Reality TV has become one of the hottest things to watch on TV in the past decade. Shows like Survivor, American Idol, The Bachelor and the countless others have redefined how we view TV. Before Reality TV, everything we watched was scripted and edited. Now, everything is off the cuff and raw.
To me, the most appealing aspect of Reality TV is that watching is real (for the most part). It’s not actors pretending to be a character…it is real people being themselves (good, bad and ugly). There is something raw and engaging about knowing what you are seeing is real.
I believe that perhaps the single biggest turn off that so many people have to the church is they feel like everyone is living scripted and edited lives. They don’t feel like it is real and don’t feel they can be around us. One of the greatest barriers that we have torn down at Crossroads Church is the fake church barrier. I am who I am off the stage and on the stage. What I have to say is real and sometimes comes across as offensive (although it is almost always the churched folks who get offended). This sometimes pushes people away, but honestly it is because they don’t know my heart and they don’t know me.
I could put filters on everything and edit out what I really want to say to make everyone happy. But isn’t that the problem? In the church, we have learned to relate to each other with masks on rather than by being authentic. We think we must act a certain way or say certain things around church people we don’t say or do around others. Umm…I think that’s called hypocrisy.
In the same way that Americans love watching reality TV, I believe the unchurched would love the church if it were more like reality church TV.