A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a relationship event being held at a local church, a town over from where I live. Upon arrival, I sat down and really took in what he was saying, and I realized that his advice was not far different from what other matchmakers claim. The only noticeable difference was the fact that he used Bible scripture to reinforce his ideologies. In fact, the thing that was most unique about the event was the audience - a crowd full of grown, single, Seventh-Day Adventists, who were in the mood to talk frankly about dating, especially dating in the church. Please understand that these people were not preteens, teenagers, or even very young adults - we are talking about people age 30 and older.
So I ask you again: are you married to the church- fully devoted, making sacrificial investments of time and money and energy? Or are you just dating the church: nominally involved, partially invested, maintaining enough detachment so that if it doesn't work out the way you want, you can hit the door with no lingering obligations? How you answer that question will determine whether you have nailed down this last truth in our study of what's in your trauma toolbox. We've taken six Sundays to open the lid on our inner world and see what's inside.
We want to be certain that we already have vital truths in place before the bottom drops out from under your feet. Truths worth believing like. And the sixth truth that you need to nail down in your life is a personal commitment to a local church.
Now, maybe that sounds a little self serving for me to include this in a list titled six vital, lifesaving things you will want in place before the crisis comes. I mean, I am a pastor and we're gathered with the Church now, and I'm here saying that it is vital to have a strong, growing relationship with the people of God, where you can encourage each other in Christ and pray for one another and bear each other's burdens and intervene when you see a brother or sister lapsing into sinful patterns.
Is it self-aggrandizing for me to urge you to belong and be personally invested in a local church for your own sake?
There are a lot of people who think so. Statistically, one out of four church attendees are considered "church shoppers," with no real devotion to any particular local church. An estimated million Americans have said they are Christians, but don't want to be a part of the church. Around 80 percent of American evangelical churches are plateaued or declining. When asked, people give the standard answers: church is irrelevant, boring, hypocritical, after my money. Some have been hurt by the church, in some cases deeply.
Maybe you're in that number. There's a wall that rises when you come to a place like this, a kind of automatic attitude that keeps anything that might be said or done or experienced here this morning at arm's length. May I challenge you to an alternate conclusion based on the evidence from Scripture? Come with me to a passage that is often used about marriage, Ephesians 5.
I want to read vv. And as I read it, I want to encourage you look beyond the secondary application to husbands to the primary application of Jesus and the church. Wives I want to ask you to not be examining your husband as we walk through this passage. Instead, let the foundational relationship described here ring out. There are two word pictures that make sense to us, two analogies that are obvious in this passage.
When we read them, we can see and feel what they mean. Both of them bring home to us the importance of being personally committed to a gathering like this. As a pastor, I have a unique vantage point for this special moment. I get to stand in the center of that aisle alongside the groom, so I get to the best view in the house. Tell you what I like to do: I always cut a look over at the groom's face.
He is grinning from ear to ear in anticipation, wistful, unspeakably happy, lost in love for the one who is coming to pledge herself to him. Now listen, if you can see that look on the groom's face, then you have a small understanding of the intensity of Christ's love for His church. It resonates through this passage. What makes this passage even more striking for me is that I am part of His church.
The church in the Bible is made up of those who have been called out by the Spirit of Christ to salvation. The church is God's people. It's you and me and every believer in every place around this world who has put their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Apr 19, Many Christian women believe they can find their future husband while attending church. But for men, Christian dating isn't always that simple. And . Sep 23, Stop Dating the Church reminds us that faith was never meant to be a solo pursuit. The church is the place God grows us, encourages us, and uses us best. Loving Jesus Christ involves a passionate commitment to His church - around the world and down the street. We can't be apathetic. It's time to fall in love with the family of God/5(54). Modern dating culture can be quite daunting. It can be especially awkward when dating or "courting" someone in your church. Here are some tips on how to avoid serial dating practices and enjoy.
The truth is when you read that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, you might as well be reading, "Jesus loves me like that. It becomes intensely personal to meditate on the words Christ loved the church when I see that I am included among those He loves.
And it strikes me when I see that the Greek word for love that Paul uses here describes immediately takes me to the cross. It is the word agape, which refers to the absolute, un-self-centered sacrifice of Christ for my sake. His love for His me never quits, never waivers, never weakens. Together, church, we will take a piece of bread and a swallow of juice to remember that cross love He has for His bride, you and me.
