Each week, the Game Show Network’s hit series It Takes A Church visits a congregation from across the country to surprise one unsuspecting single with the news that they’re about to be saved from the dating world. The church’s Pastor tasks their congregation of cupids to find the best possible matches for the dater, but in the end, our single will decide which suitor to put their faith in. The congregant who brought the chosen suitor will make a difference to their church by winning a donation on its behalf.
Far removed from the more titilating and voyeuristic dating shows that proliferate network television, It Takes a Church focuses more on the couple’s values and faith than their physical attractiveness and sexual compatibility.
“One thing that drew me to the show was, whether it was an inner-city center or a farming community, all of these singles have the same question: “Where is it that we’re supposed to meet someone who shares our same faith; our same values; our morals, moving in the same direction as we are?” says Dove Award winning recording artist Natalie Grant, who hosts the show said. “In my personal opinion, the church is the perfect place for that.”
The church-based matchmaking program seems to be working, not only for the show’s ratings, but also for its participants, as evidenced by the budding relationship between participants Randy Phillips and Rhoda Nyirenda.
Mike Parker – It’s gotta feel a little odd to live out your romantic life in front of a national audience. What compelled to to agree to the process?
Randy Phillips – Initially I got a facebook message that asked if I wanted to appear in a TV pilot. I thought it would be fun. It didn’t occur to me at the time that I was signing up to expose every insecurity I had. I was a total wreck. I had to lean on my family, and friends and church. But this was not like network televeision; it was a Christian show with people I could trust. I just had to put my best foot forward. I actually backed down three times before we actually went forward with it.
Parker – What have you learned about yourself through this process?
Rhoda Nyirenda - That I need to trust God more. I was looking for someone, but I had no idea that I could ever meet someone like Randy.Somethings I try to use my human understanding, and most of the time it doesn’t work out so well. I need to trust in God more, and I think through this experience I’ve learned to trust God more.
Parker - Was it a positive experience for you?
Phillips – It was a very different experience. You can meet people in any situation, but Rhoda is the first girl I’ve dated who had a strong Christian foundation. It’s something I would definitley look for in the future. The game show/reality show menatality is a little different way of meeting someone, but it really is reality. In retrospect, I wouldn’t take it back. It’s been fun. Every girl I met on the show was beautiful inside and out. Yeah, it’s been a fantastic experience.
Parker – If it weren’t for this TV show, would you two have ever connected?
Nyirenda –No, I don’t think so. We live in the same area, but I’ve been here for nine years and Randy has been in the area for 14 year. We never connected before.
Parker – Last words?
Phillips – I think one of the most amazing things about the show was that it was filmed from Saturday until Wednesday. There were lots of cameras capturing all kinds of experiences. There was a whole lot of things that didn’t make it onto the final broadcast. You don’t get to see the character and the important issues that we discussed. But I think they did a great job of condensing all of those hours into 45 minutes. The whole experience was really fantastic.