The Cost of Traveling by Private Jet: Televangelist Jet Circles the Globe

(Photo: Pixabay)

Joyce Meyer Ministries’ Gulfstream G4 jet flew to Nepal in January for a mission trip celebrating the grand opening of a church building in Attarkhel, Nepal which was funded by its donors.

Hand of Hope, the disaster relief organization and mission outreach of Joyce Meyer Ministries, also funded the drilling of a water well and provided a health clinic for the community.

Hand of Hope operates as an integrated auxiliary of Joyce Meyer Ministries, and for this reason, is not required to file a Form 990 which would disclose salaries and financial information that religious watchdog organizations are interested in reviewing.

During the mission trip the ministry jet accumulated approximately 35.5 flight hours as it circled the globe.

The jet departed on January 14th from Spirit of Saint Louis Airport and landed in Manchester, England. The first leg of the trip to Nepal took 7 hours and 50 minutes.

(Photo: First travel day)

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Jesse Duplantis’ Instant Gratification Theology

Jesus taught his followers that sacrificial obedience would be rewarded, but  prosperity gospel preachers exploit these verses for fundraising.

Televangelist Jesse Duplantis promotes a theology of instant gratification, creating unrealistic and unbiblical expectations. During a September 20th telethon, televangelist Jesse Duplantis told his audience:

“I always believe for the now. I mean when you want something, you want it now. Listen, we are Americans. We created fast food. You understand? We don’t like it if they spend 30 seconds more on a hamburger. We want it now. Well, let me tell you something. You need your harvest now, don’t you? Certainly, you do. Why not? That’s not being greedy. I mean it’s called growth.” (We call it greed.)

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Church TV Fundraiser: Jesse Duplantis Announces $21 Million Falcon 7X Jet, Followed by Widow of Pastor Killed in Plane Explosion

(Photo: Televangelist Jesse Duplantis and wife Cathy Duplantis exiting his Falcon 900 jet.)

During the Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ 2023 VictoryThon fundraiser, Jesse Duplantis announced his ministry purchased a $21 million Falcon 7X jet. Jesse Duplantis Ministries already owns a Falcon 900 jet.

On the September 20th broadcast Duplantis also told TV viewers that he had previously given away two jets.

According to AviationDB, Jesse Duplantis Ministries has previously owned a Cessna 500, a 1124 Westwind, and a Falcon 50.

The Cessna 500 was transferred to Keith Moore’s Faith Life Church in 2004 but has since been retired from service. The 1124 Westwind was transferred to Mike Mille’s White Dove Fellowship in 2006 and sold again in 2022. The Falcon 50 was transferred to Mac Hammond’s Living Word Christian Center in 2020.

During the same broadcast, Pastor Jerry Savelle joined Duplantis and George Pearsons, senior pastor at Kenneth Copeland Ministries, on stage to  announce his ministry was giving a seed offering of $100,000 while trusting for a Falcon 900 jet:

Savelle said, “I was sowing for the future … but the Lord recently told me. He said, ‘There’s something bigger, better, faster and more range in your future. Well, I know when He talks about future, you sow a seed because seed is about future. So tonight, I brought another seed because I’m believing for a Falcon 900 now… [Savelle hands a check to Pearsons] This is a hundred thousand dollars out of my aviation account.’”

Jerry Savelle Ministries already owns two jets: a Falcon 50 (tail number N920JS) and a Cessna 560 (tail number N229JS).

Forty minutes later the telethon featured healing evangelist Nancy Dufresne telling viewers a series of stories about people allegedly healed while watching her broadcasts.

Almost 10 years ago Edward Dufresne, the husband of Nancy Dufresne, and pastor of World Harvest Church, was killed when his privately-owned Cessna 500 (tail number N610ED) exploded over Kansas. Dufresne’s pilot also died in the incident.

Prosperity Gospel on Display

Word of faith theology, better known as the prosperity gospel, is the ideological foundation for the teaching and preaching featured on Kenneth Copeland’s TV network.

During the telethon, the hosts encouraged their audience to repeat a positive confession. According to Got Questions, “Positive confession is the practice of saying aloud what you want to happen with the expectation that God will make it a reality.”

George Pearsons tells the audience, “Everyone in here say this after me.” Then Pearsons begins the positive confession with Duplantis and the audience repeating each phrase. “In the name of Jesus, I have sown my seed and I believe the 100-fold return is working for me all the time.”

The prosperity gospel has generated incredible wealth for Kenneth Copeland. His daughter Kellie Copeland refers to her dad as she tells the audience, “It doesn’t even make sense that you could be debt-free, give all your money away and have more money and be known as the richest preacher in the world.”

