After reports that went viral on the web week that Creflo Dollar of World Changers Ministries is asking 200,000 of their ministry supporters to donate $300 or more so he and his team could buy a private plane to travel the world, the story drew a lot of many negative criticism.
Dollar, who is the founder of World Changers Church International, explained on the church’s website campaign that he needed $65 million to buy a Gulfstream G650 airplane because the current jet, which he purchased in 1999, was now grounded. He further explained that the reason he needed the luxury aircraft was because his previous plane experienced engine failure in London on a recent trip to Australia.
While defending Dollar’s apparent need to own this outrageously extravagant means of transport to spread the Gospel instead of using commercial flights, Judah Engelmayer, his Public Relations and Image Management Consultant claimed that they move with a significant cargo on their Gospel missions which created an inevitable need for such an aircraft. He went on to say that when Dollar flies around the globe, he takes with him a team of 10 to 15 people and they carry with them thousands of pounds of food and provisions.
Engelmayer went on to explain that if say Creflo Dollar is going to the New York church, he will hop on a Delta flight, but if he’s taking 12 people plus 100,000 pounds of food, it’s not that simple. He continued to say that the work they do is important. “It’s feeding, clothing, educating people, as well as passing on the word of God.”
However Dollar’s team’s explanation had so many gaps and a number of people saw this as too flamboyant and luxurious a means of transport for such an explanation they were giving. One observer to smoke out their lie and burst their bubble is David Graham a Global Express aircraft captain with Advanced Air Management.
When Graham heard about Dollar’s reasons for wanting his followers to purchase a G650 aircraft, he would not have any of that. He rubbished their excuse, stating that their reasoning didn’t add up.
According to an email to the Christian Post on Friday, Graham stated, “The G650 max ramp weight is 99,600. Then add 4,000 for the G650ER … It cannot carry 12 people and 100,000 of food and supplies like the commenter says!!! Creflo is a crook and scamming his church in the name of the Lord!!!” The irritated Graham mentioned his expertise in aircraft on his LinkedIn profile: “I have an extensive knowledge of the Corporate Aviation Industry. My experience ranges from Chief Pilot to Line Captain with Worldwide Operations.”
The manufacturer of the Gulfstream G650 appears to confirm Graham’s claims on their website. It states that the aircraft holds about 18 seated passengers and can take off with a maximum weight of 99,600 pounds. It also lists a pre-owned G650 for $67,950,000 which had 1,616 hours of flying time and 625 landings.
Our visit to the World Changers website revealed that the appeal page it appears had been removed from there with a message stating that the link could have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.
Apparently Dollar is now flying commercial airlines while the campaign is being reassessed, according to spokespersons for the organization. They further said more or less grudgingly, that the pastor’s ministry was being continued with whatever he has to use to travel adding for emphasis that you know the challenges of commercial transportation.