Jesse Duplantis

Jesse Duplantis, a televangelist based in Destrehan, asking for donations to purchase a private jet (screenshot via video on Jesse Duplantis Ministries site)

With his ministry's private jet now 12 years old, a popular televangelist based in Louisiana is asking for donations to purchase a new one. 

Jesse Duplantis, who runs a Christian ministry headquartered in Destrehan, asked for the donations in a video posted on his website last week. In it, he explains that his current jet — the third his ministry has owned — no longer serves his needs. 

Now he has his eye set on a brand-new Dassault Falcon 7X, largely because of its fuel capacity. The jet comes with a price tag of at least $54 million, according to Aviation Week

"I’ve owned three different jets in my life," he says in the video. "I’ve used 'em, and just burning them up for the Lord Jesus Christ."

Duplantis shows pictures of the three planes, which he describes as a Cessna Citation 500, an IAI Westwind II and a Dassault Falcon 50 purchased in 2006.

He goes on to show a picture of the fictional star ship "Enterprise" from the series "Star Trek," joking that he plans to be in one someday.

He stresses that the new plane would be owned by Jesse Duplantis Ministries and would remain its property even if he were no longer affiliated with the organization.

The organization also runs Covenant Church in Destrehan and produces a weekly broadcast that airs on WGNO-TV in New Orleans and several religious networks.

"Some people believe that preachers shouldn’t have jets," he says. "I really believe that preachers oughta go on ... every available outlet to get this gospel preached to the world."

Duplantis, a 68-year-old New Orleans native, has been preaching since 1976 and is credited with 11 books and one film. He says that if Jesus were alive today, "He wouldn't be riding a donkey." 

He also claims in the video that he was told by God to "believe" specifically for a new Falcon 7X, which would allow him to make longer trips and save money on fuel.

"I didn't ask you to pay for it," Duplantis says he was told by God.

“We don’t hide nothing whatsoever at all," he says in the video. "We never ask you to give something that (we) don’t give ourselves." 

Duplantis isn't the only religious leader tapping followers for a new set of wings. Kenneth Copeland, a televangelist from Texas, announced in January that he had taken possession of a "debt-free" Gulfstream V.

He credited the purchase of the jet to members of Kenneth Copeland Ministries and included an image and video of him with the jet. The plane's purchase price was not disclosed.

Duplantis and Copeland both defended the use of private jets in a 2015 video exchange

"This is so important ... we've got to have this," Copeland said. "The mess that airlines are in today, I would have to stop — I'm being very conservative — at least 75 to 80, more like 90 percent of what we're doing." 

Follow Jeff Nowak on twitter at @Jeff_Nowak.