Church Folk Get a Reality Show
by Phil Boatwright

A new TV series airing on the National Geographic Channel
PRESS NOTES: CHURCH RESCUE is in many ways like Extreme Home Makeover - except instead of rebuilding homes, these guys are rebuilding churches.  The show follows “the Church Hoppers,” a team of ministers specializing in helping struggling sanctuaries get back on their feet. After being contacted by pastors looking for a helping hand, the Church Hoppers 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.

Reviewer Phil Boatwright’s opinion: To be honest, I wasn’t all that motivated to watch a segment about Bapti-costals. It would have been a mistake had I not. It was very powerful, dealing with pride getting in the way of God's will and being open to suggestions for your ministry.  I found the team members were led by scripture and reason and came across as real. They weren’t condescending in any way, but truly strong men of faith and business sense.

While showing how pride and an argumentative spirit can stifle a ministry or one’s witness, the segment reveals how the Holy Spirit can touch a heart when we are willing to trust in God and put self aside. No matter your denominational leaning, isn’t that a lesson we can all learn – and should be reminded of from time to time?

Another episode: The Church Hoppers head over to Compton, California to visit Zion Baptist Evangelical Temple. ZBET is a Baptist church that spreads the word of God through singing, dancing and raw celebration. The Hoppers meet with Pastor Kevin Stafford and Executive Pastor Lewis Eldridge, where it is revealed that ZBET is struggling financially. When the economy was booming, ZBET purchased annex property across the street from the church, but then the recession hit, and ZBET is no longer able to make their payments. The Church Hoppers and Pastor Kevin immediately bond over their love for basketball. The Church Hoppers have organized a celebrity basketball game in order to raise some quick funds for ZBET. The Hoppers and Pastor Kevin meet at Centennial High School to find NBA basketball Star Doug Christie. ZBET members and the Church Hoppers take on the celebrity team in a heated game.

Boatwright: While we may disagree with concepts different denominations embrace, we of the Christian faith all share truths that bind us together as an eternal family. God is God, Jesus is His Son and our Savior, and the directions for dealing with life’s struggles are found in God’s Word. This television series reminds us of those facts and one other – the two greatest commands, love God and love one another.

One of the last lines in the first episode: “Wow, what an experience!”
That’s exactly what it is. This is television at its best, entertaining and edifying.

Monday, November 11, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic Channel.