Christian dating show 'It Takes a Church' garners mixed reviews
Christian dating programme, "It Takes a Church," premiered last night on GSN to mixed reviews.
The programme, hosted by Grammy-nominated singer Natalie Grant, follows churches around the country as they try to find a mate for one of their parishioners.
The premiere episode took place at Rock Worship Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The congregant in need was a 30-year-old woman, Angela, who protested, "I can't find a man." Her pastor and fellow church members introduced her to several potential suitors, and also eliminated those they felt were a poor match. From the two finalists, Angela chose Nick – a celibate motivational speaker.
A SingleRoots blogger took issue with the episode's focus on Nick's celibacy, and questioned why it was only brought up in regards to him. The blogger and social media commenters also wondered why Angela was taken aback by Nick's choice.
"@NatalieGrant I really enjoyed the show "It Takes a Church". However, Christians shouldn't be shocked that a potential mate is Celibate," Wilda Graham tweeted.
The reaction, which may have been edited to appear negative, was seen by some as indicative of a larger problem.
"@NatalieGrant I also think some of these producers lean toward the worldly view of dating," Graham wrote.
Others criticised the truncated dating process, in which a dozen applicants are narrowed down, through eliminations and dates, to two finalists.
"Is anyone watching 'ItTakesaChurch' on GSN? Christian version of the bachelor squeezed into a sixty minute segment," Mallory Walker tweeted.
However, many found the show funny, inspiring, and entertaining.
"'It Takes a Church' reminds us of all the cringe-worthy moments of the 'The Bachelor(ette)' that we love to hate—cheesy pick-up lines and songs, bouquets of flowers, uncomfortable flirting, good guys coming in last," SingleRoots wrote.
"And instead of hot tub scenes, coarse language, drunken stupors, and elaborate marriage proposals, there's (loose) Scripture quoting, saying grace before a meal, clothing drives, and occasional Natalie Grant solos."
Another blogger enjoyed the relatability of the programme.
"We all have churches where you know of a single in there that your heart just goes out to wanting them to find happiness in their life," The Hallway of Faith wrote.
"This show is a fun way to do so. You have a congregation full of people that have your best interests at heart and are going to make sure to pick out someone who is right for you."
"It Takes a Church" airs every Thursday at 9pm ET on GSN.