I don’t usually comment on other preacher’s lifestyles. And I’m definitely not in the habit of publicly criticizing other leaders, but I thought this issue was worth discussing together.
Maybe you’ve already seen it, but a video recently went viral featuring two prominent prosperity gospel preachers, Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis, defending their use of personal jets.
It’s so wild, that I’d like to break it down, step-by-step. I’m doing my best not to criticize these guys and their character, but to keep the discussion strictly on the validity (or lack thereof) of their arguments. If you’ve been blessed by their ministry, more power to you.
Also, honestly, I’m not against personal jets if you have the money, but the reasons these pastors give are so absurd they’re almost silly to me. So, as you will see, this post is a little tongue-in-cheek.
Watch the video and follow along, if you’d like.
1. If I heard it correctly, God gave these pastors personal jets so they wouldn’t have to ride in a metal tube filled with demons … like the rest of us. Yes, there is the danger of demons–especially if you’re in the back of the plane, but, as pastors, aren’t we trying to reach people for Christ? Shouldn’t they look at air travel as a metal tube filled with lost souls who need saving? Calling them demons seems a weeee bit self-serving in this argument.
But let’s move on.
2. These pastors don’t believe you can conveniently pray on a commercial plane so the natural solution is a multi-million dollar personal jet. Problem solved. If only all our leadership problems had such a simple solution. In fact, sometimes I hear my kids fighting in the car when I’m trying to pray–so I should probably get a limo with a chauffeur, right? Baby I’m worth it. I kid, I kid.
3. These pastor need personal jets because the commercial airlines are a mess and it could “agitate their spirits.” I would agree that traveling on commercial airlines can bring on the stress, but, um, that’s called life. Toughen up buttercup. There are a lot of things that agitate our spirits, but spiritualizing everyday stress doesn’t quite cut it for me.
4. They have personal jets so they can talk to God, alone. Um, I have a multi-million dollar solution–it’s called journaling. I’ve had some of my best times with God on a plane. Surrounded by people, even! Real, live people.
5. They claim the devil could lie to us and make us feel like these “fat cats” flying around in their personal jets for ministry is dead wrong. Again, using the devil in this instance feels more flimsy than anything. Placing the devil against them–and their use of personal jets for ministry–feels a little self-serving too.
6. They are in the “soul business” so they need a jet to get to tough places. Every pastor is in the soul business and, yes, there are a lot of remote places that need the gospel. But do these remote places have landing strips for personal jets? Is it really that hard to get to the places they want to go using commercial airlines? I’ll admit, if it’s true, it actually carries some weight. Someone should do a little research to see if they’re flying into Papua New Guinea every other day.
7. They also need a jet because, well, SLEEP! All I have to say is foxes have dens, my friends, foxes have dens…
All kidding aside, I’m not really criticizing the fact that these pastors have personal jets, as much as I’m criticizing the reasons they give for having one–reasons that seem to separate them from the rest of us because of their spiritual value/influence. I think pastors can have nice things, but when you have to make up crazy excuses about those things, well, the red flags go off for me.
As leaders, we’re under the spotlight and our decisions need to be discerning and wise. Again, if your ministry can afford a personal jet, then that’s something you need to take up with God, but please don’t say you’re using it to avoid riding in a metal tube with demons… just say it’s comfortable and it gets you where you need to go.
That’s it and amen.