Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

move that busExtreme Makeover: Home Edition came to a town near us this last week and so we got treated to a media blitz detailing every move of every person involved with the show, or at least it seemed that way!

The Website of our local ABC news station added a new menu item to their main navigation menu so that readers could access all of their articles on the show, the newspapers ran front-page articles every day and people generally got extreme-ly over-excited.

For those of you who have had their heads stuck in the sand for the past few years, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is an ABC TV show which picks one family each week somewhere in the USA and completely changes their lives. They send the family off on vacation for a week and within that week they knock down their home and replace it with a brand new custom-designed home fully furnished and packed with the latest gadgets and mod-con’s.

Some fascinating figures came out among the plethora of news articles regarding the show coming to our area:

  • Almost 4000 people volunteered to help.
  • The new home is around 3200 sqft (twice the size of the original home)
  • Over 5000 spectators turned up to see the ‘big reveal’ when the family got to see their new house for the first time
  • The  family were each given full scholarships to Fresno State university – a total grant of $73,740
  • Local businesses and members of the public donated enough to pay off the family’s $125,000 mortgage
  • The family was given a brand new wheelchair accessible van
  • Over 50 other local businesses gave gifts to the family ranging from oil changes (assuming the family are all robots who need oil changes regularly) to vacations and gym memberships and even free pizza for a year. See the extensive list here.
  • The family were even given the keys to the city.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge this family anything. God has provided for them and that is awesome and I am very happy for them but don’t you think something is wrong with this picture?

All of those gifts, all of those resources focused on one family? What about the other 500,000 residents of the city?

My street has 30-something houses in it. If those 4000 people were to turn up in my street one day, we could put 100 to work in each house and still have plenty left over to go work on houses in the next street. Imagine what 100 people could do for your house in a day if they had the supplies necessary and a bit of organization! My house has 9 rooms, that’s 10 people per room with 10 left over to work on the outside of the house. Just that 100 people could fix-up and redecorate my house beyond all recognition – just in one day!

Between the cost of demolishing and removing the old house and building, decorating and furnishing the new one, I would guess that 3200 sq ft home cost between $350,000 and $400,000. Add in the gifts and scholarships and you’re easily looking at over $600,000 being spent. $600,000? I help run a transitional living home for homeless mothers where we house around 10 mothers and their children at any one time. We could keep that facility open and staffed for 3 – 6 years with that amount of money. Our local soup kitchen feeds 250 people a day. $600,000 would keep them operating for over a decade, I would guess.

Yet all of those financial resources all of those man-hours, all of that time and effort are put into one home, one family.

I love watching the show but it feels like such bad stewardship to me.

Of those 4000 volunteers, who will keep volunteering in their neighborhoods once the TV cameras have gone? 

Of the over 50 businesses who donated things to the family, how many will go on to donate to other families in the area?

It just seems such a waste – and that is in no way a reflection on the family who received all of these wonderful gifts it’s not their fault that every man and his dog wanted to give them something.

All that got me thinking about the Church.

How well do we steward our resources?

  • How much time do we waste having too many people focus on one thing rather than spreading them out where they would be best used?
  • How often do we find that people are ready and willing to get involved in ‘planned’ church events and outreaches but then stay firmly glued to their lay-z-boy’s the rest of the time?
  • How much money do we waste on buildings which are rarely used while people are starving and freezing on our doorsteps?
  • How often do we find that we give freely to someone who is recommended to us as needing assistance but we don’t go out to look for people to give to ourselves?
  • How often do we find ourselves sharing our love between one another but NOT sharing it with the lost and dying world outside of our walls?

I believe that the Church needs an Extreme Makeover. 

We need to set aside our system of doing church and start BEING the Church. 

We need to stop being people who do what they are told when they are told by their pastor and become a people who EVERY DAY are listening to God and asking Him what can I do today for you, for this world that you love so much?

We need to change and we need to do it NOW!