Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Pastor Kenneth Copeland and chat about the importance of leaving a legacy of faith. A portion of the interview appeared in the April 2016 Daystar Partner Newsletter, but you can read the rest of it right here!
Q: At the Southwest Believer’s Convention in 1996, you took up a surprise offering that became the seed money to launch Daystar Television Network. What do you remember about that night?
A: I stepped up to the pulpit to receive the offering and I looked over and I saw Marcus & Joni. The moment I saw them the Word of the Lord came to me and said to receive tonight’s offering for them. So I just immediately did that, following the Spirit of God. I remember what an exciting offering that was. People were just really thrilled and excited about it. Gloria and I were too. And of course, then we just went right into the service. Those kinds of things are never one sided, so we knew something big was coming for this ministry as well as theirs.
Q: Your program, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” now airs on Daystar in every country of the world. Did you have any idea twenty years ago what that offering would mean?
A: Well, like I said, anytime God does something unusual like that, and particularly when it’s that anointed and thrilling, you always know it’s the key to opening the door, all after that is greater and far greater than that door opening. Now, as far as thinking about specifically what it would do all over the world, I didn’t think about it in that manner. But I knew when I heard in my spirit about Marcus and Joni, I knew by the Spirit of God that the greater part of our ministries was ahead of us, and that was one of the keys to it.
Q: Daystar is where it is today because you listened to the Lord and were faithful to what He asked you to do. What would you say to someone struggling to step out in faith?
A: Struggling to step out in faith just simply indicates that fear is present, of course. Now, if you go to 1 John, particularly chapter 4, you’ll find that the scripture is very clear on this. Perfected love casteth out fear, for fear hath torment and he that feareth is not perfected in love. So, rather than struggling with it, you go to the Word of God and you begin to meditate on how much God loves you. What He’s trying to do is far greater than anything you can imagine to start with. So you center up on the love of God and then you go to the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and faith works by love. You have to always remember when God asks you to do something, that qualified you to do it. It’s when you agree that He empowers you to do it that releases all the anointing, it releases all the situations, it releases all the money, and it releases everything that you need to get that job done. But, all of that doesn’t come first or you’d say, “Okay, now that I have all that, I’ll step out.” No, that’s not faith, that’s walking by sight. You have to get out of the boat because Jesus has your walking on the water on His heart and mind. This is a great example of the power of the body of Christ coming together.
Q: This is a great example of the power of the Body of Christ coming together. How have you seen that at work in your own life and ministry?
A: My own life and ministry, is the results of just that. It’s when the people of God come together and flow together; you’re back to faith worketh by love. When people take hold of the Word of God together, that combination of faith, corporate faith, is far stronger than the faith of one or two people.
A: We love to see the way that God has blessed your ministry and family. Do you believe that there is a blessing connected with giving and obedience?
Q: The BLESSING of the Lord is always connected to giving and obedience. You can’t disconnect that. I was asked a question once that I had never thought of before, and I wasn’t too sure of how to answer it. Someone asked me – what is the highest form of giving? I turned inside myself and asked the Lord because I didn’t really know. He said the highest form of giving is obedience. Whatever He tells you to do, do it. You see, tithing isn’t optional. He has already told us to do that. He has already told us in the book of Hebrews that Jesus, our High Priest, receives our tithe. But now the next step is to find out from Him what He wants you to do with it. So obedience is involved…obedience to the Word, obedience to personal direction from God, and always listening, particularly for the small acts of giving. If you practice with the small things, when the big things come along, you’re already in the giving mode. For instance, a number of years ago, the Lord said to me, “Don’t ever tip less than $5 ever again. I don’t care if you just go into a restaurant and you sit down and have maybe just a glass of tea. The whole bill may be just $1. You tip $5.” Well afterwards, I thought about that for a minute, and I began to see that our tipping is giving. When we’re tipping, we’re BLESSING somebody. That’s more than they expect. You’re in the mode of giving; you’re not in the process of tipping somebody. “Well, let’s see…I don’t want to give over 10%. I don’t want to give over 15%.” No. Come on, get out of that. Always do more than what’s expected of you, then when God tells you to sow the whole offering one night, you’re already moving in that direction. It’s just a matter of being obedient and in the power of God; the little small things build up. You go over to Ephesians 6:8 where it says any good thing that any man does, the same shall be received from the Lord.
Q: Can you share about a time when you’ve experienced that blessing?
