Unlike that other dating show on Monday nights where rose ceremonies, scary trust exercises and exotic nights on the town abound, the new matchmaking game It Takes a Church puts a unique twist on the typical boy meets girl. In fact, if the show’s host, veteran Christian recording artist Natalie Grant has anything to say about it, she wouldn’t even call it a “dating show” let alone a “Christian dating show.” To her, there’s something even more important happening with It Takes a Church.
“The truth is, there weren’t a bunch of Christians trying to come up with an alternative [to The Bachelorette],” Natalie says. “It is a matchmaking game, and it’s fun, but it plays on the premise that if someone spends much time in church, the same well-meaning ladies who will bake you cake will also try and find you a husband.”
Basically the premise is this: Each week, Natalie and the It Takes a Church crew visited a congregation somewhere in the United States where an unsuspecting single is surprised with some pretty exciting news. Putting pause on his/her own efforts to find someone special, the church’s pastor will help move things along by tasking the congregation to play Cupid.
Once they’ve assembled plenty of worthy options for his/her consideration, it’s up to the bachelor/bachelorette to decide which suitor is best. Naturally, the church will weigh in with their opinions, and the congregant who brought in the chosen suitor will win something, too—a $10,000 donation made in that person’s name to his/her local church.
For a self-described “church girl” like Grant, hosting It Takes a Church was right in her wheelhouse. “For me to have to have the opportunity to go to a new church every week, spend in-depth time with people and find out what ministries are important to them, it was really special,” Natalie shares. “I love how it really focuses on what the church is doing in their community.”
Plus, as a natural people person, it was fun for Natalie to see the matchmaking in action. “It was actually super hilarious,” Natalie shares. “The matchmakers are everything you’d hope they’d be—loud, vivacious and so full of personality.”
In addition to seeing the beginning of some potential love stories, however, what Natalie hopes viewers will take away from watching is a greater awareness of singles in today’s churches.
“My older sister has raised two kids on her own and has been single for 25 years. And she’s told me that oftentimes, the place she’s felt the most ostracized and like an outsider was at church. She felt lonely there because there wasn’t a space created for singles to have a voice,” Natalie says. “So I hope that It Takes a Church will help churches create a space and a conversation where singles are reminded they’re a valued and integral part of the congregation. There’s more singles than ever before in churches, and they need to have a voice, truly be heard and validated.”
For more information on It Takes a Church, which debuts Thursday, June 5 at 9:00 EST on GSN, please visit facebook.com/ItTakesAChurch.