There are probably only a few scenarios in which someone can go from a first meeting to an engagement in less than six weeks. For Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, that was ABC’s “The Bachelor,” a reality television show in which one man tries to find his match—dating about two-dozen wife-hopefuls along the way. (Spoiler alert: Lowe and Giudici were married in a fairy-tale ceremony 14 months later.) As the only Bachelor in 19 seasons to marry the woman he proposed to on the show, fans and viewers recognized that Lowe held different values than many of the past leading men. In fact, 31-year-old Lowe was vocal about how his Christian faith played a central role in his life, and he was uncompromising in his principles.
Lowe’s New York Times best-selling book, “For the Right Reasons,” chronicles his life before, during and after his time with “The Bachelor” franchise. And while fans of the show may be interested in his experience from the production side, Christians will find Lowe’s take on holding firm to his faith in a secular industry inspiring and encouraging.
Now he’s taking that message on the road. Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Fellowship Church and Southern Methodist University in Dallas are just a few of the venues where he’s had a chance to share his story. Lowe spoke with Connect Faith's Natalie Dupuis to discuss his many passions.
What was it like to be labeled “The Christian” on reality TV?
Going into “The Bachelorette,” [on which he was a third-place finalist on the eighth season with Bachelorette Emily Maynard] I knew I would be in the minority as it relates to my faith. But I did a daily devotional in the morning, and the other guys [on the show] would start to come out because they wanted to hear it as well. Actually, it was encouraging for me in my faith because I was reaching people, and I was thinking: Maybe this is why God put me here, so I can reach some of these guys. I certainly believe that was part of His reason.
Was it challenging to cling to your principles in that environment?
I’m confident in who I am and what I believe. I know God runs my life and is the central focus, and I’m not going to alter that for anybody, and that included the producers on the show. They knew who I was and where I was coming from, and what I would and wouldn’t do. Maybe if this had happened earlier in my life, in my early 20s, I may have given in to certain temptations.
Did you feel any pushback from Christians wondering why you were on the show?
I’ve definitely run across that. They’re in the minority. I think most mature believers understand you’ve got to walk into the dark world to spread light. We’re called to do that. Most Christians are fully supportive, but you do get some [pushback], and I have an understanding that those people don’t quite get it—and that’s OK. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince them. I’m going to keep doing what I do and feel good about it.
Some of those supportive Christians have given you the chance to share your story through their platforms.
I’ve had some amazing opportunities to speak at a lot of different churches and meet some really influential people. I met someone who worked for I am Second last year; I ran into him at church when Catherine and I were doing our premarital counseling. That was a wonderful opportunity. And then Jefferson Bethke had worked with my publisher, so we had a common bridge there. Bethke would always tweet about “The Bachelor,” so I knew who he was.
Is there anyone else you’d like to work with?
I had the chance to meet one of my favorites, Steven Furtick, lead pastor of the Elevation Church network [based in Charlotte]. He is one of the most influential speakers in the world. He brings a strong message. Any time I can hear him speak I jump at the chance.
In your book, you mention you became a believer at a summer camp in Texas.
Being able to gather with my friends and hear truth—and then, of course, the activities and sports—was an amazing time in my life. I looked forward to it every summer.
Your summer camp experience influenced your faith. Why does youth ministry matter?
Pastors quote statistics all the time of people who come to know the Lord before the age of 18 and then afterward, and the numbers of those who believe before that age are dramatically higher—that’s when you want to reach people. It’s a lot harder when people are older and set in their ways and have their own mentality.
Now you’ve come full circle and are speaking at events. What do you aim to instill in younger audiences?
I try to think about the audience and what’s going to hit home for them. Not everybody wants to hear the same stories. I did a message this summer for junior-high kids at a church camp. They’re not going to get the same message as a bunch of college kids. For college students, it is all about taking ownership of your faith. You can be raised in a Christian home, go to church every Sunday, be the good Christian your family and your church want you to be, but at some point you’ve got to take ownership of it.
I was a classic case of a guy moving away from home, having no authoritative figures in my life. I’d go to church here and there, but most of the time I wanted to sleep in on Sundays. I didn’t apply myself like I should have in school, missed a lot of class, didn’t make good grades, you know, that kind of thing. I want to tell my story as: Don’t wait until you’re out of school. Live for God now because you can make a huge impact in college. I wish I could go back and redo things.
What’s your favorite speaking style?
I do enjoy speaking, but sometimes I’m traveling so much I don’t have the time to dedicate to an entire message. So I enjoy both being a keynote and doing Q&A sessions. Some pastors do an excellent job of leading me with their questions, some… maybe not so great. But as long as the pastor can moderate really well, I find Q&As to be a lot of fun.
Tell us your favorite thing about speaking to large groups.
Here’s the thing: “The Bachelor” has such a loyal following, and millions and millions of people watch the show. So wherever we go we always get an amazing turnout, especially at churches. We get a lot of teenagers and young 20-somethings who don’t normally go to church and who maybe have never stepped foot in a church.
What I’ve found is when pastors set me up in a Q&A, they start by talking about the shows and my experiences, and they’re feeding those people who came just because they like “The Bachelor.” But I love making that slow transition to talking about faith. At the end, the pastor will leave it open-ended with a question like, “What does faith mean to you?” And then I get to [talk], and I don’t pull any punches.
Read about more reality TV stars speaking on the faith-based conference circuit.