For faith-based dating site Christian Connection.com – meeting the lockdown challenge is more than just about dating – it’s a community that’s been strengthened.
While many Church and Christian organisations have had their activities restricted by the lockdown, for Christian Connection, as an online service, has seen a dramatic increase in activity. In recent weeks it is firmly within the top 500 UK websites – at 435 – well above B&Q, Audible.com, Iceland.com and Ancestry.com and many other household names. 
Activity on ChristianConnection.com has risen rapidly in the past two months:
– new joiners have been up by nearly 25%
– meaningful conversations have gone up by over 50%
– and the number of profiles being viewed has gone up by over 25%
– its online events which are now running every week – are selling out.
But for the organisers of ChristianConnection.com the lockdown is far from just a simple proposition of more activity – it poses quite important challenges:
For Christian Connection, the call was twofold – lockdown has hit many single people hard. Many live alone. Some have had to care for elderly parents or look after their children. Others are shielding. For many single Christians – church life is a source of social life, friendship groups. – and the closure of buildings has deprived them of a regular place to be and events to attend. Plus, there is no office to go to, a relief for some, but a deprivation for others. The lockdown rules until very recently did not even allow single people from different households to meet each other.
Founder, Jackie Elton said:
“From the very first start, we have been trying to find a way of helping people to date online in a time of pandemic and to find friendship, community, and resources and the fun of meeting new people. It also helps people to overcome anxiety, frustration and isolation.
While many churches provided online church services and group worship meetings, the social dimension is also critical, and that has often felt rather lacking, particularly for the 40% of adults who don’t live in families.”
Virtual Social Events
“We wanted to find creative ways to provide value to our members during lock down; more access to the discussion boards and the replacement of our normal social events with virtual online events, including regular quizzes, karaoke, virtual visits to art galleries and member-led meetings. And of course, lots of advice on how to make things work, whilst we can’t meet face-to-face.”
“One of the really positive things about our virtual events – is that people can join us from all over the UK – people have often said we are too London based. Digital breakout rooms have developed a whole new dimension, and we have had to learn a new set of skills – fast!” We have relied on our members to help and initiate events themselves.
Why do people date in times of stress?
In times of great stress and change, people are looking for meaning, for connection, and they want to make real decisions about their lives. Partly it’s about having more time and fewer distractions, but we believe the shock drives through a search for meaning and change. And Christians, in time of stress, do tend to ask themselves the bigger questions about life.
Disturbing and dislocating events change people and drive them toward making lifechanging decisions. And often that includes meeting somebody special. And thankfully there are some great stories starting to emerge out of the crisis.