A SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION PASTOR’S PRESENCE AMONG PREACHERS OF LA
One Size Does Not Fit All
BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.
Materialistic; Immoral; Egotistical; Prosperity Preachers; Pulpit Pimps, Soft on Homosexuality; and Celebrity Seekers; are among some of the nicer descriptions tossed about relative to the “Preachers of LA.”
The debut telecast had one million viewers—the second highest ranked cable TV show that aired on that Wednesday evening—which is historically a church mid-week worship night. With an audience of that magnitude, church goers and non-churchgoers were watching.
Many are asking the question: “Will this show be a boom or bust for the Church?” It is generally believed that this show will do a lot more harm than good for the Church universally and locally. But God has been known to flip the script (Gen. 50:20).
The family life, financial life, and spiritual fitness readiness of pastors at mega-churches are under the scope in this TV reality show. The mere fact that this show exists says something about the influence of the Black Church in the Black Community. The Black Church has often been called the most important social institution in the Black Community. Because the plethora of Black mega churches that exists today is unprecedented and is a phenomenon of modern history (the past 30-40 years)—this show is a wake-up call to the fact that today’s church is not our grandfather’s church. The state of the Black Church is a matter of concern for many of us who love it. This show is simply revealing some of our challenges, weaknesses, failures, and strengths. Hopefully, as this show forces us to evaluate today’s church, it will also lead to reform and renewal in today’s church.
There are six preachers featured in this “reality” show that primarily centers around Black preachers and the Black Church. I’ve never met Noel Jones, Ron Gibson, Deitrick Haddon, and Jay Haizlip —the only Anglo preacher featured. I briefly met Clarence McClendon twenty plus years ago. We simply exchanged names, greetings, and well wishes. There has been no follow-up communication between the two of us.
There is one of the six LA Preachers that I know quite well and consider him a close friend. He gets the least attention among the six—which is good. God is keeping him covered, so that really soon, he will be discovered.
Although, Pastor Wayne Chaney is getting the least amount of attention at the moment, he will emerge from the pack as a leader of monumental significance that will impact our nation and this world for God’s Kingdom in a mighty way. He will also constructively and redemptively address the pathos in the Black community and will be a major force in the revitalization and renewal of the African American Church.
My purpose for writing this post is not to condone or condemn the other five preachers. As I’ve already stated, I don’t know them. But I am here to write in support and defense of Pastor Wayne Chaney of the Antioch Church—a Southern Baptist Convention affiliated church in Long Beach, California. I know for certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Pastor Chaney does not fit any of the adjectives that introduced this Post. Thankfully, thus far, he has not been portrayed or depicted in the trailers or first episode as being materialistic, immoral, egotistical, or in any compromising manner. Pastor Chaney simply does not fit the negative and ungodly descriptions that many are labeling the “LA6” with—ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.
Here is what I know for certain about Pastor Chaney. I met him on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2006, in a meeting with fellow Black Southern Baptist Pastors. Black SBC denominational employees had spoken highly of Pastor Chaney as a young man with great moral character and pastoring a fast growing dynamic SBC Church in the LA area. Upon meeting him I discovered that he was the grandson of two well-known highly regarded Black Pastors. His paternal and maternal grandfathers are highly acclaimed figures in the Black Baptist preaching community. I had recently been involved in a theological controversy on the campus of SWBTS and consequently I anticipated some level of aloofness from some of the pastors in attendance; but not Pastor Chaney. He affirmed and embraced me and expressed a heartfelt identification with my controversial theological viewpoint; at that moment, a friendship was born.
