Church Rescue? On TV? For Real?

I’ve read that up to 70% of American churches are in decline. Earlier this year, in his article, “Autopsy of a Deceased Church,” Thom Rainer indicated that up to 100,000 churches in America are dying.  .

As a pastor’s wife and daughter, I can say truthfully, I hope it’s not dying! As the author of book urging prayer for the church, I honestly pray it’s not.

And deep in my gut, I know it’s not.  The reality is, the church is the body of Christ, right here, right now.  And while the form and fashion of local congregations may evolve and change, the church is as steadfast as the One who created it.

But what happens when a local congregation is in decline? When a church ceases to be relevant to it’s community? When the desire to reach out exists but the understanding of how to do so is lacking?

What about the dying churches who desperately want to thrive again?

Well, I’d say the first answer is obviously prayer.  Fervent, faithful prayer.

But there are other resources available to those congregations. Denominational resources, church consultants, and now, the church hoppers.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a marketing agency about reviewing a new television show on Nat Geo — Church Rescue.  The premise is simple, a team of three ordained pastors go into a dying church and partner with them to generate new life in their congregation.

To say I was skeptical is an understatement.  But, I was also intrigued.  So, I said yes and received my DVD with the premiere episode {which, by the way, aired last night, November 11}.church rescue || Teri Lynne Underwood

The “Church Hoppers” as pictured above are Doc {the spiritual advisor}, Gladamere {the marketing specialist}, and Rev. Kev {the business consultant}. Their counsel to the pastor in this first episode was filled with wisdom and grace.  They listened to him but at the same time challenged him to grow and stretch in order to achieve the vision God has given him for his congregation.

I found myself engaged in the storyline … and cheering for this pastor who longs to see people come to Christ.  And I celebrated with the church hoppers as small goals were met on the way to bigger goals.

church rescue || Teri Lynne Underwood

While this show is, as all reality shows are, just a glimpse into the issues and heart of those involved, the first episode was a great story of church reignited and a pastor reenergized.  It was fun to watch and filled with reminders about what the church is and can be.

I have a great gift package to offer one of my readers from the producers of Church Rescue — two t-shirts and more! Leave a comment sharing your favorite thing about your church to enter.  Winner will be emailed Friday.

So tell me, what is your favorite thing about your church?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Though we are unique and diverse, we come together as & worship as one, to be the hands, feet and heart of Christ in community!

  2. I love that my church is there praying for it’s people and their families when they are going thru difficult times.

  3. There are many things I love about my church, but these are my most favorite: for the past 2 years, we have started the first 24 hours of the year with prayer, asking God for His direction for our church for the coming year; we give the offering taken up on the first Sunday of the year away – to a community charity; we serve our community in many ways; we are mission minded which means we go out of the country on mission trips, but we also serve in our community at the local prison each week. You can’t walk through the front doors of our church without being greeted with a handshake, a hug or pat on the shoulder. God has blessed our church tremendously. We have almost tripled the size of our church in the last 2 years, so that we now have 2 services on Sunday morning. And for us it’s hard to say it’s not about numbers, because it is – but just because it means one more for Christ – one more soul saved and adopted into the kingdom of God!

  4. We are a missional church that goes out of its way to take care of people who don’t attend our church, but who need a helping hand, someone to care, food to eat, a shoulder to lean or cry on. Our church is absolutely phenomenal about that!!!! We even decided not to move out of the city to 45 acres, though we’re running out of space for parking and for Bible classes on Sunday morning. A good problem…

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