Reality television has nearly taken over our TV sets. From little girls wearing too much makeup to spoiled housewives to bachelors looking to win the hand of Ms. Right…most of these shows are not worth watching let alone reading about. However, there are a few diamonds in the rough including Church Rescue, which may take some digging to find since it is currently airing on the National Geographic Channel.
Church Rescue follows the adventures of three ordained ministers, called the Church Hoppers, as they travel across the country to help faith-based churches and organizations “reestablish themselves in the marketplace so they can continue spreading the good word to their followers,” according to their page on the channel’s website. However, the show is more than that.
The Church Hoppers are: Kevin Annas (Rev Kev) is the team’s business consultant, Jerry Bentley (Doc) focuses on emotional health and Anthony Lockhart (Gladamere) is a sales and marketing analyst. In the show’s first episode, the trio were sent to meet pastor Larry Roseboro of New Hope Baptist Church. The church building itself was in need of great repairs, but Roseborro had his sights on a big new sanctuary and didn’t want to bother improving their current building. In addition, the church’s services would run three to four hours long and Roseborro insisted on doing everything by himself, which meant, many things did not get done.
The episode clearly demonstrates how difficult the Church Hopper’s jobs are, yet, these men are driven by something better than money. Individually, the three friends were getting more and more unsettled in their own church structures and decided to pool together their resources to help other ministers create an inviting place to worship. They do this by accessing the church services, talking to the church’s parishioners, and speaking with the pastors. They have no desire to change the pastors or the churches, but rather help them to do what they do best.
Church Rescue is produced by T-Group Productions, the same people who bring Mystery Diners on the Food Network and Storage Hunters on TruTV. It is part Extreme Makeover and part Undercover Boss. It is not sensational TV, but it is engaging TV.
In the first episode, even though he personally called in the Church Hoppers, Pastor Roseborro, was less than impressed with the trio, but the Church Hoppers stood their ground and were able to get the good pastor to see the errors of his ways. National Geographic captured it all, something Rev. Kev appreciates, ” They [National Geographic] are, in our perspective, considered to be the gold seal of reality television. They try to remain true to whatever the culture the show is trying to depict.”
Each one hour episode represents one week of activity at each place of worship. In addition to meeting with pastors and leaders, the show recruits volunteers of the church to help transform the look and feel of the building itself. The expense of these projects is paid for by National Geographic. Each week, the Church Hoppers will visit totally different churches from the one the week before including a biker church, snake charmers, a cowboy church and others.
Church Rescue can be seen on Mondays at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.