The wording here speaks of voluntary surrender and total commitment to the horrors of bearing my sins in His body on the cross to ransom me from slavery to sin and take me to Himself. The broken body and shed blood of Christ are the measure of how far He will go for me. And when I read that His holy love for the church moved Him with purpose to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word, I am thrilled to see my complete forgiveness in those words, my justification accomplished at His Word, and the gentle, patient work of making me holy like Himself.
Christ is totally committed to the church. He is totally committed to me. Can I receive love like that from Him as an imperfect person He is sanctifying while ignoring the rest of what His love has purchased? You know what I've found in my life: the more like Christ I become, the more I love what He loves and devote myself to what moves Him to action. Say what you want to say, but you know it's true.
If you're going to be like Jesus, you won't date the church anymore. And you won't stumble over the imperfections that are going to happen when a group of imperfect people gather together. You'll just realize that it has its flaws, but it's what Jesus died for. But in v. Paul changes the imagery to emphasize something important. The image of the bride tells us deep things about the devotion and love of Christ Jesus for us, His bride.
The image of the body of Christ reminds us that we have an assignment to fulfill. When Jesus bodily walked this earth, He moved from place to place in a small geographical area, doing the will of the Heavenly Father and securing the salvation of everyone who believes. Now, having ascended back to heaven, He still moves from place to place, only now on a global scale. How does He do it? Through us! We are His body! Ephesians expands on this picture when it explains, by telling us that God the Father has put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.
Like the fingers and toes, like the eyes and elbows of your physical body, you are a part of Christ's body on earth, which is the church. And just like the various parts of your physical body have a specific function in relation to your body, so you have a specific function in Christ's body! There is no unimportant member of the church. Each of us has a function to fulfill for the good of the whole body. Ephesians 4 speaks about the body being built up in love as each part is working properly v.
Paul plays with this analogy a bit in his letter to the Corinthians: If the foot should say, "Because I'm not a hand, I don't belong to the body," in spite of this it still belongs to the body.
And if the ear should say, "Because I'm not an eye, I don't belong to the body," in spite of this it still belongs to the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But now God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted. Run with me on this, okay?
Let's say for the sake of illustration that when God saved you, He made you a hand in His body. You have the gift of service that is meant to minister to the rest of the body by assisting and fixing and working. You are the oil in the machinery that keeps things running smoothly. So what happens when you say, "I love you Jesus, but I don't want to be a part of the church"?
That's like saying, "Jesus, I love you, but I don't want to be a part of Your body. So I'm cutting off Your hand from Your body. But hey I really love you, okay!? They're all a bunch of posers! I do most of the work, and they still get treated as equals.
So I think I'm just going to take a break. You don't really need me anyway. You get the point. If you're a Christian, you have an assignment to fulfill in the body of Christ. He's on the move and needs every member of His body in on what He's doing.
So when you're missing in action, half-hearted, casually committed, the rest of the body is crippled and weakened. Hebrews calls us to a different value system when it comes to the church.
Most of you here today are living examples of this message, and I cannot thank you enough for your example, your partnership, your stewardship of life for His sake.
But I also want to urge you who are on the margins, who are just going through the motions, who are acting out of habit rather than commitment. Knock yourself out. After all, every church has gossip hounds and mis-labelers. I mean, we Christians are supposed to know better, so come on.
Attending a church where you are stamped as this or stamped as that, when you are neither, is an uphill battle. Not only that. Personally I have no tolerance of such rogue actions by people. Their ears would bleed if I found out exactly what was said and then I would probably be asked to leave anyway, while the perpetrators would remain in the church. And IF something like that DID happen, whether it be in my church or any other church, that to me borders on the line of being a den of iniquity.
Not in my church. Agreed, Todd. Absolutely right. The problem is, when men leave for the reasons I stated, the church will simply blame the men who left rather than fix the repeated problems that made them leave in the first place. Doing this is easier than actually spending the time and the effort to dig in and rework the soil in the church to rid its spiritual garden of any weeds tares that act as potential or successful stumbling blocks to the wheat.
I mean, honestly. Her actions towards me did. Yet to each her own. I pray that God work on her heart and mine too, as well as anyone else who either mis-labeled others or those who were mis-labeled.
We all need prayer. God knows all of our hearts. I tried various churches and came back to my current church because of the message taught. Then there are the women who week after week attend alone or with the kids. Talk about dangerous! Who wants to be known as the guy who hits on married women? Your third point hit the mark well. Ladies need to realize this and be willing to also be a positive influence on their single female counterparts. If a lady quietly indicates to a guy she is available to be pursued, then by goodness she had better not turn down the guy when he actually initiates!
Short of a biblical reason to decline him that is. The first exchange may be brief though not actually produce results. As you know, there is only one time to make a first impression!
Am I wrong in thinking along those lines? Focus on spending a bit more time showing interest in the lady. Making an effort to intentionally cross paths with her to develop a friendship footing before asking such a lady out on a date? Like you said, in church if a couple breaks up they still have to find a way to gracefully worship together and amongst other believers without awkwardness of a unsuccessful relationship. So that with each new heart string formed, means more pain and possible awkwardness in the event of a breakup.
Are both people ready to form those heart strings and risk that turning into heartache? Also, what about older believers in the church acting as intermediaries for a man and woman to at least get introduced? I can honestly say you are spot on regarding the awkwardness that exists between individuals in the same church after a relationship ends.
Years ago I moved halfway across the country to pursue a relationship towards marriage. This made it very awkward to sit near, be near, or park in the same area as her, her immediate family, and or immediate close friends. And WHY is he asking me out? After all, what does he know of me other than what I look like?
Additionally, having an older couple to mentor the relationship along the way is also nice and communicates to a woman that you value her and your relationship with her. Thanks for your reply Shannon! So any advice to make that easier is always appreciated! Shannon, I appreciate your perspective here. Perhaps you are the type of woman who wants some dialog with a man before he asks you out.
I think it is important to point out that not all women are like this. I think this is why grace is so important and we have to be careful not to assume. You may not like a man immediately asking you out; but, some women love it. A guy may have learned from past experience how effective a direct approach can be! But just be aware of the fact that both secular and Christian culture heavily discourage and shame Christian girls and women from being blunt and direct with people, especially with men.
Christians place ten times more pressure on girls and women to behave in this manner than secular culture does. We women are told if we are too direct and blunt, that it is mean spirited and un-feminine. I know what you mean. She avoids me at every turn now. Her relatives look at me funny. Relax, sibling. In other words I was drawn to her self sacrificing elements, her shy - timid serenity and peaceful stature in the church.
They just throw something on and come to church.
Sorry people, but this is a church - not a mall. Apparently not. To each their own. I am 45, she is Never worked, so I stopped expressing any interest in women around my age. Dead ends. But regarding me being 45 and that woman being 55, so what! I dated older women before. It is becoming too much for me to put up with, week after week after week after week - for months on end.
I can feel the odd cold stares.
2. Rather than giving them more options, dating girls at church actually gives them fewer options.
The House of God is for Prayer and Worshipit is not a bar or any other type of pick up place. Reply to Hmmm. I am a woman and I totally disagree with Ms.
If you look at the NT, Paul used various churches to take up monetary collections to help other churches that were in poverty. I do think that churches should be willing to help single adults who would like to marry some help in that area, if they want the help.
Most churches run around helping married couples by putting on so many ministries and social events for married people, they should be willing to do that sort of thing for single adults. I agree in part and disagree with the other premise. Read the book of Ruth. What I mean by church is the church generally. Not so much Sunday. God may well put someone in front of you, but you still have to act. No biblical character ever met their spouses inside the Temple of GodGod directs them to each other by his Holy Spirit in other places.
Again, I need a job. Should I look for a job or just hope that God will bring me one?
We know God the Father as much as we know and obey His Word. We can tell where a person is in the Lord by their understanding of the Word of God! Babes will dwell on the milk and they see only what is directly in front of them.
They lack wisdom, discernment and spiritual understandingthis is evident as soon as they open their mouths to speak.
But we all grow at different paceswe grow in accordance with how much of the Word of God we eat on a daily basis. Every person is as close to God right now as they desire to be. Your so right. No one here has ever thought that if they seek God first, all the things will be added. Give me a break. Again, there is no where in the Bible that God promises that I will have a spouse.
You have no scriptural backing for that idea. All you are doing is spreading the same spiritual platitudes that keep people complacent and mad at God. Yes you should always seek God first.
That is fact. But not so anything is added - you do it whether anything will be added or not - for HIm and Him alone. He is what fulfills us. He is what we seek.
Your judgement is false because you start from a seat of judgement instead of understanding. Your way is not working as evidenced by the gigantic leap in unmarried people over the last 40 years. I have no idea what you said, none of it is in reference to what I just wrote, as previously stated speaking from a place of anger and insecurity that has nothing to do with what I just saidinsecurity and immaturity!
