Be Watchful of Faulty Shepherds and Helicopter Upgrades

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

“Ticked” is the politest word I can use to describe my feelings in reading the following article. Houston megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard of New Light Christian Center asks his members to sow a “$52 favor seed” to upgrade his helicopter with new blades. He said the upgrade would save the church $50,000 in future costs (but why is this his choice of transportation??).  According to the article published by, Hilliard sent a newsletter to members, saying their blessing in return for the seed sown would be a “breakthrough favor” within 52 days or 52 weeks. For the low, low price of $52, of course. He said he heard the small voice of the Holy Spirit instructing him to seek this special seed.

Whaatt?? Help me shut my mouth. Enough with the promises of prosperity. Did Jesus need a helicopter to accomplish His purposes? Would Jesus ask those 5,000 on the hillside in which he fed loaves of bread and fish, to please sow a seed for upgraded shoes and donkey to help Him on his travels??

New Light Christian Center megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard (sunglasses) exits church helicopter   for which he now seeks a financial seed from members for a blade upgrade.

New Light Christian Center megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard (sunglasses) exits church helicopter for which he now seeks a financial seed from members for a blade upgrade.

Here seems another example of a wayward pastor fleecing God’s sheep. It’s unfortunate that it happens. But remember, places of worship are run by who? A: Flawed human beings. So, problems will inherently arise. It’s our job here to expose you to what God says about corrupt leaders.

Trust and know God will take serious measures against such people.  When God judges shepherds/leaders, it is to deliver His people from the hands of deceptive leaders—particularly those who only seek to profit off their flock. Certainly, flawed leadership will deter some people from coming to church (understandable) or from seeking God. But remember—God isn’t the bad guy. Those who perpetrate the fraud, indeed are. Because God is Sovereign he is able to save and reach hearts beyond the church walls. Don’t allow poor leadership examples to keep you from having your relationship with God.

In Ezekiel 13, God tells of his condemnation toward false prophets.

In verses 13:2-3, 8 God instructs Ezekiel, 2- “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD! 3-This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 8-Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. 9- My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations.” The New Living Translation reads, “destruction is certain for the false prophets following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!”

Ezekiel 34:2-5 reads, 2- Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3- You eat curds, clothe yourselves with wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4- You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the wicked. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5- So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for wild animals.”

Case and point- “djgrandstand,” a former New Light Christian Center member, posted this comment on the article:

“I was a member of this church back in like ’94 I think. Then it was still in a strip mall. I left the church because I noticed over time the entire sermon was always becoming about prosperity… But the final straw for me was when Hilliard refused to help a member in need but had the nerve to ask for the helicopter in the first place. I knew then something wasn’t right. I was out done. That was the last time I was an official member of any church.”
God is displeased with such fleecing and corruption. These folks need to repent and step aside. God is raising up new witnesses whose eyes are wide open to the deception and willing to call it out. As God’s elect, we are to instructpreserve and provide for His people. We are to be salt and light. God doesn’t say anything about us asking others to come out of their pockets for a new helicopter blade. A good shepherd will first and foremost seek God’s will and care for His people. Period. We need to truly revisit how the church should look and operate. 
Believers: We can’t blame this entirely on the faulty shepherd. We also have a shared responsibility from becoming victims of such abuses. More of us need to study and know God’s Word and ways for ourselves so we can quickly recognize deception before it ensnares us. As Hosea 4:6 ascribes, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.”


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