Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar is asking for 200,000 generous souls to donate “at least $300” to help his World Changers Church International ministry purchase a new Gulfstream G650 jet. The well-known Atlanta-area church leader is calling for donations on his CrefloDollarMinistries.org website, which accepts all major credit cards as well as eCheck, according to the campaign’s payment page.
Creflo Dollar Ministries set up the fund, known as the Project G650 Airplane Project, earlier this month, and unveiled it with a video and statement aimed at those considering making a donation. If the ministry attracts the target number of donations at the suggested amount, it would raise $60 million -- almost matching the original $65 million sticker price of the jet when it debuted, with a four-year waiting time for orders, in 2013. Still, Dollar and World Changers appear confident that their call for donations will yield enough cash to make the purchase.
According to a statement on the organization’s donation page, the ministry’s current airplane has suffered a series of maladies and is now inoperable, following an overseas trip to a global conference during which one of the engines failed. It was built in 1984, “purchased by the ministry in 1999 and has since logged 4 million miles.”
“Today the plane is permanently out of service,” says a voiceover in the video, “but the work of the ministry must go on.”
The G650, called “the world standard” and “a new standard in business travel” by its manufacturers, is a twin-engine jet that comfortably seats 18, according to Gulfstream, which adds that the G650 “flies at more than 92 percent of the speed of sound for thousands of miles with fly-by-wire precision.” It has a nonstop flight range of 7,000 nautical miles.
Trips to Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Australia, Papua New Guinea and other remote destinations around the world will be put on hold if the effort to acquire the top-of-the-line G650 is not successful, the video warns.
“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,” the statement says. “Your love gift of any amount will be greatly appreciated.”
Dollar was among six so-called prosperity preachers targeted in 2007 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance for possible abuse of his church and ministry's nonprofit status. CNN reported at the time that the church had brought in $69 million in 2006, and that Dollar was “adamant in his refusal to provide any information about his nonprofit organizations.” He was identified as "the least cooperative" by the Senate panel.
The main World Changers church, located in College Park, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, regularly counts about 30,000 people among its membership, the Christian Post reported last year, and the church’s New York City congregation attracts around 6,000 worshipers a week.