Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week a PI Girl asked about witnessing to a guy she likes, and if that is okay or if that would be considered “missionary dating.” Click the link to join the Girl Talk forum and read the anonymous PI question below!
“What’s the difference between ‘Missionary Dating’ and encouraging a brother in Christ to do better? There is a guy who flirts with me at work. If I were to be honest, I would secretly love to date him someday. He’s very friendly towards kids, he acts like a gentleman, too, and I love it! However, he has made some poor decisions and isn’t really into God right now. Would it be bad to try to become better friends (but not date yet) and try helping him come back to God? Or is that too dangerous [since] I might get pulled into a ‘Missionary Dating’ situation?”
There is definitely a difference between encouraging a male friend and brother in Christ and flirting and/or trying to win him to Christ. If a guy isn’t on your same level spiritually, I would say that would be considered to be unequally yoked, which can be dangerous because the man is to be the spiritual leader, especially romantically and in the dating/courting world. Of course this doesn’t mean the person you date or marry has to be perfect, but if you already have doubts, I would say this is a red flag.
In some situations you can pray for God to spiritually increase the man that you want to be with, but do not force anything and let the guy lead. If you don’t have strong feelings for him, stop yourself and don’t allow them to develop any further, especially if He isn’t a God-fearing man.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
If you are already leading spiritually, then like oxen being unequally yoked, there will be an uneven balance of beliefs and you’ll be out of order in most situations. God wants you to be with someone who is going to be honoring the Lord with his decisions, and of course there is grace and mercy, but for the majority of the time, the man of God should be the head of the house and spiritual leader, especially when pointing to marriage.
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
In your situation at work, I think you can pray behind the scenes, but really need to focus on the Lord and His perfect timing and person. If the guy is not focusing on God at all, all you can really do is pray and hope He will be the leader not only in his faith walk, but also with the relationship. For now, I would keep it platonic and then see where God takes you from there.
Relevant magazine quotes the definition of “missionary dating” from Wiki: “…when a person of one religion dates a person with differing beliefs for the purpose of changing that person’s beliefs or religion….”
I believe it would in fact be dangerous and would lead you into “missionary dating,” which would be as though you were witnessing to him (going out with a nonbeliever). Let God increase the man and let him pursue you. You don’t need to manipulate the situation, save him or get him close to God so you can date. Again, pray but heed the warning signs. Thank you for being bold enough to ask these questions, PI Girls!
Another piece of advice I would give you is to put a stop to the flirting and/or place a secure boundary that shows you’re not interested romantically so that you don’t lead the person on or send the wrong message. We need to use wisdom, especially in how we deal with male relationships, and communicate what is appropriate and not appropriate. I would ask God for wisdom and try to not communicate too much unless you are strictly platonic friends, but at this point I think the flirting has already crossed the line.
I recommend you read Boundaries in Dating (How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships) by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend if you are struggling with discerning which guys you should date and how.
For further reading or other sources about missionary dating, click the Source link below.
PI Girls, do you have any questions pertaining to this topic of dating nonbelievers or lukewarm Christians? Comment below!
Find Christi on social media: @christigiven.