Church Hoppers

churchhoppersIt’s hard to combine reality television with church. This new television show from National Geographic has elements of Extreme Makeover, but judging from the pilot that may not be a positive association. The three principles are supposed to give an outside opinion on how to help the church. In the pilot, the pastor wants and expects a new church.The hosts talk him down and get him to focus on more attainable goals.

Questions persist, though. Will there always be a happy ending? And is more emphasis on church building what American churches need at this point? Who is going to watch this? Embattled church leaders or members to get ideas? Prideful members of successful churches to sympathize with the less fortunate?

The latter is my biggest reservation about Church Hoppers (as a show, not as an organization). I’m not sure that I buy into the premise that all church problems stem from problems that a management seminar would fix. It’s unclear whether the money for renovations in the pilot episode is coming from the show or the congregation. If the former, then there is an uncomfortable element of performing for the cameras in order to get something back. Reality TV is often scripted and edited, but it is supposed to appear spontaneous. Which is this?

There is a proverb that says when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Can all problems be solved with an intervention, with a short burst of expert attention?

This is a reasonable alternative for those who like reality television but want it with a faith twist. Still, it could easily become repetitive and superficial. Check local listing for air times.

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