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From Musician to One of the World's Richest Televangelists: Kenneth Copeland's Life and Net Worth

Kenneth Copeland's extensive jet fleet has raised controversy over alleged church fund usage.
UPDATED DEC 22, 2023
Minister Kenneth Copeland prays at an annual evangelical motorcycle rally on his Eagle Mountain Lake property on September 28, 1996 in Newark, Texas. Getty Images | Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein
Minister Kenneth Copeland prays at an annual evangelical motorcycle rally on his Eagle Mountain Lake property on September 28, 1996 in Newark, Texas. Getty Images | Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein
Name Kenneth Copeland
Net Worth $300 Million
DOB 6 December 1936
Age 86 years
Gender Male
Profession Televangelist, author, musician, public speaker
Nationality American

Often in the news for his opulent lifestyle, political views, and prophecies that he claims have come directly from Jesus Christ, American televangelist Kenneth Copeland has amassed an estimated net worth of $750 million. This impressive financial status is attributed to sources of income that include business ventures, books, and donations. Copeland learned the ropes under healer Oral Roberts who first gained popularity as an evangelist in the US. His website claims that while Copeland was broke with a wife and children, he miraculously received books and funds from god, and later found a job flying a plane for Roberts. By the 70s, Copeland had his own magazine and a ministry with 10 radio stations to broadcast his message, which laid the foundation for books and TV shows.

Kenneth Copeland | Instagram
Kenneth Copeland | Instagram

Religious preaching broadcasted via TV and radio as well as books about the same, account for a bulk of Copeland's wealth. His journey began in the 1950s, when he embarked on a music career, securing a record contract with Imperial Records. His song "Pledge of Love" made waves, becoming a Top 40 hit in April 1957, maintaining its chart presence for an impressive 15 weeks. This early foray into music provided him with an initial taste of success and financial stability.

In 1967, Copeland underwent a significant career shift, deciding to pursue a calling as a minister. His journey in ministry began with enrollment at Oral Roberts University, and it was there that his unique skills as a pilot came into play. Growing up near an Air Force base, Copeland had learned to fly planes, and this skill led to his employment as Oral Roberts' personal pilot and chauffeur.

Copeland took a pivotal step by founding the Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas. Over the years, the ministry expanded its reach through various media, including television broadcasts. The launch of "The Word of Faith" in 1971, later evolving into "Believers Voice of Victory," and the subsequent introduction of "The Prayer Group" in 1972 established him as a prominent figure in the world of televangelism.

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Copeland's wealth is not only reflected in his bank account but also in the extravagant assets he owns. Notably, the Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) possesses several private jets worth $17.5 million, that are frequently used for various purposes. These aircraft operate from Copeland's own private airport in Fort Worth, Texas. Among the aircraft in their possession are a 1998 Cessna 550 Citation Bravo, which was received as a donation in October 2007, a 2005 Cessna 750 Citation X, a Gulfstream V, and a 1962 Beech H-18 Twin, primarily utilized for disaster relief efforts. It's important to note that Copeland's use of these jets has been a subject of controversy, as there have been allegations of using church donations for their acquisition and maintenance.

One particular instance that sparked controversy was the acquisition of a Gulfstream V private jet from Tyler Perry, reported to be worth $20 million. Following this purchase, Copeland raised eyebrows by requesting his followers to contribute an additional $17-20 million to upgrade the airport's runway and hangar facilities. These actions led to accusations of using the jets for personal vacations and trips to resorts. Copeland's statement that he prefers not to fly commercially due to not wanting to "get into a tube with a bunch of demons" raised further scrutiny. In 2009, he even applied for tax exemption from the IRS for his $3.6 million private jet, though the request was ultimately denied.


How did Kenneth Copeland become wealthy?

Kenneth Copeland's wealth comes from his role as a televangelist, contributions to his ministry, book sales, and endorsements.

Why is Kenneth Copeland's use of private jets controversial?

Copeland and his ministry own private jets, and he's been criticized for using them for personal trips.

What is the "prosperity theology" that Copeland preaches?

Kenneth Copeland teaches prosperity theology, which claims that faith, positive confession, and financial donations to the church lead to financial and physical prosperity.