The count down has begun for the highly anticipated reality TV show/docu-series, ‘Preachers of LA‘. Earlier this summer, we confirmed the news, that saints, sinners and all of those in between would get a peak inside the lives of Bishop Noel Jones, Minister Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney and Bishop Ron Gibson on the Oxygen produced show. Recently, we chatted with one of the cast members, Bishop Jones, who is well known in the spiritual and religious community. In addition to pastoring mega church, ‘City of Refuge’, he’s the brother Grace Jones and is well-known as an international speaker. During our interview, the Jamaica native opened up about his real motive for joining the show, how his congregation acted and what his best friend, Bishop T.D. Jakes’ response was to his involvement in ‘Preachers of LA’.
Peep the entire interview below.
“Preachers of L.A.” premieres on Wednesday, October 9 at 10 PM ET/PT
Check out our conversation below.
Bishop Jones: That’s an interesting question. I am the composite of many things – I primarily do what I do, and love doing what I do – so professionally that’s what I am , I am a preacher pastor. I’m a Father. I would say that I’m given to intellectuality and have a decent vocabulary. But basically I’m just a person that likes other people and like to be good and nice to people – be kind. That’s basically what I am.
JB: So that sums yourself up in a nutshell. So I’m very excited like I’d said earlier to talk to you because everyone is talking about this exciting – somewhat controversial – docu-series called, “Preachers of L.A.”
“Preachers of L.A.” But at the same time it is – anytime, anytime that you’ve got to deal with money, clarity and humanity, and the human aspect of preaching. Anytime you deal with people who everybody put on pedestals, and put them up on pedestals that they can’t live on. Anytime you deal with looking on the other side and deal with lifestyle – It’s going to be controversial, there’s no question about it. The reason why I’m doing this show is because I want to deflate the iconoclastic dispositions that we have towards men and women who are in ministry or who are in any position where we want to look up to them. Because at the end of the day, everybody’s flawed. And I tell my friends, “I’m too flawed to be flashy” so I try to stay as far out from the limelight as I can. It’s just that – and the truth is that I’m good at what I do. So if I wasn’t good at what I do, I wouldn’t be in demand. And because I’m in demand, I’m in the limelight. And because I’m in the limelight, it comes on, on the good and the bad – but we don’t want to embrace that. We want to give the impression that there’s nothing on – we don’t have a dark side. But everybody’s got a dark side, of course, won’t agree with me, but everybody’s got a dark side.
JB: Okay, let me ask you this. I watched the trailer and I believe I read in the bio – one of the things which you’d be addressing on the show is the fact that it may be time for you to retire. Did I make that up, or is that true?
JB: How do you know right now is the right time to think about retirement?
Because it’s always the right time to think of something that you’re going to have to prepare for. It’s retirement – it’s something that’s going to come naturally, it’s going to evolve, it’s going to morph so its something you give thought to. The Greek word to “provide” is to think beforehand. And ultimately, I would have to walk away from a pulpit – I don’t certainly don’t wanna die with my command. But in order to do that, I have to make plans.
JB: Before you decided to do the show, did you consult – I mean, you’re a very popular bishop and you have popular bishop friends. Did you consult with – I don’t know whether you have a mentor or – I don’t know how that goes because I’m not behind the scenes, I don’t know how the dynamics work but in my mind, you were presented an opportunity and called your homeboy like, “Hey, what do you think about..?” This is how it happened in my mind and you consulted someone else. Did it happen? Or did you pray about it? Or how did that work?
Well, I called a couple of my friends and I got different opinions – some said “Yes”, some said “No”. My best friend said when he heard I was doing this – because I didn’t call him – but when he heard I was doing this, he said that he swallowed his tongue.
JB: What was your best friend, Bishop T.D. Jakes’, response?
