by Robert Earl Houston
We are asking members, partners and supporters of this ministry to assist in the undertaking of an initiative called Project G650. The mission of Project G650 is to acquire 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. We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality–and allow us to retire the aircraft that served us well for many years. (The Huffington Post)
I have been watching the discussion, jokes, and expert opinions about Dr. Creflo Dollar’s (Pastor of the World Changers Church International in the Atlanta area) request for money to buy a top of the line jet. I think that the problem that many have with it is not necessarily the need for a plane – it’s a plane of that order and that type. What was probably a great idea in a planning and creative session (which mega ministries have) backfired because somebody either didn’t say or was overruled in the wisdom of putting this down on video and letter to ask for a first class jet that only the super-rich possess.
The downside of this has become all of the chatter, criticism and last night during The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, one of the ministers of the television reality show, “The Preachers of Detroit” greatly rebuked Dollar and the panel basically made it sound like the poor was being pressured into giving – when the truth is that poor folk aren’t the only ones who give to his (or any other mega ministry) because he clearly said it was sent to his congregation AND his worldwide donors list, which meant these were the people who had already been giving.
This debacle has made the words “those preachers” become inclusive of most of us who don’t drive or own luxury cars, live in fancy homes or have congregations that pay us six or seven figure salaries. Most of us struggle, to be honest. Those of us who went to school haven’t gotten the appropriate amount of pay for school nor experience. Most of us deal with established boards who come to the table not with the spirit of the pastor’s vision, but their own brand of division. Not to mention a spirit of suicide that erupted in the Body of Christ last year which saw several pastors (none of those who pastored megachurches) end their lives tragically.
I’m saddened by all of this, without a doubt. It’s been a long time since Jim and Tammy Bakker and other financial excesses have been public fodder. So, please forgive me if I don’t join in the chorus of those who are joyfully exploiting this situation with suspect glee – it’s saddening and disappointing on many, many levels. Since the public outcry, the campaign has been cancelled.
A friend of mine, Bishop Victor Couzens of Cincinnati, Ohio recently went on a missions trip. Packed his bags and shared the gospel with those who are struggling in life. Upon his preparation to return to the States, he heard the voice of the Lord, and all of the clothing and possessions he brought with him to Kenya – and to leave it all to those in the village and he literally returned home with nothing but the clothes on his back. The people of that area gave him a Maasai name: “Lemaylan” – which means “the one who is blessed to be blessed.”
I choose to serve so that I too will be called “Lemayla.”
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