A New Kind of Matchmaker

Natalie Grant's Christian dating show It Takes a Church is helping singles to find love. 

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- Posted on Mar 26, 2015

Natalie Grant

If your first thought when you hear the words “Christian dating show” is Oh, no, you’re not alone. Multi-Grammy nominated artist Natalie Grant had the same reaction when she was first approached to host the reality matchmaking series It Takes a Church on GSN.

But when filming began for the new show, which travels across the country, visiting local churches in order to help a few lucky singles find love, Grant knew she was a part of something special. “From the very first minute on set, I fell in love with the whole concept of this show,” Grant tells Guideposts.org. “Beforehand, I didn’t really get it. It’s really not a Christian dating show, that gives it the wrong connotations.”

READ MORE: 5 TIPS FOR CHRISTIAN DATING

In lieu of drama and in-fighting that other dating shows have become famous for, It Takes a Church features single contestants looking for love in a pretty solid way: their church members and pastor set them up on a series of dates with compatible potential partners and the contestants get to decide who they'd like to get to know better at the end of the episode. These kinds of real-life experiences in dating are what Grant thinks really resonate with the show's faithful audience.

"With It Takes a Church, the viewers can actually see themselves in this show. There are people that experience heartbreak, and [they share] the reason why they’re single and the reason why they haven’t found someone. I feel like people can relate to the people on this show and that makes it really endearing.The thing that also makes it different is that it’s not actually based around drama and it’s still good television; imagine that!”

The first season of It Takes a Church did so well for the network that GSN quickly renewed it for a second season, which kicks off on March 26. Grant is taking all of the success in stride, realizing she's living a dream she never even knew she had. “I love being completely candid and honest about how this all came about, because I’ve never had game show host on my bucket list,” Grant explains. “I’m a singer!”

But the family-friendly series is founded on faith, and Grant just couldn't pass up the opportunity to minister to people in a new way. The self-proclaimed “local church girl” explained that the most exciting part of the show is visiting the various churches and becoming a part of those communities. She also hopes that It Takes a Church can change the way we view the Christian dating game.

“I do think that it’s hard to find love in the church even though that’s the very place you should be able to find it,” Grant explains. “If you don’t trust the people you go to church with, then you’re not in the right church. Those are the people that you do life with and [with whom] you’re entrusting the most important aspect of your life, which is your spiritual life. To me, this show is challenging people to say ‘Wait, I actually do trust these people [enough to pick a good spouse for me].’”

The fact that the show is shining a light on the oft-neglected single population is another plus for the star.

“The single population is the fastest growing population in the church,” Grant says. “I think a lot of times, with singles in the church, they think because they don’t have a spouse, they don’t have a voice. They kind of feel overlooked and like they’re not validated; that they don’t have a place. One of my hopes about this show is that, if nothing else, it raises the visibility of the single population in the local church and how important it is for churches to recognize them.”

READ MORE: THE CHRISTIAN DATING GAME: ATTRACTION VS. COMPATIBILITY

Though Grant admits to being a mediocre matchmaker in real life, the Dove-award winning artist is happily married to husband, producer Bernie Herms, and the couple has three daughters. But don't ask her how she’s able to balance motherhood, her musical career, hosting duties and her extensive philanthropic work.

“When I hear somebody read my bio or all the stuff I’m doing I think ‘What crazy person are they talking about? Oh wait, they’re talking about me!’” Grant jokes. “I don’t know what balance is, I definitely don’t have the recipe for it.”

But she does have a suggestion for singles trying to find love in the church:

“I think the key is loving yourself. If you haven’t found a way to accept and love yourself, you’re going to be looking for somebody else to meet that need in you. When that person doesn’t fully meet that need for you you’re going to have unfulfilled expectations and it’s going to be hard to come back from that,” she warns.

“When your relationship with God is strong, you have self-love because you understand who you are.” 

It Takes a Church premieres Thursday, March 26th at 8/7 c on GSN. 

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