Top 10 Best Sites
Looking for a dating site you can trust? Search no more.
|Amber Brooks • 6/16/16|
The Short Version: Your church isn’t the only place to meet single Christians — Christian Connection is a dating site with over 55,000 active members. Jackie Elton, a Christian woman living in the U.K., founded this niche dating site to connect people with the same core belief system. Open to all perspectives on faith, Christian Connection encourages socializing in events and meetups hosted around the world. For Christians looking for a sense of belonging, this community offers support and connection based on shared values.
When Matt joined Christian Connection, he didn’t think he’d meet the love of his life there. Then Kate sent him “a wave” — a simple greeting to break the ice.
“I looked at her picture and thought she looked stunning,” he said. “After reading through Kate’s profile, I found she had such an incredible background and a really close relationship to God.”
A volley of messaging followed, leading up to an idyllic first date at a local park. As they walked side by side, Matt and Kate made a deep connection through shared beliefs. Matt proposed after only seven months together. United by faith, this married couple is grateful to Christian Connection for bringing them together.
Making matches for over a decade, Christian Connection has received many thanks from happy couples like Matt and Kate. “We have literally hundreds and hundreds of success stories,” Founder Jackie Elton told us. “That’s the amazing thing, really, just how many people can use the site to meet and find love, marriage, and friendships.”
Christian Connection, which received the coveted title of Daters’ Favourite Dating Site at the 2015 U.K. Dating Awards, is recognized for its caring customer service, selective marketing campaign, helpful blog, and niche user base. Although it began in the United Kingdom, the site has a growing presence across the pond in the U.S.
Jackie’s working life began well before the Internet became a part of everyday life. “When I started, the fax machine was cutting edge,” she says. She has an MBA from the London Business School and worked in management training and went then power plant and railway development for several years.
As a Christian, she was well aware that her single friends were struggling to navigate the dating world and saw first hand the challenges that Christians face when dating, being online, and practicing their faith.
From building railways to building relationships, Jackie soon decided to launch Christian Connection to help U.K. singles meet more easily. She wanted to build a community where Christians could meet anytime instead of waiting until the next church meeting.
“I moved into the digital world in 1999,” she recalled, “and just got inspired by the possibilities of online dating.” It was very early days.
Today, the site continues to expand its reach in places like Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. A passionate team develops the product to keep up with an increasingly mobile and globalized customer base. Christian Connection’s user base has surpassed 55,000 people and is still growing.
Experienced in web design development, Joff Williams joined the Christian Connection team in 2008 as a freelancer. He was hired to revamp the site with a fresh look. Since then, his role has evolved to take on more and more responsibilities. He now heads up the customer service team, oversees offline marketing, curates the blog, social media activity, and manages partnerships with other Christian organizations. It’s a wide range that he covers, but he does it without breaking a sweat.
His experience of growing along with the site is common on the team.
“We’re quite long-term people,” Jackie said. “That’s really important. The same key people have been around for quite a long time.”
Through the years, this UK-based team stays steady. Some have even been around since 2000. This isn’t a company with high turnover, but consistent longevity. With its users and employees, Christian Connection shows deep commitment to building and maintaining long relations.
Jackie said she very much prefers to work face-to-face with all members of her team rather than farm out work to separate companies. She wants to maintain a sense of continuity with team members who truly care about the site.
A majority of the team is Christian and has a personal understanding of what it means to be Christian and single. That link to the user base is very important to the site’s founder because it adds to the authenticity of Christian Connection.
While not every team member is a Christian, all are committed to making the site the best it can be.
The site’s interface is straightforward and clean, making browsing profiles easy. A user can conduct a search by gender, age, location, or username. You can also filter out users without a picture, if that’s your preference.
Christian Connection monitors all photos to make sure they’re appropriate, have clear resolution, and actually show the person’s face. If yours isn’t up to snuff, you’ll receive some tips to make your photos (and profile) more attractive overall.
Your profile page is divided into sections for your main bio, your life and work, your faith, and your interests. All these sections are optional; users can share as many or as few details as they like. At the top, the profile clearly indicates if the person is a “New Member” or “Full Member” as well as if he or she is online at that moment.
In the “Lists” tab, users can see their favorites, fans, and profile views.
From walking tours to pingpong nights, Christian Connection events are a unique feature of the site. Members can choose to attend local dance classes, quiz nights, comedy nights, or even a holiday party. There’s a lot of variety to suit people of all interests.
“The events are something that’s been part of our ethos almost from the beginning,” Joff explained. “If you want to meet a number of Christians in one go– in one evening– whether that’s through a social event or a speed dating event — this is an opportunity to do that.”
Christian Connection offers users the chance to connect with many people at once and in-person. These popular social opportunities are becoming a global sensation as the site expands its reach.
“We have somebody in Melbourne who’s running big parties,” Jackie told us. “We’d love to do it in the U.S. as we continue to grown out membership base. Obviously, America is a very big place,” she said with a laugh.
Meetups are unofficial get-togethers, a more common and casual way to meet single Christians. Social groups form on the site and meet regularly for informal good times.
One group in northern England goes walking once a month and throws a big barbeque every summer. It’s completely self-run and self-organized. After forming on the site, these groups become their own independent social network.
Jackie loves to see the site fostering real-life connections. “That’s something we really encourage: to get people to create their own groups because for single Christians it can be quite hard, especially in some areas, to even meet other single Christians,” she said.
While Christian Connection events happen once or twice a month, meetups tend to be more frequent, depending on where you live. You can login online to find out where and when the next social opportunity is.