While Kenneth Copeland does appear on some lists as the world’s wealthiest preacher, those lists are incomplete. Brazilian televangelist Edir Macedo is probably the richest preacher in the world. Macedo is head of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God and controls the second largest TV network in Brazil.


This article would never have been written if it weren’t for a tip. Researcher Susan Puzio contacted Trinity Foundation after watching Duplantis reported obtaining a new jet.

If you have inside information on fraud or financial abuses in a church or ministry, please submit a tip. Trinity Foundation has a long history of protecting confidential informants.


Updated Tax Rates on Televangelists Making Personal Flights on Church Aircraft

(Photo: Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Bombardier Global Express)

Twice per year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updates the tax rate charged on “non-commercial flights on employer-provided aircraft” which includes personal flights taken on ministry aircraft.

The latest tax update was announced in the April 10, 2023 edition of the Internal Revenue Bulletin and covers personal flights taken between January 1, 2023 and June 30, 2023.

The tax is comprised of a terminal charge of $52.35 along with an additional tax based on miles of the trip known as Standard Industry Fare Level (SIFL).

SIFL Mileage Rates for the first six months of 2023:

Up to 500 miles = $0.2864 per mile
501-1500 miles = $0.2183 per mile
Over 1500 miles = $0.2099 per mile

Only a handful of televangelists disclose their use of private jets on the IRS Form 990, a financial disclosure document which reveals total revenue, total expenses, and compensation of executives. However, most TV preachers claim a church exemption from this disclosure.  This fringe benefit would need to be reported on the televangelist’s personal income tax form 1040 each year.

Schedule J includes a box to checkmark for the use of first-class or charter travel.

Trinity Broadcasting Network Jet Depreciates $20 Million in Three Years

(Photo: Trinity Broadcasting Network jet at Fort Worth Alliance airport.)

(Correction: The headline has been changed from “Trinity Broadcasting Network Jet’s Value Drops $20 Million in Three Years” to “Trinity Broadcasting Network Jet Depreciates $20 Million in Three Years.” Also, a paragraph has been added providing an IRS definition for depreciation.)

IRS form 990s and audited financial statements prove that churches and ministries waste millions of dollars annually by purchasing business-class jets.

In 2017, Trinity Broadcasting of Florida (TBF), a non-profit affiliate of Trinity Broadcasting Network, replaced its older Bombardier Global Express jet with a newer 2010 model. On its 2017 form 990, TBF reported $8,814,590 in depreciation but did not disclose how much of the depreciation was for aircraft.

For 2018, TBF reported $6,780,942 in airplane depreciation expense. For 2019, TBF reported total $6,846,838 in total airplane depreciation and $6,929,106 for 2020.

In three years the TBF jet depreciated by $20,556,886.

Depreciation totals are not available for 2021 or 2022 as 990s for these years are not yet available.

According to the IRS, “Depreciation is an annual income tax deduction that allows you to recover the cost or other basis of certain property over the time you use the property. It is an allowance for the wear and tear, deterioration, or obsolescence of the property.”

Organizations with lower-priced aircraft also report large losses for aircraft. LIFE Outreach International, the ministry led by James Robison, is the parent organization of Zoe Aviation which owns a Cessna 560XL jet manufactured in 2000.

Zoe Aviation had net operating losses of $782,292 in 2021 and $745,207 in 2020.


Risky Transparency: Is Trinity Foundation ‘Doxing’ televangelist jets?

(Photo: Pastor Planes tracked 13 aircraft on November 20, 2022.)

For eighteen months Pastor Planes, a project of Trinity Foundation, has published daily tracking maps of televangelist, ministry and Christian university jet flights to bring transparency to religious non-profit use of private aircraft.

Private jets are often examples of poor stewardship and a waste of donor funds.

And then it happened! Twitter suspended Celebrity Jets, a popular account well known for real-time tracking of jets owned by Hollywood celebrities. Celebrity Jets was accused of “doxing” — which is a word that  typically refers to revealing the address of a person’s home. In this new context it refers to posting real-time location of an aircraft.

How is Pastor Planes any different?

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Long-Distance Ministry: Pastors Buy Second Homes and Start Churches Hundreds of Miles from Their Base

(Photo: In the 1970s, televangelist pioneer Oral Roberts acquired mansions in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs, CA, leading his Tulsa, OK-based ministry from afar.)

Oct. 31 was the day Martin Luther posted the 95 theses on the Wittenberg Church door—October 31, 1517—which began the reformation, also called by some the 2nd wave of Christianity. He critiqued expensive church real estate along with many other practices of the Catholic Church and the Papacy.  Today, Luther’s anger would probably be directed at the aberrant activities of the megachurches.  The reformation is over 500 years old and we still struggle with some of the same problems.

