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Megachurch Pastor Asks Congregation To Help Pay For Helicopter Upgrade

Megachurch pastor asks for $52 to pay for helicopter upgrades

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?

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111 Responses to “Megachurch Pastor Asks Congregation To Help Pay For Helicopter Upgrade”

  1. Anonymous

    Religion is where the smart make a nice living fleecing the truly stoopid.

  2. Alisha L. Gordon

    [When pastors use scripture to manipulate and pimp people for their money to replace blades on their helicopter…]

    He asked for 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."

    [how do you know this? Yes, there's spiritual law that says that when you sow, you shall reap, but how can you say in 52 days OR 52 weeks? What if my "harvest" doesn't come for 3 years? Does that make you or God a liar? Dangerous doctrine.]

    Hilliard said, "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.”.

    [Stop it, man.]

    [AGAIN: stop manipulating spiritual principles for your own personal gain. If you want to get new blades for your helicopter, use the money from your church salary. Save up and it happen. Don't press the people (who are probably already pressed by life's pressures) for your personal gain.]

    Dangerous doctrine, y'all.

  3. Jermaine Holmes

    I hope people save their money for real problems. Not "return blessings."

  4. Jennifer Daniel

    There is nothing wrong with a congregation helping as a unified body to fund projects missions and upkeep of the church. Where the problem occurs is the promise of special blessing headings and so forth promised if only they give… Gods word tells us to take care of our own especially the leaders elders and pastors of the bodies But also says to be cautious of those who would Lord over you manipulate you and decisive the elect 1 and 2 Timothy is clear on this issue. God is not mocked those who teach false doctrine will be judged.

  5. Randa Kae Williams

    No one see anything WRONG, with this? I'm on disability, and can barely pay my bills. A "man of GOD", in my hometown is raking in BILLIONS, and still wants more?

  6. Sweet-Sylvia Gutierrez

    Jesus wore sandals to do his evangilization – get yourself some "pastor" – smh.

  7. William David

    What next fix his leaking toilet at his condo in the Bahamas? I suppose God or Jesus would have a great need for such a thing Huh? Thieves hiding under the guise of the lords work. I hope they get struck down for their bigotry. Worldly goods are not in the lords favor as we all know, you can't take it with you when you go. It is for this reason that churches are getting a bad name as blasphemers take advantage of the good.

  8. Erika K Moureau

    Ira Hilliard has always been a conman, so why are you surprised now? Have you seen his home, his Bentley cars?
    He didn't earn that, someone gave them to him!

  9. Danielle Irene Lynne Cooper

    Wow, this guy is a piece of shit. Really dude? You drive bentleys, now you want your congregation to pay for your helicopter repairs?!!? Fuck you! Why don't you ask GOD for the money?

  10. Jillian Brown

    Before repairing or replacing helicopter blades, I'd like to know how many homeless folks have been housed; how many hungry folks have been fed; just how many folks who represent the poor, the working poor, lower income, and all around downtrodden folks in the church's community and neighboring communities have been helped by this "church?" What works, other than possibly lining the Pastor's pockets, have this church accomplished?

  11. Cat Perroux

    Unfortunately, they'll probably do it. It's gotten to the point where pastors, preachers, and priests r actually the ones being worshipped. Turns out, Christianity and Catholicism r very corrupt religions. Always have been, if u look at history. I'll stick to The Great Spirit, tyvm. The only thing The Great Spirit asks is that you treat Mother Earth well and be kind to all of her children. In fact, it's not a Religion, it's Spirituality. :-).

  12. Rodney Merry

    Breakthrough favor within 52 days (about 2 months) and/or 52 weeks (one year) Guess he's skipping town on a helicopter.

  13. 'gorgi' Gordon

    These pastors represent the missionaries that introduced the European religion that kept us worshiping a white jesus, instead of our original African way, before the slave trade…

  14. Tammie Bigbabe Heard

    Hey here's something new jst be up front with people and stop side line pimp people and the truth jst may help god is not in the business of using his people

  15. Chris Fleming

    why don't he pay for the upgrade himself & why is he b'ng paid anyways for preach'ng gods word which is FREE! I say no to any upgrades & even more of a no to pay'ng the man for gods words…..

  16. Jack M Barber

    peeps wouldn't vote for Romney because he was a MORMON……and they have a no Paid Ministry..yes that's right the piano player does it for free….everyone in the church helps out..they work their jobs and take care of church work after that……and I see stuff like this…. Holy Spirit told me to say this.

  17. Jillian Brown

    It's ridiculous. Jesus never said that he required a megachurch in order to worship Him. He never said he wanted houses of worship to have helicopters or for the Pastors, Ministers, Bishops, etc., to drive Bentleys, Rolls Royce' or other expensive cars, wear thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and to live in mansions. These slugs profess to love and to know God yet are always asking for mo' money, instead of feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, and supporting their many words with Works. Pathetic!