Christian Connection cares about what its users think and conducts frequent polls and surveys. A central focus of these polls is finding out how the church interacts with singles and ways to make faith more compatible with marriage.
The site has a friendly atmosphere that’s open to all viewpoints and experiences. On their down-to-earth blog, Christian writers cover relevant issues on faith, dating, relationships and singleness.
For more entertainment purposes, the site’s forums are a hub of activity where many members go to express their views. Don’t worry, though, because it’s all kept positive and supportive.
“We try to keep the forums more community-oriented rather than debate-oriented so we like to see people supporting each other and sharing experiences,” Jackie said. “Of course, that’s always a challenge with forums.”
Everyone who joins Christian Connection enjoys a free trial period. During this time, you can get a feel for the site by browsing and contacting other single Christians. All the site’s features will be accessible until the trial is over.
Even after the trial has ended, free members can still search through profiles and read their messages. This is unique because most sites lock down the messaging system and hold your messages ransom until you pay. Christian Connection has a much more user-friendly setup.
“You can read all of your messages from other paid members,” Joff said, “and if you’re not a fully paid member after the trial period has ended, you can still reply with some pre-set messages.”
This means that paid members can gauge the interest level of non-paid members. Rather than never hearing back, this understanding system facilitates connection for all users.
Members can sign up for a subscription lasting one month, three months, or six months. With its pricing, Christian Connection encourages people to stay on longer than one month because it can take longer than that to form a true and lasting connection. Joff said he’s seen users connect within a three-day free trial period, but it’s rarer.
The site welcomes members in new areas by upgrading these people to memberships with full access for free. This ensures that new people have a good experience and tell their friends. For those living in the U.S. or Singapore, for example, Christian Connection frequently offers its services for no cost while growing the populace in that area. Once the population is robust enough, however, that free membership will expire to favor paid subscriptions.
Christian Connection is open to all traditions of faith. Jackie said that the “vast majority would be very welcome — provided they respect people of other faiths. We don’t want a battleground on the site of people arguing, so we try to keep it as broadly based as possible.”
Joff estimates that the site has at least 55,000 active members. He said any inactive users are removed after a few months of silence. In terms of gender, about 60% of the user base are women and 40% are men.
“It’s roughly the gender split in churches in the U.K.,” Joff said, “but we probably have slightly more men.”
Anyone 18 or older can join Christian Connection. While there have been some lovely success stories about singles in their 70s, Joff tells us that the bulk of members are in their 30s and 40s.
This is when people start getting serious and stop having easy ways to meet new people. Mature singles branch out online because they’ve exhausted the usual ways of meeting face-to-face. Those coming to Christian Connection are often looking for a relationship. This website isn’t a place for casual encounters but deep, meaningful connections. Many are also finding friendship and other connections — many lasting friendships and joint enterprises have developed from the site.
With an increase in mobile dating, Christian Connection has seen a shift of more people in their 20s joining. Jackie attributes the site’s increasing appeal to younger people to changing opinions about online dating. Basically, it doesn’t have as much of a stigma anymore.
“It’s more natural now,” she said. “Ten years ago, a young person wouldn’t be seen going on a dating site unless they were desperate — but now a new generation is more likely to go straight online. There’s a more natural gravitation to online and mobile from a much younger age.”
When online, it’s important to know that you’re talking to someone real and genuine. Christian Connection strives to give people that sense of trust. Christian Connection doesn’t want to bring in people who will turn off the rest of the user base. Its selective marketing campaign is careful to promote itself to the right target audience and foster organic growth.
Rather than trying to grow the site as quickly as possible, Jackie said her team feels quality matters more than quantity. “We’ve always taken a different view, which is slow but definite growth over time,” she said. “In the long term, that’s good business. That works.”
To protect the integrity of its users, Christian Connection manually approves every new member who joins the site and employs fraud detection software, which sweeps for fake accounts.
“Christians can have quite high expectations,” the site’s founder explains. “They’re very quick to see through a site that’s not genuine. From the outset, they have very high standards.”
This team has high standards too, working hard to ensure that its practices are trustworthy and actually help singles make a connection.
“People value that they can trust Christian Connection,” she said. “We were one of the leaders in creating the Online Dating Association.”
Alongside other influential voices in online dating, Christian Connection formed the ODA to stop unsavory practices that hamper singles online. The ODA Code of Practice upholds the highest standards in the industry, and Christian Connection adheres faithfully to it.
Christian Connection worked with churches and a variety of Christian organizations to advance the cause of single Christians in churches. “There is so much to be done to make churches more single-friendly,” Jackie says. “We have a sister site called SingleChristians where we have done a great deal of research into the issues. Churches need to adapt to the reality that more people in society are staying single but see the churches as being mainly about marriage and family.”
With clear pricing, transparent operations, and an easy feedback system, Christian Connection fosters a friendlier environment for singles. The site’s values are unwavering.
“We don’t do paid content on the blogs,” Joff said. “We don’t do affiliate advertising. We’re very careful as to where our online advertising goes out.”
For singles like Matt and Kate, Christian Connection has been a godsend. Growing methodically and deliberately, this dating site has built a committed membership of respectful, faithful, and hopeful singles.
“We’re trying to help people,” Jackie said, “because there’s still a lot that people don’t know and don’t understand about how you actually make dating work for you.”
Whether you’re seeking a relationship or friendship, this site makes it easy to chat online and meet up offline. An affordable and conscientious space, Christian Connection welcomes Christians of all traditions with open arms.