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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/4/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Viewers will appreciate this refreshing take on matchmaking.

The Game Show Network (GSN) is airing a remarkable new show hosted by Grammy-nominated singer, Natalie Grant called, "It Takes a Church." It's a matchmaking show where each church pairs an eligible bachelor and bachelorette after vetting them through prayer, discussion and several fun activities.

'It Takes a Church' premiers on the Game Show Network on Thursday ay 9PM ET.

"It Takes a Church" premiers on the Game Show Network on Thursday ay 9PM ET.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/4/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in TV

Keywords: It Takes a Church, Natalie Grant, interview, show, Game Show Network, pilot, episode


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It Takes a Church" is a fun and exciting blend of both old and new traditions into a show worth watching. Unlike trite television programs that reduce dating to a staged competition framed by extravagant expenditures, "It Takes a Church" is a refreshing take on the matchmaking genre.

A century ago, potential suitors once met through their church, but today dating patterns have moved into the secular realm. At the same time, we have seen a dramatic rise in the divorce rate and the number of single-parent households.

"It Takes a Church" premieres on GSN Thursday, June 5 at 9pm ET (8pm CT).

Meanwhile, couples join and separate sometimes without any intention of marrying. It's a natural consequence of a culture where dating is reduced to a game with people asking superficial questions of one another and going on exotic dates in faraway places. People now meet in bars and on superficial websites and via shallow phone apps.

"That's one of the things I loved about the show," Natalie explained. "We have so many other examples on television of what the world is saying dating should look like and it's really kind of defining for our culture and a whole generation --this idea of expensive exotic dates and rose ceremonies. I love the fact that this show is really the antithesis to that." 

Natalie continued, "It's not one of those shows and it allows the church to speak into one of the most important areas of life which would be your life partner, and gives them [the church] a place that they really should have in your life."

It's important to understand that the church is part of your extended family and as Natalie pointed out, "for some they're your only family."

Natalie spoke to us about something she heard consistently across every demographic she encountered. "Something I heard from all of the singles was 'where are we supposed to meet someone?'" Where are people supposed to meet someone who shares your values?

It Takes a Church suggests the answer -at church!

More importantly, it matters that people meet others who share their values. Even if your church has a dearth of eligible singles, there are other faith communities. In fact, the show itself is sponsored by Christian Mingle, which marries the old and the new perfectly, giving people the opportunity to meet like-minded partners in a modern way.

The show's process of matchmaking is serious, and both the churches and contestants were screened, but not told precisely what was happening, except for the pastors. "It was super important to have the pastors completely on-board." Natalie said. "The pastors are a very integral part."

It's evident in the show as the pastors and even the church community have say in who is selected. In fact, each pastor is allowed to choose one person they think would be a great potential match and that person is added to the list of eligible suitors.

The church community also eliminates the first single from the mix. Natalie told us that it's because of the familiarity the church has with the suitor. "It's giving the church an opportunity to speak into your life. We're saying we know you, we've watched you grow up, we've seen the successes you've had and the mistakes you've made and these are the people we think would be well-suited for you."

Excitement during the show is built by the pastors too, as they share various activities with the hopeful couples. The activities, Natalie said, were proposed by the pastors and come from the repertoire of trust activities and learning activities that they each do as part of their marriage and counseling programs. The activities are fun, but also really insightful.

Ultimately, the show is entertaining, but it also shines a spotlight on a serious problem confronting Christian singles today. Churches do not always pay enough attention to their singles. Natalie spoke briefly about her older sister who raised two children by herself and remarked that she felt most alone -at church. "As a single mom she always felt like she was an outsider," Natalie related.

The singles are important. The next generation of parishioners will come from these singles who will hopefully marry and establish good, strong families within the church. It is hoped that the show will inspire pastors to look seriously about their singles programs and try to make some matches within their own communities.

"For me, something that I hope the show will really accomplish is that it makes a match," Natalie said. "I hope this show shines a light on the desperate need for churches to pay attention and to validate and to make singles feel welcome and an integral part of the conversation in the congregation; there are a massive, growing number every church."

Churches that are interested in applying to become part of the show, can visit ittakesachurchshow.com and apply via the website for consideration. However, there's no need for pastors or parishioners to wait to make a difference, matchmaking can happen at any time, it just requires a good eye, good communication, and some moral support from the church community.

"It Takes a Church" premieres on GSN Thursday, June 5 at 9pm ET (8pm CT).

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