Lego Masters, coronavirus and evangelism – they all fit together
Behind the scenes with Lego Master Josh
It was the perfect time to launch Season 2 of Channel Nine’s epic reality TV show Lego Masters – on April 19, in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic.
This much-loved show is providing just the entertainment that confined kids and adults are seeking, both on and off the screen.
“I’ll chat to kids one-on-one or in small groups and build Lego at the same time … It’s a really helpful tool to be able to minister to kids.” – Josh Taylor
Boxes of Lego are being dragged out from under the bed, as viewers are inspired by the big building challenges waged between eight opposing teams.
And ratings are soaring for the family-friendly program – which is no mere child’s play, thanks to $100,000 in prize money being up for grabs.
Five episodes in, Lego Masters Season 2 is attracting a national audience of more than 2.2 million each episode. That is slightly up on last season’s average audience of 2.1 million (and placing it well above the current season of MasterChef ).
While this is generally good news for the show, one of its much-loved “stars”, 27-year-old Josh Taylor acknowledges that the timing also makes it a tad disappointing for competitors.
“The downside is we don’t get to have all the exciting opportunities that we probably would have had if [Coronavirus] didn’t happen – like doing publicity, going into schools to teach kids or doing media stuff … But I think it’ll come in time, which will be yet another exciting part of the journey,” he tells Eternity.
For now, the only people buzzing about his new “celebrity status” are the kids Taylor teaches in his jobs as primary school chaplain at Cedar College and children’s ministry assistant at CityReach Oakden Church, in Adelaide.
It’s just as well that Taylor – whose modest love of Lego began in his childhood years and was rekindled by Lego Masters Season 1 – is not interested in fame. Instead, he is just looking forward to continuing to build connections and Lego with kids.
“A lot of the classrooms [at the college] have boxes of Lego and sometimes I’ll chat to kids one-on-one or in small groups and build Lego at the same time. It’s a good way to interact with them in a non-threatening environment.”
“It’s also super-fun and kids love it – even more so now that they feel like they’re doing it with a Lego Master!
“It’s a really helpful tool to be able to minister to kids.”
“I’ve already had some really good opportunities to share with other contestants what it means to be a Christian and what I believe.” – Josh Taylor
Taylor is also hoping that being a Lego Master will – someday soon – present further opportunities to connect with people and share his Christian faith.
“God was definitely involved in the whole situation,” Taylor says about being selected as a contestant. “Obviously God knows what’s going to happen and he plans everything according to his purpose, so I think the whole experience is a gift from God.
“I’m very thankful that he granted me this opportunity and I think from that, will probably come lots of other opportunities to share with other people about who Christ is to me and who he could be for them as well.
“I’ve already had some really good opportunities to share with other contestants what it means to be a Christian and what I believe.”
Taylor is, reportedly, not the only Christian contestant on the current season, and Season 1 of Lego Masters also featured fan favourite, and fellow believer, 71-year-old Lyn and her grandson Matt.
When asked if he felt pressure to act “Christianly” on the program, Taylor answers: “I’m putting myself out there for all the country, if not the whole world, to see.”
“So you don’t want to do anything that could reflect badly or that could be twisted in a way that looks like you are not acting in a way that would be Christian-like.
“I was very conscious of it and had to be very careful to make sure that everything I was doing was above [reproach].”
This was made much easier by the fact that the show itself, in Taylor’s words, is “super-wholesome” and the other contestants are “honestly so, so lovely”.
“I can’t imagine that can be said about many other TV shows,” he adds. “Everyone was so helpful and really kind to one another. There was no backstabbing or wanting to see anyone else fail …
“I think that’s why [Lego Masters] is so popular; it’s especially refreshing to see this on TV.
“If someone dropped some [of their Lego build], you see people running in to help each other out – and that’s exactly how it happened. It’s not staged or anything. Everyone just was so nice to one another.
“Even the crew and the people behind the scenes were absolutely amazing people who loved their job and also made it super-fun for us as well.”
“It’s very stressful, for sure, being in that pressure-cooker environment, but we never took it out on each other, which is really good.” – Josh Taylor
But, with many stressful moments, surely there was some tension between Taylor and his Lego Masters teammate Trent?
“Funnily enough, no. We are both really easy going, so nothing really fazed us.”
“We would encourage each other to do our best each time we were doing builds, and we worked really well as a team.
“It’s very stressful, for sure, being in that pressure-cooker environment, but we never took it out on each other, which is really good.”
It’s surprising to discover that – while both are from Adelaide – Josh and Trent didn’t know each other before the show. Their first time building Lego together was, in fact, on episode one. (Josh had originally applied with another school teacher who had to bow out after they were selected.)
“It took a while to figure out what each of our different strengths and weaknesses were, and how we could use them to complement each other,” says Taylor about his partnership with Trent.
But the most important lesson – apart from loads of technical building skills – that Taylor says he learned during his Lego Masters experience is about relationships. It’s a fitting lesson for us all during this COVID season: how to work with each other and be caring, while under unusual pressure.
“How supportive everyone was [showed me] that you can be on a competitive TV show, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw other teams under the bus.”
“Just how caring you can actually be in that environment was a really good life lesson [for me and] also for lots of people watching at home.”
For more about Lego Masters Season 2, visit 9now.nine.com.au/lego-masters.