I do get fired up at spiritual platitudes which is exactly what you are offering. If you wanted to argue that we should seek God and not worry about whether or not we get married, that is a fair argument. But to say that if we seek God we will get married is not.
No where has anyone judged your spiritual maturity or place with Jesus. They are disagreeing with what you say about how finding a spouse works. You are the one making it personal.
Not only that, but men better have the best resume and professional references possible in order to even show up on her radar as a possible candidate. This, of course, is ignoring the fact that most women in churches now who act more like HR departments than sisters-in-Christ are totally usaporiviafrancigena.comepared and unqualified to be good wives and mothers.
You, my sister, seem to be over-spiritualizing life in the 21st century. In no way does it guarantee a loving, respectful, submissive, Christian wife who wants to please God by honoring me as her husband.
Those are two totally different things. By your logic, God wants all people to be well fed, and so living in his will automatically means that we will never go hungry. How well is that logic working for some of the poorer Christians in poor parts of Africa or Afghanistan? Or even poor parts of the US? This is the problem with Western Theology: it assumes that God will always give you whatever you want if you just pray long and hard enough.
We never consider that God would bless their marriage selections because God believes in the union and covenant of godly marriages no matter which wives they chose. Being holy without also being a good-looking, charismatic, top-status man is absolutely useless for finding a wife. Been there and done that. So have many other godly men who followed advice like yours. Reply to Justin Campbell, regarding some of your comments to the lady on this thread who is saying church is a place of prayer, not a dating site, etc.
I am pretty much on your side in this debate, but I do want to add - as someone who was a devout Christian for many years, wanted to be married, am still single past age 45 - neither strategy guarantees marriage. Trying did not work - stepping out in faith and putting action to faith did not work, either. There are a lot of Christian singles who wanted to be married but it did not happen for them - God is not providing for them, regardless if the person is passive sat around and prayed or active about trying to get married tried going to singles functions at churches or tried dating sites.
Reply to Ms. But I will share one or two. Which means, a lot of single adults will end up possibly going to seedy, immoral bars and night clubs. And from there, they might possibly be enticed into getting drunk and engaging in one night stands.
If you believe that Christians should marry only other Christians, does it not make more sense that you as a Christian facilitate Christian-on-Christian marriages? Do you want to risk a Christian going out and looking for love at a local bar and end up getting married to an atheist? If you want more Christian marriages, I am always reading about Christians having conniption fits because Christian marriage rates are downwould it not make more sense for your church to help Christian singles get married to Christian singles?
I appreciate you being bold enough to say it. Thanks Shannon. For sure we all need to be called out, and we all need to be shown grace. All of us. Your approach seems good to me.
The big thing is to actually meet the girl. To me you want to be confident and be yourself and meet them. Then maybe the second or third time you might ask for some contact info - if it seems right. At the very least it helps to have people in your life that you trust that know what you are doing and can speak into it. That helps with all things, including dating. One thing I do want to add in here and get to the root of the discussion that Ms.
Sahiyena posted. She wrote the following. Which is true. However we as believers need to remember that the church is us, the body of believers worshipping Christ. We also go to fellowship with like minded believers.
We go for the corporate worship but to fellowship, have accountability with, and enjoy wonderful friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ. Essentially what happens in the church is an example of what will happen in heaven! Anyway, if someone is going to church most likely a non believer or young babe in Christ in order TO pickup a lady, then that is the wrong.
Because their heart is in the wrong place, which has happened to all of us in different ways at some points in our walk. Obviously no mature believer is going to hit on a lady during worship service, Sunday school class, bible study, etc. If a guy did, that gal should get red flags and run far far away! Getting to know a lady who loves the Lord where both individuals are amongst other married believers in fact is a very God honoring way to meet and marry.
Doing so within the body of believers that make up the church allows for accountability between a man and woman. It also allows for biblical guidance and counsel from other married believers who can help guide these two young individuals to a solid Christ centered marriage where God sanctifies them both through that marriage. Sahiyena - I may be mistaken from your post, but when I read it, it came across as believers are only to show up to church for prayer and worship singing hymns, reading of scripture and then go home.
Sometimes she would sit next to me in church. Small talk after church. We both came through a very dark, and sad period in our lives. In a bigger church I am sure it is hard enough, but most Americans who attend church go to ones under people.
Like me. What was I to do? I had to surrender further to Christ and finally accept that I was going to be a lifelong bachelor. I did it before I would get so bitter and jaded IN church or regretful of a decision to follow Christ, which I could not the devil win on.
