Creflo Dollar, the Atlanta area-based televangelist at the helm of World Changers Church International, is making headlines because his request for $60 million in donations to purchase a Gulfstream G650 private jet is garnering criticism.
In a video (that has since been taken down) on the Creflo Dollar Ministries website, Dollar explains the need for the new jet by detailing the malfunctions of the 30-year-old plane the ministry currently owns that has put passengers at risk.
“We have offices on multiple continents,” says Rick Hayes, project manager for what the ministry is calling Project G650 in the promotional video. “A plane is a vital part of the mission of our ministry.”
In response to criticism of the campaign, a representative of Creflo Dollar Ministries explained that the plane would be used to bring food and supplies to those in need. “The plane is not so Creflo Dollar can get on by himself and fly,” said Juda Engelmayer, who represents the organization.
Those objecting the fundraiser were quick to point out, however, that the G650 is a passenger-only plane and would not have space for cargo beyond the luggage for those on board, as seen on the Gulfstream website. It also says that the proposed jet is “the biggest, fastest, most luxurious, longest range and most technologically advanced jet—by far.”
Grammy winner Kirk Franklin shared his criticism of the Dollar’s plea in an op-ed piece written for Patheos: “When a pastor wants people to buy him a private plane while a missionary in Somalia bathes children with sores, that’s a shortage of character. When I camouflage my greeds to look like needs, that’s a shortage of character.”
Since the criticism has rolled in, Engelmayer now states there is no campaign for a plane, “and the ministry’s work helping people in need … continues as it always has.”
Photo credit: Charly W. Karl