Christian Reality TV


The Good News reports Europe's first global Christian reality TV series. 25 April 2006.

Two British brothers are using Europe's first global Christian reality TV series to call Christians to a total surrender to the will of God.

ByFaith A Journey of Discipleship documents the mission adventures of Paul (27) and Mathew Backholer (31) around Europe, North Africa and throughout Asia.

In every nation, armed with their backpacks, Bibles and a video camera, they share their successes, failures and jubilation as they seek to win people to the message of Christian discipleship.

"Every mission is unique," says Paul. "We may be distributing gospel tracts, preaching the gospel, meeting with pastors and missionaries, praying or even smuggling Bibles."

Throughout the series - which uses the song No Doubt, written and performed by Stuart Menzies Farrant, as its theme tune - the brothers share the experiences of the missions, yet every episode has a biblical lesson.

"Our central message is surrender to the call of discipleship," says Mathew. "Each episode has a theme, but we did not write any scripts beforehand. In every country we had to put our faith into action and learn from our experiences."

Both of them believe that Christians are tired of half-hearted, lukewarm Christianity.

"Believers," Paul says, "want reality with God and a cause to live for especially the youth. When we choose to surrender our lives to the Lord, we begin to embrace His purpose and destiny for us."

Paul and Mathew are not seeing the series as a call to Christian ministry.

"We are called to be Christ's disciples in our everyday lives. Not everyone is called to be a preacher or missionary," says Paul.

ByFaith had no safety net, and when things went wrong, no easy way out.

In Europe they were attacked by local thieves; on a 48-hour journey into unstable Nepal they feared a Maoist attack; in North Africa, they documented the faith of a persecuted minority and the locals picked up stones; in Myanmar, they met a teacher oppressed by the regime; and in Cambodia they recalled the terror of the Khmer Rouge.

Now committed to the development of Christian TV, both brothers attended the same Bible College in Britain, and have had 10 years of ministry opportunities.

"Having led youth camps and been regular speakers in churches and youth groups, we want ByFaith TV to be a massive resource for youth/cell groups. Each 25-minute episode has a biblical theme and we have prepared Bible studies for each subject," says Mathew.

Paul and Mathew have been doing mission work since they were teenagers, but they never expected to make a TV series. Everything changed in 2002, when Paul came back from a mission with Travel the Road.

Someone then bought the brothers a camera and the next logical step was to film the journeys. One mission followed another, and three years later they had visited 14 countries.

The series is being shown on UCB TV (Sky channel 766) in the UK and Ireland starting on 29 April at 9.30pm [Airs ever saturday night] and is currently available on Pal DVD.

Free downloadable Bible studies are available for youth and cell groups to accompany the series. You can buy the DVD's at the store.

Source: The Good News