The Rev. Creflo Dollar on Sunday sought to pay all the bills for the family of the church employee shot and killed at his World Changers Church International on Wednesday.
“In my book, he’s a hero,” Dollar said of Greg McDowell, who was gunned down while leading morning prayer service at the church. “If those bullets hadn’t been trained on him, there would’ve been more people that would’ve died,” Dollar told the congregation.
Police have charged former church employee Floyd Palmer in McDowel’s death. Investigators say Palmer, 52, calmly walked into morning prayer service Wednesday and fired six shots at McDowell, killing the 39-year-old husband and father.
Dollar challenged church members to give as they left the College Park church, to make online donations and to give to a special fund the church has set up at a bank.
“The goal is $234,000,” Dollar said, telling the congregation he wanted to raise that amount by the end of the day Sunday. “We want to completely eradicate all debts in their lives … house, cars, everything. Let’s now show the world the power of a megachurch.”
Members told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they expected Dollar’s response to the tragedy.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Juliet Hilton said. “He did tell us on Wednesday (night) that he was going to take up an extra offering.”
“He has a love for people,” Debbie Taylor said.
Mike Howard said Dollar’s actions, and the acquiescence of the church members was just part of belonging to the church.
“The McDowells are family,” Howard said. “We take care of each other here.”
Marcia Danielson said the gesture reflects Bible scripture that directs each church to take care of its members when the need arises.
“If it were me, I would’ve wanted that for my family,” she said. “That’s an incredible burden lifted.”
Indeed, Dollar highlighted such burdens when he asked the church to help McDowell’s family.
“It’s enough to have somebody torn away from you,” he said. “And at the same time have to be worried about all of the debts.”
Blue barrels were stationed near each of the exits and church-goers dropped cash and envelopes filled with checks and money as they departed.
It was unclear early Sunday afternoon, how much the church raised, but donations continue to be accepted.
Contributions can be made through the World Changers online, under the Gregory McDowell Family Fund.
An account has been established at Regions Bank for donations in the name of the McDowell Family, Dollar said.
Services for McDowell will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church at 2500 Burdett Road.
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