The biggest name in contemporary Christian music, Natalie Grant, will perform at the Fountain of Life Church Friday.

Photo courtesy Brinkley Ministries

The biggest name in contemporary Christian music, Natalie Grant, will perform at the Fountain of Life Church Friday.

Natalie Grant performs Friday

By Frank Roberts

The Daily Advance

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Natalie Grant, the biggest name in contemporary Christian music and emcee of the hot new Game Show Network program “It Takes A Church,” will be coming to the Elizabeth City Friday, and tickets are still available.

Grant, who is travelling across the country to support her hit new album, “Hurricane,” will appear at Fountain Of Life Ministries on Highway 17 South in Elizabeth City.

You can also find Grant at 9 p.m. every Thursday on the Game Show Network, combining inspiration and fun. “It Takes A Church” is reminiscent of the old “Dating Game,” minus the sleaze. Episodes are each filmed in a different church, most of them with evangelical congregations.

Each show takes about five days to put together, with the filming taking place on Sunday, Grant said, during a recent telephone interview.

In the show, members of each congregation get to play matchmaker for a young man and woman within their midst.

Grant presides over the proceedings with grace and a distinctive style.

“It’s a show you can watch with the whole family,” she said, confiding later, “I definitely have my favorites (of the young men vying for the date spot) but, of course, I keep that to myself.”

The show is fun with a purpose. According to a New York Post report of a survey of 19,000 people who were married between 2005 and 2012, less than 4 percent of married couples say they met in church.

A 2010 poll found that Americans ranked churches below bars and restaurants as places to meet new people.

“Churches don’t put emphasis on singles,” Grant said, noting that her offering “is perfect. It reconsiders that. And,” she adds, “the pastors have a lot to do with it.”

The show follows “The Great American Bible Challenge” with Jeff Foxworthy.

“Following Jeff doesn’t hurt,” she said. “It’s a great time slot. The whole hour is quality time. I’m (happily) shocked that the shows are doing so well. Others would do equally well.”

The ‘Challenge’, which wound up its current season last week, features laypeople answering tough biblical questions.

“It Takes A Church” is produced by Tom Rogan co-founder of Authentic Entertainment, which also gave the world “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Go figure!

Honey-blonde Grant (no relation to Amy) is the critics’ darling. Kevin Davis of “New Releases” notes that “Hurricane,” her ninth album, “is not full of Christian clichés, but instead is loaded with fresh offerings of praise that every believer can celebrate.”

Many of the songs were written by the artist, a Seattle native, and her Canadian producer-husband, Bernie Herms, both of whom must be credited with a fresh approach.

Grant, who started singing professionally in 1999, received the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year from 2006 to 2008 and, again, in 2012, the year she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel/Contemporary Music Performance for “Alive.”

She could also win the title of “Miss Perky.” The interview was one of the happiest I had in the last half-century.

Grant has another success story. She suffered from bulimia, then wrote a book about it, “The Real Me: Being the Girl God Sees.” And she starred in the movie, “Decision,” shown on the Gospel Music Channel.

Grant is involved in campaigning against human trafficking, an interest inspired by an episode of “Law & Order.” In 2012, she received the Bishop Ketteler Award for Social Justice from the Sisters of Divine Providence for her work.

Frank Roberts is a correspondent for The Daily Advance.

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