Do you think it is a good idea for a minister to date a member of the congregation? Why or why not?
No, they can not be objective in that person's personal, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Thank you Ronald Bachner - but what if that is the person God created for them?
ReneeDC 1979, there is no firm rule to follow. In general it is a poor policy to be involved with your congregation on the dating level. If the minister plays only the role of dating that person there may be room for consideration.
rb please give me a scripture to support this, i can not find one
It is fine if they date though meeting each other in the 'normal' way, but not so if that minister uses the position of minister to manipulate the congregation member to date.
Thank you Mick S - I agree with you there - Thanks for stopping by and keep hubbing!
now this I can agree with, because it violates scripture and he should be confronted and if he will not repent, removed.
I guess that could happen, and would be awful; but if were so, then the minister & his congregation have bigger issues than his dating habits to consider.
The relationship of a minister and a member of the congregation is not the same as a supervisor and subordinate. As long as he or she respects the role of the minister relative to the flock and there is no compromise as to the minister's treatment of everyone else nor conflict with his/her need to set the example in adhering to the tenets of his faith relative to this task, I have no problem....
Thanks Credence2 and great points!
Excellent, well thought-out answer, Credence. The lady in the dating role must be aware of what it means to fulfill a preacher's wife's role. It's not only the minister himself who must be aware & alert. Congregation has at most, a secondary r
All of my thinking and reasoning must go back to the Bible.The Bible clearly states in I Timothy 3:2, " A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife . . . ." The bishop in this case would be the minister. It is a Biblical prerequisite that the minister is to be a married man. That being said, he is also to be true to his wife. So no, not only is it a bad idea, but it's not scriptural as well.
Thank you lifegate. What if he is single and the woman in his congregation is the one God intends to be his wife?
Good question ReneeDC1979. It's a matter of how committed we are to following God's plan. The Scripture says that a minister must be the husband of one wife. If he is not married, .he is not a husband. That disqualifies him from ministry,
The 1 Timothy list is made up of character traits. Why is the one about the husband of one wife different? Is it that he must be married, or is it that his character should be of loyalty and fidelity? Paul could oversee pastors but not be one?
Liftgate, that verse is talking about being a man of virtue and fidelity. It is saying that he must be faithful to his wife IF he has one, not that he must have one.
Certainly a pastor should show loyalty and fidelity in his character. But nowhere does it say that "the husband of one wife " is a character trait and nowhere do I see the word "if" the pastor is married. It is what it is.
Go back to good Bible study principles. If I gave a list of fish names, would you call one a dog? No. In 1tim 3 we have a list of character traits, yet you rename one something else. It is character that matters all through the Bible
that is true , but the question was minister, not elder. there are other ministers that are not elders. most pastors are not scriptural elders
Why is the Christian's life governed by rules. Jesus did not teach this, the Pharisees did. Jesus taught and exemplified a life led by an individual's direct contact with God, not a list of rules set forth by self appointed spiritual experts.
Being the husband of one wife, in contrast to more than one (as was not uncommon in that day) makes sense. As an admonition for an elder: ELDER persons are likely to be married & should be mono.
Absolutely not. Dual roles are a conflict of interest. Dual roles where one role is in a position of authority are a conflict of interest that is socially and psychologically harmful. Ministers provide counseling; their rules should be as strict as the rules for psychologists, and the APA (American Psychological Association) forbids psychologists from dating their clients.
If a minister is married, the wife or husband may be a member of the congregation. That works because of the committed, stable nature of marriage.
But what would happen to a congregation where a minister dated a member, and then it didn't work out. And then he dated another member? How would the congregation be able to pray and worship with a unified mind, knowing the minister has a roving eye?
By the way, I am speaking as a minister myself, and also as someone trained in psychotherapy and specializing in counseling people in situations where conflicts of interest arise.
Thank you SidKemp. So is the pastor supposed to be blind? They are still a man? Are they not supposed to be happy as well? If they are single what is the difference between them dating someone in the church and me dating someone in the church?
How is the minister supposed to have found the good spouse if unmarried at the start of the ministry? Stable marriages come from sensible, mature courtships. Or is he to be out of luck if not already married if hired right out of seminary?
When I was a pastor, I never considered the people clients. We were fellow Christians, each using his/her gifts for the building up of the body. This is not like a psychologist/patient relationship.
SidKemp...So, if a minister starts his career as a single man, then he must meet his future wife outside of his own congragation? While I can see the issues that might arise from the "dating in the flock" scenerio, I do not see a Biblical reason.
