Up until about a week ago I'd never heard of Jesse Duplantis--but obviously I need to get out more often. Duplantis has a television ministry out of Louisiana (wasn't that where Jimmy Swaggart had his?) But just because I've never heard of Jesse and I'm sure he's never heard of me either, that doesn't mean he has a huge following. So much so that among his possessions are three--count 'em, three!--private jets. But things are tough all over and because his needs are so great he has to have a fourth. He wants a Dassault Falcon 7X which runs about $54,000,000. But just because we're disappointed that he isn't shopping for a Gulfstream isn't the reason we're skeptical.
Duplantis told his followers about a week ago that the new plane was necessary because he can get into the "mission field" much sooner and quicker. You see, with the Falcon 7X he won't have to stop to refuel on longer trips where he's needed to spread the Gospel! But he also told his followers that when Jesus talked to him last week that He told him, "I didn't ask you to pay for it, I asked you to believe for it." And he reiterated that the Lord, if he were here on Earth today this would not be opulence but at the same time "...he wouldn't be riding a donkey!" One of his compatriots, Kenneth Copeland--who flies his own Cessna Citation--says he needs a faster plane too because he has to get to so many places quicker to bring the Good News to the great unwashed and unchurched.
Duplantis is now trying to explain by telling CNN, "I never raised money for the plane. I put it in our magazine and said believe God with me. There's a vast difference between 'believe in God' and asking for money." In an earlier video Duplantis says those planes get him closer to the Lord--both literally and figuratively--and during his most recent Divine conversation Jesus asked for the airplane by name--so I guess we can let him off the hook for not considering a Gulfstream. He says his ministry has over two million followers worldwide hence the need for a faster plane.
But Jesse isn't alone in the preacher jet set. The aforementioned Kenneth Copeland acquired a Gulfstream V from director Tyler Perry, paid for from his followers' donations. And in 2015 televangelist Crefly Dollar caught flack for his followers coughing up $60 million for--wait for it--a Gulfstream 650! Now there's a preacher after my own heart! They aren't backing down either. Duplantis is loving the spotlight saying, "I'm not discouraged, in fact, I am excited. I've never had this much press in my life."
I have apparently been doing our radio show all wrong--I should be speaking with Jesus about upgrading our AM signal from 5,000 watts to 50.000 watts and a full 100,000 watts on our FM signal too. He's also going to be working with the believers at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clear out all those other stations on our frequencies so we can be accomodated. That's the ticket!
Sure would love it if my pastor could inspire our congregation to come up with more and recruiting more followers so we could have more folks in the pews on Sunday. Seems to me that money would be better spent down here on the ground than a minster in the air.