SBC Life Articles

California, Here They Come!

A new reality-based television show will follow the adventures of twelve Southern Baptist teenagers as they travel through California reporting on and participating in cutting-edge missionary work.

TruthQuest: California will introduce the concept of reality television to FamilyNet, a twenty-four-hour family values network run by the North American Mission Board's Broadcast Communications Group.

Baptist Press will send and FamilyNet camera crews will follow the twelve evangelical Christian teens on a sixteen-day quest to discover missions and ministry in California.

Their stories will appear daily in Baptist Press and their adventures will be chronicled in thirteen half-hour episodes of a reality-based television series on FamilyNet. The concept was created by Todd Starnes, assistant editor of Baptist Press.

The TruthQuest team will surf with an evangelical surfing ministry in San Diego, visit with a church that worships once a month on the beach, meet Christian stars in Hollywood, scale the mountains in Yosemite National Park with NAMB missionaries, minister to teenagers at a coffeehouse in San Francisco, and more.

TruthQuest: California derived its name from the TruthQuest Study Bible, a new student study Bible published by Broadman & Holman of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Each participant will receive a full line of TruthQuest products.

The TruthQuest: California team will be featured on an interactive website, complete with fun bios, TruthQuest trivia, Bible study helps, and the plan of salvation. The website will be operational in the spring. However, a splash page with photographs of team members appears at http://truthquest.sbc.net.

"This is one of the most exciting series we've developed in many years," said Martin Coleman, vice president of programming for FamilyNet. "Lots of shows depict the dark side of teenage life. TruthQuest will reveal the bright side and show that young people who seek the truth live lives full of wonder."

"It has been said that the quest for truth is timeless," said Will Hall, vice president for news services of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and executive editor of Baptist Press. "Baptist Press readers and FamilyNet viewers will see the evidence of this truth as our team journeys throughout California.

"The young people who have been selected for this journey are outstanding and we look forward to reporting about the ministries they discover along the way," Hall added.

The twelve-member team includes Southern Baptist teenagers from New York City, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Colorado.

They are Freeman Field, New York City; Cara Yates, Cleveland, Tenn.; Katie Royals, Jackson, Miss.; Shanna Hawkins, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Richard (Sparky) Sparkman, Nashville, Tenn.; Tim Harms, Nashville, Tenn.; Chip Luter, New Orleans; La.; back row, left to right, Sarah Brown, Youngstown, Ohio; Andy Botts, Cleveland, Tenn.; Janie Jo Allen, Denver, Colo.; Josh Merritt, Atlanta; and David Hicks, Cleveland, Tenn.

Students were selected based on their writing ability, devotion to missions, spiritual walk, and community involvement.

"This is not a cast of students," Hall said. "It is a ministry team. We want the focus to be on the ministries they write about. We want people to know that you can use all your gifts to share the gospel of Christ with others."

The show will air in October on FamilyNet Television.

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