Texas megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard came under fire last month for asking supporters of his church for $52,000 to upgrade the blades on his helicopter. He asked for the money in a letter that was sent to congregants, and now adds that if you aren’t interested in his appeal letter you can simply throw it away. His aviation ministry however will go on.
“The recent appeal letter concerning the Church owned helicopter was exclusively for NLC friends, members and partners who from time to time are asked to support various ministry projects,” wrote the pastor, Bishop I.V. Hilliard of the New Light Christian Church.
“This has been a long standing practice of many churches, ministries and organizations. The letter was not written to the general public and should the specified project not be of interest to the recipient, it should simply be discarded,” he noted.
In a report last month, Hilliard touted in his appeal letter that the upgrading of the helicopter blades had the potential to save the church $50,000 in the long-term.
“Our Aviation Department has an opportunity that will save the ministry well over $50K if we will move on it right away. My Aviation Manager stated that while repairing our helicopter they discovered that if we upgrade our blades today, it will save thousands in the days to come,” the Bishop had explained.
“As I pondered and looked at the situation, I heard that still small voice of the Holy Spirit say ‘tell your special partners who have special transportation needs’ and their obedience will release favor for their needs and desires. I got excited and set down to write you!” noted Hilliard.
“I believe with all my heart this message is for you and your doing something today is the key to releasing this favor on your transportation situation! Send me the transportation need or dream you have by completing the online petition when you sow a $52.00 transportation favor seed believing in 52 days or 52 weeks you will experience breakthrough favor!” he added.
In his response to the barrage of criticisms, he pointed out however that:
“There are no bogus claims, prophecies or guarantees promising the donor will receive their dream mode of transportation in 52 days or 52 weeks. The donor is encouraged to use their faith as the Scripture teaches to expect to receive the blessing of favor as a result of their giving.”
And he quoted several Biblical scriptures such as Luke 6:38 (Amplified Bible) to defend his theology.
“Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you,” he noted.
Bishop Hilliard also noted that the church has operated its Aviation Department for the last eighteen years and they will continue to do so.
“New Light Church continues to use the helicopter as a ministry tool to service the needs of its six locations. The Church has owned and operated an Aviation Department since 1995 under the guidance and approval of the Board of Directors of the Church. The Church will continue with its mission of touching lives and impacting communities in an integral manner as it has done for the past twenty-nine (29) years,” he said.