If you want to help televangelist Creflo Dollar raise the $65 million needed to buy a new private jet, you don't have to wait for the plate to be passed around. Donations were being accepted late Friday afternoon on Dollar's website, www.creflodollarministries.org.
But the web page devoted to Project G650 — as in the top-of-the-line Gulfstream 650 — was no longer accessible.
It was not known whether the site had been taken down or had a technical issue. A spokesman for Dollar’s World Changers Church International said he was unaware the site was down, but would check into the matter and get back to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
News of Dollar’s online fundraising page spread quickly online early Friday. His ministry needs a new, $65 million private jet so that Dollar, 53, can safely spread the word of Jesus around the world. And Dollar’s World Changers Church International, based in College Park, isn’t shy about asking for help.
While it was up, the website devoted to the fundraiser said Dollar's current plane, built in 1984 and purchased in 1999, has logged 4 million miles. One of the engines failed on a recent trip, but the experienced pilot was able to land safely and no one was injured.
That plane is now grounded and the repairs it would require to meet FAA guidelines would be costly, Juda Engelmayer, ministry spokesman, told The AJC.
Friday morning, the website stated: “Due to this recent incident coupled with the 31 years the airplane has been in service, we believe it is time to replace this aircraft so that our Pastors and staff can continue to safely and swiftly share the Good News of the Gospel worldwide. We need your help to continue reaching a lost and dying world for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There are no plans to fly commercial, or even booking a charter bus. Instead, Dollar wants a new Gulfstream G650, a twin-engine jet that will comfortably seat 18, according to the aircraft's manufacturer. Eighteen seats that would allow Dollar, his wife Taffi, and 16 others to safely share the love of Jesus, the ministry says.
“The work they do is important,” Engelmayer said Friday. “It’s feeding, clothing, educating people, as well as passing on the word of God.
“It’s not like it’s gone to vacation islands,” Engelmayer said. “It really goes to some of the deepest areas of the world. And that’s the work they do on a regular basis.
The campaign is asking 200,000 people to contribute $300 each but if you’re skeptical, maybe a little unsure of how much you can give, there’s no need to worry. According to the man named Dollar, your “love gift” of any amount will be appreciated.
Ministry representative Kayla Dollar told The Christian Post in 2014 that the fuel cost for traveling to New York City in the jet be around $9,500. Half of that cost must be covered by the church Pastor Dollar is visiting, she said.
Dollar established his ministry in 1981 while a student at West Georgia College, where he also met his wife, according to his church’s website. His first service was held in 1986 in an elementary school cafeteria, and in 1988, the Dollars purchased the former Atlanta Christian Center Church in College Park.
In 1995, the ministry moved into its current location, the 8,500-seat "World Dome" on Burdett Road. On Friday, the church held the funeral service for Terence Avery Green, a veteran Fulton County police officer killed in the line of duty.
In addition to the College Park location, which serves 30,000 members, the ministry has satellite churches across the U.S.
— Please return for updates.