The board of World Changers Church International, which was founded by popular televangelist Creflo Dollar and conducts business as Creflo Dollar Ministries, said in a strongly worded statement that the organization will acquire the luxury multimillion dollar Gulfstream G650 jet they tried to raise $65 million to purchase through a short-lived crowdfunding campaign that sparked public outcry in March.
The ministry shut down the crowdfunding campaign asking 200,000 of its international supporters to donate $300 each in March to purchase the aircraft that reportedly had billionaires waiting in line to purchase one last year.
"It is our belief that this ministry is called to serve people globally — to literally change the world according to the Great Commission — and our infrastructure and operational plan reflect the worldwide nature of that assignment. Our pastors share the gospel of Jesus more than 300 times per year — in churches, arenas, venues, convention centers, stadiums and other facilities across the entire planet — and are committed to aggressive travel schedules that cannot be fulfilled via any means other than private aircraft," said the WCCI board in a statement posted on the website of Creflo Dollar Ministries.
"A long-range, high-speed, intercontinental jet aircraft is a tool that is necessary in order to fulfill the mission of the ministry. In light of an unfortunate accident that recently resulted in the ministry's aircraft being declared a total loss, it is our intention to purchase another airplane at a time, place and price of our choosing," the statement continued.
It was then confirmed later in the statement that the next plane the ministry intends to acquire is the controversial Gulfstream G650.
"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. We, the World Changers family, so value the lives, the safety and the well-being of our pastors and leaders that we wish to provide to them the best air travel experience possible," said the statement from the WCCI board.
Despite the statement from WCCI, however, it might be a while before the church can acquire the G650 jet even if they are able to raise the nearly $70 million needed to purchase the aircraft, according to Gulfstream's sales director for New Jersey, Delaware and New York, Kevin Valik.
"It's kind of a tough detail," Valik told The Christian Post in a telephone interview Tuesday.
He said there are only 120 Gulfstream G650 jets that have been delivered globally since the company started meeting orders on the jet in 2013.
Since 2013, the company has delivered about 50 of the jets annually and they are getting orders for the multimillion dollar aircraft "every day." The company now has a backlog on orders for the aircraft through the beginning of 2018.
Getting a used G650 also appears to have gotten a lot tougher since March when the company advertised one on it's website for $67,950,000.
"We are no longer working with that seller," said Valik, who noted that he doesn't know if the seller wants to keep the plane now or might be trying to sell it through other avenues.
Earlier in the statement the WCCI board made it clear that the decision to pursue the G650 jet wasn't made unilaterally by Creflo Dollar.
"All significant projects, policy changes and financial expenditures, regardless of the circumstances, are presented to the board and approved prior to implementation. A proper system of checks and balances is in place to insure the ministry's dealings are beyond reproach. When Dollar steps forward to announce a ministry initiative, please make no mistake that it is actually an action of this board," said the statement.
"Our community is centered on biblical principles directly from the Word of God. There is no area of the organization that does not base its foundational principles and operational guidelines on what the Bible has to say to us about God's love and His grace.
"We understand that others may interpret biblical truths differently — the freedom to worship as one chooses is a fundamental hallmark of a free society — but wish to assert our God-given right to practice what we believe. This is our faith, the very basis for what we believe, and it is not necessary that we justify it," the statement noted.