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What’s Your Ultimate Religious / Inspirational TV Program Look Like?

We received some great responses to my post asking if you watch religious TV or not.  So let’s ask the next question:  If you could produce a TV program that would impact people’s lives with a message of faith – the kind of program you would watch – what would that look like?

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26 Comments

  1. I’d get me a couple vintage tube TK-47s and find a singing preacher with a wife with big hair in a big set with a live orchestra and a sofa…and a pre-recorded audience clap. The format: one hour. lol.

  2. Something to the effect of "The REAL Walk". I think that a lot of Christians, especially new Christians, think that putting faith in Christ makes their life easier and that "real Christians" don’t struggle with anything.

    I think showing the real side- struggles of the flesh, arrows from the Enemy, and the role of grace and love in both- can help expel the notions that Christians are perfect or are claiming to be. The power of Christ is in his grace and continual relational restoration, no matter how far we get off track.

  3. I’d write a show that had nothing to do with relgion, but everything to do with the reality of being a Christian… oh wait…. I already did.

  4. I would have a daily teaching program examining the topic of ‘covenant.’ We would look at every covenant God has made with people and learn more and more about God’s heart towards His people because He truly is our Covenant God.

    That should take us a good while to work through. When we have exhausted covenant we would then study "The New Creation" so that people can know how to apply the truths of covenant to themselves so that they can know their own identity in Christ.

     From there we would just keep digging into the Word …. 🙂

    The entrance of His Word brings light!!

  5. One concept currently being developed is too powerful to make public on a forum like this. (…Learned the hard way after seeing personally shared ideas appear several times on national Christian Television, while ultimately being left out of the loop. That’s all right…I’ll get my reward in Heaven….right? Maybe a really BIG mansion. But, are we really going to need big mansions in Heaven? For what? Shelter from bad weather? The bigger the mansion, the greater the shelter? Maybe for big parties. All the people that were ministered to and influenced by you to give their lives to God can drop by and party with you. How big a mansion will you need for THAT? Now, back to creating viable ideas for effective TV shows….)

  6. The problem is many times Christians make programs that Christians don’t want to watch either.  Why can’t you have a show like CSI or Without A Trace that deal with real life situations but the way these people cope is through their relationship with Christ.  It could be shot with lots of flashbacks into the lives of the characters from before they came to Christ and the situations they were in.  

    Has anyone looked at the huge media push in the Dallas, Texas area called I AM Second?  Check out their web site: http://www.iamsecond.com  This is GREAT Christian Media.

     

     

     

  7. It should all be about THE STORY.  I watch TV to meet several desires…often I want to be entertained…tell me a STORY that has the Christian message as its underpining or the drive behind the hero (yes, we need heros). 

    Sometimes I watch to learn something I need to know more about.  Teach me using a STORY (like Jesus did)–but since you have the visual of TV, use it to illustrate the STORY instead of just saying the words.

    Good TV is all about the STORY.  We  as Christians have the greatest STORY every told. (And often the worse TV.)

  8. One of the problems with Christian TV, Movies, etc. is that it’s so obviously christian and the motives to convince and convert are so obvious.

    Take a hint for the homosexual agenda…Will & Grace was a brilliant move, I knew pastors, who would otherwise preach against homosexuality, who loved the show. Rosie O’Donnell did the same thing with her first talk show (though did just the opposite when she moved to the View).

    Christians, just create good TV. Stop hitting people over the head with the message. Don’t translate a church service to the the screen. If they wanted to go to church, they’d be there.

    On the other hand, you might get people to tune into a reality show of the travels of a missionary…if you made it very transparent. That’s a nice idea D Seitz.

     

  9. Another great question, Phil. 

    I’m not sure exactly what this might look like, but I think there is tremendous potential to construct a TV program that fleshes out C.S. Lewis’s famous quote from "Is Theology Poetry?":

     "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not
    only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

    About this statement, Alister McGrath explains:

    "For Lewis, the Christian faith was
    like an intellectual sun, illuminating and irradiating the rich
    conceptual landscape of the natural world, enabling the observer to
    make sense of, and hence appreciate, the intricate patterns of the
    tapestry of human experience and thought. Cultivating the art of seeing
    is the key to unlocking the meaning of the world." Alister McGrath, A fine-tuned universe (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 21.  

    It would be, I imagine, a documentary, or perhaps even a talk show that speaks to various topics concerning Christianity, culture, vocation, the arts, the Bible, etc.   The goal would be to, as McGrath says, "cultivate the art of seeing."  

    I think it would be important to have a diversity of Christian perspectives represented in the show.  Of course, no program can ever be completely unbiased, but Christian television seems to often be very one-sided (and mostly right-wing conservative).  It would be cool to have a program that fosters dialogue, building bridges of understanding between Christian faith traditions.  Perhaps end the program not with a "This is the way it is!" but with a picture of the possibilities.  And perhaps most importantly, end the program with a prayer imploring the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see, and ears to hear, thus acknowledging, together, before each other and before the Lord, that we will never be able to figure all of this out by ourselves, but we are utterly dependent upon God’s grace to light our path, and his mercy to pick us up when we stumble. 

  10. Phil, will I get royalties after you use my idea? It needs to be a show to will reach out to the young people. It would have to have a lot of action, fast paced. Not a reality show, those are getting tired. But how about Tim Teabow hangs out with the Brian Welch from Korn doing Urban Missions. Email me when you want the script 😉

    RW Rhone

  11. A show about Russian Martial Art, also known as Systema, about how it teaches Strength, Courage and Humility.  Its roots in Tenth Century Russian Orthodox Christianity.