I agree w/all comments: the standard is strict. How: if a minister & congregant get interested, the congregant can attend a sister church for several years of courtship. When they truly know the relationship is solid, they wed. Devotion works!
please Sid, show me one scripture (new testament) to support this, I can not find one
Celafoe, see LifeGate's on 1 Timothy 3:2. It upholds a standard even stricter. All of Timothy 3 indicates sober responsibilities. To be "well thought of" requires the absence of even the appearance of a conflict of interest in any profession.
THANKS cam8510-- for a double barreled scriptural answer. we can see you understand
If a minister is a smart, professional pastor, and knows how to keep his work life and his person life in order, then he or she may be able to date a member of the congregation successfully. Members of the congregation who are sensible, wise adults know that the minister is a human being who has a right to a personal life. If the minister is a person of character and practices good ethical behavior is all aspects of his or her life, then "What is the problem with him or her leading a normal, healthy life like everybody else?"
Thank you Dr. Haddox. My thoughts exactly. Thanks for stopping by and keep hubbing!
if he is a smart professional pastor , he has no business leading a new testament church. God HATES the clergy/laity format
but it is ok in the churches of men because they have their own rules that supercede scripture
If they are both single and matched in age, they should be free to meet socially to get to know whether they may be compatible in other ways important to each of them. Then it is up to each of them to ascertain whether or not to move forward. It is a normal, sensible part of intelligently seeking a life-long partner; not evidence of irresponsible fickleness.
If not meeting with someone in his/her own congregation in which mutual ideas are most likely, where else and what better place should a minister look for prospective well-matched partners? There are places with a much lower likelihood of finding an ideal partner!! As to the congregation member, there are issues to consider with linking with a minister, too. Grownups face these kinds of challenges in all walks of life.
Certainly ministers bring no special authority over others to a personal alignment more than any other person. They are not ordained beyond their ministerial duties which should also be from a position of service and humility, not from dominance and superior authority.
Awesome response Nellieanna. Thanks for stopping by and keep hubbing!
Thank you, Renee!
To answer your reply to my comment, no I don't think they should remain celibate; I just don't think dating a congregant is a good idea.
nellieanna - wow you understand scripture so much better than most of the "pastors" on here.
I've considerable background, Renee & respect others' interpretations & backgrounds.. My answer considered the morality & logic of it, rather than local mores. The hypocrisy of juggling innocent facts to please those just wouldn't be my
It is a good idea because you both have same interests
Thank you Emmanuel Marosi - short and sweet - thanks for stopping by and keep hubbing!
No. It can get messy for both the minister and the congregant. The secrecy alone creates deception in a place where trust and openness are paramount. I counseled someone who was in this type of relationship and it didn't work (won't reveal which one).
In a church community, where everyone is potentially in relationship with each other, the minister is obligated to be objective, neutral, and available to all of his congregants. If he is involved with one of them, the dynamics are imbalanced with all of them. Even if it's not a secret and everyone knows, it still creates an uncomfortable imbalance regarding impartiality and trust. It's just not worth the potential headaches, not to mention the ethics and basic boundaries of clergy.
Thanks janshares. Why do they have to be in secrecy? If a minister is married, he is still obligated to be objective, neutral, and available to all -but he still has a relationship with his wife. If he is single and dating he can't do the same?
See if you can find some literature on being a preacher's wife; it's not so much about whether he's married; it's the dynamics of the relationships he has with his congregants, his wife, and those the wife has with them, too. Believe me.
Okay thanks - i will look it up - thanks for sharing jan and keep hubbing!
I'm wondering, then, are you suggesting unending celibacy for unmarried ministers? If not, how is he/she to find a potential compatible mate, if not to socialize by dating people of his own persuasion? Or - what? Secretive associations?
so scripture is not the way to decide this issue?
If the participants feel it's a scriptural matter decide accordingly, then it's evidence of their personal compatibility or lack of it. You explained you don't think it's "a good idea". If they agree, they should abide by their convictions.
Ministers are human, too. If a minister finds another single, like-minded and like-faith person in the congregation, I believe it could be a great thing for them to love each other and their church while serving God. Maybe God put the two in each others' path.
If something went wrong, they would need to be very mature about how they handled it. With God's help, they would be able to handle it.
Thank you sholland10. I totally agree as adults when a relationship ends we should be mature whether in church or out - but I also believe everyone should be happy-if pastor finds his lady love in church then congrats.