Christ wants a joyful servant.
Why Some Christian Men Won't Date Women They Meet At Church
I have to say, since I made this choice in June. Life has been easier and I have been feeling a lot better. A lot of this problem today Justin honestly is that our pastors, many lay leaders, deacons or what-have-you are in uncharted waters themselves.
My Officer has been married since You have a VERY large segment of the never married, the single-mom, and divorced now strolling in, expecting answers.
The singles in church today are going have to a a lot of the footwork themselves. They are just going to have to do it. They are going have trust and obey and really soak in the Word.
They are going to have to fellowship in some way and they are going to have to hold themselves accountable. Great post. Of course I could go to the store and buy some groceries and cook some food, but where is my exercising faith and proving God in that.
However, keep in mind that society has changed quite substantially, but this teaching has not. In my case I am generally well received by women until the money thing hits-5 of my 6 relationships have ended because of that-and in 1 of those cases was making enough to support a family I still had a job, but it basically just paid my billsand another girl was making six figures, but dumped me for another guy making six figures and had a house.
He never paid me back. My sister also had a long time, live in, boyfriend who she financially supported for over two decades. He seldom had jobs, and when he got them, they were very low paying ones. I just want you to be aware that the financial thing is not always difficult on men, women have problems in this area as well. I just did a blog post the other day about this crime story I read about in the news that happened several years ago - a divorced women, age late 50s, was well-off financially.
She worked as some kind of therapist or what not, had her own practice, owned a nice house. She dated a man she met on a dating site. She allowed him to move in with her. He proposed marriage, she said yes, but asked him to sign a pre nup. That made him so angry, he murdered her. One of the reasons I would say is that there are people in the church that meddles in affairs lives of others that they have no business with.
IF we are supposed to date other Christians, then why are the members of set church being so overbearing about young singles? Pingback: On backaches, singlehood, and faith. Thinking Outside the Funnel. Shawn is dead on!!! One married couple who did a lot of this took pride in setting up relationships while their own marriage was breaking up!!!
They denied this, but it was well known throughout the church. Sadly, this is a fairly common occurrence. I met this guy in church.
In the world there are no guard-rails, but in church, dating and courtship MUST HAVE some godly convictions that should not be crossed over. Doing so can cause some great pain even while attending a church. The purpose of guard-rails is not to stress that couples are bad, but to safeguard trust, godliness and respect. Nov 20, 72 thoughts on " The Danger Of Church Dating " Dustin Harding on November 20, at pm said: Instead of saying man up, can we say Jesus up. I don't know what someone else's version of a man is. I only have my version. In our brokenness I don't think we should look to an unclear undefined role. Jesus is the ultimate lover. You know that the person you're dating shares your religious outlook or, at least, a very similar one; The church is a much better alternative to lounges and clubs. (I would guess that's a sentiment shared by most grown folks regardless of faith.).
I went outside there was the guy I saw in ma dream. I thought oh my God is this a sign. He dropped ma friends 1st then lastly me. He asked for ma name I told him. He called me back he asked for ma number and asked if he could see me later I told him of course. I saw him come in He sat infront of me. He was also dancing but way different than his usual dance.
In my opinion, there are many men out there as wolves but in sheep clothing. They appears as though they are the right sort of guy only ending up to take something so dear from you and walk away.
More needs to be done to discern this kind of men. Not that this particular guy is one but it seems to me that he might be.
If you require closure from him, you might want to have a word to clear things.
But be sure that you are moving on. One important word in the bible in proverbs in such cases is that you should always guard your heart closely. Not saying you should become mean spirited to other men because you are safeguarding yourself, I am saying with more discernment, accountability and discipline, better decisions and judgement calls will be made in the future.
Thank you Kyle. Spot on. You took the words right out of my mouth. I can SO relate to several cts of your post. I guess she was more cultural than spiritual in the sense of going with what her culture taught her rather than the Bible in a way.
Then after I left the sermon, I felt worse or no different than I was before going in. And some people would wonder why I had such a stone cold facial expression.
SINGLE, DATING, ENGAGED, MARRIED - The Best Marriage
Think about it, people. Pastors and other Christians online tell people to go to church anyhow and be a team player - that we all have hardships. Team player huh? They say church is a hospital? What kind of hospital is that, a place where you get abused by the other patients? A hospital where you either feel the same or worse than you were before going in?
Not very legit if such is the case. Pastors, get off of your butts and DO something about it instead of filing your nails, putting your feet up and asking for out tithes.