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Speed dating night beats scrolling right

Scrolling through profiles on dating apps and websites might be the newest, but it’s hardly the greatest, approach to the dating world, deciding who you’d like to date based on appearance and the briefest of descriptions. Sure, you can change your settings to show only singles who identify as “Christian,” but we all know living the Christian life is a lot more complex than just checking off a box on an app.

There, then, are some of the reasons corporate facilitator Kathrina Loeffler started up a Christian speed dating group. “The name is ‘Done With Online Dating.’ It’s because online dating is so cold in many ways. It’s so hard to really get a good picture of somebody online,” Loeffler explained. She says that she’s a “romantic at heart” and when she’d seen different speed dating shows on TV, she thought “Why not do something for Christians?”

“I think one of the roles of the church is actually to matchmake. If you want to know the truth, I think that the church should be involved in bringing Christian couples together, like really reinforcing Christian marriage so that we can have a strong Christian community.”

So far, Loeffler has hosted three events in Ottawa. Participants register beforehand, paying a fee to cover the costs of snacks and rental space. The events follow a structured format with strict rules and pre-screening. Participants then engage in five-minute conversations. There’s a list of questions and prompts to help, but participants can feel free to go beyond that. And many do.

“They’re Christians, they go right to the jugular almost, with the questions like, how many kids do you want? Or, why is it important that you meet a Christian partner? And it’s really interesting how that happens.”

After the five-minute date, participants have one minute between dates to decide on further interaction via an online survey. The whole event lasts two hours. So far, events have been held for ages 25 to 35, 27 to 38, and 38 to 50.

One of the challenges for hosting these events has been trying to get men to come out to the events. For the last event, Loeffler changed the rules so that there was a waitlist for women.

“For the third one, we decided that we were going to only invite women to participate as we got male registrations. So we closed off all registrations to women and had only men register. Then as we got men, we would add a woman from our waiting list. Our waiting list for women is huge. It’s big.”

While Loeffler’s events have been non-denominational, drawing participants from various Christian traditions, there’s no reason her model couldn’t inspire Reformed Christians to do something similar, though more theologically particular. In Ontario, the Fraser Valley, and wherever a number of sister churches exist side by side, this could provide an opportunity for believers to connect on a deeper level. A well-organized speed dating night could contribute to the enrichment of Christian communities and the cultivation of lasting relationships rooted in shared faith and values.

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