September 26, 2013
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
LAWT Religion Editor
While an episode has yet to air, the ‘Preachers of LA’ reality show is drawing lots of attention.
The cast is comprised of Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge in Gardena, Pastor Jay Haizlip of The Sanctuary of Huntington Beach, Pastor Wayne Chaney of Antioch Church of Long Beach, Bishop Ron Gibson of Life Church of God in Christ in Compton, Bishop Clarence McClendon, an international broadcast preacher; and Minister Deitrick Haddon, a major gospel recording artist.
Produced by Oxygen Media, its website describes ‘Preachers of LA’ as going “behind the pulpit. These men of God will share diverse aspects of their lives, … the daily struggles and triumphs they face as men, husbands, fathers, brothers and friends…”
However, as the program sets to premiere on Wednesday, October 9 at 10 p.m., some people have already formed opinions based on TV trailers and social media spots promoting the show.
Referring to one clip that appeared to uphold wealth, Minister Cathy Gill, who attends First Church of God in Inglewood, said, “A Christian’s success is not measured by material possessions. Yes, God intended for His children to be blessed on this side of heaven. So, we can have possessions, but we don’t have to flaunt it before the secular world.”
Mrs. Laverne Dyer, a member of Brookins Community A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, echoed that viewpoint, saying, “Looking at the clip on the Internet, I was blown away by the way the ministers flaunt their wealth. Accumulation of wealth seemed to be their goal. I didn’t get the impression they were trying to win souls for Christ.”
But, in fact, bringing people to Christ is their goal, according to Minister Haddon, who noted, “We hope that we bring new souls in the kingdom by our transparency and make church attractive again. People have been so turned off by church because we’ve been projecting perfection from the church and from the pulpit.
“Hopefully, once people see how imperfect we are, yet we are still able to be used by God to touch lives and change lives, it will close the gap and make a connection where there’s been a disconnection in the culture,” he said.
Bishop Jones added, “I think this show will help, without scandal, to put God back in His rightful place in the minds of people. At the end of the day, I want for God to be God, not God’s man, but God to be God.
“The truth is there is only one mediator between God and man and that’s Christ Jesus. I want people to have a healthy view of preachers so that when preachers make mistakes, they’re not slaughtered or destroyed.
“What the show will do will share with everybody who dares to watch that men of God and women of God are people just like everybody else,” said Bishop Jones.
Expressing his belief the program will draw people to Christ, Bishop McClendon commented, “I would love people to take away from the show an understanding that they are not as far from God as perhaps they thought.
“Religion, in its various forms, has sort of cloistered God, making Him unapproachable. But, that’s just the opposite of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is that God came to us and none of us are very far from the kingdom of God.”
Pastor Jay Haizlip shared that he’s hoping viewers don’t decide not to watch before ‘Preachers of LA’ actually airs.
“Give the show an honest opportunity to speak to you, listen to it and watch it. Hopefully, you’ll come to conclusion that the show has the potential to help people,” he said.
Offering a similar perspective, Pastor Chaney said, “This show is not an evangelical crusade, by no stretch of the imagination. Anyone that’s expecting that will be very disappointed. I do believe, through our lives and in the lives of people we’re called to minister to, you’ll see stories of redemption.
“I believe with all my heart that no matter what situation you find yourself in, Jesus Christ is the answer. Any problem you can possibly have, you’ll find provision for it in the word of God.”
Bishop Gibson remarked, “We’ve all been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I just want to be that light to lead people out of darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ.
“I hope what we take from this show is that to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and not be so quick to judge. You really don’t know our stories unless you give us a chance to share them.”
Observing that viewers will enlightened by watching the show, Pastor Mark Whitlock of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine said, “Pastoring is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. ‘Preachers of LA’ will show the reality behind some veils.”
“I can’t wait for it to come on because I definitely want to see what message they’re trying to share and see if my assumptions are valid,” said Mrs. Dyer.