ChristianCafe.com is conducting a series of discussions with experts from various churches and ministries about Christian singles in America today. The second discussion is with Wendy Griffith, News Anchor & Senior Reporter for The Christian Broadcasting Network, known as CBN
Wendy Griffith, News Anchor & Senior Reporter, The Christian Broadcasting Network
Sam Moorcroft, President of ChristianCafe.com, speaks with CBN’s Wendy Griffith regarding Christian singles and the Church.
Wendy Griffith co-anchors CBN Newswatch, a daily 30-minute newscast seen throughout the United States. She also co-anchors Christian World News, which is seen weekly around the world on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She often anchors the news on The 700 Club. Wendy welcomes your feedback about this discussion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
» Wendy, welcome to ChristianCafe.com! Please tell us about some of your work with CBN Newswatch, Christian World news, and The 700 Club.
Thank you Sam for having me on the program. I am a news anchor at Christian Broadcasting Network. I’ve been here for 12 years. I am a senior reporter. I’ve been in broadcast journalism for many many years and CBN is a great place to work. The ultimate goal, of course, is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. It has been great to combine my love for television with my love for evangelism.
» Now, I understand you are presently single. But, you’re not alone (no pun intended!): 45% of all adults in America are single, too. What do you think the impact of this high rate of singleness is having on the church and Christian ministries today?
Well, I am looking at this from the “glass half-full” perspective and thinking that my chances of meeting someone are better if there are that many singles out there! I can only talk about my world, but I feel that one way it is affecting the church is that there just aren’t that many men there. The women are there, but where are the men? My single girlfriends and I are all there.
I’ve never been married and I’m in my 40’s. There are a lot of families present, but it seems like the men come only after they’re married. The few guys that are there usually aren’t the “manly” men that I know I’m looking for. I think there is a lack of “real” men in the church.
As a Christian, I don’t go to bars to meet men, so the church is the main place I look. I think that the biggest problem for single women is that the men are not in the church.
» I don’t want this to come across as bashing men, but do you think that part of the issue is that men are not asking women out on dates like they used to?
Oh, absolutely. I was talking to a young guy at the gym the other day, and he said that he never asks women out. He was a nice guy and I asked him why. He said, “Oh, I got hurt once.” You know, be a man! That’s part of life to take risks! I’m not going to ask a guy out. I don’t think it’s my place. I was taught that men like a challenge and they are the hunters and all that. I was shocked that this guy was just going to let all the women ask him out, because it was less risky. Something is wrong with that picture and I certainly don’t think that was the way God intended it. I think that men need to step up and take a chance!
» While we do have some women on ChristianCafe.com who complain that men don’t initiate contact, we also have a lot of men who do. When thinking of the census figure of over 100 million adults in American who are single, the reason can’t be because men just aren’t asking.
My theory is that we as a society are becoming more disconnected from each other, even though our technology is supposedly bringing us closer together. It reminds me of a cartoon I saw once, where a group of people are in a web cafe, each surfing the Net. One of them is saying to himself, “I’m so lonely.”
I know that when I moved to a big city in my early 30’s, I found it hard to connect with local Christian singles at various churches. It just wasn’t conducive to get to know a woman after the service at the back, while we had cookies and coffee. I could hardly ask for a woman’s phone number that I had just met, and my female friends would hardly give their number out to a perfect stranger (even at church!).
One of the reasons ChristianCafe.com was created was out of my own personal struggle with being single. And, if I was having problems connecting with the opposite sex, and I am outgoing generally, imagine everyone else!
» This leads me into my next question: the Internet is a highly connecting technology that is now impacting relationships; statistics say that up to 1 of 5 couples today met online. What are your thoughts about this online phenomenon?
My sister met her husband online. They have two children now. I know so many women here at CBN who have met their spouses online (possibly including ChristianCafe.com, I’m not sure!). I don’t think there is any stigma anymore.
I’ve tried it before, for only a few days at a time. I haven’t had much success, but to be fair, I haven’t put much time into it. I’m really busy. I also go through seasons where I am trusting God to bring the right man, then I go through other seasons where I think of James and “faith without works is dead”. I do know that God has someone for me. Right now, I believe that He wants my full attention. But, I do believe online dating is a great tool and has been for so many couples.
» In the years that we have been online, we’ve had over two million Christian singles join ChristianCafe.com, mostly from the US and Canada. When you sample them, a lot are here for similar reasons that I experienced. I am surprised that twelve years after my own struggle, people still have the same issues around meeting people.
Part of our reason for doing these interviews is as a form of education to ministries like CBN to let them know that singles are crying out for programming or teaching about their issues. Sure, some of us are called into singleness for life, but that is very few of us. I think that the “church” has gotten this backwards in modern times.
So, most churches have programs for lots of different things – but nothing for singles.
Or, they have singles outreaches for the 20-something crowd and early 30’s, but they don’t have anything for those over 40. But, even if they did, the men just aren’t there! But, thank God that there are some ways to connect online. The men are out there, as the statistics show. But, finding them, that’s the issue.
» We think that ministries and churches need to realise that they have all these singles (up to half their adult members). A lot of this is plain ignorance (if I can use that word in a factual way).
Part of the issue is simply creating awareness, not only to educate churches and ministries, but also to let Christian singles know. We are doing a TV show on us and Christian dating with Cornerstone Television Network (based out of Pittsburgh, PA) shortly. We said to them that half their audience is single and let’s do a show about us and see how their viewers like it.
I’d love to host that show! Can I be the host?:-) Would it be wrong to also put my phone number under my name? [joking!]
» Some men are intimidated by successful women such as yourself.
Well, they need to get over it, because we’re here and we’re waiting! “Man-up” and come and find us. There are a lot of gorgeous single women in the church, so get the men in here!
