Evangelist Creflo Dollar needs a new plane. The aptly named Dollar, a shameless American televangelist, pastor, and the founder of the World Changers Church International simply cannot get by without an updated ride though the heavens. So Dollar is asking for dollars, lots of ’em – he wants 200,000 of his sheeples to reach deep, fork over $300 each, so that the 53-year-old can preach in style in a new $60 million Gulfstream G650 private jet.
Writes the Huffington Post on March 13: “One popular pastor is looking to the sky for help. Televangelist Creflo Dollar has asked 200,000 followers to donate $300 apiece so he can buy a luxury jet to preach worldwide. The appeal, originally posted on Creflo Dollar Ministries’ website but apparently since taken down, is called the Project G650 Campaign. It’s named for the Gulfstream G650 aircraft that Dollar’s Georgia-based World Changers Church says it needs after an older plane was grounded.”
What isn’t grounded is Creflo’s humility. The profligate preacher mans the pulpit at an 8,500-seat facility in Georgia known as the World Dome, which cost $18 million to build. Per Creflo’s own website, the Dome was built absent any financing. With reported annual revenues of nearly $100 million pouring in from pushover parishioners, Dollar is a bank unto himself.
His organization even put out the above unabashed YouTube video, outrageously requiring followers to donate “at least $300 or more” all the while playing on the heartstrings of people with a “woe is me” message set to soft piano music.
Creflo has been heavily criticized for his “prosperity theology.” With two Rolls-Royces, an (aging) private jet, and multi-million real estate holdings around the country, Dollar is a far cry from Jesus’ instructions for his First Century disciples: “You received free, give free. Do not acquire gold or silver or copper for your money belts, or a food pouch for the trip, or two garments, or sandals, or a staff, for the worker deserves his food.” – Matthew 10.
Before the campaign site was pulled over the instant backlash, Dollar’s people wrote: “We believe it is time to replace this aircraft so that our Pastors and staff can continue to safely and swiftly share the Good News of the Gospel worldwide. Therefore, we are asking members, partners, and supporters of this ministry to assist us in acquiring a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace.”
In 2010, the New York Times reported that “Wall Watchers, an evangelical organization that monitors the finances of Christian ministries, gave Mr. Dollar’s organization an ‘F’ grade for financial transparency in its yearly report and urged donors not to give to it and similar groups.”
Dollar’s current plane is in a state of disrepair, stemming from an accident in 2013. A report from the National Transportation Safety Board said Dollar’s “Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A airplane, N103CD, had a nose landing gear collapse during a runway excursion at the London Biggin Hill Airport (EGKB), near London, United Kingdom. The airplane sustained substantial airframe damage.” A photo of the plane can be viewed here.
The Christian Post spoke to Juda Engelmayer, whose PR company represents Creflo Dollar Ministries.
When asked why Dollar can’t use public airplanes like the rest of us, Engelmayer replied: “You’re missing the point. The plane is not so Creflo Dollar can get on by himself and fly. They take a ministry team of 10 to 15 people with them. They take thousands of pounds of food and provisions with them when they go around the world. If he’s coming to the New York church, he’ll hop on a Delta flight; if he’s taking 12 people plus 100,000 pounds of food, it’s not that simple.”
Actually, Dollar’s public relation guy should check his facts. A commercial airliner could handle that load much easier than the G650, especially considering the Gulfstream’s payload is only 6,500 pounds. It does however have giant ice drawers, fitted storage for flatware and crystal, handcrafted leather recliners and a private stateroom – all essentials for any modest missionary.
All he needs now is a dollar and a dream. Amen to that.
Sound off below on Creflo Dollar’s bid for a luxury private plane.