A Texas megachurch pastor is asking his congregation to help pay for upgrades to his helicopter blades after being advised by his “Aviation Department” that the upgrade would save the church $50,000.
Bishop I.V. Hilliard sent a newsletter to members of the New Light Christian Center in Houston asking his “Friends in Jesus” to help pay for the upgrade with $52 “favor seeds.” Hillard told the congregation that they would receive “breakthrough favor” within 52 days or 52 weeks.
“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,” Hilliard wrote. “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.”
Hilliard’s request elicited a mixed response on his Facebook page, with some defending the bishop as a “tremendous man of integrity” and others denouncing him as a charlatan.
New Light Christian Center issued a statement apologizing to anyone who may have been offended by the pastor’s request.
“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,” the church wrote.
“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.”
Bishop Hilliard has yet to comment on the request, but he isn’t the only one asking his flock to help pay for a luxury aircraft.
Last month, televangelist Dr. Mark Barclay of Mark Barclay Ministries asked for $79,000 to repaint a Citation III 650 that he said “actually belongs” to the Lord. Unlike Bishop Hilliard, Barclay did not promise any blessings or “breakthrough favors” in return for donations.
A representative for the ministry told the Christian Post, “We are still believing God to finish the project and we thank you for agreeing with us in prayer.”
What do you think of Bishop Hilliard and Dr. Mark Barclay’s requests? Should church members be asked to pay for such luxury items?