Promiscuous Preacher Caught in Sex Scandal Aims for New Year Comeback Despite Elders’ Counsel

A self-described evangelist, author and poet who had his ministerial credentials revoked last month after confessing to sexual indiscretions with multiple women, including at least one of his followers, has decided to reject the counsel of his now former elders and found a new church—announcing a comeback.

Clayton Jennings, who stepped down from ministry just last month but changed his mind weeks later, announced this week in a YouTube video that he has “so much planned for next year.” He also advised on Monday that his publisher will soon release his new book and that he has another “huge announcement” in the works.

“For all of you asking about my book, I had the publisher back up the release date to later this year to be launched with another HUGE announcement. Stay tuned! Can’t wait for you guys to read this,” Jennings wrote. “Until then, you can get my poetry cd here…”

Jennings also released a newly-produced new spoken word/poetic video on Tuesday outlining that he has battled depression for 10 years, and advising that he had lied in the past when asked if he was on medication. The video shows clips of Jennings re-enacting holding a bottle of pills, and attempting to drown himself in the bathtub or in the lake, reaching out for a hangman’s noose or cutting his wrist.

“I have battles I wouldn’t want you to see. And I always want people to see the best in me, but if you see the real me, you see something inside that’s been festering. For 10 years, it’s been eating me alive,” he states.

However, the same day, the elders of Jennings’ church, Harbour Shores Church in Cicero, Indiana, issued an email to the congregation expressing that they were “deeply saddened” by Jennings’ actions as they advised that he had rejected their counsel to take time away in repentance, left the church for another and advised that he would resume his ministry.

The email noted that just last month, the elders had read a statement to the church advising that “the elder board recognizes (and Clayton agrees) that he should not be in full time ministry at this time. Clayton understands that he needs time to focus on his personal walk of repentance with Christ and on his relationship with his wife, Jamie.”

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But now, “After weeks of prayer, counsel and attempts at discipleship, it is with heavy hearts that we, the elders of HSC, must inform you that, due to Clayton’s sinful choices and decisions, this statement is no longer accurate,” the correspondence read.

“Clayton has chosen to reject instruction from God’s Word regarding spiritual leaders and repentance, as well as the counsel of HSC yet intends to continue in ministry,” it continued. “In November, we removed his license, we have made many attempts to correct him and he refuses to submit to the authority of Harbour Shores Church. Clayton has informed us that he has joined another church and is therefore now their responsibility.”

The elders cautioned others from encouraging Jennings in his ventures at this time.

“We are deeply saddened by Clayton’s decision and ask that you pray for his repentance and restoration. Additionally, we believe it is not appropriate to participate in any of his ministries, social media activity or related business ventures,” they said. “We are grieved by Clayton’s sinful choices and we continue to pray for all those affected by his sin and for his repentance.”

Similar remarks were issued earlier this month by Tony Nolan, an evangelist and teaching pastor at Freedom Church in Acworth, Georgia, who initially had been approached by Jennings to work with him in a repentance process. The two put out a video together, which was posted on Jennings’ YouTube channel, where Nolan expressed Jennings’ alleged repentance and “humility.”

Nolan, however, advised that just weeks later, Jennings changed his mind and said that he didn’t need him after all and that he would be hiring a secular team for advice with damage control in the media.

“To update previous communication, with [a] heavy heart, I inform you Clayton Jennings has chosen to end the repentance/renewal process with me,” Nolan posted publicly to Twitter and Instagram on Dec. 12.

“[H]e informed me that he had already privately confessed to God about these sexual sins that occurred during his public preaching ministry and he really did not need the process after all, and just needs the secular team to navigate from the media fallout,” he explained.

THE PUBLIC CONFESSION

As previously reported, Jennings, who had been in the midst of promoting Tim Tebow’s new book “Shaken,” released a spoken word confession on Nov. 13, which had obtained nearly 200,000 views before he took it down this month.

“I never claimed to be perfect and I never said I was sinless. Presenting you with a fake facade of greatness is never why I got in this,” he said in the video. “I want you to know this: I’ve sinned—a lot.”

“I could tell you stories of my past sin, but I wouldn’t know when to stop. I had sex before marriage and I broke a lot of hearts. And that’s not even the worst part. Sometimes it was during seasons of ministry,” Jennings admitted. “I led some girls on, and there were text messages of sex and sin.”

