Biography of Kenneth Copeland

Kenneth Max Copeland, or Kenneth Copeland, was born on December 6, 1936, in Texas, the United States. He is an American pastor, author, singer, politician, and televangelist. He has been associated with the charismatic movement and has greatly helped to popularize it. He is also the senior pastor of Eagle Mountain International Church Inc. (E.M.I.C.) in Tarrant County, Texas. Copeland’s sermons, prosperity gospel lectures, and programs are broadcast across the world via the Victory Channel. Copeland is an ardent follower of the Word of Faith Movement and is considered the richest pastor.

Kenneth Copeland was born on December 12, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas, U.S. to Aubrey Wayne and Vinita Pearl Copeland. He was raised in West Texas, close to a United States Air Force airfield, and aspired to be a pilot. In 1959, Copeland realized his dream and started working for an airline. In 1963, he married Gloria Neece. In 1966, they started to entertain the idea of establishing a church. In 1967, the couple founded the Kenneth Copeland Ministries, and he enrolled at Oral Roberts University. During this period, Copeland worked as Oral Roberts’ chauffeur and an airplane pilot.

Copeland always believed in reaching out to as many people as possible through various means. In 1973, he founded a magazine, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” to spread his sermons to a wider audience. In 1975, he stepped up, and to take his preaching to even more people, established a radio ministry. He started airing his sermons across multiple radio stations, which provided him with a reach that most churches lacked.

In 1989, Copeland turned into a televangelist and launched the “Believer’s Voice of Victory Broadcast.” The program continues to reach millions of people worldwide. With the advent of the internet, he decided to create a church website to connect with people all over the globe. In 1996, the website made his sermons and other programs available to the public at large. Throughout his career, Copeland has accumulated substantial wealth and has referred to himself as a “very wealthy man.”

For over 50 years, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God’s Word. They are driven with a passion to see people fall in love with Jesus, live by faith in God’s Word, and experience victory in every area of life.

Kenneth Copeland began in ministry in 1967 as a 30-year-old student at Oral Roberts University (ORU). Serving alongside noted healing evangelist Oral Roberts, he witnessed firsthand the miraculous power of God, noting that Oral “used his faith like a mechanic uses a tool.” Kenneth was determined to learn how he could do the same.

While at ORU, Kenneth and Gloria began attending faith seminars conducted by Kenneth E. Hagin. During these three, 10-day seminars, the reality of the integrity of God’s Word sprang to life. This is what they were looking for! The Copelands realized that God and His Word are one, and it changed everything for them. They learned how to use their faith, and it was all found in the Word of God. This revelation has been the cornerstone, the foundation and heartbeat, of Kenneth Copeland Ministries for more than 50 years.

As a result of their obedience to ministry, hundreds of thousands of Christians have learned to apply The Word of God to their lives, find their unique voice, and live in victory. Now, Kenneth and Gloria want to ensure that this legacy of faith is passed on to the next generation through Kenneth Copeland Bible College (KCBC).

Copeland was a recording artist on the Imperial Records label, having one Billboard Top 40 hit, Pledge of Love, which charted in the Top 40 on April 20, 1957, stayed on the charts for 15 weeks, and peaked at No. 17).

In the fall of 1967, he enrolled in Oral Roberts University, where he soon became pilot and chauffeur to Oral Roberts.

Kenneth Copeland Ministries is located in Fort Worth, Texas, on a 33-acre (13 ha) property that was once the Marine Corps Air Station Eagle Mountain Lake (MCAS Eagle Mountain Lake), a United States Marine Corps air station, valued in 2008 at $554,160 (equivalent to $753,212 in 2022) by Tarrant Appraisal District. The site includes the Eagle Mountain International Church, television and radio production facilities, warehouse and distribution facilities, residences for the Copeland family, and Kenneth Copeland Airport. Approximately 500 people are employed by KCM.

Copeland's son John Copeland was the ministry's chief operating officer until his divorce from Marty Copeland in 2017. He remains a consultant to the ministry.

KCM also owns a 1998 Cessna 550 Citation Bravo, which it received from a donor in October 2007 and is used for domestic flights, and a 2005 Cessna 750 Citation X, which it uses for international flights. They also acquired a Gulfstream V in 2018 that was formerly owned by Tyler Perry. It also is restoring a 1962 Beech H-18 Twin, which the ministry plans to use for disaster relief efforts.

In February 2007, Copeland was accused of using his ministry's Citation X for personal vacations and friends. The Copelands' financial records are not publicly available, and a list of the board of directors is not accessible as these details are protected but known confidentially by the Internal Revenue Service. Responding to media questions, Copeland pointed to what he asserted was an accounting firm's declaration that all jet travel complies with federal tax laws. In December 2008, KCM's Citation Bravo was denied tax exemption after KCM refused to submit a standardized Texas Comptroller form that some county appraisal districts use to make determinations, which would have required making public the salary of all ministry staff. KCM subsequently filed suit with the Tarrant Appraisal District in January 2009 and its petition to have the aircraft's tax-exempt status restored was granted in March 2010.

Kenneth Copeland Ministries has utilized the Federal Aviation Administration program that keeps flights private from tracking websites, and the ministry owns five such aircraft whose flights are kept private, including the Cessna 750 Citation X noted above and a North American T-28 Trojan. United States Senator Chuck Grassley has questioned some of the flights taken by these aircraft, including layovers in Maui, Fiji, and Honolulu. The ministries say that the stopovers were for preaching or for allowing pilot rest.

Kenneth Copeland Bible College (KCBC) is located on the property of Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC). KCBC is an accredited member with Transworld Accrediting Commission International. On August 28, 2003, Kenneth Copeland Bible College opened an extension campus in Langley, British Columbia.

In 2015, KCM launched the Believer's Voice of Victory Network on channel 265 on Dish. Believer's Voice of Victory Network was renamed Victory Channel in 2019, and is available over-the-air and on some cable providers. On October 2, 2020, the Believer's Voice of Victory (BVOV) stopped broadcasting on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). At the start of 2022, it was added on several national cable systems under a new channel lease with Olympusat, which had previously offered Hillsong Channel and Living Faith Network, then Bulldog Shopping Network, on the channel space.

Just as the Copelands’ lives were radically transformed by learning how to put their faith in God and His Word, they want students of all ages and backgrounds to have this same opportunity. Kenneth and Gloria have faithfully imparted the spirit of faith and love to their natural and spiritual children, many who will be instructors at KCBC. Together, the Copelands, the KCM and EMIC staff, and the KCBC faculty will instill this rich heritage of faith, excellence and integrity to the next generation.

Kenneth Copeland is active on social media. You can connect with her via his official handles on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and X.

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