Controversial televangelist Kenneth Copeland was all smiles on the tarmac near his Fort Worth, Texas mega church as he took delivery of his new $3million Gulfstream V private jet.
‘This is a big deal, this is a big plane’ he says in a video posted on his ministry’s website, before grinning into the lens and asking viewers, ‘do you see this? do you see this? I hope so, you bought it. You and Jesus.’
Copeland, who is the head of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries and has his own TV show, bought the jet off Tyler Perry.
The Gulfstream V, also known as the GV (pronounced Gee Five), introduced in 1997, was one of the first long range private jets.
It can travel up to 6,000 miles without refueling. It is also fast. But the speed and range come with a pricetag, the GV can start with a base price of $3,700,000, but custom upgrades cost in the tens of millions.
The most popular GV carries 14 passengers comfortably, that has club style seatingfor 4 in the front, 2 more club seats and a couch in the middle and then four more seats in a ‘conference’ set up in the rear of the plane.
This configuration also carries a crew of four
Other GV owners include actors Jim Carrey and John Travolta, as well as rapper Soulja Boy.
In a thank you note posted with the video, a follower writes, ‘First, the Holy Spirit confirmed to Brother Copeland that the Gulfstream V was the plane the Lord had set aside for KCM. Right away discussions began, and Brother Copeland developed a wonderful personal relationship with the seller, Christian businessman and movie-maker Tyler Perry.’
Dressed in a bomber jacket, Copeland prays on the video, chuckling as he thanks God for the ‘partners’ (as he calls church members) who followed him and paid for the plane.
He and his wife Gloria tour the interior and pose for photos. The video ends with a bible passage.
Kenneth Copeland isn’t the first mega minister to ask his flock to pay for a private plane.
In 2015, Reverend Creflo Dollar raised funds to buy a $70million G650. At first his request for $300 donation from each follower was met with outrage. Later the church decided that the plane was necessary for Creflo’s ministry work.
And in 2016, Copeland and fellow televangelist Jesse Duplantis defended their use of private planes on Copeland’s TV show ‘Believer’s Voice of Victory’.
On that show Copeland called flying commercial getting in ‘a long tube with a bunch of demons’.
Copeland made headlines in 2013 when an outbreak of measles at the flagship Eagle Mountain mega church near Fort Worth Texas threatened the whole congregation.
In public appearances and on his TV shows Copeland questioned the value of vaccinations, citing links to autism.
Copeland won’t be flying his G5 just yet though, because it needs about $2.5million worth of upgrades before it is ready.
Then the church is trying to raise another $17million for ‘the construction of a new hangar, upgrading the existing runway, and purchasing special GV maintenance equipment’.