His confession came in the middle of several women—six in all—coming forward to state that Jennings had manipulated them into sexual behavior, some just last year. Jennings married his longtime girlfriend in March 2016.

Two of the women, who released their stories here and here, claimed that Jennings gave them alcohol before becoming sexually aggressive, and one said that Jennings told her to take the morning-after pill because “his entire ministry would be ruined if I were to get pregnant.”

They both asserted that Jennings asked for naked photos, and lied to them—claiming he was dying or his father was ill—as a means to abruptly break contact after having sexual relations and being assured spiritually that their physical contact was okay.

Jennings has said that while some of the women’s details are false, he does not wish to elaborate on the matter. And while some state that Jennings manipulated women into sex and committed spiritual abuse by convincing them that the acts were not wrong in the sight of God, Jennings claims that he simply committed wrongdoing while dating.

“I thought I was just dating, but my actions were degrading. All the while my future wife stayed pure, praying and waiting,” he says in the confessional video. “I was a sinner and I was a liar. I let down every single person I admired, but I especially let down my Lord.”

“I am the chief of sinners and I’ve come to end of myself,” Jennings states. “And the only thing that saved me was putting down my pride and picking up the Bible off the shelf. I wanted to find verses where Jesus called me forgiven and new, but God kept taking me to verses that showed me how bad my sin was and what He wanted me to do, and this is it (to confess).”

THE YES THEN NO

Christian News Network reached out to to Jennings last month after reviewing the evidence—including text messages and an audio file—and speaking with his father, Don Jennings, the senior pastor of Harbour Shores Church. Don Jennings advised that his son had come to him to confess and that he believed he was genuinely repentant. However, he said that he had been told by his son that he had only committed sin with one woman—that he had met with the woman, her mother and Jennings—and wasn’t aware of anyone else.

However, weeks later, other women came forward to state that Jennings had also wooed them into sexual sin, and Jennings’ soon-coming video confession acknowledged that he “broke a lot of hearts” and led “some girls on”—plural, not singular.

Prior to releasing the video, Jennings confirmed that he had sinned, but would not affirm that the matter involved multiple women. He said that he “would rather not talk about the allegations at this time” as he was focused on obtaining “counseling for past sins.”

Jennings had also advised on Nov. 10 that he had decided not to release a statement as originally planned, but several days later, on Nov. 13, he published his poetic video confession to social media. The video featured a recorded introduction from Nolan, announcing that he was serving as a mentor to Jennings and asking viewers to pray for the evangelist.

But Jennings soon broke off receiving counseling from Nolan and then deleted the confessional video earlier this month. After his elders released an email this week to the congregation advising that Jennings had rejected their counsel to sit out for a time and focus on repentance, Jennings sent out an email making accusations against the elders and stating that he has moved on to a church “that is filled with grace and love.”

“Jamie and I were offered a role with another church. We sensed that it was a door God had opened for us,” he wrote, according to the Polemics Report. “We were so happy to be moving forward…”

“We are with a new church now that is filled with grace and love. We are so excited about the future and all that God has planned,” Jennings continued. “I understand that being a public figure comes with attacks from people and the press. I also understand that I am guilty of certain sins in the past that I wish I could take back. Thankfully, God forgives and forgets, even when others try to hold it over your head and gossip/lie about it.”

While denouncing his elders, Jennings praised his father, the senior pastor, stating that he had “led with grace.” As previously reported, Christian News Network inadvertently received a email from Don Jennings earlier this month characterizing those who would ask questions about the issue as being “godless” and “set on destruction.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7-8 reads, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God. … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.”


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  • BravesFan

    Jude: 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    • Jenny Ondioline

      Matthew 7:1-3 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
      3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      • Amos Moses

        Wow …. trying to use scripture to lie …. miss liar ………..

        Matthew 18:15

        John 7:24

        2 Timothy 3:16

        1 Corinthians 5 & 6

        1 Corinthians 2:15

        Proverbs 27:5, Proverbs 31:9

        again ………. if you are going to lie ….. you should not use scripture ….. blasphemy is not good for your soul ….. miss liar …………….

        • Jenny Ondioline

          The scripture’s pretty clear to me, Amos.

          • Amos Moses

            no …. the scripture you quoted is 3 of 29 and is OUT OF CONTEXT ……. and you are a liar miss liar Oleomargarine ……. because you are about as real as FAKE BUTTER …………

          • Jenny Ondioline

            And yet you cannot cite a single time that I lied. Probably because I can back up everything I say with facts and not with faith.

