The Pen

Man Up? First Grace Church Hosts Disgraced Evangelist Clayton Jennings for Father’s Day Service

Clayton Jennings is no stranger to the pulpit of First Grace Church in Dayton Ohio. Jennings appeared at First Grace last October at an event known as “Jesus Fest”. This Sunday, Father’s Day, the traveling preacher will appear at First Grace Church of Dayton  for what is being advertised as “Man Up Sunday”.  Given what has transpired between Jennings’ October appearance and the present time, First Grace’s invitation to Jennings is simply baffling.

In early November, Polemics Report published the story of a young woman who had been seduced by Clayton Jennings:

Jennings had surveyed the online photographs and social media profile of a young woman who happened to be one of his followers. She did not reach out to him. She did not entice him. She did not contact him. Rather, he contacted her. Within days he had sent more than just a handful of texts. Within weeks, he was talking marriage, and telling her that God was leading him to believe that she was “the one.” He began to call her “wifey” and “Mrs. Jennings.” Clayton said his whole family knew about her and she would soon meet them (audio reveals the family had no idea she existed), and he would be announcing their engagements to his ministry as the one God had chosen for him to wed.

This young woman never got the chance to become “Mrs. Jennings.”   After spending the night with Clayton she was encouraged by him to a morning after pill; she was soon shut out of his life altogether.

This text was provided to Polemics Report by the young woman.

Not long after this incident became public knowledge Jennings’ license to preach was revoked by his local (and former) church.   Despite this reality, Jennings has been invited by First Grace Church to preaching about “manning up” at its Father’s Day Church service.  Expected to appear alongside Clayton at First Grace is Christian rapper Blake Whiteley. 

Shortly after Polemics Report published the account of the young woman Jennings’ seduced, other women began to come forward with similar stories.  One of the women who came forward was Christen Whitney.  She contacted Pulpit & Pen in December, writing:

Several days ago My friend sent me a link to the articles on Clayton Jennings. I was speechless. This article came just days after I had received a “convincing” phone call of “repentance” from Clayton. I met Clayton in 2014 (just weeks after he had broken off engagement to Jamie) when he asked me to play a seductive role in the music video he created for Blake Whiteley “No Lie.”I am one of the girls.

In the video, Christen portrays a woman who is seduced by Clayton Jennings.  Art imitated life.  Christen has since come forward with her story.  The comment Clayton made to Christen about manhood surely will not make his sermon at First Grace.

He was relentlessly persistent. I remember the massive baseball-sized hickey he left on my neck the second time we hung out. “I’m a lion” he would say, “I’m a man…I’m not like the boys you’re used to dating.”

Why any church would invite such a lothario to preach about manhood on Father’s Day is a mystery.  Pulpit & Pen reached out to First Grace about the situation but its call was not returned**.   Parents who attend this church would be wise to reconsider allowing their children to be exposed to Jennings and his ministry partners.  Clayton Jennings, who has demonstrated his character time and time again, continues to attempt to make a living as a Christian evangelist.  He is only allowed to do so by churches like First Grace who continue to host him.

[Contributed by: Seth Dunn]

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

**UPDATE: A church administrator called the author of this post hours after its publication to inform him that the pastor would not comment to Pulpit & Pen on the issue.