NPR looks at Daystar TV and Kenneth Copeland – Can a Television Network Be A Church? The IRS Says Yes

DayStarIn June of last year, Peter Youngren’s Grace TV announced it had entered into a partnership agreement with  Daystar TV, one of the top three religious broadcasters in the US. In November Grace TV announced Daystar Canada would operate Grace TV, based at Youngrens church in Toronto. The last T3010 filed by Daystar Television Canada (2012) shows the Canadian operation operated at a deficit, with  about 70 thousand dollars coming in from Canadians. It will be interesting to see the next T3010. Daystar Television Canada, headquartered in Vancouver, has an interesting name on the board of directors – Ken Greter, former manager of Todd Bentley’s ministry in Canada.

The mission statement of Daystar TV Canada states:

Daystar Television Network has a singular goal; to reach souls with the good news of Jesus Christ. We seek out every available means of distribution to a world in need of hope. With an extensive blend of interdenominational and multi-cultural programming, Daystar is committed to producing and providing quality television that will reach our viewers, refresh their lives and renew their hearts.

Oh.

NPR posted an investigative report today on Daystar USA (which is considered a church in the US) and on the amount of money the broadcaster rakes in.

According to court records, Daystar’s primary revenue comes from selling airtime to other religious programmers. Its secondary income is donations. The documents show that between 2005 and 2011, Daystar took in $208 million in tax-deductible contributions from viewers through on-air pitches.5

Daystar has built a public image as a generous giver to charitable causes. Indeed, the network has contributed millions of dollars to a trauma center and a home for Holocaust survivors in Israel, a hospital in Calcutta, and to ministries that support women in Moldova and children in Uganda.

Lamb trumpeted those donations in a 2009 sermon in Australia: “In the last five years, Daystar has written checks of donations to others, to ministries, to churches, to missions, to hurricane relief, to tsunami relief, to hospitals, etc., to the tune of $30 million cash!”

NPR analyzed six years of Daystar balance sheets. They show the network gave away $9.7 million dollars in direct grants to outside recipients. Not $30 million. That works out to charitable giving of about 5 percent of donor revenue.

The NPR report is an incredible read, showing the donations that went to places that benefited the network and in particular, the Lamb family. Full documentation is provided.
Much of this has not been public knowledge since Daystar Television doesn’t have to disclose.

The IRS stopped auditing churches and businesses such as Daystar Television (which call themselves churches) about 5 years ago.

KCMKenneth Copeland Ministries was also examined. Yes, Copeland has had a Canadian branch since 1977, based in Langley BC. It appears a KCM Canada board member is also a board member for Crossroads Christian Communications. KCM Canada issued tax receipts for over 5 million dollars in donations in 2012.

It would be great if every Canadian who donates to these broadcasters would take a serious look at the NPR piece. These multi-million dollar televangelists  play on emotions using a tv screen as their platform.  They won’t collapse if Canadians stop giving – the reality is there are needs right on our doorstep, we all know local people working to make our neighborhoods a better place, and know Canadian charities and churches which don’t have broadcast bully pulpits, making a difference here and around the world.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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8 Responses to NPR looks at Daystar TV and Kenneth Copeland – Can a Television Network Be A Church? The IRS Says Yes

  1. Luis Alvarez says:

    It is incredible how most Protestant and Evangelical Christians remain so darn ignorant to what happens to their contributions to these so-called churches. I thought that one of the things that caused the Reformation, or as I like to call it the Rebellion against Holy Mother Church, was money. So today, almost 500 years later, there are Protestant Health-Wealth Gospel proponents that are abusing the generosity of those same Protestant people and have place themselves in the lap of luxury living in 18,000 square feet fenced in “parsonages!” I brought this up to a co-worker and his only remark was “doesn’t God want his followers to live well?” followed by “those Catholic Churches are very ornate!” Problem with the comparison that seems to have escaped my co-worker, who is normally in my estimation a very bright fellow, was that priests do not live in the churches they serve, they reside in a rectory. Whereas Mr. Copeland and his wife lives in the parsonage that is also bordered by an airplane hanger(3 airplanes!), an airport! The ornate Catholic cathedrals will outlive Mr. Copeland’s compound by generations. Until the next Rebellion occurs. I also hope Protestants get an opportunity to hear the NPR stories. I do fear that their only reaction will be “NPR is anti-Christian” (which is arguably true), or just plain ignore the stories outright.

  2. fjc says:

    This faith business can be extremely lucrative. Most especially for those that add broadcast media to their business empires.

  3. fjc says:

    Unlike Gloria Copeland, I do not have a BINDING 20 year employment contract that includes a BINDING 10 year contract extension at the pleasure of Gloria and a BINDING consulting contract should she not wish to continue as an employee. Plus a provision that says Gloria gets to determine how the monies are paid in order that she can minimize or eliminate personal income tax.

    I bet Copeland Ministries do not talk about this on their folksy shows.

    This does not include the auxiliary payments and loans to her.

    No wonder some of these organizations scream, yell, and invoke the presence of the devil when the media delves into their financial records and their financial affairs.

    The VERY last thing that they want the luckless contributors to have access to is a full and complete report on how much revenue they take in and how it is spent.

    Shameful. One step away from a Ponzi scheme or a stickup. I can never understand why anyone would send them a dime.

  4. landscape says:

    This is a wonderful topic, “What constitutes a Church?” Legally The 1994 EO CPE Text gives some information on what constitutes a church, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopica94.pdf . Scripture constitutes different than how the government definitions church.
    What is the real question here?

  5. John Thompson says:

    Speaking of Peter Youngren, see my note on the Daystar-Grace TV thread (and please forgive me for the double posting, can one be removed?) –

    http://www.benedictionblogson.com/2013/08/23/daystar-tv-muscles-into-canada-through-grace-tv/

  6. Bene Diction says:

    Hi John:

    Thanks for the update.
    Double posting fixed.:^)

  7. fjc says:

    What is also interesting about Gloria Copeland’s contract is that it is similar to many other evangelical ‘stars’ when it comes to ownership of material for those in the organizations employment.

    In all employment situations that I am aware of the employer retains ownership and control of anything produced by the employee.

    In Gloria’s contract, she retains ownership. This is not uncommon in those large evangelical organizations. The reason is straightforward. Gloria’s (or whomever) will actually produce materials-cd’s etc that will be sold to the organization. Gloria will be enriched. The beauty of this is that the money will not appear as remuneration on the organization’s books. It will appear as a purchase from XYZ company. A company wholly controlled by Gloria or her husband. This is just one more way that these organizations are really nothing more than ‘cash cows’ for their principals.

  8. Jeff says:

    It’s often debated why Churches aren’t “allowed” to talk about politics in Churches.

    It’s not that they can’t, but if they are getting tax exemptions for one purpose, and using the Church as a vehicle for Politics, then it becomes a problem.

    If Churches pay full tax, then chat politics at every sermon.

    Daystar is a Church as they have defined for tax purposes, however, on many occasions, during Joni’s chat or when they are interviewing people, there are political topics being discussed, such as “Big Government isn’t a good thing” or topics on Women’s Rights.

    The main problem I personally have, as a Christian, is that they have defined a TV program as a Church. The local Church is important for the community, its members, to gain in fellowship and to engage with the community it resides in.

    These points in my opinion, can have a devastating effect on local Churches as well as the overall opinion of Churches and their practices.

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