Bishop [T.D.] Jakes. So when he said he swallowed his tongue when he heard I was doing it – and rightfully so – because from his perspective, we’re two different people. I’m more open and more gregarious than he is, and less protected. And so, and he’s very protective. So consequently, I’m on the other side of the protection that he would like me to have and then it’s risky business – it’s no question in my mind – it’s risky business. I talked to the families that they’ve decided to go with, and I wanted to make sure that no one of us would do anything that would jeopardize how people view the other ones of us - that no one of us, would do something that would jeopardize how others are looked at. So we have a little council within the whole show thing, and then they can’t show what we don’t give.
JB: But there’s always the argument that folks that are on docu-series and in reality TV say, that they were edited a certain way – that is always an argument but…
They can always edit. You know, they’re the masters at that. And they’re committed to get the ratings they want. And you can’t go into the show and decide that you’re going to fix it in a particular way when they’re in the business of knowing how to get ratings. So, you’re going to indulge in some things that are going to be risqué – let’s hope that it’s about 5% as opposed to 95%.
JB: Did you pray before deciding to do the show?
I pray every day, about everything. The Bible – you know, prayer, I’m not the kind of person that just laze out all night, sleep half the night. No, I’m not the type of person that bobs around and pray without ceasing – which means it’s an attitude, it’s a disposition. It’s having a spiritual caution in whatever you do. So yes, I pray.
JB: How did you decide to tell the congregation?
Oh, I didn’t – How did I – no, it’s not really “How do you decide to tell them” – You just tell them. And it went left for a minute and then I reassured them that I’m not in the business of being crazy and stupid – I have some sophistication – I think I do anyway.
JB: We’ve got to talk about the sizzle reel. I was very surprised – and you are – I think you are, a little more unconventional and liberal than most bishops, pastors…
You know, when you talk about liberality, I think that’s something we need to – we must talk about. Liberality gives me the ability to handle them more than the conservative can handle the liberal but what we call liberal, might simply be what everybody does in a different way. I might be more open – I think the word to use is, it’s “business is transparent”. Because I don’t do anything that they don’t do.
JB: When you started, you knew upfront that you’re going to be transparent about all parts of your life?
No, I’m not, nobody’s ever transparent about all parts of their lives and there are certain things that they’ll never know – not from me – and they won’t know it from anybody else, really. And so consequently, I’m going to do what I set out to do in a very tasteful way. The Pope has a confessor and I confess – but I don’t confess publicly, so that’s not going to happen and about anything that I’ve had to confess, had to get right with God about, then be prayed for about – I’m not about to be prayed for national TV by the public. So the things that I want to show is the human side. I want to deal with issues of lifestyle; I want to talk about being successful and as opposed to being pompous and being successful, as opposed to flaunting. I want to deal with the real truth about why preachers have what they have – it’s not because in many instances they are. It’s not because they are deceivers. They have what they have because it’s the supply and demand curve – if there’s a great demand than the supply then people pay more. I don’t ask how much they’re going to give me as an honorarium – they decide that.
What advice would you give a 21-year old self?
At 21-years old, I would say to myself to get as much sleep as you can because you’re going to need it when you’re 60. At 21 – if I were to talk to Noel Jones at 21, I would say get balanced – start rehearsing and practicing being balanced. Because I’m way out of balance and I’ve been out of balance for most of my life because of what I do and I would also say, in this sequel of getting balance – learn to say “No”. You can’t go everywhere, you can’t help everybody. At what stage are you receiving diminishing returns that will shorten your life span and shorten the ability for you to continue to help people into perpetuity or further down the roads – not going to be into perpetuity as all of these happen the same time. But the whole issue here is balance, I would say – learn balance. Your family is important, your friends are important – not just you are – just people you serve.
When is the last time you cried?
I cried in Jamaica when I went, and I cried in Jamaica – I think that’s the last time. But maybe it was last week, in fact, I’d just came from Jamaica this week. And I cried because I was so saddened by the people’s condition and the young people, the kids, and before that I cried when I went to Ghana – when I went to the Door of No Return. I’ve never had such complex emotions man – I was just perplexed within myself and confused and just upset with – but I got through it. It makes you feel awful.
What’s your favourite scripture?
My favorite scripture is the “Hope of the Bible”, John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” – that is the center. That does it all right there.