Controversy erupted last winter when the TLC network launched a new show called “The Sisterhood” about first ladies of Atlanta-based churches.  Then in April, BET premiered “The Sheards,” about the lives of a gospel superstar family in Detroit.

Now, this fall television season will usher in two more “faith-based” programs on major cable networks. “The Preachers of L.A,” which focuses on the lifestyles of six mega-pastors in Los Angeles, will premiere on Oxygen media next month. “Thicker Than Water,” highlighting the family life of millionaire gospel recording artist Ben Tankard, will debut on Bravo media in November.

This new phenomenon of church leaders as the focus of reality television shows is seen by some as a rare, needed look into the guarded lives of pastors. For others, it will further the embarrassment of an already ridiculed church community. My thoughts lean towards the latter: I question what’s behind this growing trend and what potential damage it will do to Christian ministry.

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