Something surprising happens off-camera on WE tv’s guilty pleasure series Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars between its leaders, Jim and Elizabeth Carroll, and the show’s couples: Jim and Elizabeth offer to convert the celebrities to Christianity.
That’s perhaps the last thing you’d expect from such a ridiculous show that, on its season three premiere, had a pretend concerned fan object to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino‘s fake non-wedding to his girlfriend Lauren Pesce.
That said, the show works because through all the terrible editing, voice-overs, and challenges, it does manage to tap into real emotions and relationship problems.
On The Blaze’s podcast The Church Boys, Elizabeth said first explained that their non-televised boot camp “started out as a faith-based Christian organization, but we were losing people.”
So, they transitioned it into a nonprofit, and while the topics they discuss “are Christian principles, we don’t name it specifically as a religious organization. We want a wide net out there to help people.” She said that the participants are of “every faith, every country, every type of relationship that you can imagine.”
She actually said that some people object to their willingness to work with non-married couples: “we get bashed all the time” on social media, she said. But Jim and Elizabeth believe that “you meet people where they are” and she excluding some people is “not the way Jesus worked.”
However, Elizabeth said, “at the very very end [of the boot camp], we’ll ask them … what about your relationship with God? That’s the kind of thing we end on. If people want that, we will absolutely walk them there. If they don’t, they get to sit on the sidelines, no problem.”
Inviting celebrities to become Christians
The same thing happens on the WE tv show. Elizabeth said that they’ve negotiated time and the ability to do that with the show’s producers.
“We have a lot of freedom with that. A lot of freedom. And, in fact, it was one of the agreements we made up front, that we would be able to share our faith and we would be able to disciple whomever. And that if somebody wanted to come to faith, that we would have the freedom to do that. But, we would not have cameras on us. So, we’re given a specific time during the two weeks … to actually ask people … do you want that relationship, and if you do, we’ll help you.”
She uses the term “disciple” as a verb, which the Random House dictionary defines as “to convert into a disciple.”
Do the participants say yes? “Oh yeah. It seems like every season we have somebody have an encounter that blows our minds,” she said, without naming names.
Listen to the full conversation here; the interview with Elizbeth Carroll starts about 35 minutes in: