Shortly before her death in 2016, TBN founder Jan Crouch told her daughter-in-law, Laurie, that she believed it was time for the popular faith-and-family TV channel to develop a program made specifically for the growth and development of women.
"She could barely talk, but she told me, 'Honey, it's time for you to step up,'" Laurie Crouch recalled in an exclusive interview with The Gospel Herald. "'Every morning we wake up with hope and grace from Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince - and that's great, but it's time to show love for women.'"
"And so, that's what I did," Crouch, co-host of the network's "Praise," and wife to TBN Chairman Matt Crouch, continued. "I gathered some of my closest friends together, my husband created a beautiful set for us in California; a closed-off, private studio with robotic cameras - there's no crew in the studio - and we just sat around and talked about real issues that women face."
"Better Together," which premiered April 22, is the first-ever women's interest talk show on TBN. The daily half-hour program features five notable female voices from Christian ministries along with well-known guests from the worlds of music and entertainment to engage in honest, lively discussion on topics of interest to women today.
"I truly believe that when people watch this program, they will relate to at least one of the women on set," Crouch said. "We're all different, we all have different opinions, but we all have a relationship with Jesus. So, you have five totally different women, but their foundation is all grounded in the Word of God. You can glean the revelation that each one has gotten from the Lord and you can feast there. It's a life-giving well, I believe, to women."
"Better Together" features a rotating group of weekly female hosts including Crouch, Victoria Osteen, Christine Caine, Lisa Harper, Holly Wagner, DeeDee Freeman, Hosanna Wong, Priscilla Shirer, Alex Seely, and many others.
Seely, pastor of The Belonging in Nashville, told GH that the taped weekday program will target Christian women in all life-stages, from young mothers to grandmothers.
"It's so important for different age groups to come together, because seniors bring emotional intelligence to a community that younger people don't necessarily have," she said. "You have churches and workplaces filled with each generation, and we need to support one another."
"In the age of Instagram, there's so much comparison and rivalry and competition, and that's not how God designed us," she continued. "We need to get back to the age where women would cook together and community together - and I know that sounds old-fashioned - but that's how God created us. It's the older instructing the younger. We give life to each other. We can't do it alone. God is a God of community, and in the age of isolation and selfies, it can be easy to forget that."
Crouch told GH that "nothing is off limits" on "Better Together." Topics addressed include dealing with shame, insecurity, and depression; forming female friendships and identifying toxic relationships; navigating motherhood and work-life; finding a purpose and identity in Christ, and much more.
"We're trying to cover everything, and a lot of our topics come from viewer response and audiences telling us what they need," she said. "We talk about issues that are important to young people but also to the older generation that isn't done yet. We have a responsibility to the next generation that doesn't quit just because you turned 50."
"What's so incredible about this show is that it isn't scripted," Seely added. "What you're watching and hearing is an actual experience, a real conversation that's not at all rehearsed."
Ultimately, "Better Together" shows women how friendships are supposed to be: Life-giving, supportive, and mutually encouraging. The name "Better Together," Crouch revealed, was coined to remind women that community is a necessary part of spiritual and personal growth.
"I'm always better with somebody; I can't do things alone," she said. "Thankfully, I have beautiful friends and life-giving friendships. I think we're better together, and the only way to get through life is to stop the nonsense and the shaming and the peer pressure and ugliness that's going on in the world."
"It hits my heart," she added. "We need to stand up for each other and be amazing women of God and be amazing wives and friends to our friends and be life-giving, and hopefully we can pour that through the TV and help people."
"Better Together" airs daily at 1:30 p.m. eastern. For more information and to view the show promotional trailer visit: www.bettertogether.tv.