          • Amos Moses

            i cite every sylable you type including the one we just talked about ……….. it is OUT OF CONTEXT and that makes it a lie as YOU tell tell it ………….. miss liar Oleomargarine …………

          • Jenny Ondioline

            Even you cannot be so ridiculous as to claim that every statement I’ve made is a lie. All I’m asking you to do is give me one single example. I’m not surprised you can’t, because I back up everything I say. Always.

          • Amos Moses

            Matthew 7 as we JUST discussed ….. as i have JUST told you …… you gave a LYING misrepresentation of scripture …………… miss liar Oleomargarine ……………….

          • Jenny Ondioline

            That is a matter of opinion….as with most things with you.

          • Amos Moses

            No ……….. it is a matter of SCRIPTURE …… which you have demonstrated ZERO desire to know ………….. zip, nada, zilch, piquenito …………..

          • Jenny Ondioline

            I didn’t change the scripture, nor did I use it inappropriately.

          • Amos Moses

            “nor did I use it inappropriately.”

            taking scripture out of context IS INAPPROPRIATE use ….. SO WRONG …. FYI …… Matthew 7 is ALL ABOUT HOW TO JUDGE …….. not to NEVER judge ……. you have demonstrated ZERO desire to know ………….. zip, nada, zilch, piquenito …………..

          • Jenny Ondioline

            But it wasn’t taken out of context, Amos. Self-righteous proclamations of judgement are precisely what that verse is about, and if you don’t understand that, you’ve got nothing going on in the cerebral area…………….. zip, nada, zilch, piquenito …………..

          • Amos Moses

            Oleomargarine …… when you take two sentences OUT OF CONTEXT from a chapter and then try to tell us what it says ….. you have NO credibility ………. do you read the first sentence of Moby Dick ….. “Call me Ishmael” ….. and then proceed to convince the world it is about muslims ………. YOU do not set the context and the meaning of scripture ……. i do not set the context and the meaning of scripture ………… the AUTHOR DOES ….. and that IS NOT you or i ………… it is the Holy Spirit ………..

          • Jenny Ondioline

            As long as you’re posting judgements and you’re not God, Amos, which to my knowledge you aren’t, you’re being hypocritical.

          • Amos Moses

            “As long as you’re posting judgements and you’re not God, Amos, which to my knowledge you aren’t, you’re being hypocritical.”

            Scripture REFUTES you ….. miss liar Oleomargarine ……….

          • Jenny Ondioline

            No it doesn’t. What needs to happen with you is that you need to realize that you possess precisely ONE interpretation of scripture and precisely ONE understanding of Christianity, and that is your own, and you are not in a position to tell your fellow Christians with different understandings and interpretations that they are wrong.

          • Amos Moses

            “, and you are not in a position to tell your fellow Christians with different understandings and interpretations that they are wrong.”

            WRONG ……….. even “the smallest matters” and “things that pertain to this life” between the brethren …..

            6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
            6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
            6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
            6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

          • http://www.biblewordstudy.org Adam in Christ

            Lol, don’t you just love it when someone tells not you can’t judge others…while they just judged you?

      • BravesFan

        1. Matthew 7 has 29 verses and I recommend reading them all.
        2. Show me where I judged him. I put up the word of God. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God, not me.
        3. Your verses might hold a tiny bit of water if I was myself caught in adultery or sexual sins, but I’m not, so…
        4. Also, we are commanded to judge other Christians.
        5. We are also commanded to use discernment when choosing teachers of the Bible and leaders for the church.

        In short… try actually reading the Bible.

        • Amos Moses

          ummmmmm ……….. BBBAAAAAMMMMM! ………. to miss liar Oleomargarine …………

        • Jenny Ondioline

          1) I have
          2) You judged him using a standard Bible verse which may not have been applicable to his situation. Leave the judging to God.
          3) Please tell me where sexual sins are deemed to be worse than any other kind.
          4) No you aren’t.
          5) He might be a perfectly acceptable person to teach the Bible and be a church leader but struggles with one particular sin, and he does seem to be trying to atone for that. I think that’s worth something. Specifically, a bit of that Christian kindness I always hear about.

          In short…it’s not a good idea to use the Bible to beat people up with.

          • BravesFan

            1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[a] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Like I said, take it up with God if you don’t like what His word says about what qualifies and disqualifies a leader.