A: Back in the very beginning days of our television ministry, we had direction from the Lord about what to do. We were to make several episodes of a television program that we had on our hearts to do, and I didn’t have the money to do it – it was a lot of money. Then, Brother Jerry Savelle and I were going to Alabama and were in a meeting over there. I said, “Jerry, we need to pray. I believe the direction of the Lord is for us to get up every morning and pray at 5:00 a.m. We’ll pray about this and see what God has for us to do.” Well, we did that and we’re up every morning praying, mostly in the Spirit, praying in other tongues, then the Lord said, “I want you to give your airplane,” and He gave me the man’s name. We had a little twin engine Cessna airplane. It was about 75% of the ministry’s assets. He said, “I want you to sow that airplane in him.” I said, “Yes, Sir. I’ll do it.” Now, this is very important. I called him and gave him that airplane. I put the airplane in the shop. I had both engines overhauled. I had the propellers overhauled and had all the inspections up to date. I did that because I didn’t want the significant seed I was sowing to need something. No, I wanted my seed to be absolutely as pure and strong as I could get it as an honor to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, I’m sowing a seed believing God for the money to do that television broadcast, but now I don’t have an airplane. Now, as long as you’re thinking about it that way, you’re thinking that your giving is going to cause a loss. But, no – giving is never a loss. Obedience to Jesus is never, ever a loss. That’s what the rich young ruler thought – that his giving would be a loss. So, we just obeyed God. Here’s the big thing about it. In 10 days’ time, there was a situation that occurred. There was a person that inherited some stock in a little company that actually had very little worth – just really worth nothing. But, sometime before that, see this was in the plan of God all the time, they had merged that company with a larger company and suddenly that stock was worth something. This person’s stock was now worth a lot of money. They came to the ministry and said, “Look, we want to sow into your ministry.”
Well, not only did we have the money to do the television broadcast, but also the Lord had put another airplane right in front of us. A man told me, “Kenneth, I just feel like I’m flying your airplane. If I didn’t owe money on the thing, I’d give it to you.” But then he said, “I’ll sell it to you for the amount that’s owed on it.” Which was…I don’t remember now…something like half of what it was worth. So, there was the airplane, the money to do the television broadcasts, and money over and above that. So you don’t look at what it costs you. You look at what you’re investing in, which is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Q: One of the hallmarks of your legacy is family. What does it mean to you to have your kids and grandchildren serving the Lord the way that they do?
A: It means everything to me. But I must go back and tell you that when our children were very small, Gloria and I set ourselves aside for several days and we searched out scriptures on children. We searched out scriptures on faith. We spent a whole long weekend doing nothing else but that. We put all these scriptures down and we set our faith and we believed God – we would not lose our children. We took the promises of God. Of course, we were a travelling ministry, and we were going to be gone quite often. What would we do about school and all of those things? I don’t have room to tell you how many miracles God did concerning our children. It was absolutely phenomenal that people just came alongside to help. There was one young woman who hadn’t been married very long, and she was a schoolteacher. She married a young man in the Air Force and not too long after that, he was killed. She came to us, as her family was a Partner with us in the ministry, and she asked, “Do you think it would be alright if I travelled with you guys on the road. I could just teach your children. I’ll go to the school and catch up on their studies. Then, I can teach them the whole time that we’re gone. When we come back, I’ll take them back to school and catch them up.” Well, that was only one of the miracles that God did. It grounded our children in the Word of God and the things of God. They grew up to be people of faith that love God.
Q: What would you say to a parent or grandparent who is praying for a wayward child today?
A: Always pray the Word. Don’t just cry and try to get things to happen – go to the Word of God and pray what Jesus said. If just crying and praying would make things happen, then there wouldn’t be anyone, in the whole Christian world, who didn’t have all their prayers answered. And unfortunately, that is what most people do – cry and pray, pray and cry, cry and pray. Really there’s no basis for faith in it. Jesus said if you’re going to spoil the strong man’s house, first bind him. So we’ve seen mighty miracles happen in this. For instance you could say, “You spirit operating in the life of my son or my daughter (call their name) driving my child away from God, I bind you. You don’t have authority in my house. I bind you in the Name of Jesus. I adjure you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to take your hands off my child. Desist in your maneuvers to keep them out of the kingdom of God.”
