International (SAT-7) — Sometimes, an article comes along that is cleverly written and yet clearly shares the inspiration for a unique ministry. That’s the case for the story that follows, courtesy of SAT-7 UK.
With half the population of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) aged under 25, it is not difficult to see why attracting and influencing the region’s youth is a priority for SAT-7.
SAT-7’s Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish channels all feature programmes aimed specifically at teenagers and young adults, covering topics that are relevant and interesting to them, from a Christian perspective.
At a time when religious-fueled violence, disaffection with governments, and high unemployment are causing young people in the MENA to consider fundamental questions about life, two new programmes on SAT-7 are addressing the important topics of image and identity.
“Be Your Selfie” (“Eishha Selfie” in Arabic) is a joint production between SAT-7 and Campus Crusade. The title is inspired by the trend of people taking photos of “selfie” poses on their mobile phones. According to director Shoukry Zekry, the aim of the show is to encourage young people to embrace their true God-given image and explore their full potential.
Producer Adel Azmy added: “We care about youth, especially those at university level because they are an influential segment of society. They are the leaders of the future. They will be the agents of change in society when they take on future responsibilities.”
“Be Your Selfie” combines serious reflection on pressing issues with lively entertainment slots. The subject of each episode is explored through different segments: from studio discussions to vox pops out on the streets; interviews with experts to stand-up comedy routines; sports features to live music performances.
Meanwhile, “Not Any Kind of Youth” (“Mesh Ay Shabab” in Arabic) is aimed at helping young people to understand their value to God and how they can have a fruitful spiritual life. It addresses topics such as self-image, money, fear, and relationships. Young people are invited to share their personal experiences, interspersed with music from Christian bands.
In an episode about self-worth, Neveen Fikry, former member of “The Better Life” worship group, shared her reflections on the subject:
“We hear many youth saying, ‘I want to find a group where I fit in,’ as if they are lost and without worth…. People are not consistent; they change, their mood changes, and so in their eyes, you are going up and down all the time. You will feel unsteady if you rely for your self-worth on people’s opinions. But today God is calling you and saying, ‘Give me a chance to tell you your value to Me.’”
This episode also featured a humorous sketch involving young adults imagining various advertising claims coming true, such as becoming thin after drinking a special tea and getting fairer skin after using a certain cream. The sketch conveyed the message that while the promises that bombard us every day turn out to be false, the promises of the Bible are always true.