New MTV show tomorrow night

Kara Powell | Jul 19, 2010

Irene Cho, our awesome FYI teammate, let me know last week about a new show on MTV called “If You Really Knew Me”. I semi-watched the first episode online last week, but it’s official premier is tomorrow night, July 20, on MTV at 11 pm (check local listings to confirm time). It’s an hourlong show that focuses on helping real life kids move past the labels we tend to use to categorize others (i.e., jocks, nerds, cool kids) and try to see what is really inside the person. The first episode focuses entirely on one high school in California of 320 kids.

I somewhat felt like I was watching the “Oprah” show as I watched - in a good way. Real life kids were confessing real life pain and making real life apologies to each other. And the show gets pretty real (my apologies for my overuse of the word “real” in this paragraph) - dealing with a girl who is pregnant, an African-American kid who is assumed to be good at basketball because of his skin color, and a kid who doesn’t even feel like he can walk into a certain building at his school without getting teased or bullied.

Much of the show focuses on “Challenge Day,” which is a day of large group discussion about self-esteem, repentance, and friendship. What I wish MTV had done was come back to the school the week after Challenge Day, and the week after that, and the week after that, to see if all the tears and pledges to be different on Challenge Day stuck for the long-term.

Nonetheless, this is an interesting show to watch with teenagers so you might want to check it out. Youth leaders could make a whole lesson out of one episode, especially if paired with Biblical texts about community. One caveat: like most shows I watch, I was multi-tasking while I watched it, so I can’t vouch that it’s entirely appropriate for your youth ministry. You definitely want to preview it yourself first and make sure the language is OK in your setting.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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