The premiere episode of the reality show Preachers of LA aired on Oxygen this past week, featuring the ‘comeback’ of a popular Gospel singer whose public divorce turned into an admission of fathering a child with his girlfriend as the proceedings were underway.
As previously reported, Preachers of LA was announced by the network this past summer, a program that follows the lives of six Los Angeles area megachurch ministers, many of whom live large as prosperity preachers.
“Known for their fiery sermons, community outreach and passionate followings, pastors have become iconic, beloved, and sometimes polarizing figures in modern culture,” Oxygen stated in its introduction to the broadcast. “Yet, few people have access to these larger-than-life men away from the pulpit. Until now.”
The first episode centered on a comeback concert with Deitrick Haddon, an award-winning Gospel singer who had been known in the music industry for his performances with his now ex-wife Damita. In the broadcast, Haddon explains that “there had been some infidelity” and that the two divorced, although there are conflicting reports regarding which spouse had been unfaithful.
“I met this young lady, Dominique, and I fell in love with her,” Haddon outlines during the episode. “When I found out Dominique was pregnant, I was like, ‘Oh my G*d, my career is over.’ I knew it was going to look scandalous because here I have a young lady pregnant out of wedlock when my divorce is not final.”
“I absolutely did fall from grace,” he continues. “So, I asked God to forgive me. I repented, and by God’s grace, I’m standing strong. I have no other choice but to move forward…”
Haddon then explains that part of moving forward includes marrying his girlfriend, raising his daughter and continuing to preach and sing Gospel music.
During one scene, Dominique states that she believes the concert at her church will serve as her and Haddon’s “introduction back into the Kingdom as a couple.”
“We never left the Kingdom,” Haddon asserts. “What are you talking about?”
“I understand where some would feel some type of way because you got divorced,” she explains. “Then you had a baby.”
“That’s my testimony,” Haddon replies. “The problem is when people use your testimony against you, and I didn’t like the fact that people were attacking you.”
“I just want you to know that everything is going to be okay no matter what,” Haddon says. “God put us together.”
Several of the preachers featured in the reality show—and their wives—attend Haddon’s concert, which includes a choreographed choir that presents modern dance moves.
“I loved how they were just crunking up there,” Christy Haizlip, wife of Jay Haizlip, who pastors The Sanctuary of Huntington Beach, commented to the camera crew. “It was just phenomenal.”
However, Ron Gibson of Life Church of God, who was asked to lead the altar call, expresses dissatisfaction when Haddon tells him to “expedite” the segment after he brings two local gangsters up on stage.
Gibson then leads the men and the audience in a sinner’s prayer, and pronounces the two as being saved.
“He spent all the time singing, but when it came time for me to do the altar call event, he only gave me five minutes,” Gibson explains to his wife the following morning. “I mean, these guys have been gangsters all their lives, so I had to explain to them and to the people watching. These guys were notorious gangsters, and now they were convicted by the anointing of that concert.”
The men later meet to discuss spiritual matters at the “man cave,” Gibson’s second home, which he explains “had grown too small for my wife’s clothes.” However, as Haddon asks whether or not he should charge honorarium for his concerts, an argument ensues. The majority advise that it is a business decision, while Haddon states that Jesus would not have charged for the Gospel.
“We’ve got to come away from this stuff and get back to the basics of what ministry is,” he contends. “When God anointed you, you didn’t have an entourage. You didn’t have nobody to pay. You had you and your voice, and a word from the Lord. That’s why we’re in the dilemma we’re in right now in the Church.”
Clarence McClendon of Faith Harvest International, a frequent featured guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), leaves the room minutes later after the two argue over the matter.
“Who made you God?” Haddon asks as McClendon walks out.
The broadcast has drawn mixed reaction from viewers, as some have said that those who oppose the reality show should “settle down” and others have stated that the men are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
Photo: Oxygen Network