We explained yesterday, in a post from the “first” victim (these are not in chronological order) why we continue to reveal this information about Jennings. Chiefly, it is because Jennings is plotting a comeback under mentor, Tony Nolan, without giving these young ladies so much as a phone call or hand-written note to apologize to them. Jennings has been preaching the gospel while engaging in a pattern of fornicative womanizing, deceit, manipulation and cover up. And, unfortunately, that means that women will be made more vulnerable in the future.
This is not the case of a man with a long tenure of responsible spiritual leadership who tragically and momentarily fell into adultery before immediately confessing his sin and contritely repenting. This is a man who used his notoriety for lascivious purposes from almost the beginning, who has left a string of broken-hearted women, who made “confession” only when exposed, and after tacit bribery and threats wouldn’t deter the accuser. This man does not need to be restored; he needs to be born again.
We would be overjoyed to see Clayton produce a new video in which he looks into the camera, clearly and contritely confesses his sin, asks forgiveness from his accusers and those who trusted him, says he will be seeking a genuine faith in Jesus and assuring us that whatever ministry he undertakes in the future will be one of servanthood and not leadership, one of humility and not one on the stage or under the spotlight. In the meantime, we’ll have to continue releasing this information in order to do what Tony Nolan and Jennings’ other mentors should be doing; encouraging him to do the right thing.
***CONTENT WARNING***If you are not an adult, turn around now. The following is PG-13.
ANOTHER VICTIM TELLS HER STORY
I first met Clayton Jennings in the fall of 2014. My band auditioned to be a part of a local Christmas tradition in town and the audition process was made into a local televised competition, for which Clayton was the producer. This was right around the time his ministry was taking off and so I hadn’t known who he was previous to our initial interview with him. I remember being so taken with him right off the bat. He was charming, charismatic and easy to get along with. After our interview, he told us a little bit about his ministry and showed us a few of his spoken word videos, specifically ‘Get this Off My Chest’. I was smitten.
I remember after our final audition with him feeling sad because I didn’t think I would ever see him again. The next morning I received a text from my cousin/bandmate. Clayton had reached out to him asking about me and expressing interest. Clayton said he would have asked me out the night before, but noticed the rings I was wearing and didn’t know whether I was married or not. Of course I was ecstatic, and ended up reaching out to him that day to thank him for a shout-out that he gave our band on his Facebook page. After that initial exchange, we began to talk on a regular basis. He was so easy to talk to, and even though we had only been talking for such a short time, it felt like I had known him so much longer. We had made plans to go out that weekend and I was giddy as a school girl. He would text me every day without missing a beat.
‘Bae’ was a common name he would call me. Everything felt normal and good at first but later that same week, things started to seem a bit off when he would repeatedly ask me to come over. Jokingly at first, telling me to “skip class” and ‘I’ll make you breakfast in bed.’ I brushed it off but then he would continue to say similar things throughout the week. The college I attended was only a two hour drive from where he lived, but I expressed to him my concern, telling him that I’m not that type of girl and I don’t just make that kind of a drive to stay the night with a guy I’ve only just met. The subject was dropped until our planned date day approached.
I ended up being out of town and wasn’t going to be back at school until much later, so I asked if we could plan a different day. He was really bummed out, told me he was having a really bad day and that he just really needed to see me. Since I would be getting in so late, he told me to come over to his house instead. I politely refused again saying that I wasn’t comfortable, but he was so persistent and wouldn’t let the subject drop. I told him I wanted to ‘stick to my guns’ knowing that going over to his house that late at night wasn’t right. He was about to take off on a flight and told me he would call me when he landed in order to give me more time to think about my decision. When he called he was so insistent on us hanging out that night, and got very defensive and couldn’t seem to understand where my concerns were coming from. He had a way of making me feel like I was being silly and overreacting, so we compromised that he could come over to my place instead. He arrived very late that night (early morning) and I really was excited to see him. It was nice finally getting to hang out with each other since we had both been looking forward to it all week. We talked on the couch and caught up before putting on a movie to watch. I remember looking back at him to ask a question and before I knew it he was kissing me. I remember being so surprised and taken aback at how forward and bold he was in making the first move. Very unexpected. He told me he thought we should move to my room just in case my roommates came downstairs. It totally took me off guard at how pushy and aggressive he was right off the bat, and more than a few times he would try to slide his hands under my clothes to remove them. I stopped him, saying he was going way too fast, but my attempts were continually ignored. That first night he would say things like ‘Talk dirty to me’ and ‘When is the honeymoon?’ While it was surprising to see how fast he wanted to move, I really didn’t think too much of it because he told me I was the first girl he had pursued in such a long time and I was ‘just so beautiful he couldn’t help it.’
