Mac Hammond's Citation 1 wasn't the first aircraft Kenneth Copeland has given away. Copeland likes to hand out million-dollar jets as the spirit moves him.
According to Lynne Hammond, speaking to a prayer service about the gift, Copeland has given away 28 aircraft. A source who has worked in Copeland's KCM empire says the generosity was consistent the prosperity gospel teaching of giving leading to greater blessings:
It was a source of pride to him that he was able to give a plane away when the Lord told him to... and every time he did, he was able to believe for a better one.
He's given Mac Gober several [Gober was a leader in the campaign to acquire two $17-million Citation Xs for Copeland]; Jerry Savelle [who, like Hammond, serves on Copeland's board and would presumably have oversight of such transactions] at least two, Keith Moore one (I think) and I can't remember who else, besides some individuals that just 'hit him right' if you know what I mean.
These gifts, of course, are ultimately funded by the tithes and contributions of the faithful — presumably intended to spread the word of God and advance the ministry's work,
In the convoluted teaching of the prosperity gospel, Copeland and other evangelists don't "expect" followers to pay for their aircraft, and donors give out of love, without strings attached. They are "believing" God for the next jet, the next building or the new television studio. Donors give to God, though the checks are made out to Copeland, who will take it up with God to see if the jet is the right thing for him to have.
It usually is.
Jets aren't the only asset transfers among the ministerial friends and fellow board members. Gifts of luxury cars and cash are being investigated by the Grassley Senate Committee. A lawsuit by a former Oral Roberts University accountant alleges the school had an unrestricted account that funneled money to regents, who included some of the evangelists Grassley is investigating.
The roundelay of mutual payments allows these ministers to report to their churches that they are supporting other ministries around the world – including some of the very people involved in overseeing the organization's finances.
While the churches do sponsor schools, chemical dependency counseling, elder care and other forms of community outreach, much "ministry work" is virtually indistinguishable from marketing and fund raising. Especially where the jets are involved. Honoraria sometimes change hands for these visits, though the reports to churches don't disclose who receives what.
A week ago, the Copelands were in town for the Hammonds. This week, the Hammonds will be helping an Alexandria, LA, church with its "Great Expectations" campaign, while the Copelands show up in Branson, MO, for Keith Moore's "Victory Campaign."
A week later, Moore is in Minnesota, perhaps arriving on one of his Kenneth Copeland jets.
Not dizzy yet? There's another ministry in Branson run by Billye Brim, who like Hammond and Moore, appeared at Copeland's Ministers Conference. Brim has given a jet to Copeland, and so has Creflo Dollar, one of the Big Six being investigated by Grassley.
These men of the Lord might teach drug lords a thing or two about laundering money and getting away with it.
Next: Shaken faith.