Who is Creflo Dollar?
Creflo Dollar is a televangelist, pastor, and the founder of the non-denominational World Changers Church International based in Fulton County, Georgia. Creflo Dollar Ministerial Association (formerly called International Covenant Ministries), Creflo Dollar Ministries, and Arrow Records. Each of these enterprises is overseen by Dollar and his wife, Taffi Dollar.
In 1984, Dollar received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Oral Roberts University in 1998.
Dollar claims to have received the vision for World Changers Ministries Christian Center in 1986. He held the church's first worship service in the cafeteria of Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School in College Park, Georgia, with only eight people in attendance and successfully receiving over $100 in contributions from those present.
Over the years the ministry has grown rapidly and was renamed World Changers Church International (WCCI). As of 2007, the congregation has grown to 30,000 members with $69 million in revenue (gross cash collections) for 2006.
The congregation moved from its original cafeteria location to a modest-sized chapel, adding a weekly radio broadcast and four services each Sunday. On December 24, 1995, WCCI moved into its present location, the 8,500-seat sanctuary known as the World Dome. At a cost of nearly $18 million, it is claimed that the World Dome was built without any bank financing.
Dollar is also the publisher of CHANGE magazine, a quarterly international publication with nearly 100,000 subscribers and The Max, a bimonthly resource newsletter for ministers and ministry leaders. Creflo Dollar also frequently speaks at conferences and is a best selling author. Dollar and his wife, Taffi, have five children and live in Atlanta.
Dollar is known for his controversial teachings of prosperity theology. He has been criticized for his lavish lifestyle as he owns two Rolls-Royces, a private jet, a million dollar home in Atlanta, a $2.5m million home in Demarest, N.J., and a $2.5m home in Manhattan, which he sold for $3.75m in 2012. Dollar has refused to disclose his salary and Creflo Dollar Ministries received a grade of "F" for financial transparency by the organization MinistryWatch.
Dollar was subpoenaed during divorce proceedings between heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield and Holyfield's second wife, Janice Itson, after Itson alleged that Holyfield had donated $7 million to Dollar's ministry just before he filed for divorce.
On June 8, 2012, Dollar was arrested in Fayetteville, Georgia on charges of allegedly attacking his 15-year-old daughter. The initial report stated Dollar's 15-year-old daughter accused him of strangling her, throwing her to the ground, and spanking her with his shoe after she argued with him about going to a party at 1 in the morning.
Dollar's 19-year-old daughter reportedly witnessed the altercation in question and corroborated her sister's version of events. The official charges were simple battery and cruelty to children, both misdemeanors. He was later released on a $5,000 bail. The charges were dropped in 2013 after a three-month program including an anger management course and paying court fees.
World Changers Church International was one of six ministries affected by the United States Senate inquiry into the tax-exempt status of religious organizations. Dollar contested the probe, arguing that the proper governmental entity to examine religious groups is the IRS, not the Committee on Finance.