That first night he would say things like ‘Talk dirty to me’ and ‘When is the honeymoon?’ While it was surprising to see how fast he wanted to move, I really didn’t think too much of it because he told me I was the first girl he had pursued in such a long time and I was ‘just so beautiful he couldn’t help it.’
We continued to talk throughout the week. He would text me daily and it felt good to know that he was thinking about me and cared enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to try and get to know me more. That next weekend he took me to dinner and I remember it being very late at night and so there was hardly anyone else in the restaurant. He was on his phone quite a lot which was slightly disappointing, but throughout dinner he would call me ‘beautiful’ so my disappointment was easily ignored. After dinner, I followed him to his place. It was actually a very nice night and I enjoyed sitting outside on his back porch by his fire pit talking, playing guitar, and having fun trying to get the fire started by burning old books. He gave me his jacket to wear since it was chilly outside as a sweet gesture. Looking back, I miss that moment together most, because that was the sweet, fun and charismatic guy I had fallen for initially. He went inside and brought us each out a few beers to drink, and after finishing my first I remember looking and thinking it strange that he hadn’t even touched his yet.
He went inside and brought us each out a few beers to drink, and after finishing my first I remember looking and thinking it strange that he hadn’t even touched his yet.
We moved inside after it started to get cold, and he took me upstairs so he could show me some of his spoken word videos and to watch his movie ‘Strayland’. It was a little bit strange and almost seemed like he was being a bit ‘braggy’, but I wanted to support him and told him I wanted to see them anyway. Before I knew it, he was putting on the moves again, forcefully kissing me and tying to remove my clothes. I would try and stop him when it felt like things were going too far and fast, but he was so pushy and aggressive and would start right up again. He then removed all his clothes telling me that he only ‘sleeps naked’. This sort of freaked me out as I told him this was all a first for me. He told me that I was the first girl he had ever had interest in pursuing since he broke off his engagement with his now current wife. Throughout the night he garnered my trust by saying things to me like ‘You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever been with’,’ You can trust me’, ‘You are so perfect’, and I believed him.
Before I knew it, he was putting on the moves again, forcefully kissing me and tying to remove my clothes. I would try and stop him when it felt like things were going too far and fast, but he was so pushy and aggressive and would start right up again.
He texted me throughout the week, wanting me to visit more. This time, I told him that it was his turn to come see me, but he said he didn’t feel comfortable coming to my place since I lived in a house ‘full of college girls.’ Regardless of all the red flags, I wanted to see him again, too. I really did believe he cared for me and convinced myself that it was flattering the way he couldn’t seem to keep his hands off me when we were together. I figured this time would be different and I again drove the two hour drive to his house. The same scenario unfolded, only this time it was taken much too far. He managed to remove all my clothes, despite me trying to stop him several times. He was just so aggressive and dominate, however, that I just eventually let it happen.
The same scenario unfolded, only this time it was taken much too far. He managed to remove all my clothes, despite me trying to stop him several times. He was just so aggressive and dominate, however, that I just eventually let it happen.
I told him I had never been in a serious relationship and so had never been with a guy physically that way before. He would then take my hands in an effort to ‘teach me what to do’. I felt like a broken record telling him that I was a virgin and wanted to save myself for marriage. He told me that made me so much more attractive to him and was an admirable quality. He promised me that night that he would save himself for marriage too, and wait with me because he wanted to be my first. Not long after, he was asking me to have sex with him.
Multiple times he would try, and I would say no. One time I accidentally misread his question and answered ‘yes. His face lit up and was excited as he asked me ‘Really, we can?!’ We didn’t actually have sex, but I was pressured into being sexually intimate with him in other ways. I told him that it was my belief that sexual favors (of all forms) outside of marriage is a sin against God. He would stare at me with such a confused look on his face as he assured me “No, it’s not the same” and because of his authority as a ‘minister’, I believed him and gave in.
…because of his authority as a ‘minister’, I believed him and gave in.
I felt so much guilt and shame the following morning because of how intimate we were that night. I had a hard time looking him in the face as I expressed to him my concerns the following morning, how we shouldn’t have gone that far, not being married, and that I truly believed what we did was the same as actually having sex. Again, he assured me it wasn’t the same as sex and told me that he really cared for me and could see a real future with me. He assured me I could trust him and that being physical in that way is what two people do when they care about each other. He didn’t seem sorry for pressuring me that night and simply told me to ‘Forgive and forget’.
Again, he assured me it wasn’t the same as sex and told me that he really cared for me and could see a real future with me.
Days went by after that without hearing anything from him. Strange, since he would text me daily. I was starting to feel like it was due to how intimate we were the other night, but when I finally heard from him he said he was just busy with his travels and speaking engagements. He definitely became more distant, until his birthday approached. Clayton said that his one birthday wish was for me to come over that night, and wanting to please him on his special day, I told him I would. He knew how bad I felt about giving in other night so I assumed he wouldn’t try anything. He told me he cared for me so I knew he would respect my wishes. When I finally arrived, we sat at his kitchen table as we shared champagne, talking and catching up. He showed me more of his projects that he was working on, told me about a book he would soon be writing, and before I knew it he was pulling my chair towards him and was kissing me. He told me how much he missed me the last few days and how glad he was that I was there. I was glad to hear that and I told him I missed him, too.
