The Gulfstream 650 isn’t just any private jet. The billionaires lining up these luxury jets, which sell for upwards of $65 million each, are willing to put their names on a waiting list for years just for the pleasure. It is the “Holy Grail” of luxury private jets, Bloomberg once wrote. And recently, televangelist Creflo Dollar’s ministry has announced that it will also buy a G650, a purchase the ministry says is “necessary” to spread God’s word.
The announcement came months after Dollar’s ministries abandoned an earlier campaign to raise funds from his faithful followers for the same plane, following considerable backlash. The board of World Changers International – which also operates as Creflo Dollar Ministries – said in a statement that the ministry will go ahead and buy a Gulfstream G650 anyway, “at a time, place and price of our choosing.”
“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,” WCCI said in a lengthy statement. “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.”
Dollar’s first fundraising effort for the plane, “Project G650,” was dropped in March, just days after it was announced. A video outlining the campaign encouraged Dollar’s followers to donate at least $300 each towards the purchase of a luxury jet. In the video, the ministry explained that the televangelist’s current jet was more than 30 years old and was damaged in November.
With the plane out of commission, Dollar and the senior members of the international ministry were forced to travel the world on commercial flights in order to spread the word, a spokesperson told the Christian Post. In its most recent statement, the ministry described the luxury jet campaign as “standard operating procedure for the people of faith” in “our community.”
Dollar, the founder of the 30,000-member World Changers Church International of Georgia, preaches prosperity gospel, or that God will send earthly rewards (including wealth) to those who are properly faithful. In Dollar’s ministry, that often includes “Honor Giving,” a name Dollar sometimes uses for a practice akin to tithing, or giving 10 percent of your income to the church. “If you sow a seed on a good ground, you can expect a harvest,” Dollar said in a 2006 New York Times story about his prosperity ministry.