          • Jenny Ondioline

            Do you suppose he knew he sinned, and didn’t actually require your judgement of him?

          • BravesFan

            Did you even read the article? Elders have tried to take him under counsel and he’s jettisoning them arrogantly. He’s not submitting to godly counsel.

            Again, take it up with God if you don’t like what HIS word says.

          • michael smith

            Attitudes like that are why the church has no power.–It’s just a social club, where people go to feel good.

            Forget about pursuing holiness.

            You can’t have a leader openly sinning.–Do you really think God is going to honor that?

            He should’ve just manned-up and resigned. He could’ve joined the Episcopalian or Unitarian church where they stopped practicing biblical Christianity years ago and became a social club.–No, he wants to lead people on, lie to elders, and expect to not face consequences.

            These charismatic people with no integrity have and continue to destroy the church. We are called to judge other Christians. If he was repentant he would submit to the eldership, stay at the church, and be restored in the future.

            Instead, he is running from accountability. This does not bode well for him ministerily, not his marriage.

          • Jenny Ondioline

            So what of forgiveness, then? Isn’t that what Christianity is supposed to be about?

          • Ella B

            Forgiveness does not remove consequences.

          • Jenny Ondioline

            No one said it did, but as Christians, maybe you should be focusing more on the former than the latter.

          • Ella B

            I think it’s necessary to ensure that consequences happen equally within the process as forgiveness is given. As a believer, I think a part of loving our brother is to ensure that there are consequences to the abuse of power that happened here. It’s loving both him, and his victims, and yes, they are victims. Even tho they paricipated in sin, he had responsibility in his position of leadership and abused the power given to him. Immediately side stepping the process and those who he’s answering to in his church is the height of arrogance and rebellion. He has tarnished not just his witness, but the image of our Messiah to the world at large. It is also taking advantage of the process of forgiveness that has been given to him by G-d and everyone involved. Not only that, it shows a lack of sincere pentitance and remorse. I’ve also noticed that he’s never really apologized to his victims or the church. He talked about mistakes, sure. But that’s not the same. Until there are any real consequences, and he acknowledges his previous sin and the new rebellion, I’m concerned that he will eventually suffer with depression or other problems (that could end in some kind of self-destruction) and continue to damage the way the world sees the church, and thus, Jesus Christ. So, it’s critical for there to be equal measures of forgiveness, and consequences.

      • Brandon Brasseau

        Ephesians 5:11…..Take NO part in unfruitful works of darkness,
        but rather expose them.
        That is the word of God. I did not make it up. God spoke it.
        This is a very simple to understand verse taken from the NEW
        testament. He also said we would know them by their fruit.
        Any man that commits adultery does not love his wife. One of
        the fruit of the spirit is LOVE.
        He also caused young women to sin……God forbids fornication.
        Your argument about not judging does not hold water. First of all,
        he was an evangelist, which means he was teaching and/or
        preaching to others. That makes him a teacher/leader. The bible
        says those that teach will be judged MORE strictly, not less.
        The rightful thing to do in the churches case was to judge this man
        and try to counsel him….to make him accountable, which is
        what the church attempted to do. However, he
        thinks he is above that and will simply move on to another congregation,
        as if it were that simple.

      • Robert

        So me and
        My buds can beat the
        crap out of you and steal every thing you got and you won’t judge that being wrong.

        • Jenny Ondioline

          I probably would. But the verse is saying leave the judging to God. You guys have such a hard time with that one.

  • Karen

    It is between Clayton and God if he has truly repented, but he is wrong to quickly jump into another ministry without restoration.

    • Amos Moses

      he is not submitting to church discipline of his church elders …… there is no repentace …. that is just more rebellion to authority and nope ……….. no repentance …. no evidence …. willful disregard for the fellow church members …………….. but i am sure if he moved to Phoenix …. Mark Driscoll might allow him to do so ………

  • jscotttheory

    So predictable when christians shoot their wounded.

  • billinghamboy

    The term”celebrity preacher”leaves me cold.It’s obvious this man needs time out,a long time out of public ministry, anything else would be a major disservice to the testimony of Christ’s Church and the Lord.Maybe he does not care,if so he is in further danger.