To expand their reach and receive larger donations, televangelists and megachurch pastors are planting churches hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles, from their base of operations. Some pastors appear to be motivated by pursuit of wealth, planting churches in wealthy communities. Others are drawn by the allure of Hollywood, taking up residence in Beverly Hills.

The investment in long distance ministry frequently produces extravagant housing expenses and over-the-top travel costs. Why fly first class when your donors will finance a jet?

The late televangelist Fred Price illustrates the trend of long distance ministry by planting a church in New York City while his home was located over 2100 miles away in California.

In 2007, Business Jet Traveler asked Price, pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center, “How much do you fly for the church?” Price responded, “A couple of years back, when we were first establishing the church in New York, my wife and I flew every single week-52 weeks-Los Angeles to New York and return. Now the least we’d go is once a month and recently we’ve had to go twice a month.”

Joseph Prince, the Singapore-based televangelist, has launched two churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and acquired a large plot of land in Colleyville, TX for future expansion. If there is one city in the world that doesn’t need another televangelist, it is Colleyville, the home of Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, James Robison, head of LIFE Outreach International, Matthew Crouch, head of Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Joni Lamb, head of Daystar Television.

Church members and donors to the churches and ministries cited in this article should ponder critical questions. Can a pastor effectively lead his congregation from afar? Are million-dollar mansions good stewardship?

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Televangelist Creflo Dollar Preaches Against Tithing (We’re doing a double take on this one)

In two recent Sunday sermons Televangelist Creflo Dollar preached against tithing based on fear and guilt. On July 3rd, Dollar told his congregation, “I would argue that tithing isn’t required or even encouraged for believers in Jesus Christ…”

Instead, Dollar is now preaching that Christian giving should be based on gratitude.

Dollar made a surprising announcement in his June 26th, sermon titled “The Great Misunderstanding” about how his beliefs on tithing changed.

“I want to start off by saying to you that I’m still growing and that the teachings I’ve shared in times past on the subject of tithing were not correct. And today I stand in humility to correct some things I have taught for years and believed for years, but could never understand it clearly because I had not been confronted with the Gospel of grace, which has made the difference.

I won’t apologize ’cause if it wasn’t for me going down that route, I would have never ended up where I am right now. But I will say that I have no shame at all saying to you throw away every book, every tape and every video I did on the subject of tithing, unless it lines up with this.”

While Dollar’s rejection of fear-based giving is welcome, a lot of questions remain, and Trinity Foundation investigators wonder if Dollar is simply changing his message to appeal to a larger audience.

Yes, consider us skeptical. If a preacher is unwilling to apologize for leading people astray, does he really “stand in humility” as Dollar claimed?

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Million Dollar Homes Become Status Symbols of Televangelists and Pastors

By Barry Bowen and Pete Evans, Trinity Foundation

(Photo: Former home of faith healer David Turner, from

Donors, where is the money going?

When a televangelist’s ministry or pastor’s church owns a private jet, you can almost be certain the leader lives in a mansion. That is one of the lessons Trinity Foundation has learned from investigating religious fraud and excess for more than 30 years.

In April 2021 the Houston Chronicle’s Jay Root asked Trinity Foundation for assistance on an article series about church parsonages in Texas. Trinity Foundation compiled a list of megachurches and large media ministries in the state and then searched for parsonages and homes of pastors and ministry leaders.

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle examined the state tax code and filed open records requests with county appraisal districts seeking lists of parsonages.

Root’s thorough investigation uncovered startling evidence of pastors living extravagantly: “A months-long Houston Chronicle investigation of ministers’ tax-free residences found no shortage of extravagant homes in high-dollar locales. At least two dozen were worth over $1 million even using the artificially low values that exempt properties typically carry.”

If you are keeping track, that is at least 24 parsonages in Texas worth more than $1 million.

Trinity Foundation also investigated pastor and ministry housing in other states, discovering multi-million dollar homes of several televangelists and pastors who have received little media scrutiny. It’s time to present some of our findings.

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Six Ministry Jets Fly to Texas for Televangelist Marcus Lamb Funeral; Memorial Highlights

December 6th was a busy day for ministry aircraft as Pastor Planes (Instagram and Twitter) tracked 12 aircraft making 24 flights.

Seven ministry aircraft, of which six were jets, flew to airports in the Dallas-Fort Worth area carrying televangelists to pay last respects and attend the memorial service of Marcus Lamb, the founder of prosperity-gospel promoting Daystar Television Network, who died of Covid on November 30th after staunchly advocating resisting the Covid vaccine.

Trinity Foundation investigator Pete Evans observed limousines picking up two celebrity preachers after their jets landed.

Photo: A close-up view of the Dallas-Fort Worth area shows two ministry jets and a Beechcraft King Air F90 landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, three jets landed at Fort Worth Alliance Airport and one jet landed at Fort Worth Meacham Airport.

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