» From a business point of view, the online dating business is worth over a billion dollars annually in the US. The secular world is sitting up and taking notice there are all these single Christians out there. Unfortunately you then have some un-Godly companies targeting Christians, but not telling them who they are. Even Penthouse has a “Christian” dating site! When you buy a membership on their site, you are inadvertently funding pornography.
There are plenty of other sites people could go to. But, wait, you are saying that people don’t know that they are behind this?
» Yes! You’ve got other secular companies targeting Christians and they have other sites where they have homosexual matchings.
What is your reaction to secular online dating companies targeting Christian relationships?
Hmm. Well, I guess if they do it in a respectful way, it would be alright. I am not sure I can answer this question properly, as I am not an expert in this. I’ve made it clear on secular dating sites that I am a committed Christian and want only men who are committed Christians also. But, still, I got a lot of winks from guys who said they were spiritual, but not religious, or had no religion at all.
But, if you are going to a site like ChristianCafe.com, you are going to find a lot more committed Christians.
» Let me be clear – I don’t have a problem with secular companies dealing with Christians. As long as they are conducting themselves with integrity, it is okay. The concern we have is that if you are not being truthful about your background and it is, for example, pornography! We think it is important that Christians be aware of who they are doing business with.
We are the only major Christian dating site out there that is actually Christian-owned and-operated. So, we have a unique perspective on running a dating service. We understand the market.
» What are your perspectives on Christians using Christian (owned-and operated) dating websites?”
Well, I think it would be beneficial for single Christians to go to a site like ChristianCafe.com. Secular services can work, but your chances of meeting someone who is really serious about their faith are much greater on a Christian-only dating website. I would say that 95% of the men who contacted me on a secular service weren’t serious about their faith (even though I had made it clear what I was looking for).
» Half the battle is won if you are on ChristianCafe.com because they are all Christians (we have some seekers, but most are here because they desire a Christian like themselves).
How many singles do you have?
We’ve had over two million Christian singles come onto ChristianCafe.com
over the years and at any given time we have around 100,000 actively using it. Big sites will claim they have, say, 20 million members, but in reality, 19.5 million haven’t been with them in years.
» Ultimately, if God has someone for you online, you only need one good man, right? Whether you have 500 potentials or 5,000, it doesn’t really matter. We only show you 1000 matches on any search anyway. If these 1000 aren’t good enough, then perhaps you aren’t as serious as you need to be.
I think you have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. How is He leading you? The Bible is clear that is not good for us to be alone. It is definitely pro-marriage. But, does He want me to be looking right now? Singleness and marriage are both gifts. So, we have to learn to enjoy seasons of singleness. I don’t think God is trying to keep me from a relationship. He loves me so much and for all I know He may be keeping me from a lot of pain. The wrong marriage – is there anything worse than that?
My mother is always saying to me, “You need to get out there!” Look, I’m on international television! How much more out there can I get? I’m always travelling on a plane somewhere, I’m at functions, I’m at church, I’m at the gym.
At the end of the day, I trust God. I know that He has the best for me. His Word is true and He will give me the desires of my heart. My prayer lately has been that my desires would line up with His desires for me.
» People ask me what I recommend. I respond that as unromantic as it sounds, in many ways, dating is like looking for a job. You need to be available. You don’t sit at home with this great resume and work experience waiting for employers to call you.
I say to people, especially successful people like yourself, you didn’t get where you are today without taking the initiative, right? I don’t think Pat Robertson knocked on your door and hired you.
The Lord told me to send a tape to CBN in 1998. I thought maybe it was a fluke (and not the Lord), but I sent it anyway and sure enough, they needed somebody, and three months later I got hired.
» So, then, the lesson is that while God guides us, we have to take the initiative and follow His directions. It is a lot easier to steer a ship when it is moving than when it is in port. The same analogy applies in dating. You have to make yourself available and put yourself out there.
Sure, you’ll have failed dating experiences, but the important thing is to learn from these. In my case, the Lord had someone right under my nose – she sat in the desk next to me, but my eyes weren’t opened until people started asking why I wasn’t paying attention.
Wow! God sent her to be right beside you!
» It wasn’t like I wasn’t dating different women; I was. So, I was taking the initiative and making myself available. But, it took the Lord having people asking me why I wasn’t dating the girl beside me for me to wake up!
I got rejected a lot when I was single. But, my attitude is summed up in what I say to members on ChristianCafe.com: what if the 101st person you meet is your soul mate? Would the first 100 rejections be worth it? Of course they would be! This isn’t to say it wouldn’t hurt each time, but sometime you have to go through painful experiences to get to the right one.
Of the 100 million + adult singles in America today, 99.9% of them were meant to be married, in a perfect world. Our mission as a Christian dating service is to spread the message of hope for singles. Come join ChristianCafe.com and see if your soul mate is here!
I didn’t get married until I was 37, so if it worked for me, it can work for anyone!
» How can large online communities of Christian singles like ChristianCafe.com support pro-family organizations like CBN? If Christian singles aren’t connecting, getting married, and having kids, how will that affect the next generation of givers to ministries like CBN?
God did say to be fruitful and multiply. I keep telling my mother that I am trying, but I need a man! This is a big issue. We need more believers in this world.
» 50% of charities in the US are in danger of going under, due to the current economic situation.
Yes, but God does work outside the natural economy. We have been blessed here so far at CBN in that we haven’t suffered any lay-offs. I think we need to not be fearful and trust God, Who will take care of all our needs.
Sure, God does take care of us, but we need to be planning for the future. When I look 20 years out, I see a huge problem from singles not connecting today.
» Well, thank you, Wendy, so much for your time!
God bless you Sam! Thanks so much for what you do! Let’s think about a story with CBN on singles for 2011!
Find more about The Christian Broadcasting Network at cbn.com.