  • Dan Jones

    Many of today’s preachers are all about the money, and notice he mentions the release his “new book”?? (Can’t hurt the sales)

    Anyone charging for God’s word in any form (teaching, music, prophesy, etc…) is not a ministry of God… It really is easy to spot wolves…

    Always be a light that is shininginthedark

    • Amos Moses

      a wolf among the sheep ……….

  • Martha Bartha

    God Damn It!

  • Brandon Brasseau

    This is precisely why many people are losing interest in the church.
    (I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that’s one reason it’s happening.)
    I do however commend the first church since they did all they could to
    biblically deal with the issue. This so-called evangelist is clearly not
    repentant. He seems more concerned about his image than his
    relationship with the Lord. I do not in any way condone always blaming
    the church for the actions of the members. As I said before, the first church
    did what they were asked to do in the word of God. However, I wonder about
    the church that “offered him a position”. Either they were unaware, which
    means they did not do their homework before seeking to employ this man,
    or worse, they knew what he’d done and chose to hire him anyway. He even
    blamed others for gossiping about him and “lying”. It’s only a lie if it isn’t
    true. He himself admitted the rumors were true. It seems now he wants to
    make money off of what he’s done. If he thinks he can do what he did, say
    sorry, and then continue on as if nothing has happened, he’s wrong. Of course
    God forgives. We all need his mercy and forgiveness. However, if he thinks
    he can continue in sin and still preach the word of God to people, he’s mistaken.
    His wife seems to be enabling him in his sinful behavior. Maybe I’m wrong
    about that. I for one would not want this man preaching in any church I
    or my family would attend.

    • Don Purciful

      That was a wise and fair assessment Brandon. I am still reviewing all this stuff. From my perspective and likely more “secular” in approach. Has this man (Clayton Jennings) does a law enforcement body need to investigate in a professional sense for criminal or civil charges. I as a believer and by my own profession can face criminal and civil liabilities for my conduct and it just doesn’t stop at the end of the shift. If these “female victims ” that have been victims of his “undisclosed sin” should be presented to the courts. Court appointed mental or other services be administrated. Myself I think he needs to be really stopped in his tracks from “religious ministries” for profit or material gain. Until all this gets sorted out perhaps an injunction needs to be recorded that courts could be imposed. I fail to see how he considers his behavior in furthering God’s Kingdom of Souls Won to Christ or People or Learning from him but rather a way of gaining money for himself and some weird messianic complex gratification to his ego. I am more than familiar with Harbor Shores Church the “First Church” I know this matter is very “damaging” to them and yes very “hurtful” no doubt to his Pastor father. Again my secular self wants him to take him behind the woodshed and physically tan his hide as mere words are not getting to the adult boy.

  • Robert

    He not very different from a lot of members that think if their disciplined by the church they will just leave that church to. With that thinking if you get angry at your preacher just.beat him up I’n secret some place he can’t prove you did it any way and go to another chutch if he don’t like it.

    As if God won’t know what you did.

  • Rev T J Carter

    I stand with the HSC on this matter. Having been in the ministry myself for over 30 years. You would really be surprised how many ministers are watching Porn. It’s terrible period. He should take two year or three year sabbatical and get his relationship with God back to where it should be and get his sexual desires under control before he resumes any type of ministry. Having a situation like this could be a serious liability for any church or ministry. He should be forgiven for what he has done, but refusing the elders counsel and not accepting their decision to pull his credentials is wrong on his part. Preachers are not perfect by any means but they should be responsible for their actions and follow God’s word on church discipline. This kind of stuff brings forth reproach toward the church as a whole, and does not bring glory to God.

    • billinghamboy

      In the secular world an employee gets the sack when they don’t play by the employers rules.Retired now from active ministry, but in those precious and privileged years i would simply have walked had i fallen away in anything approuching this scandal.Surely there can be no place for this kind of mix in Christianity unless we wish to live the life illustrated in the book of Judges or the backslidden King Ahab etc.
      “.Lord please send a revival of Holiness to our pulpits and into the pews”.

  • Thiago Santos

    But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disqualified). 1 Cor 9:27.

    This man definitely can be cleaned of this unrighteousness and forgiven in Christ if he is repentant which it seems (1 John 1:9), but that does not mean that he is not now disqualified from the ministry, which he is.

    Qualifications for leadership according to 1 Timothy 3:2,7:

    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    So, in light of these occurrences, I don’t think he meets the biblical qualifications (or will ever again). And if despite these he chooses to still continue in official ministry, he would be in violation of God’s Word.