The second part of that prayer is what Jesus said in Matthew 9:38 to “pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into his harvest.” And so, the second part of that prayer is, “Father, you know exactly to whom my son or my daughter will listen. I’m asking you to send laborers across his path that he will listen to. Laborers with the word of his salvation. Laborers with the word of his infilling with the Holy Spirit. Laborers with the word of his healing,” and so forth like that. Mark 11:24 says, “Whatsoever thing you desire when you pray…” – well, I desire my child to be whole in God and completely delivered from the world, and serving God. Whatsoever thing you desire when you pray. Believe you will receive right then. When? When you pray. So right then, you’ve prayed what Jesus said to pray. Now, you do what Jesus said to do and don’t talk about how bad your child has been. No, you just start thanking God. “I want to thank You that my child has come home. I want to thank You that my child is well. I want to thank You that my child is delivered. I want to thank You that my child is preaching the Gospel today. I just praise You and thank You today.” So now, when someone calls and asks, “Oh, how’s it going with little Johnny or little Susie,” don’t start in with, “Well, I’ve been praying.” No, no, no. You get a word of joy in your mouth. “I just want to thank God. God showed me how to pray over that and I believe and receive it. All is well. All is well.” And…it will come to pass.
Q: What is the most important thing that you hope to pass on to your children and grandchildren?
A: The most important thing to pass on to your children is to go back to the very rock foundation of the kingdom of God.
Number one – the commandment of love. It’s not optional. It is a commandment. We walk in it whether we feel like it, whether we look like it – it doesn’t matter what we think about it, we walk in love.
Number two – to live by faith. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is our source. He is our only source. He has different channels but He is the source. Our government is not our source. I sat my children down and said, “Listen! I’m your daddy but I’m not your source. I want you to know right now, the government is not your source. No, no, no, no. Whatever job the Lord leads you to have, wherever you work, your job is not your source. Jesus is your source. Therefore, we do exactly what He says all the time, every time for life.” Romans 4:16 – “therefore it is by faith so that it might be by grace that the promise might be sure to all the seed.” That is what every person must know.
Q: Who has left the biggest mark on your own life?
A: Oh my…well, of course, my parents. They lived a Godly life before me. My mother who prayed for me and absolutely just stayed before God all the days of my life. In the realm of ministry, Oral Roberts, my spiritual father, and Brother Kenneth E. Hagin, who was my mentor and teacher concerning faith and how it works and living by faith and living in faith. Those two men were extremely influential in my life. But then, there were others. TL Osborn was extremely influential. Hilton Sutton was very, very influential in my life. He BLESSED me and encouraged me. TL Lowery was very influential in my life. God has BLESSED Gloria and me. As I’m answering this, I’m thinking of more and more. It’s vitally important to seek God and find out from Him who your spiritual mentor is, then listen and be teachable. A person that is unteachable, that argues with everything everyone says cannot advance in the kingdom of God. It’s most important that you’re slow to speak quick to forgive, and quick to listen and obey the Word of God.
Q: You have already accomplished so much and seen God do incredible things. What’s something that you’re excited about in the coming year?
A: The first thing I want to say is that I have accomplished very little. I take absolutely no credit for anything that has happened in my life, in this ministry, in Gloria’s life, and what God has privileged us to do. We have been graced beyond measure. It’s marvelous. It’s beyond comprehension. Sometimes I look around and I think, “Can you imagine this happened with us?” But it is the grace of God.
People often say, “At a time when it looks like you should be slowing down? You know you’ll be 80 years old this year, maybe you should slow down.” No, no. God doesn’t slow down. People do. God doesn’t. As long as we’ll stay close to Him, listen to Him, obey Him, and just keep doing what He says to do, do it when He says to do it, and expect the Word to work, expect faith to work, the greatest is yet to come. This is the great year. By the end of this year, we’ll be in the grandest outflow of miracles we’ve ever seen in our generation, but I believe we’re in the midst of something grander and larger than this earth has ever seen. Jesus is coming so soon.
“Father, I pray in the Name of Jesus, I pray for Daystar. I pray for Marcus and Joni, all the members of their team and staff that are working in this harvest field throughout the earth. It’s a great privilege and honor to be a part of that, part of that team, part of the working of the Word of God. For together, we’ll see wonderful and marvelous things, things that we’ve only dreamed of in years past. For we know, Sir, in obedience to You, the best is yet to come. The greatest is here and getting greater. We give You the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”