDM around the world, he is also the CEO of a global, multinational ministry corporation and, as such, reports to this Board like any other CEO. All significant projects, policy changes and financial expenditures, regardless of the circumstances, are presented to the Board and approved prior to implementation. A proper system of checks and balances is in place to insure the ministry’s dealings are beyond reproach. When Dr. Dollar steps forward to announce a ministry initiative, please make no mistake that it is actually an action of this Board.
Our community is centered on biblical principles directly from the Word of God. There is no area of the organization that does not base its foundational principles and operational guidelines on what the Bible has to say to us about God’s love and His grace. We understand that others may interpret biblical truths differently – the freedom to worship as one chooses is a fundamental hallmark of a free society – but wish to assert our God-given right to practice what we believe. This is our faith, the very basis for what we believe, and it is not necessary that we justify it.
It is our belief that this ministry is called to serve people globally – to literally change the world according to the Great Commission – and our infrastructure and operational plan reflect the worldwide nature of that assignment. Our pastors share the gospel of Jesus more than 300 times per year – in churches, arenas, venues, convention centers, stadiums and other facilities across the entire planet – and are committed to aggressive travel schedules that cannot be fulfilled via any means other than private aircraft. A long-range, high-speed, intercontinental jet aircraft is a tool that is necessary in order to fulfill the mission of the ministry. In light of an unfortunate accident that recently resulted in the ministry’s aircraft being declared a total loss, it is our intention to purchase another airplane at a time, place and price of our choosing.
The G650 appeal published on the creflodollarministries.org web site was directed to a specific community of like-minded people who love and support the ministry and its global missions work. There was not, nor will there be, a request for donations from the public at large, people outside that faith community or the members of local World Changers churches in Atlanta, New York and two dozen other locations. There are some 3 million donors in the ministry’s global databases, with tens of millions of others who are connected to the ministry through books, magazines, social media, missions outreach and a daily television broadcast that is translated into many languages and aired worldwide. There was no pressure of any kind applied to anyone, but rather an opportunity was presented to those in our community who may be inclined to participate and who stand to benefit from the global mobility of our ministry leaders. We fully acknowledge that the campaign video did not do a good job of communicating the request, and we apologize for any confusion it may have caused – it is in the process of being revamped and will be re-released when complete.
We wholeheartedly reject the notion that the ministry’s airplane project is an imposition on our community or that it somehow takes advantage of our people. Quite to the contrary, this request is seen by our community as standard operating procedure for people of faith. We believe that if our efforts are focused on building the Kingdom of God around the world, then it is His desire for us to see the desires of our hearts. We have funded numerous multi-million dollar projects this exact same way, including parking facilities, various church buildings, previous airplanes, our teen ministry headquarters and even our sanctuary, the World Dome. We seek out what we believe to be the will of God, we allow ourselves to dream BIG, we present our ‘family’ with an opportunity to ‘invest,’ and we all come together to turn those dreams into reality. We plan to acquire a Gulfstream G650 because it is the best, and it is a reflection of the level of excellence at which this organization chooses to operate. We, the World Changers family, so value the lives, the safety and the well-being of our pastors and leaders that we wish to provide to them the best air travel experience possible.
(Tip of the hat to Wayne)