A Texas megachurch pastor, whose 'Aviation Department' advised him that upgrading the blades on his helicopter would save his church $50,000, recently caused an uproar for asking his congregation to help finance the upgrade with $52 'favor seeds.'
Bishop, I.V. Hilliard, of the New Light Christian Center in Houston Texas, reportedly sent out a controversial newsletter to his "Friends in Jesus" list, telling them that if they sow a $52 transportation seed toward the upgrade they would receive "breakthrough favor" within 52 days or 52 weeks.
"Does your car need repair or total replacement? Do you have a dream vehicle or luxury automobile you long to purchase?" noted Hilliard in the opening paragraph of the letter.
"Our Aviation Department has an opportunity that will save the ministry well over $50K if we will move on it right away. My Aviation Manager stated that while repairing our helicopter they discovered that if we upgrade our blades today, it will save thousands in the days to come," he explained.
Then while pointing to various biblical scriptures, Hilliard noted: "We have an urgent transportation need that the Lord said can be an opportunity for you to see His favor and His wisdom released to help you."
"Scripture teaches when you give to a Kingdom need, God will raise up someone to use their power, their ability and their influence to help you," he added.
"As I pondered and looked at the situation, I heard that still small voice of the Holy Spirit say 'tell your special partners who have special transportation needs' and their obedience will release favor for their needs and desires. I got excited and set down to write you!" noted Hilliard.
The Bishop's request however stirred a heated debate online as soon as it was made public.
"You sir, are proof that SUCKERS/SHEEPLE are born every day! Give that charlatan money $$? LOL Why? So he can buy more gold rings, bigger mansion, bigger cars, hire another maid, a Helicopter??? ? All under the guise of Gawd..LOL This atheist is glad he's an atheist!" wrote John R Costello on the Bishop's facebook page.
Apparently upset that some people think Hilliard's request is unreasonable, Pastor Eddie Daniels responded supportively to the controversy on the Bishop's facebook page.
"Concerning Bishop I.V. Hilliard: Simply put, the church's helicopter is under their maintenance responsibilities and not the sole responsibility of any one individual. Why does anyone feel coerced to be upset about the financial responsibility to spreading the ministry? Helicopters do not maintain themselves. They are not Transformers, neither Autobots nor Decepticons. Wake up church and get the world out of your affairs," wrote Daniels.
In response to a Fox News report on the request, the New Light Christian Center, issued a statement apologizing to anyone the request may have offended.
"New Light Church World Outreach and Worship Centers, Inc. regularly make appeals to Special Partners, Members and friends of the church for the support of various programs and services," New Light stated.
"Occasionally, it is not uncommon for an appeal to be directed toward specific Kingdom projects or specific needs. In this instance, the appeal was directed to our Special Partners and friends who are familiar with the Biblical principles upon which we base our faith. We sincerely regret if anyone was offended by this appeal in that it was not our intent."