  18. Jerry Newton

    this is what is wrong with people not trusting in the Lord as saviour because of greedy so call preachers wanting a seed sow for them , bet you he has more money in his bank account then the people he is trying to cheat out of theirs………..

  19. Lauren Lagergren

    The world needs to quit inventing gods and yes, the god in the Bible was invented, too. At first it was by primitive people trying to understand what the world was about. Later, it was used by people to manipulate other people with threats of hell, etc. Now, it's used to rake in the cash. It's time for all churches to be taxed like any other organization. As long as people think there is an invisible personage out there, somewhere, or, worse, surveying your every thought and action, this "philosophical terrorism" will continue.

  20. Cherie Lynch

    We are Borg….. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistence is futile.

  21. Jillian Brown

    You're so right Laverne. And they'll probably attack (verbally) anyone who disagrees with their "godly leader."

  22. Caitlin Flopkins

    Ugh, this is just one extremist example of what drives me crazy about religion.

  23. Richard Rowe

    And Jesus said "Lo, my Apostles…hearken unto me. For mine minister of equine affairs hath counseled me that we may spread the word of the LORD thy God quicker on brand new Arabian steeds than on foot. Wilt thou, Peter, taketh up collecting taxes once again from thy fellow apostles to payeth for the transportation upgrade?" And Peter said "But, Lord, what of thy feet? Would we not spread the Word of the LORD better if we were to walk upon the roads, among the sick and blind, ministering to who we will?" And the Lord Christ said "Nay, Peter. For the Lord rewardeth the righteous man alone with riches, and those who will not work do not eat. Therefore, take we not to foot, lest the common leper think we sinners such as he, and in no position to offer counsel to lepers. I say: Tax Collector…taketh up thine occupation, and let us ride DIRECTLY to Rome! For they have better booze there anyway."

  24. Michael Hill

    'gorgi' Gordon You never had an "original African way" because none of you are from Africa and you have no proof that your ancestors were even born in Africa.

  25. Janet Cooke

    I would wager that as offensive as some find this, he is probably half way to having the money to get that work done.

  26. Darrell Waterman

    Seriously, I doubt that the Holy Spirit (assuming there is such a phenom) would EVER whisper to ANYONE about new helicopter blades. People who fall for this baloney are truly deluded.

  27. Michael J. Simmons


    My temple should be a house of prayer,
    But you have made it a den of thieves.
    Get out! Get out!
    My time is almost through.
    Little left to do.
    After all, I've tried for three years.
    Seems like thirty, seems like thirty.

  28. Karen Kerr

    What they REALLY need to be thankful for is that he doesn't use a jet. I thought it was bad when pastors asked for cadillacs!

  29. Doy Bowers

    Well the "LORD" does work in mysterious ways. Maybe this is his way of exposing these "Charlatans" for the Money Grubbing Con Artist they really are or his way of getting a good laugh from seeing how ignorant the animal man truly is? Either way I'm sure he's rolling on the clouds laughing!

  30. Scott Scherer

    50k is a drop in the bucket next to the amount of tax money the church didn't have to pay. Guess they should have prayed harder.

  31. Joe Dan Draffen

    The poor are with us always, helicopters blades are only on sale till Sunday ……the right reverend "I gots mine, yoz be havta wait!"

  32. Rob Mueller

    So I guess if the new blades fall off inflight it's all in god's plan right?

  33. Brandon MacDougall

    If you are willing to pay so your priest can make helicopter upgrades, I say go for it. Based on your judgement you probably would have wasted it elsewhere.

  34. Mary Quinn

    I need to pay off my student loans. God told me to post this on here and anyone who donates will see Jeebuzes face on their morning toast the next day. What a deal!

  35. G Erwin Myers

    A fool and his money are soon parted. Jesus Christ does not want you to give money to a rich heathen for a helicopter upgrade. Wake up you fools. The time is at hand.

  36. Michael J Butler

    Bloody hell! Surely Jesus can get this turkey some new helicopter blades without fleecing his unwitting (and stupid) congregation!

  37. Allen Simpson

    Texans set the world standard on "stupidity" ….

  38. Laurence Boorer

    If I may quote Genesis.

    "Won't find me praticing what I'm preaching.
    Won't find me making no sacrifice.
    But I can get you a pocket full of miracles.
    If you promise to be good, try to be nice.
    God will take good care of you.
    Just do as I say, don't do as I do."

  39. Eddie Martin

    Now, now, why not simply pray with the power of faith and have the upgrade materialized and installed? Then use the money to feed the needy and the poor, the homeless and down trodden?

  40. Vienna Wright

    We are working in Liberia where believers are short of clean water, food, clothing, medical care and schools. How many places did Jesus say to take care of the poor. And we have this (insert comments not appropriate for a Christian) buying helicopters and luxury cars. All I have to say is when we come to stand before Jesus I wouldn't want to be him.

