October 05, 2020

Community Makeover: Changing rooms, changing attitudes

Have you ever watched one of those Home Makeover programs on TV? In the US you have FixerUpper, in the UK, Changing Rooms…. there are probably lots of them around. We’re going to make one for Pakistan.

If you’ve not seen one, the format is a bit like this: a talented architect, builder and interior designer visit the home of someone who needs their home improving in some way. One great episode I saw was a visit to someone who has children with disabilities and whose house was not well suited to their needs. The makeover team work with them on a design and then the family go away for a period of time while the work is done. Only once the work is complete do they return and see the amazing finished project. Will they finish on time? Will the family like it? Oooh, the tension is unbearable… 😉 What I love about these programs is the story of how this transformation of their home impacts the lives of the homeowners. The look of joy on their faces normally says everything.

OK, so if you’ve read this far, you’re probably trying to work out why this would make a great Christian TV show! Let me explain our thinking…

  1. In Community Makeover we will visit charities all across Pakistan. In some episodes we will visit Christian charities and will be able to profile the amazing work they are doing to serve their nation. We show the church in action, bringing a vibrant witness to the screens of viewers of al backgrounds.
  2. We may also be able to show Muslim or Hindu neighbours getting involved in blessing the work of Christian charities by donating items or labour, as sometimes happens in these TV shows… it’s good PR for them, after all. If we can manage this we will be building bridges between communities in an excellent way.
  3. In some episodes we will be visiting and serving Muslim or Hindu charities in Pakistan. Here we get to show Christians supporting activities outside of their own community. It is easy for minority groups to be labelled as only serving their own interests – in these episodes we will be able to show that that is not the case. If we can find local Christian businesses that would also contribute to these projects, all the better.
  4. It will be a great show to watch! And as we want people from all faith backgrounds to watch, we have to make it enjoyable 🙂 I’m not a great fan of boring TV myself, so why would I expect our viewers to watch boring TV!
  5. We want to have this program shown on National TV in Pakistan, so it has got to be a program they think viewers will watch and that advertisers will want to get on board with. This type of show should appeal to them and give us access to that audience. It also means that we will be able to get TV channels to pay to license our programs.

We are still working on the list of charities that we will visit, but I hope that it will include drug rehabilitation charities, hospitals, schools, projects to support those with disabilities, orphanages, etc.

I guarantee that nothing like this has ever been produced in Pakistan and we are convinced that this will help viewers to see Christians in a different, and more positive light. When we do this, we create gentle and natural opportunities to share the difference that following Jesus makes in our lives and in our world.

Our approach will be to create a pilot program in the first half of the year, probably at a Christian Hospital in Pakistan. We will get the format right, run the project, film it, edit it, and then have something to show to prospective customers… the TV channels that would show it. This idea of creating a pilot is to do two things: Help us refine the concept. When you do a project like this, there is so much you can learn. If you recall my recent blog on being a learning organisation, this might make even more sense. Before we invest a large amount of funding, we want to test this format and the impact it has on viewers.

We also want to be able to get a TV channel to license this program before we invest the funds to make it. This will underwrite the risk by covering some, if not all, of the production costs.

Wonderfully, one of our donors has agreed to fund the pilot episode so we look forward to having more updates for you in the months ahead. If you would like to get involved in helping to fund future episodes of Community Makeover, why not consider making a donation to support this truly ground breaking project…. for greater even than the transformed buildings and gardens, will be the human flourishing we will witness when people encounter the love of the Father for themselves.

Depending on which geography you are in you may be able to find episodes of FixerUpper on Amazon Prime; if we can produce something half as good as this, it is sure to be a hit in Pakistan!