At the time I met Pastor Chaney, I was praying about whom to invite to preach a revival meeting on the subject of tabernacle worship at our church. Specifically, that was to be the focus of the revival preaching at this meeting. Very few preachers are equipped to address that subject. As I sat at lunch visiting with Pastor Chaney, I felt prompted to ask him if he’d ever studied and preached on Tabernacle Worship. Not only did he respond with a “Yes”! I could tell from the ensuing conversation that he was well versed on that subject. Therefore, I invited him to preach our New Year’s Revival in 2007. His preaching on tabernacle worship was classic. He has become one of the favorite guest preachers at Cornerstone. He has preached at our church approximately 12-15 times. Every message has been solid, scriptural and relevant. Not once have I heard him preach a “prosperity gospel message.”
Pastor Chaney and twelve other Black preachers spent a week with twelve White preachers in a week-long meeting on a mountain resort in Asheville, North Carolina, with the well-known SBC preacher and best-selling Broadman Press author—Jack Taylor. We were mentored by Jack Taylor concerning the Kingdom of God. I had five days of uninterrupted fellowship with Pastor Chaney. I can truly testify that he is a genuine man who is hungry for God and one who leads a life of integrity.
Pastor Chaney’s doctrine is sound. His life is unspotted. His family is intact; He is madly in love with his talented, gifted, and precious wife who has also ministered in song at our church; his church is exploding with growth—qualitatively and quantitatively. His spiritual maturity is evident in his preaching and living.
Given the magnitude of his ministry, visitors to his home have been impressed with the modesty of his house. It is not uncommon for pastors, who pastor much larger than average churches, to live in much larger than average homes; but not Pastor Chaney—at least not at this point. Therefore, it is shameful that Pastor Chaney is being judged because of the portrayal and descriptions that are being pinned on others. Regarding Pastor Chaney—One Size Does Not Fit All.
Pastor Chaney is the only Baptist pastor among these six pastors. He needs to be celebrated, not condemned, because thus far, and I believe it will continue—he is being depicted in a positive light. Wayne Chaney probably pastors the second largest SBC California church behind Rick Warren’s Saddleback.
I don’t bemoan or begrudge the kind of house, car, clothes, or any other material item that any believer or pastor has acquired through honest means. I have been privileged to be the guest for lunch at the President’s home at SEBTS and SWBTS while Dr. Patterson was/is President. I have watched Dr. Patterson being chauffeured in a luxury car that he owns. I’m told that Dr. Mohler’s current house was once the Music Building at Southern that was retrofitted/renovated to be the President’s home. Seminary Presidents and SBC pastors of large churches generally receive generous salaries and I know for certain SBC seminary presidents live in large palatial homes. I really don’t understand why Hollywood is placing the spotlight on the material attainments of those pastors of LA. This could as easily be said or shown of prominent SBC personalities. I celebrate the huge, palatial home and the luxury vehicle driven by Dr. Patterson; but none of that qualifies him to be a prosperity preacher. Neither does that make Pastor Wayne Chaney a prosperity preacher because he may drive a nice car and wear nice clothes.
If I had a regret, it would be that the pastors are allowing themselves to be exploited by the focus being placed on their material attainments. But, thank God, this has not been shown to be the case with Pastor Chaney. He simply does not fit the labels that the critics of this show have hurled.
Pastor Wayne Chaney is not materialistic, immoral, egotistical, a prosperity preacher, a celebrity seeker, or soft on homosexuality. One must be careful about generalizing regarding either one of those six preachers. That tactic is called guilt by association. Christians should avoid engaging in that activity. These scandalous accusations should not be hurled against Pastor Chaney unless you know for certain that they are true.
Pastor Chaney expressed a passion to take the gospel outside of the four walls of the church when I first met him seven years ago. God has answered his prayer and has created an opportunity for him to impact Hollywood and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let the critics—criticize. But I believe that this will truly be a case when all things working together for the good of them that love the Lord, because Wayne Chaney really, really, loves the Lord!!!!
I believe God is using and will continue to use Wayne Chaney inside and outside of Hollywood to impact His Kingdom for the Glory of God! And, therefore, I appreciatively applaud Pastor Wayne Chaney’s presence among the LA preachers. He will be a voice of righteousness, reason and Kingdom influence.