Usually when contestants leave a game show, they’re lucky if they walk out with a grand prize. A laundry machine, a trip to Vegas, a new car? That’s one thing. But a future spouse? That’s quite another. And yet, Natalie Grant’s new show on the Game Show Network, “It Takes a Church,” is proving that the end is just the beginning.
“It Takes a Church” has a pretty simple formula:
* A congregation assigns a large handful of matchmakers to eligible ladies from their church. Their job? To fix them up with a pre-chosen, Jesus loving, handsome and employed (yes employed) bachelor.
* After an unsuspecting bachelor is plucked from the audience and brought to the altar, the bachelorettes are presented in front of the congregation. Enter lots of claps, shouts and friendly competition.
* The pastor hand picks four of the ladies to go on dates with the bachelor.(Enter shots of the disappointed, but ultimately supportive, unchosen contestants.)
* After a series of four scenarios (from service projects to Biblical counseling), the bachelorettes are narrowed down to three… then two…
* Then the one lucky gal – chosen by no other than the bachelor himself.
For many couples, the happy ending on the show might not necessarily translate to a happy ending in real life. In the case of Randy and Rhoda, however, love ignited. First sparks flew, then a small flame began. Four months into dating, you might even call it a combustion with no end to the fire in sight.
As the sister site to ChristianMingle.com, Believe.com understands only too well the business of relationship. Andrea for Believe had the privilege of chatting with the young couple about their fairytale romance.
The Believe.com Interview of Randy and Rhoda: A Joyful Couple from GSN’s ”It Takes a Church”
Randy, did you really have no idea you were being set up by your church?
(Chuckles) “No. What I knew was that there was going to be some video taping for a show, but I didn’t know I was going to be on TV. I thought it was a pilot of a dating show for Christian couples… for the obstacles they run into.”
Randy admits that this is not something he would normally go for. He’s the type who likes to have all the “pillars of info” or his mind goes “all over the place.”
Turns out, Rhoda’s thought process wasn’t that different.
Rhoda, were you skeptical of this TV show’s premise?
“I was very skeptical. I didn’t want to do it. I opted out three times. Three of my Christian godly women friends finally pushed me to not back out. I asked all the questions I could about what this bachelor was like. I guess I didn’t trust them. I kept thinking ‘Maybe they don’t really understand what I want in a guy!’ (Laughing) They wouldn’t tell me anything!”
Did you both truly like each from the start?
Randy jumps right in. “I’m gonna be honest. When I first saw her, I thought, ‘Wow, what an unbelievably beautiful dress.’ She herself was so beautiful.” (Note: Randy didn’t just think it. He said it. Loud and clear. It made it past the editor’s cut and into the show. )
Randy, you were so complimentary of all the ladies. Did the show put you up to that, or was it just your nice guy personality?
“The whole experience caught me off guard in such a positive way. I like to give a lot, so in this one instance, I was being given to. It was so surreal, it was almost like a fantasy for me.”
Randy has nothing but positive things to say about the transparency and integrity of “It Takes a Church’s” production team.
“The show did a really good job during the last decision (the final bachelorette cut). I didn’t know what I should do, so I asked the producer, who said, ‘You make a decision in the next hour or hour and a half. Then the show is over.” (Translation: Randy wasn’t signing a wedding covenant with blood promising the network his first born son. He could change his mind.)
Rhoda, you are a really interesting combo, because as Randy says, you are so “glamorous” and often talk about being a “princess” in your native country. And yet, you want a man of God. How hard was it to find a man who got both of those characteristics?
“It was very difficult in the past. I have never compromised in that I wanted someone to love God more than they love me… that way they would really know how to love me.”
She adds, “I haven’t dated a lot, so I’d meet people in the church who said they were Christian, but when I met their true character, they weren’t the real deal.”
She goes on to say, “After the show ended, there were still a lot of things I didn’t know about Randy. I wanted to have a true conversation and see how he’s walking his walk.”
“It’s been a wonderful surprise. The more I hang out with him… the more we talk and date… the more I have been pleasantly surprised.”
Does the culture difference scare you, Randy?
“At first. In her country, there’s a certain way to do a handshake…there’s different foods… like flying ants! But I think the differences of how she was raised has given us both something to grow off of.”
Rhoda emphasizes the importance of having a relationship based on God first, not their differences.
“As long as Christ is the center, that’s the main thing. I don’t think culture is.Values are what matters.
Randy’s friends weren’t so sure about Rhoda.
Randy sighs, “They said, ‘Randy, she doesn’t have the same interests as you. What do you have in common?’ It was a very dominant theme. It was really bothering me because, well, it’s true. I worried that maybe things wouldn’t work out. Maybe our differences were going to be too strong. But we relied on our stance on faith and how we communicated through readings, church, common goals. Our differences turned out not to be a deterrent.”
What is the current status of your relationship?
After first dodging this question and deferring to Rhoda, Randy enthusiastically pipes in, ”We’ve been dating for four months. Every month is better than the month prior. Something that I said to her last week is that, ‘I enjoy the time we have together. I want to make sure this newness keeps going… that we keep giving to each other… living in a way where we don’t get complacent.’ “
Rhoda couldn’t agree more and added, “When he was talking to me about that, I agreed that we should never forget how blessed we are. We should always remember this.”
Randy, who isn’t overly close to his own family, is quick to point out the value of matchmaking, the church and the show itself. He says, “Being part of a church family has really exhibited my best interest. If it weren’t for this show, too, I’d never have met Rhoda. I am blessed.”
Rhoda couldn’t agree more. “I have been so blessed by Randy.”
You know what they say: “Three is a charm!” It’s also a crowd. Let’s hope Believe.com can do a third article on their upcoming nuptials one day! If so, this interviewer would love to be in the crowd of that wedding, wishing them nothing but love, luck and a whole lot of Jesus based happiness.
As they say in the tag line of the show, “It Takes a Church!”
Watch It Takes A Church Thursdays on Game Show Network, 9/8c.
The last episode of this seasons’s “It Takes a Church” is this evening, July 31. Check it out for yourself! If you haven’t seen it before, here’s a sample of something you’ll be able to enjoy.