The new reality show “The Preachers of L.A.” premiered this past Wednesday on Oxygen and true reality TV custom it brought the drama. Reality TV is well known for its bling, drama, epic fights and of course, diva status.
If anyone thought a show centered around preachers would be any different they learned they were wrong. This show has all the requirements necessary for the world of reality television; complete with lavish lifestyles and we can’t forget the pompous personalities of the diva-bishops: Clarence McClendon, Noel Jones and Ron Gibson.
“The Preachers of L.A.” follows the lives of six successful pastors of Southern California. Many wondered why these men who make it obvious that they are on the wealthy side of life would risk their reputations for more money and brighter spotlight. When questioned about their participation in this type of production their answers are as follows:
Bishop Ron Gibson, Life Church of God In Christ, said it’s quite simple for him; he intends to spread God’s word. He went on to say that after praying about it he was sure that Lord was in favor of him embarking on this journey. He explained that his approach is that he is on assignment from God to be a living testimony of His grace, love and mercy.
According to the Biblical verse Matthew 28:19-20, Gibson said he is commanded to “Go ye into all the world and teach all nations.” This show gives him a greater platform to carry out these orders.
Bishop Noel Jones, L.A.’s City of Refuge mega-church, said he simply wanted to reduce the erroneous beliefs that many church people have towards preachers and pastors. He wants people to realize that pastors are vulnerable and susceptible to the same moral slips that everyone makes. In short, pastors are human and the only one that’s perfect is God.
Pastor Deitrick Haddon, who has already become a favorite, says he knows that many will criticize the lavish lifestyles and lucrative careers of the preachers but hopes that the show will restore people’s hope in the Gospel. He said they really want people to see that they are all just real people with real issues. He hopes that by displaying their imperfections others who are imperfect will have their hope re-established.
For some this new show displays a rare but necessary window into the guarded lives of these established pastors, but for others it will prove to be an embarrassment to their faith. It mirrors many of its predecessors in reality by focusing on a life of supposed luxury. What is often perceived with these types of shows is the portrayal of affluent people who are irresponsible and reckless financial stewards.
By no means am I attempting to say there isn’t room for abundance, notoriety or media exposure in ministry. It’s a smart and innovative tool for them to extend their audience and amplify their message. We can only hope their motives are pure and the intended message remains clear.
Many have already said that “The Preachers of L.A.” magnifies the toxic state of Christianity and is a prime example of preachers using their pulpits to promote their own agenda and make loads of money while allowing the message of the Gospel to filter in and out.
Even those who like the show and plan to continue supporting it have said the show does indeed reaffirm many of the negative stereotypes about greedy prosperity preachers more interested in the lavish lifestyle than the Bible itself.
If you’re looking for bling, drama and divas “The Preachers of L.A.” will not disappoint. You can catch it all Wednesdays at 10pm on Oxygen. Viewers will get an inside window into these men’s lives as these preachers deal with personal challenges as well as triumphs as they function in their roles as community leaders.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)