Should a Preacher Fly Private?
It took a while for me to really understand why this is a topic of discussion. The only reason I am writing about it is the tenacious debate that some have created. I believe my thoughts on the matter can quiet the disquieted soul of someone willing to listen. And maybe you get it but you have issues debating others, then this can be a reference point for your perspective.
The Advent of Air Travel
First, let’s talk about the private jet. Air travel changed the world significantly in the last century. Long distances can be covered in a much shorter time. The popular mode of transportation, especially between continents, was via ships. Journeys took weeks.
Today with air travel, you can go from one end of the world to another in less than 24 hours. Information moved faster. People are able to move around the world in less time.
Initially, air travel was a luxury only a few people can afford. But with free market and competition, the industry became saturated with lots of players and flying became something the average working-class can afford.
But you do know how the super-wealthy class thinks. They welcomed the affordability of air travel but they still need to distinguish themselves as they do in all other industries. Private jets quickly became a thing for the ultra-wealthy who could afford it. And it didn’t end there.
Two Reasons to Fly Private
Lots of people were traveling by air. And even though commercial flights have different convenience levels (like first-class and economy), the value each person places on their time is different. So, if a flight is delayed, for example, passengers in both first-class and economy suffer. This is why top business people refer to flying private to eliminate time-wasting.
Also, there are celebrities who are famous such that going through everybody else in a commercial flight can create experiences they don’t want to have. Hence, they fly private. And they can afford it.
Therefore, the two main reasons for flying private is to avoid any iota of time getting wasted and to avoid having to deal with unexpected people unexpectedly. Those are very good reasons.
However, flying private has been associated with luxury living in today’s world. The internet is filled with pictures and videos that give the idea that the primary purpose of flying private is to display wealth and for extreme comfort. Yes, most private jets offer better comfort than first-class or business class. But considering the extra cost to the extra comfort, the business class of a good airline is as comfortable as most people would ever need.
Then, there’s one more thing. You don’t have to own a private jet for you to fly private. There are lots of companies around the world that do lease out jets for those who want to fly private.
The Life of Flying Private
Now, let’s talk about the preacher. Is being a preacher a license to fly private? No. Just as being an investor or entrepreneur is not a license to fly private. All kinds of people fly private. And most of them are navigating the two basic reasons explained earlier. There are those who fly private just to feel wealthy and show class. But those people do not fly private consistently. This is because if you fly private, you have to be able to afford it. And if you can afford flying private consistently, you probably need the time you’ll be saving or the seclusion compared to flying commercial.
There is one thing people who fly private consistently have in common. They are all at the top in their respective endeavors. It is not really about the person flying private, instead, it is about the work, message or responsibility of the person. Flying private is not restricted to one profession. I know of an employee in a top organization who was flown private several times. It wasn’t about him, it was about what he had to do and the responsibility he was given.
Should a Preacher?
Should those who work in ministry be prohibited from flying private? No. Absolutely not. However, if their criteria do not fit the two key reasons for flying private, then there might be a problem. Before I comment on a preacher flying private, I ask myself first;
Does the message and schedule of this minister warrant this level of convenience?
Some of the ministers heavily criticized for this closure have some of the craziest travel schedules you can think of. Which makes time-saving a priority. And then they have that level of “fame” that you can’t tell what is going to happen at the airport with everybody else. And also they have a unique message that puts them in demand around the world.
Some preachers travel often. Some don’t. Some travel only at certain seasons. Some are okay with flying commercial even though they have all the right reasons to fly private. But every person is not the same.
So, is it right for a preacher to fly private? Well, I don’t know who in particular you have in your mind when you ask that question. It depends on who you are talking about. There is no generic answer to that question. It is certainly not a sin for a preacher to fly private. In fact, it is a blessing.
The Elephant in the Room
Now, let’s face the elephant in the room. The major reason why people who feel preachers shouldn’t fly private state for their position is, because of the structure of their organization. “Preachers receive donations, hence they should not use the donations to live lavishly”.
First, flying private is not lavish living. This is what I have tried to explain prior
Second, preachers (who know what they are doing) do not receive donations. There is a big difference between giving to a charity organization and giving to a ministry. Giving to a ministry is for a purpose, not a social cause. You give to a ministry to financially empower them to pursue their divine cause and to be a part of their cause. When I give to a ministry, I expect them to pursue their vision to the full extent of their financial capacity. Time is a fixed resource we can’t create more of, but we can maximize time with other resources.
We all have a short time to spend in this world. I believe a ministry with a true cause should be tenacious in their efforts to make maximum impact with the resources they have been given. If a ministry can afford to fly a preacher private and they see that it will increase their efficiency (and impact), it will be a sin if they don’t do it.
Why then do some buy their own jets? Why can’t they keep leasing? Well, it is mostly because of the cost. If you lease too often, you spend way more than having your own jet. This happens to business people too. They fly private so much that they are alarmed at the end of the year how much they have spent on flying. So, they get their own private jets to further maximize time and save costs.
When you see a preacher flying private, and you have concerns pertaining to that, you should direct your concern to that particular preacher. Never direct your concerns at preachers generically. Each one is different. It is okay if you don’t like some. That is why there are different types. Stay with the ones you like and don’t bother yourself with those you don’t.
And by the way, most of those who cringe and agonize over money spent by a preacher to fly private did not contribute any part of it. If they did, what they contributed is so insignificant. I have noticed in most ministries that it is always a committed few that does 80% of the giving. And those ones don’t mind the private flying, in fact, they encourage it because they understand the vision.
But if there is no vision, no message, no cause, then you don’t even need to question the preacher, the façade will fall off naturally in time.
I hope you have gained some insights