ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta megachurch's board of directors said Wednesday that it is moving forward in a campaign to buy a private jet.
The board of directors for World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar ministries said the Gulfstream G650 Dollar wants is necessary to continue international ministry and aid work. The jet is valued at more than $65 million.
An initial recorded appeal for donations didn't adequately explain that Dollar was looking for donations from like-minded people and not the public at large, board members said. The board says a revamped video will be released soon. Numerous online reports quoted the initial request on the ministry's website as saying: "We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality."
Board members said they reject criticism that the appeal for donations was an attempt at taking advantage of worshippers and that all significant church projects must be presented before they're implemented.
"A proper system of checks and balances is in place to insure the ministry's dealings are beyond reproach," the statement said.
Dollar is a prominent African-American preacher based near Atlanta who has built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel. Ministers in this tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works.
A former spokesman for Dollar said the ministry's current plane, acquired in 1999, was built in 1984, has traveled more than 4 million miles and is no longer safe.
Board members said the ministry's pastors travel more than 300 times a year for speaking engagements around the world.