DARKROOM A Beacon of Light for Young Adults

Randy Templeton, president and co-founder of Darkroom, with wife Dr. Sandra Templeton. Both are board members of Project SAVVY, the Darkroom production company.

As a father of three sons, Sugar Land dad Randy Templeton is like most dads:  concerned about his children.  And his concern isn’t limited to his own teens; he’s also concerned about the middle and high school students he is involved with in the programs at his church.

“Students today are overwhelmed with so many ideas and viewpoints from the hours of social media and videos they consume, they reach a point of just seeing everything as opinion, no right or wrong, just how the person sees life,” said Templeton.  “Adding to this massive alternative and conflicting information is the reality that this is the first generation to grow up in a post-Christian America.”

Out of Templeton’s concern for young adults, he learned that this population is leaving the Christian faith in droves, and unlike previous generations, they are not coming back.  In 2019, Templeton decided to do something about this trend in young adults, and Darkroom was born.

“Students are confronted daily with a negative cultural perspective on any belief in God but especially any Christian belief,” shared Templeton.  His goal as a co-founder and president of Darkroom was to change that perspective by reaching young adults through a familiar medium:  videos.

Darkroom’s Debut

Darkroom is a new, 14-episode original video series produced by Project SAVVY and OX CREATIVE that provides safe and engaging context for teens to explore key issues of faith.  Darkroom’s video series tackles topics, such as doubt, purpose, identity, afterlife, suffering, justice and love in eight-to-ten-minute episodes accessible on the website based on the experiences of real teens.

“The overall goal of Darkroom is to get the students to talk about the questions that arise from relating their faith to their current environment,” said Templeton.  And teens and Christian leaders are watching and responding to the series.

To date, over 5,000 Christian leaders have signed up to use the Darkroom series, 12 in Fort Bend County.  “I am so grateful for the Darkroom series!” said Shane Pruitt, National Next Gen Director of the North American Mission board, author and podcaster.  “Darkroom will have such a positive impact on a generation that is looking for real meaning and purpose, as well as ministers and adults who are seeking ways to hep teens navigate through their world biblically.”

In their first year alone, Darkroom released 14 videos and supporting curriculum impacting over 110,000 students with over 105,000 views of their professionally produced videos.

“The production value is ON,” said Scotty Swingler, Sugar Land student minister.  “The understanding of how Gen Z communicates and understands these issues is ON.  I am very impressed.”

According to Templeton, the series was created from real student stories so that when teens watch the videos, they can connect to the question or doubt they personally might be struggling with.  “Seeing their issues discussed by the characters in the videos gives them the willingness to openly discuss their own struggles.”

All Access

Darkroom episodes are free and available online at www.darkroomfaith.com.  The site also includes discussion guides and leader materials for adult mentors to help facilitate.  The episodes are produced by Project SAVVY, a Sugar Land-based 501c3 nonprofit organization headed up by Templeton and his wife, Dr. Sandra Templeton, to allow them to be free to teens and Christian leaders.

According to Darkroom, an estimated 75% of church student ministers are volunteer and desperately need free resources.  Because of Project SAVVY and generous supporters, Darkroom fills that void.

“Two questions we love that we encourage parents to use with their teens are:  What is something you don’t believe that you think I still believe? and What is something you believe that you don’t think I believe?” said Templeton.  Darkroom is designed to not only get the conversation started, but to assist with finding answers to those questions and more.

For more information about Darkroom, visit www.darkroomfaith.com.