Ministry aims to grow via satellite

The Rev. Creflo Dollar, a popular TV evangelist, is bringing his national revival to Detroit’s Cobo Center today, but his interest in Michigan is bigger than a one-day visit.

From his home church near Atlanta, Dollar said this week that he has chosen Battle Creek as the pilot for a high-tech expansion of his ministry that he hopes will grow to as many as 500 locations across the country linked by live satellite feeds.

Dollar’s staff has been working quietly for months in Battle Creek.

On May 3, he met with leaders in his new church, called World Changers Church Battle Creek. And last Sunday, about 115 people drawn from his national mailing list participated in a worship service at a community center in Battle Creek.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of something so revolutionary,” Alice Brown, a retired illustrator, said Wednesday. “For the first service, we had a big projection screen at least 7 feet tall and 13 feet across in the front of the room. It was just like we were sitting there with people in Creflo’s church.

“On the screen, when the music started and people were raising their hands and clapping, we sang and raised our hands and clapped along, too.”

Dollar said the plan is for each new congregation to develop musicians and worship leaders, so the first hour of Sunday worship will be celebrated live. Then, Dollar’s sermons will be beamed live to large screens from his home church.

Dollar said he also wants each church to organize social outreach programs.

“We want to organize outreach that will touch every problem area in each community,” he said.

Dollar said he chose Battle Creek because potential church members there live too far to drive to large churches in metro Detroit that preach a similar Pentecostal message.

Critics refer to Dollar as a “prosperity preacher,” suggesting that getting rich is a main goal of his ministry.

“When I use the word prosperity, I’m not talking just about money,” he said. “I could use the word success. I believe that God wants us to be successful in our spirit, our soul, our physical body and our relationships. Our finances are included in that, but my message is much bigger than finances.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday May 11, 2007.
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