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Preachers of LA: Encouraging high hopes

Gail Choice | 10/3/2013, midnight
The “Preachers of LA” reality show will premiere Wednesday, Oct. 9 on the Oxygen Network and it is guaranteed to ...
Bishop Ron Gibson and Lady LaVette Gibson. Oxygen

The “Preachers of LA” reality show will premiere Wednesday, Oct. 9 on the Oxygen Network and it is guaranteed to raise some eyebrows; actually it already has. Featuring some of the best-known ministers locally as well as nationally, “Preachers of LA” dares to pull back the curtains of privacy and expose ‘God’s Chosen’ to the television viewing audience.

The cast of Oxygen’s “Preachers of LA” includes Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson, and Minister Deitrick Haddon. And the series executive producers are Lemuel Plummer and Holly Carter.

To say these preachers will be on the ‘hot seat’ is an understatement. Not only do they have to answer to their parishioners, and the scrutinizing public, but to God Himself. I mean, they do represent Him, right?

The question is will “Preachers of LA” help or hurt the church? More so than ever before Americans in record numbers are simply not going to church. Sunday is reserved for sports, outdoor activities, sleeping in; you name it, anything but going to church. And people who do go to church are often looked upon as ‘bible-thumpers’ not to be taken seriously with a lot of hypocrisy thrown into the mix.

“Preachers of LA” is reportedly not designed to be an evangelizing show. The producers describe it as a candid and revealing look at these men of God. We will see how they work in the community, with parishioners, and get a sneak peak into their lives on the home front. And they add “a focus on the daily struggles and triumphs they face as men, husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends.”

Indeed, the preachers involved in the production are very charismatic, and know how to deliver the Word of God standing behind a pulpit. But, are we ready to see them in the glaring lights of television where we’ll be able to form our own opinions about where they live, how they live, and how they relate to family, etc.?

The African American community can be very critical of preachers, who seem to flaunt their wealth with fancy cars, expensive clothes, and palatial homes. No doubt you will see all of this on “Preachers of LA,” but this hopefully will not be. I’m willing to give “Preachers of LA” a chance. After attending a press conference, I honestly walked away with high hopes for the show. I spoke one-on-one with Bishop Gibson and his lovely wife Levette. They have been married 31 years, and you can still see the love and devotion they have for each other. I wanted to speak with Gibson, because I read about the work he does in the community.

Like most people and preachers spreading the Word of God, Bishop Gibson has a powerful testimony. Born in Compton, addicted to drugs before he was a teenager, a leader of the Crips by the time he was 16, a robber and a pimp, Gibson was going nowhere extremely fast. In “Preachers of LA,” we will learn how he came to God, and what drove him to tell others how God can turn their lives around, too.

His church, the Life Church of God in Christ, currently serves a congregation of 4,500 people.

All the preachers featured in this production have testimonies that every human being can relate to in one way or the other. And hopefully “Preachers of LA,” through watching these men go through their daily lives, will give us the hope that we too can turn our lives around.

Maybe television programming such as this is a new direction for the church. Through example, we will be able to see how ‘walking in the Word’ can truly change our lives and give us the peace we all want.

To learn more about “Preachers of LA” and to see clips from the show, go to preachers-of-la.oxygen.com.

“Preachers of LA” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 9 on Oxygen. Please check for time and local station.