Update: Six years after I wrote this post, it continues to draw readers almost every day. However, the video links are outdated and I have moved on from covering the prosperity gospel ministries.
I'm leaving the post but closing it to new comments as of 12/5/13. I think what can be said about this has probably been said many times over. Thanks for reading.
Local Dallas/Ft. Worth TV reporter Brett Shipp has been talking to former employees of televangelist and Mac Hammond cohort Ken Copeland's ministry. [Text report. See video below and note the ironic tax-dodging car commercial that leads into the item.]
Now, former workers in the ministry's mail room describe how cash-bearing prayer requests are handled. The implied personal treatment from the Copelands is actually more of an high-speed industrial operation, processing about 10,000 payments a week. They say Copeland sees "zero percent" of the mail. In the video clip, Copeland says he does see it, but how and how much is between him and his "partners."
I can't personally speak for the credibility of the people speaking out on tape, but someone I was able to identify as a former employee of Copeland contacted me several months ago after my reports on Mac Hammond. It's interesting to me that this individual's main grievance appears not to be over Copeland's wealth, but about misleading contributors that they will receive personal prayers.
Here's what my contact said about this week's investigative report by Shipp:
This is the FIRST time that ANYONE that has worked on the inside of that Compound has spoken out in public!!! There is such fear and intimidation working on the inside that people, even after they leave, are afraid to speak.
[The Copelands] have led their enormous following of people to BELIEVE that someone besides a Correspondence Analyst is reading their prayer requests and praying over them. The Correspondence Analyst's job all day long is to read the prayer requests and put them into the computer so that they generate a somewhat personal response. Those prayer requests are NOT being individually prayed over.
There will be what we call "passing out the kool aid" tomorrow morning at a Chapel conducted by John Copeland, CEO, Kellie Copeland (daughter) and head of the EMIC [Eagle Mountain International Church, Copeland's ministry] Children's Ministry, and George & Terri Pearsons (KC daughter & son in law, pastors of EMIC) to have Communion over all of these reports and allegations. These Chapels are nothing more than to "rally the troops" and assure the employees that KCM is above board and full of Integrity.
After unfavorable revelations about his ministry, Hammond used his broadcast to justify himself.
I don't about all of Copeland's damage control, but it is also taking place online. A new page has appeared on the KCM site with a brief statement from the CFO and an interactive pie chart that breaks out the ministry's "Financial Accountability Distribution" into six pieces. I've created my own restatement of the disclosure that I think more accurately reflects the proportion of income devoted to raising more money vs. delivering actual services.
Copeland Ministry Expenses 2006 (restated)
Shipp earlier did a report on the Copeland's personal use of the corporate jet.] Here's Copeland justifying his impending purchase of the new $20 million jet.