Of all the reviews I have ever done on this piece of the internet, this one might be one of the most personal and lets just say interesting. Last week I received an email asking me if I would like to take part in reviewing a new reality series debuting this week on The National Geographic Channel called “Church Rescue.” Here’s a portion of that original email invitation:
“I also wanted to invite you to participate in our current campaign for a new show for National Geographic called CHURCH RESCUE that follows “The Church Hoppers”, a team of ministers who specializes in helping struggling sanctuaries get back on their feet. After being contacted by pastors looking for a helping hand, The ChurchHoppers dig deep to uncover the church’s problems and then provide them with solutions – a faith lift if you will ☺ Over the course of the first season we’ll get to know The Hoppers as they answer their calling to revitalize churches across America inside and out. ”
We’ve covered it here before, but I am just a few months removed from having served in the capacity of Executive Director in a ministry. So when I read that invitation, you can bet I was interested. There’s no shortage of churches and an even greater number of philosophies on how churches should do things “right” (which is why we have so many different churches). Here is a television show following three Pastors as they spend time in a failing ministry and then weigh in on their thoughts. The best way I know to give my feedback on this is with “the good and the bad.”
The good – “The Church Hoppers” bring expertise in three key areas: systems, business and marketing. They analyze the church through this lens and then submit their recommendation. As a guy that left Corporate America to serve in at least 2 of these areas, this intrigued me. If we admit it or not, they are a function of the church. I liked how they presented scripture that supported their recommendations. It gave weight to what they were saying and didn’t frame it in just an opinion. They knew what they were taking about.
The bad – The bad (if we want to call it that) is the same as the first sentence in the good. While I understand and agreed with many of their expert recommendations in the area of systems, business and marketing, what about outreach? What about what’s happening outside the walls of this ministry while they give it a fresh coat of paint, new carpet and a bigger sign. I’m nitpicking, but you get the idea. I watched the program with my wife who recently returned from a trip to Honduras so you can imagine how she viewed the program and their “recommendations” through a much different lens.
At the end of the day, I go back to what I said earlier – There’s no shortage of churches and an even greater number of philosophies on how churches should do things “right” (which is why we have so many different churches). Opinions on how to do church “right” are like Bibles because most everyone has one. Without getting on a soapbox, I’ll stick to the show and say that I will watch it again. If for no other reason than to hear what “The Church Hoppers” recommend and how another ministry does what they do. I recommend it for that same reason.
As an aside, a rather interesting update flashed at the end of the episode I watched. In short, everything that “The Church Hoppers” recommended to the Lead Pastor (going to 2 services, hiring a deacon and staying in his existing building vs. pushing for a bigger one) had reverted back to what he was doing before they showed up in just three months. Ultimately, this church (like many others) will go the way of it’s Pastor and his leadership if he isn’t open to receive wise council. It will be interesting to watch what unfolds in other shows and what the follow up is in them as well.
Check your local listings for “Church Rescue.” For more about the series, check out The National Geographic Channel.
“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”