Park Grove Community Church has lost its pastor and is closing its doors, unless it reinvents itself, despite itself — with the help of Chuck, a compassionate visionary whose whimsical ideas get the church into perplexing predicaments.
**Editor’s note: This review is based on a sampling of the series’ 16 episodes.
This series will have you laughing, nodding in agreement, and possibly even doing a self-examination as to where you are spiritually. The Compass Committee at Park Grove Community Church is trying to keep the doors open. They are without a pastor and are attempting to come up with an innovative plan to make new and diverse members feel welcome. The committee includes Mr. Riley, Chuck, Mrs. Beasley, Daniel, Hannah and Glinda. Daniel’s teen daughter, Andrea, also adds some thoughts about what the church needs.
In one scene, committee members debate whether they are actually a small group or a committee — the point being that in some churches, people major on the minors, rather than important issues. Sometimes, they get stuck in old ways, too. Mr. Riley advocates for traditions but Mrs. Beasley and Daniel press for new blood — and ideas — insisting that making kids and young people a priority is vital. “Our church is grey. We’re getting older,” Mrs. Beasley says.
And when young Andrea is asked what the difference is between today’s youth as opposed to times past, she replies, “Kids today have cooler things. Our phones aren’t stuck to the wall!” But when it comes to the church’s music, she candidly says, “Honestly, it’s kind of boring.”
In another humorous scene, Chuck is jogging up to the church and runs up the steps reminiscent of Rocky Balboa training in Philadelphia. Pete, a homeless man, says, “Good luck with that group up there. Go get ‘em, Rock!”
The discussions get heated. Mr. Riley is accused of being rigid. Others mention how important it is to try new things in the church and, if they fail, finding a way to “tweak” them to make them work. It’s noted that Jesus Himself started with a small group — 12 disciples — and that He was a model of teaching and prayer.
The last guest pastor the church had was boring, so the church seeks someone more compelling, someone with a penchant for understanding and reaching today’s youth. Some hope does enter in, just like light shining through a crack, as a few new families attend.
Several important themes are discussed and dramatized in the series, such as tithing, reaching the youth, and placing ministry first, with the belief that the funds to meet needs will follow. Becoming the hands of Christ extended, and how it’s important not to simply survive as a church, but to thrive. Paying special attention to visitors is important.
The committee works its way through conflicts, bringing their joys and concerns to every meeting. Ultimately, they realize they must release everything to God. As one committee member says, “Do we want to maintain control or follow the Spirit?” Ultimately, a pastor is found to take the reins. By the final episode, peace is back and Chuck jokes with Mr. Riley that he was a “scathing irritant” to him.
This series does a good job in showing people working to find common ground. It merits our Dove seal for All Ages, although in a small nod to irony, it doesn’t target the very young as an audience.
The Dove Take:
This wonderful series is realistic, funny, and yet deals with important church themes in a practical and humorous way.