I have watched the episode I received once through- with very critical eyes (as I do with all items I'm asked to review). I am planning on writing a much more detailed review after watching the episode again (I watched one called "Country Salvation"). Here are my first-impressions:
The episode premiers this Monday, so if you get the chance to watch it, please leave your "first impressions" as a comment!
Second Impression- Detailed Review of "Church Rescue" on National Geographic Channel
Okay, as I stated above, I re-watched the episode I received for the purpose of reviewing. One thing I was listening for very intentional, was to discover whether or not the name of Jesus Christ was ever used (or just 'Jesus' or just 'Christ', something more specific than 'God' or 'Lord' which could be easily applied to many other religions which conflict with the Holy Bible's teachings) in the episode. The result: The name of Jesus was used twice (during a portion where the Pastor was street preaching). This occurred more than 30 minutes into the episode (not counting any time during commercial breaks). Additionally, although this episode had nothing to do with the Catholic religion or a Catholic church, the Pope was actually also mentioned once (by the Spiritual Counselor) only 4 min and 37 seconds into the episode). Hmmmm. For any other curious or detail-oriented individuals, I will add that the following words/names are used multiple times by more than one person in the episode: Lord, God, Word of God, Holy Spirit (I do not recall hearing the word "Bible" even once, which also leads me to feel this show is intentionally creating episodes which a person could 'meld' to fit their own idea of religion.)
I have to wonder: What is the mission of this TV series? Is it primarily a business endeavor or is it a ministry or outreach? Who is the target audience- Christians, believers/followers of other religions, agnostics, atheists or a blend? What is the age of the target audience? If these questions seem out of the blue or unreasonable in a review, let me explain that I took a Mass Communications class in high school which has greatly helped shape my critical thinking when it comes to filtering media for what it really is.
If this is a business endeavor, I can understand that the name of Jesus is not prominent (and wasn't spoken by any of the 3 professionals that are staff of the show). As a business endeavor, the main "mission" would be to make money. Period.
If this is a ministry (to believers) or outreach (to unbelievers), then why isn't Jesus' name more prominent? Why aren't specific verses referenced from the Holy Bible rather than just referencing which book it was written in? (John 3:16 vs. "in the book of John") Particularly concerning to me (if this is meant to be an outreach to people who aren't Christians) is the fact that the entire first 10 minutes or so paints the Pastor of the church they visit in a very unfavorable (greedy, money hungry, dictator-like, stubborn, unwilling to listen) light. Although we are given more insight into the Pastor's demeanor later in the episode, I think many people would turn the channel before reaching that point. This means the only impression of Christianity was a very distorted image of Christ (although we are all, admittedly, very poor reflections of our Father's love, we should be ever aware of how we are representing Christ to others). How would that be helpful to the mission of outreach?
While a business often requires strategy, resources, funding, and propaganda to become profitable and successful long-term, a ministry or outreach requires prayer, a mission, a vision, and blessing from God to be successful long-term. Then again, success is measured differently between the two as well.
Ministry/Outreach: success=glorifying God
Perhaps the best way to close this review is to suggest that we shall know this show by its fruits (which may or may not be seen by us as individuals, but are certainly seen by the Lord).
If you've watched an episode, comment to let me know if you think this show is (or will be) successful, and be sure to include which type of success! (business or ministry/outreach or other)