  41. Shoogafoot Jones

    I am sure God will soon tell him he needs an 80' Yacht for which to sail the seas to be further enlightened. I do feel terrible for the people who fall for these scammers. Imagine if they learned that a God does not require any of this and would welcome you if you kept your money and stayed home just as much? It does not matter your religious beliefs, if any, but no where does it state in any religious doctrine that God will only love you if you pay for that love. While Politicians are easily bought and sold, God is not. All that is required is for people to be good. Help one another. The money put into new junk like this can just as easily be sent to local charities, who are truly the servers of God. These "churches" are nothing more than cult gathering, tax evading, excuses for charity. While I know nothing about this pastor, or this "church", I am quite sure he is living high on the hog. With money extorted from people he purports to help. When someone like this violates the very commandments he claims to uphold, well, there is only one place for him to go now isn't there?

  42. Serena Aye

    J Anthony Brown made a hilarious song about him this morning.

  43. Tiara Williams

    That is F'n ridiculous! People would do better by donating that money to the inner city schools. Maybe they'd be able to afford art, science, music, and physical ed programs again!

  44. Daniel Parker

    If they want to buy the helicopter blade, then that's on them. Congress gets a pension for life and security that we pay for and we're concerned about what a private church does with their money.

  45. Justin Speed

    no words, why the hell you need helicopter anyway!

  46. Christopher Tonbar

    What would really save the church money is NOT having a HELICOPTER.

  47. John Hewitt

    wonder if the congregation is welcome to use the Aviation Department

  48. Martin Webb

    Funny and scary at the same time. And to think that some wonder why smart Americans eschew organized religion by the boatloads :)

  49. Scott Vowels

    Next you'll be wanting them to spend that money to feed and clothe the poor…

  50. Scott Vowels

    Next you'll be wanting them to spend that money to feed and clothe the poor…

  51. Derek Warren

    We should know that it is not uncommon for a church to ask for donations. Our church building is almost 90 years old. Our social hall and kitchen are very outdated and they are in need of renovations. The stained glass windows in the nave are deteriorating and they can no longer be neglected. They've had no major work on them since they were originally installed. Repairing these windows will not only maintain the appearance of the building, but they will also help decrease our heating bill. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for donations to maintain your church property or to help people in the community. Why a church needs a helicopter is something I will never understand. This guy puts real pastors to shame.You know, the ones who go through four years of seminary, serve an internship at a congregation and graduate.

  52. Gary Roberti

    Folks, you don't understand. He REQUIRES that helicopter to get to those unfortunate souls that need to "be saved" as quickly as possible before the Devil recruits them! Keep an eye on this guy…a jet will be 'needed' next.

  53. Steven Tilmon

    He's got 2 be as high as that helicopter gets…w/working blades. Sell one of those Bentley's partna!

  54. Ron Green

    Bottom line is he is out if line. All he does is preach prosperity. Not saying anything is wrong with that but saving souls is more important then upgrades to a helicopter.

  55. Rod Venger

    I think that the pastors get the money, the fame, the perks and the adulation of the crowds. But the meek shall inherit the Earth.

  56. Rod Venger

    John Hewitt – there seems to be an implied promise that those "special partners" will indeed have access to the aircraft. I'm guessing that the "special partner" subset of people does not include those who send in $52. No…it's his inner circle who are forking over thousands monthly to stay in the good graces of the pastor and enjoy the perks of being close to him.

  57. Rod Venger

    Right. It would be fun to see an audit of how the aircraft was actually used. A map showing the relative positions of his home, the church and all of the destinations of the helicopter all neatly laid out for all to see.

  58. Lorelei Senna

    Another false teacher leading people astray…why would he need a helicopter?

  59. Lorelei Senna

    He won't need a copter if he has Jesus. And if he doesn't…Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

  60. Brent Matthew Vanderwielen

    Walk across the stage… You're healed!! (Slaps them in face with palm)

  61. Allen Tosh

    52 dollars could by alot of soup for the less fortunate. But appearently new helicopter blades are more important.

  62. Neil Allen

    And Jesus said, "When thy helicopter needs an upgrade, thou may promise favor seeds, and thou can ignore the 2,000 people that die of starvation every day".
    – Bible, Bishop Hilliard version

  63. Neil Allen

    Not just taxed. Back taxed. Recoup money they haven't paid in taxes over the last 200 years.

  64. Neil Allen

    Ryan Quattro Really? Academia? You're awesome. Now put on your McHat and get back to McWork.

  65. Kevin Tarpley

    It isn't the job of the church to "Take care of the poor"…

    The great commission is to "GO YE AND PREACH THE GOSPEL"

    Money is a tool used to lead the poor to the LORD, who will then…

    But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)THE [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt and evil are they, and doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. (Psalm 53:1 AMP)

  66. Kevin Tarpley

    For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV)

  67. Kevin Tarpley

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:9-11 KJV)

  68. Kevin Tarpley

    There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her. (Matthew 26:7-13 KJV)

  69. Ma Ka

    If this helicopter was in use for helping the hospital to transport people, or to help fire brigade, or some disabled people, or animals – then it would be ok to upgrade it. But it seems it is rather this bishop's whim rather than a real need.

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