The kisses started off very sweet, and I was glad, until the moment was cut short, when he began his same tactics. He became much too aggressive, and sexual. “Not like last time,” I would say over and over again, and yet he would continually ask me to have sex with him. I lied and told him I was on my period that night so he wouldn’t try to remove my clothes, to which he replied, “That doesn’t bother me.” Since we couldn’t have sex, he took me through various sexual positions instead that we would do “on our honeymoon.”
That morning, Clayton asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him we should go on more dates together in public before we start any talk about “boyfriend/girlfriend.” He brushed off that comment saying it would be tricky being public since more people had been recognizing him out and about. To top it off my feelings of shame, Clayton snuck me out of the house that morning. He noticed some of his neighbors out on their porch and didn’t want them to ‘get the wrong idea’. So he snuck me out his back door and drove me in his car to drop me off on a different street corner so I could walk to my car parked in front of his house.
Back then I agreed and thought that was ok, that he was just trying to protect me, too. I followed him to a gas station where he promised to fill up my car since I had been making the two hour drive to see him. He gave me a swift kiss good bye and told me he would text me later.
…he snuck me out his back door and drove me in his car to drop me off on a different street corner so I could walk to my car parked in front of his house
Well, a week went by and I hadn’t heard from him. After reaching out to him more than a few times to see what was wrong, I finally told him to call me because I needed to talk about us and our relationship. He couldn’t even give me the decency of calling me back, but through text told me that he couldn’t be in a relationship at that time because his dad had a bad health condition. As a result, he told me he was drawing away from everyone he really cared about and that he just needed ‘to go through this alone’ but still wanted to stay friends. That was the last I had ever heard from him.
I reached out to check in and see how things were going with his family, being genuinely concerned. Nothing. I wrote him a letter after not hearing from him, in an effort to get some sort of closure and answers. I knew the things we did weren’t God’s best for either of us and I wanted to extend forgiveness and ask for forgiveness in return. That was almost a little over a year ago and have yet to hear back. Looking back, I remember thinking how different he was from the way he portrayed himself online, almost like he was two completely different people. I was so disappointed realizing that he wasn’t the ‘Sold out for Jesus’ guy that I thought he was. Since it was obviously something he was so passionate about, I assumed it would naturally make up the main part of our relationship, but throughout our time together, he barely mentioned Jesus and his passion to follow Christ at all. If I can’t trust the guy to respect me whose sole purpose in life is to tell the world about Jesus, what guy can I trust?
If I can’t trust the guy to respect me whose sole purpose in life is to tell the world about Jesus, what guy can I trust?
It’s hard for me to share my testimony because I can see how naïve I was. I knew better. I grew up in a Christian/Catholic home and from a very young age was taught that all sexual intimacy outside of marriage was morally wrong and have always believed this to be true. I longed to be treasured, I longed to be loved but more than anything I longed to be cherished. As a result I have always been very picky about the guys I let pursue me. I have always known that I would want to be with a man unashamed to proclaim the name of Jesus and ultimately after Christ’s heart. Clayton seemed to fit that bill. I had my standards and had all the best intentions, but each time we were together the lines were pushed. He planted the seeds of doubt in my mind that it really was ok to be sexually intimate since it wasn’t technically sex, and I bought the lie given his authority as a ‘minister’.
I justified being sexually intimate with him because I thought we would get married someday. He knew I wanted to wait for marriage and told me that he would wait with me, wanting to be my first. He downplayed the consequence of our disobedience to Christ when he told me to simply ‘Forgive and forget”, like it was no big deal. That ‘relationship’ made me feel like a commodity to be used rather than a woman to be cherished. If Clayton had truly cherished me and was sold out for Jesus the way he proclaims he is, he would have honored my purity.
If Clayton had truly cherished me and was sold out for Jesus the way he proclaims he is, he would have honored my purity.
A truth that I have been clinging to these past two years is knowing that my destiny is not determined by that time in my life and those mistakes that I made, but by our great God. God is able to deliver me, the girl who ‘knew better’. I pray for Clayton. I pray for myself. I pray for all of the other girls who also fell victim to his crafty ways and the hurt and pain caused by his actions. God is in the business of redemption and it is my true belief that he will be able to use all our stories for His greater good and His ultimate glory.
Editor’s Note: Until she saw our articles, the young woman thought she was the only one lured by Clayton with talk of commitment and marriage and honeymoons and loving Jesus. She bravely chose to tell her story to protect others. More women will be speaking soon. And they’ll keep coming.
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