The scene on the screen starts with a teen or young adult sharing their struggles with suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation, alcohol, crime, pornography or abuse. They talk about pushing the envelope and finally reaching a point in their lives when they’ve fallen into utter despair and hopelessness.
“Like the walking dead, millions of young people are alive on the outside but dead on the inside,” says the female voice-over. “Devastated by the pain of life, they turn to drugs, sex and fame to find happiness. …
“Remarkably, some have overcome their adversities. These are their stories. We call them ‘Second Take.’ “
Rock music blares as the scene shifts to a room full of excited young people standing in a semicircle – applauding, jumping up and down and hooting as though they were at a concert.
Their enthusiasm makes way for the entrance of Landon and Heather Schott, a youthful, attractive husband-and-wife team from Spokane whose on-screen presence has drawn viewers from all over the world.
“Second Take” is a TV series filmed and produced by young people in Spokane. It’s about troubled kids who turn their lives around. Their on-camera narratives are testimonies to their Christian faith – how God pulled them away from the edge and gave them hope.
Launched last fall, the half-hour show is now broadcast by Daystar Television Network to more than 2 billion homes in 200 countries worldwide.
“This television show was put in my heart,” said “The Rev” Landon Schott, founder and president of The Rev Ministries and co-host of “Second Take.”
“This is a show for young people that doesn’t have the typical Hollywood message of live life and have fun without considering the consequences. … We want to prevent lives from being destroyed so we tell stories about people whose lives have been put back together through the Lord.”
Schott, 25, is the eldest son of the Rev. Vince Scott, who heads All Nations Christian Center in Spokane.
Filmed and produced at his father’s church, at 1201 W. Spofford Ave., in the West Central neighborhood, the show involves about 30 volunteers who are all 25 or under.
Their organization, The Rev Ministries and “Second Take,” is registered as a tax-exempt nonprofit dedicated to serving youth and evangelistic ministry.
A “second take” is basically a do-over – a chance to stop, reflect on one’s actions and start all over again.
Many of the young people profiled on the show in pre-taped segments are from the Inland Northwest and changed their lives as a result of Landon and Heather Schott’s ministry.
“It is our sincere desire that this show not only serves as a form of entertainment, but as a tool that opens the eyes of millions and helps them to see, that through the power of Jesus Christ, they too can turn their lives around and have their very own second take,” the show’s Web site says.
At the end of each program and on the Web site, viewers who have questions or struggles or simply want to talk to someone about faith and other issues are asked to call a toll-free number or to e-mail. Volunteers in Spokane take the calls and offer prayer and ministry.
The show draws both Christians and non-Christians, the Schotts say, of all ages. But “Second Take” appeals especially to young people not only because of the music, the set and also the stories, but also because of its hosts.
Heather and Landon Schott exude charisma – they’re beautiful, they wear cool clothes and they approach others with a smile, hug or handshake.
“We dress like them and talk like them,” said Landon, explaining the large following among teens and young adults. “They don’t stop on a channel with a 70-year-old preacher talking to grandparents. They want common ground. … We also get to the heart of the issues.”
The couple also hope viewers see them as role models so they can make good choices.
“We can be an example – two young people who lead good lives,” Landon said.
He said he has never been drunk or touched a drug. He was a virgin when he married Heather at age 22.
“I’ve met people who made mistakes and had their shortcomings,” he explained. “I’ve never had a rebellious attitude or felt the need to test the waters. You don’t have to do those things to be cool and to be happy.
“I’ve always been about helping young people. … God was my life.”
Landon Schott grew up in Seattle, in a Christian household along with four siblings. His father, who has been in ministry for 30 years, mentored him at an early age.
The family traveled all over the world, planting churches in Mexico, Australia and other countries. Landon was 14 when he preached his first sermon in India. He started preaching full time when he was 16 and became ordained at 18.
Heather’s background was different. Her parents got divorced when she was 2 and her family experienced a great deal of dysfunction, she said: “I went through a rebellious stage until God healed so many parts of my life.”
They met at church in 2003. He was 20, she was 18. Two years later, they were married.
The day after their honeymoon, the couple became youth pastors at a church in Columbus, Ohio. They also worked in Florida, California and other parts of the country.
Eventually, they felt called to return to the Pacific Northwest, where Vince Schott had planted a church in Spokane in 2005.
All Nations started out with only eight people, according to Landon. Now, the church has about 500 members at three local campuses.
The Schotts and others involved with “Second Take” filmed their first four episodes last summer. When they got started, most of them didn’t have any experience in producing a show, editing film or being in front of a camera. They even had to rent curtains and other props for filming.
But they believed in the power of storytelling, Heather Schott said. If they could get local people to share their experiences with others on camera, they were convinced that the show would be compelling enough to encourage others.
“ ‘Second Take’ has had a huge impact on the lives of my boys,” said Susan Goodson of Spokane, a foster mom to four youths ages 12, 14, 16 and 17.
“(Landon) has been a role model to them. The boys just plugged in to ‘The Rev’ and got all fired up for the Lord.”
Goodson became a Christian nearly 30 years ago through the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club.” Television can be a powerful evangelistic tool, she said, so she and her boys watch “Second Take” whenever they can.
In the last few months, “Second Take” has received support from local production companies, churches and others who want to help it succeed.
The global broadcast deal with Daystar launched at the end of November. Volunteers who answer the phones and respond to e-mails are hearing from viewers in Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines, Netherlands and other parts of the world.
The phone lines are jammed on Friday nights after the broadcast, they said. Young people in the region are contacting them about appearing on the show as well as volunteering behind the scenes.
“We prayed about this for a long time,” said Landon Schott, looking back at the development of the concept that he first came up with when he was 18. “It was in my heart.
“We needed to give young people wisdom to battle peer pressure. We wanted to let them know they’re not alone.”
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