Evangelist Creflo Dollar, whose request to his followers for $65 million to buy a top-of-the-range private jet was met by widespread outrage and ridicule, has launched a new fundraising campaign.
The campaign is aimed at funding his '20/20 Vision Partner' programme and is marketed with the slogan, "How much would you give to change the world and reach a billion souls?"
Its Europe website says: "For less than £1 a day, £5 a week, or £20 a month, you can impact billions of people!"
The appeal is to fund Dollar's extensive media ministry, which he claims reaches nearly 1 billion homes on six continents and airs on more than 100 stations.
He says that God "needs people willing to 'go ye' into all the world and share this glorious Gospel of grace! When you do, you no longer have to go door-to-door knocking to win souls—now you can get in the house! It's so important that the Gospel of grace is preached worldwide."
In return for donations, it says, "because we want you to be successful in every area of your life", givers will receive monthly personalised email letter, mp3 downloads, "coaching" from Creflo Dollar, "personalised confessions" and discounted products.
He concludes: "I believe this is a great opportunity for you to be a part of ushering in the end-time harvest of souls. Get on board today and let's get the job done!"
Dollar's fundraising came under the spotlight when he asked his supporters to provide cash for the aircraft, reportedly the fastest civilian plane ever built. He was also criticised for a claim by a spokesman that the plane was needed to carry food and supplies to needy areas. Aviation experts said it was designed for "golf bags", not cargo.
However, his board said at the time: "A long-range, high-speed, intercontinental jet aircraft is a tool that is necessary in order to fulfil the mission of the ministry."
The previous plane bought in 1999 was taken out of service after an engine failed on a trip to Europe. Dollar's board said: "In light of an unfortunate accident that recently resulted in the ministry's aircraft being declared a total loss, it is our intention to purchase another airplane at a time, place and price of our choosing."
The board rejected any suggestion the airplane project takes advantage of the ministry's supporters.
"We have funded numerous multi-million dollar projects this exact same way, including parking facilities, various church buildings, previous airplanes, our teen ministry headquarters and even our sanctuary, the World Dome. We seek out what we believe to be the will of God, we allow ourselves to dream BIG, we present our 'family' with an opportunity to 'invest,' and we all come together to turn those dreams into reality."
They want a Gulfstream G650 because it is the best, they said, and reflects the level of excellence at which the organisation chooses to operate.