    That is one thousand years of martial tradition.

    Then:  The story behind the story:  The Russians believe it is the martial art of Czar David, King David himself.

    Then:  How the AWARENESS it gives, conforms to the highest ideals of flexible holiness.  And how the AWARENESS it gives conforms to Wesern critical thinking and the Divine concept of self-correction.  (As opposed to Christian broadcasting antithesis of all these noble virtues.)

    Then:  How the AWARENESS Systema gives: prevents sucker punches whether from fist, boot or Neuro-Linguistic-Programming from wolves in shepherds clothing.

    All that, and funny Russian jokes, too.

    http://www.battlebornsystema.com

     

     

  12. A comedy about growing up an awkward Christian teenager in high school.  With how well movies like "40 year old virgin" do, there’s clearly a market for it.  It would be educational for actual Christian kids, and maybe get rid of some of the trash on all the broadcast channels right now.

     

    And one more:  A well produced hour long program that features different scholars from each of the branches of the Christian faith (Catholic, Lutheran, etc.) explaining their beliefs, one at a time, without debate.  Just a presentation from each one on what they think about things like Baptism, Communion, etc.  Christians need to be better educated on the body.  

  13. Michael Buckingham – I love what you’re saying. I have also espoused this view for years. Some brilliant homosexual determined a long time ago that they would change the “real” culture by first changing the “make believe” culture we bring into our homes on television. They did it brilliantly. Will and Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and so many others – plus the characters in motion pictures… making gays be the ones you want to like and emulate (they are the funny, creative, handsome ones that make fun of themselves). It worked. Now, homosexual marriage is upon us.

    If Christians started showing ourselves as Christ wants us to be and not as we stereotypify ourselves then we might start getting somewhere.

    Unfortunately, we instead portray ourselves as preachers or angry prophets — more vocal about what we’re fighting against than what we stand for. Way too much talk and far too little love in action.

    That’s the show: a normal person or group of people going around and doing random acts of kindness — some on a large scale (feeding an entire village in Africa) and some on a small scale (helping fix a house after a hurricane)… and doing it all in the name of Christ.

    How do we fund it without asking for money?

  14. We fund it by having the "big ministries" pay for it, individually or collectively.

    They ask for money for their ministry, then invest and underwrite the show(s) as a "sponsor". 

    Simple, except for the credit, decision priviledges, agendas…

    Nevermind…

  15. You could take almost any popular tv show on today and simply add likeable, intelligent and charismatic characters that draw people to them who "happen" to be Christians (exactly as the gay community did with characters living their lifestyles)… give them good stories, intelligent lines, treat them with respect,  and have them be respected in general by most of the other characters.  Have their Christian lifestyles, habits, traditions and rituals of their faith just shown as a normal part of their daily lives without necessarily drawing any particular attention to those things unless it fits into the storyline of that particular episode. It’s fine to have some who taunt or question, who don’t know anything about Christianity (that’s certainly real life today)… it’s an easy way to show true to life situations and educate people about faith without preaching and in little bits and pieces – soundbites of truth, if you will that can give food for thought and open hearts a little at a time.)  As with the strategy of the gay community, with enough of them portrayed positively and attractively to make others want to be like them, it could go a long way in helping correct the horrible image the media has placed on Christians today.

  16. Amen.

    One of my biggest struggles is that Christian Media often asks for funding on the air.  If you can’t fund yourself without a telethon or begging your audience, you are doing something wrong (something being everything, in my broad opinion :).  If you can’t show advertisers why people will watch your show, or get churches/ministries on board, then you don’t have a story worth telling, and therefore should not tell it.

  17. Joe & Company: how right you are.  The fact that the "choir" pays for Christian TV means Christian TV is designed for them.

    But that is hardly being salt in an amazing media.  There are many ministries sitting on major money.  Not just TBN…but American Bible and others who have massive savings.  Most are not on TV at all.  They NEED to be spending that money to produce some of the type of programming suggested above.  But they don’t, and I doubt that pleases the Father.

  18. Here’s what it would NOT be:

    1) On any "religious" channel or within any "religious" programming block; no need to preach to the choir (unless your goal is to ask for money from the choir.

    2) A "religious" show. Post moderns aren’t looking for organized religion. 

    Here’s what it COULD be:

    a) A "reality" program following an unconventional church planter trying to plant an unconventional church in an unconventional setting (or an ensemble of planters each working in very different communities: inner city; rural; foreign or immigrant population etc)

    b) A contemporary music program that explores positive social messages and and beliefs contained within lyrics -whether written or performed by christians or non-christians. The program would not be overtly christian, but the underlying themes and messages would be embraced by the universal Christian church. 

    c) A "reality" travel program that explores the Holy Land (or Holy Lands of the major religions) suitable for air on a cable travel network or travel block.

    d) Or it might not even be a "television" show. Millions are searching YouTube every day for something clever, provacative and authentic. We’re talking 5:00 messages (or less) with relatively low production value requirements (ie: cheap to produce relative to full-length TV programs). No immediate payoff but if you build an audience that seeks your product the programmers will come to you.

     

    If we are going to meet people where they are we need to produce programs that air where they are watching (and it is not "religious media.")

    If we are people of faith we need to have enough faith in our message to allow it to co-exist with UNlike faiths and beliefs on television channels, networks and websites to reach those who are seeking (but don’t know WHAT they are seeking).

    Engage them creatively; engage them honestly; and The Great Commission will be furthered through modern secular media. 

    In His Service,

    -jack-


    PS: If you know of an organization or person looking for an experienced producer to do that, I happen to know one who is available 🙂

     

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