My friend has been at Living Word for many years and gets all defensive when I ask if she has ever met Mac. When I asked about accountability....the answer is Kenneth Copeland.
— mnoru, commenting on "Regent says ORU will make any needed corrections," Tulsa World
Haven't I seen you someplace before?
The Grassley Senate Finance inquiry has asked for the names of the board members governing six major evangelical ministires. The way things work in the prosperity gospel men's club, the total list of directors may be a lot shorter than Grassley expected.
Case in Point: Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) has stated, "We have an outside board of directors that provides governance and oversight to our ministry."
What do you think? From this KCM board, could you form an independent compensation committee to review the Copelands' pay?
- Founder Ken Copeland and his wife Gloria, also a pastor, are both members; they recuse themselves from discussions about matters of compensation and other personal benefits
- John Copeland, CEO and heir apparent, may attend board meetings but is not a member
- Mac Hammond, Minneapolis, Minnesota; televangelist founder of Living Word Christian Center and Mac Hammond Ministries; we'll get to Hammond and his board in a minute
- Jesse Duplantis,
New Orleans; televangelist and founder of Jesse Duplantis Ministries
who also serves on the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents with
Copeland, Copeland's son-in-law George Pearsons, two other investigated
evangelists, Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar, and Jerry Savelle
- Jerry Savelle, Crowley, Texas; broadcaster, correspondence bible school operator and founder of Jerry Savelle Ministries International
- Harold Nichols, Ft. Worth's Grace Temple Church Assembly of God, is the pastor who gave Ken Copeland his start; he's also the pastor of Jerry Savelle
- Loyal Furry, Norman, Oklahoma, is an architect who runs a business out of his home; his practice includes worship centers and broadcast studios; he is reportedly a major Copeland donor who befriended him early in his ministry
- John Best, Benton, Arkansas, is reportedly another long-time personal friend and donor; although he's been described as a businessman, his trace is even fainter than Furry's.
This board is a remarkable monoculture
of friends with a shared professional and spiritual background. You'd expect the board to share religious beliefs. But unlike
most nonprofit governing boards, it lacks much expertise beyond running identical businesses. The Teamster's local or the commissioners of your average fantasy football league
are more independent and diverse than this small board overseeing a $50-100-million business.
Mac Hammond's board is nearly a duplicate of Copeland's.
- Hammond, Duplantis, Savelle and serve on both boards
- His wife Lynne is also a board member; she's reputed to share plastic surgeons with Gloria Copeland
- KCM is represented through John Copeland
- Televangelist Dennis Burke and his wife Vikki worked for Kenneth Copeland Ministries before starting their ministry; Vikki's book, Aim Your Child Like an Arrow, features a back cover endorsement by Carolyn Savelle
- Cyndi and Russ Kalenberg minister at an affiliated Living Word Church near the resort area of Brainerd, Minnesota, near where Hammond also has extensive real estate holdings.
You'll note that the ministries of Copeland, Hammond, Duplantis, Savelle and Burke are remarkably similar. All own at least one million-dollar-plus aircraft. All seem partial to blondes. All have broadcast operations, publishing operations, educational institutes and other enterprises. No church coffee boiled to death in an urn at their places of worship, either.
Next: Why do those ministries look so alike?