As previously reported by Dearly, in August Derick and Jill Dillard announced they would be closing the doors to Dillard Family Ministries after two years living abroad in Central America.
The couple announced on the Duggar Family blog that they had been called back to the U.S. to perform their ministry work:
At this time, God has seen fit for our family to continue serving him in ministry within the context of Northwest Arkansas.
Jill and Derick thanked supporters for their financial contributions and said they would no longer be accepting donations through their organization. Fans were relieved the couple was staying home after the birth of their second son, Samuel Scott.
Since the announcement, Jill and Derick have been busy promoting their involvement with Cross Church in Arkansas. In a recent update, Derick announced he would be embarking on a year-long program with the church’s School of Ministry.
According to the Cross Church website, the program is “residential ministry experience” that prepares missionaries for their work around the world.
The Hollywood Gossip notes that the Dillard’s missionary work abroad was often plagued with controversy because neither Jill nor Derick had the appropriate license. According to THG, they each had failed to complete required coursework through the International Mission Board and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Because they weren’t sponsored by a church they had to rely on donations from fans, a controversial move when many reportedly thought they should use their earnings from TLC’s “Counting On” to fund their travels and give back to the less fortunate.
Despite the reaction to their earlier solicitations, Derick is once again requesting donations to help support his missionary studies with Cross Church. In a page created on Pure Charity, Derick wrote in part:
I have a donations goal of $6,500. This will enable me to fulfill my specific calling to ministry this year, including trips for Gospel-advancement and humanitarian work in Northwest Arkansas, North America, and abroad.
The Cross Church School of Ministry is a one-year, ministry, residency experience that I believe will be a key asset in not only my vocational ministry, but also in my personal development.
Every donation is important and will enable me to be present and help others in need. Would you kindly consider making a donation? Also, I would appreciate your willingness to share this with others who may want to partner with me.
Jill shared the news with her social media followers as well:
That the Dillards were soliciting donations to fund missionary work again was not received well. As one commenter put it:
Jesus didn’t ask anyone for money to support his ministry. ??
Oh my gosh, here we go again with asking people for money! I thought it is Derick’s responsibility to provide for their family. Neither one has employment and it’s getting ridiculous. JUST MY OPINION.
Others questioned if the funds were to be used as promised:
Use your money from the show… rumor is you didn’t use money you have had donated to you before for your missionary work like you had said you would.
One commenter asked:
Jill don’t you guys make enough money through TLC?
This commenter jabbed:
Is money running dry in the Dillard family? I hope people donate to worthy causes rather than a guy who avoids getting a job & needs to fill his own pockets.
Another suggested Derick turn to wife Jill for financial support:
Pretty sure your wife makes plenty of money from her tv show to pay for your “missions” or ministry or whatever it is you do
Some didn’t think Derick was setting a good example by asking for a handout:
Aren’t there other ways to fundraise money? My mother does raffles and events. My kids at school do bake sales and raffles. Instead of asking for money find ways to make it. We all work hard for our money and you should too
The Dillards reportedly encountered trouble in 2015 when it was allegedly discovered that they used donations to pay for travel between the U.S. and Central America. Some of this travel reportedly was to attend weddings. In light of the allegations, the Dillards began offering refunds to those who had given them money.
Neither Derick nor Jill have responded to the current backlash.