A new reality show set to air this fall on the Oxygen Network will put on display the lives of six Los Angeles area megachurch ministers, many of whom live large as prosperity preachers.
Preachers of L.A. was recently announced by the network, which also released a trailer that provides a sneak peak into the broadcast.
“Known for their fiery sermons, community outreach and passionate followings, pastors have become iconic, beloved, and sometimes polarizing figures in modern culture,” Oxygen stated. “Yet, few people have access to these larger-than-life men away from the pulpit. Until now.”
The network advised that the reality show will provide a look at the “human side” of the men, one of whom admits to having a baby with his girlfriend following his divorce from his wife.
“It’s all truth from this point on: The truth about my baby out of wedlock, about my divorce; it happened. There’s nothing I can do about that,” declares Deitrick Haddon, a popular Gospel singer whose ex-wife Damita also entered the music industry. “I’m a pastor, but at the end of the day, I’m a man.”
Noel Jones of City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California is also featured in the preview having a tense discussion with a woman about their relationship.
“Maybe I don’t love you as much as you love me,” Jones says.
“Maybe you don’t,” the woman replies, snapping back, “Maybe I don’t love you as much as you think I love you.”
Other ministers, who are captured driving extravagant cars and living in mansions, explain to the audience why they believe God wants them to be rich.
“The Bible says that I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers,” outlines Clarence McClendon of Faith Harvest International, who has often been featured on the California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). “I believe that.”
“P. Diddy, Jay-Z — they’re not the only ones who should be driving Ferraris and living in large houses,” asserts Ron Gibson of Life Church of God, who is also followed throughout the broadcast engaged in street ministry with gang members and others on the street.
“The Bible says that those of us who sow among us should reap from us, and that’s implying that preachers should be taken care of,” says Jay Haizlip, a skateboarder who also pastors The Sanctuary of Huntington Beach and reaches out to troubled youth.
Oxygen also explains of Jones, who had “born into poverty,” has now “made his way to the other extreme, now living on a hilltop with a view of the Pacific Ocean, Malibu at his feet, and across the street from the former home of the late L.A. Lakers owner, Jerry Buss.”
Wayne Chaney of Antioch Church of Long Beach is also featured briefly in the preview, tearfully struggling to “balance it all” in his role as pastor.
“’Preachers of L.A.’ documents these larger than life characters who are rock stars in their communities, with a fresh, unique perspective that will resonate with our young audience,” stated Rod Aissa, Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development for Oxygen Media.
“This show documents a journey of transparency from one man to the next as they endeavor to lead others to their own truth and self-discovery,” added producer Holly Carter. “It’s a dose of reality and a pound of redemption coming from a creative team reared in the church.”
Reaction to the reality show, set to be released this fall, has been mixed.
“This makes me sick,” one viewer wrote. “These preachers are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
“What a lack of humility these guys have, making a show and building a fan base,” stated another. “The real prophets and shepherds of the Church would never do what these clowns are doing to draw attention to themselves. Oh, but wait, it’s ‘Christian’ because they use the name [of] Jesus.”
“I don’t have a problem with the homes [and] bling if you are sharing the wealth with your congregation,” a third stated. “If the people are in need, make sure you are meeting their needs and taking care of them like they are taking care of you.”
“People and saints alike, we really have to settle down. Yes, you might disagree with the content of the show we all have not seen but a two-minute clip,” one supporter urged. “Let’s stop playing God because the same measure we judge is the same that God who sits high and looks low shall surely judge us. I know for a fact the intentions of the show might not be coming across right yet, but time is everything too.”
As previously reported, earlier this year, The Learning Channel (TLC) pulled the plug on a similar reality show featuring five provocative preachers’ wives from Georgia. The Sisterhood was not renewed for a second season after Christians nationwide expressed disgust and ratings fell below what was hoped for the broadcast.