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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Church Built by Ty Pennington

On tonight's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (proof that I allow my wife to control the remote occasionally), Ty and the crew not only built a house (and renovated a trailer) but also built a church. It made me wonder:

Would I allow Extreme Makeover to build my church?

Of course, there are a few pro's:

1. Free! The folks come to your town and give you more than you could ever need, and you don't pay a dime. Imagine all of that money for a building being able to go toward mission and ministry in your community.
2. Exposure. We've seen a ton of visitors to our new building. Imagine the buzz if "celebrities" built your church and it was nationally televised.
3. Outreach. Not only to the crew and workers, but could you capture the opportunity to present the gospel in the soundbytes and quotes they used of you on television?

The con's:

1. Desperation. To qualify for consideration, you basically have to be a hardship case. While I don't believe we should ever present ourselves as invincible to the world, does it represent Christian fellowship well, that a church had to depend on a television program for help?
2. The crew gets the mic. Some quotes from the crew were: "It doesn't matter if we have the same faith or we pray the same prayers. It's what works for you." "Tonight we celebrate the power of faith." and "It's whatever works for you." People may not associate your theological views with the musings of the cast, but constructing a church certainly gives them a platform to present that which is counter to the gospel.
3. Soundbytes. Even if you were given the opportunity to faithfully present the gospel several times, in this era of slicing and dicing people's quotes, they could completely weed out that which spoke of the cross, shed blood or the exclusivity of Christ. The pastor gave a prayer of blessing for the house and gave a speech beforehand. Neither one spoke of Christ. In fact, at one point the pastor exhorts the people for giving their time, "the ultimate sacrifice." I want to give this pastor the benefit of the doubt, and assume he spoke regularly of Jesus and they just chopped it up. The gospel may be all over the editing floor, but it didnt' make it into the livingrooms of the country.

As I wrote this, I realized that I'm not sure if they built a church or not. By the end of the second hour (which is the only one I caught), they hadn't shown a clip of the church. But after writing this, as cool as it would be to have a television team build a new house for you, I'm not sure I'd take them up on it. If they notice my faith and how dear Christ is to me, would they distort that faith and contaminate the message.

That would be a price I could not afford to pay for a free home.


  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger jason said…

    yeah, Jodi and I watched it last night. They didn't really build a church so much as a chapel in the hosue of the people they were building for. It still was a little wierd to see Ty Pennington behind a pulpit.

  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    A "church" is the people, anyway.

    I would love to have Ty and his crew build me a church.

    Even if they intended it for evil, God would certainly use it for tons of GOOD.

    Also have to think long-term. Everyone in town would know about your church and be a lot more curious about it. When people actually do show up, they won't be listening to Ty. They'll be listening to God's word.

    When the committed Christians give money, we wouldn't have to spend it on facility - we could spend it on missions.

    At the least, take the free church, sell it, and give it to the poor or something.

    No way I'm turning down a free church!

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger ~d said…

    good points, gary. i, too, think i would cheer on the crew.

  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i have no problem with a building being built for free.

    our friends in richmond va had a church building built for them by a developer simply because he wanted their former property (on a choice corner lot). they got a beautiful new building just because their old church was on a great corner.

    i believe our friends in centerville are in a similar situation.

    i think those things are great. that's just shrewd business. however, if the process is not glorifying to God, i'm not sure I want to get on board. God has the amazing ability to use my sin for His good, but it does not mean i continue in sin, knowing His soverereignty can bring Him glory in its midst.

    i agree that i would hope the pulpit ministry and who we are as a church would clearly articulate the gospel. however, if they had the opportunity during the show to slant things in a direction AWAY FROM THE GOSPEL, are their people who will think our church supports a different gospel (which is really not one.)

    for instance, if they cut the scenes so that it showed our gratitude and my agreeing or being polite while they say things like "as long as you have faith, that's all that matters," or "these people have found what works for them, it's important for us all to do that" or "people from heaven have to be smiling as they see this happening" do they have the ability to send a message contrary to the gospel and look like i endorse it.

    granted, that can happen in all kinds of situations. but does a national television audience raise the stakes any?

    another question for another blog. would it be healthy for a church body to have a facility that cost them nothing? should their be some personal sacrifice on the part of the people who call that their gathering place?


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