I would say yes, provided they aren't married to other people; I'm serious... His In Service
I took my one and only pastorate directly out of college. Within a couple of months, a young lady came to church with one of the members. We started doing things with other younger people in the church and then began dating. A year later we were married. She was not a Christian before we met. We did just fine and the church was totally supportive. I'm sure it wouldn't work in every situation, so the pastor would need to be sensitive to the congregation as well to his relationship. If a pastor can't be objective about his girlfriend's spiritual needs, how can he be objective about his wife's spiritual needs?
cam8510, your view is admirable. Sensitivity is needed in any social situation including the major commitments and beliefs of the participants, whether ministers or any people. Marriage & its success - primarily a people issue. Why else have
I've seen this played out in real life, and it can and often does lead to messy situations. Especially if the minister dates someone, breaks up with her, and then dates another congregant. I would say doing this is not among "best practices" for a minister who is single.
I saw this same thing happen. The "ex" continued to attend the church for a while, but it was a little bit awkward while the ex was still there. People just kept saying, "Aw, poor thing..." It was sad until she left to attend another church.
but is that possibility a scriptural reason to say no?
I know, Marlene B, I've seen that too. Sad, but it happens. I feel that a minister shouldn't want his personal "business" discussed or known about in that way, in his own church. What you do and how you do it means something. Just my opinion.
OK, celafoe, I understand why you keep asking for scripture. Remember, scripture is not LAW. Scripture is guidance. God gave us 10 COMMANDMENTS. The rest is GUIDANCE to help us discern what the right thing to do is at that moment in time.
Marleneb- your 1st example only show.s a lack of spiritual maturity on her part for allowing that . and scripture is God's rules(law) for the operation of the HIS church. ans see my post "are the 10 commandments for today" answer is NO
While I hold ministers in very high regard...I think it would be difficult for them to stay objectionable and maintain the relationship that they once had and it could cause a dangerous rift in the remainder of the congregation. That being said...if the minister isn't that extremely accessible type minister then it could work. It is almost like a boss dating a subordinate though...just a really gray area. I am not against it though but would wonder how the gossiping tongues of the church (we all have them even though the know better) would handle the relationship. Great question and wish I could convince myself of one or the other!
No. Ministers should be married before they are given congregations, as in the Eastern Orthodox church. The wisdom of this is obvious.
Horrible gossip is the least that will happen when a single minister dates a member of the congregation. Also, I agree with others that it's not wise to look to your date or steady for spiritual direction.
Nor would it seem wise to allow possible horrid gossip to direct spiritual matters, which marriage surely is, including in regard to an example of honorable courtship for the purpose of honorable marriage.
It is possible for the minister's intended wife to be a member of his congregation. They will have to date, and be discreet about it. The question is not so much whether it is a good idea, so much as whether his moral standing in his church and community will be negatively affected. If he is an upright man, and has kept his relationship with others above board, he will be fine. If he is in the habit of playing around, it is not a good idea for him to be a pastor.
another sister that understands scripture. God bless you sister
MsDora - that's sensible, in my humble opinion & fits with the ideals of the scriptures. If the congregation is reasonable & scriptural, there ought be no negative repercussions if the couple is honorable as they should be when in a leader p
Great insight, MsDora, and your explanation is written in a manner that is clear and easy to understand. I can understand why your Hubber score is 100. Every situation/church/community is different, and a lot needs to be taken under consideration.
This is a very good question. I would say it is not a good idea because it's similar to dating someone at work. Even if things are going well the perception of the minister will be changed in the eyes of the congregation and not favorably because the minister is seen as being over or somehow apart from the congregation as far as dating goes. I would think the minister's peers and colleagues may treat them a bit differently as the minister will likely also treat their love interest. If things go south, it will be very easy for others to see as the love interest will either disappear completely or their attitude will change.
Not at all good. A minister even though a human, is observed by many. He has to be decent enough and be a role modal for others. While sitting on the role as a minister he has to keep the dignity and behave himself.
Why not? Many happy couples have met in church. Yes it's a gamble that the relationship may not work but if both people really are "Christians" they'll have nothing to be ashamed of nor will they bad mouth one another. Christian dating is thought to be different from "worldly dating".
It's probably easier to date someone who you know goes to church on their own than it is to convince someone to start going to church.
On the other hand I understand how some people would equate a minister dating someone in their congregation to a professor dating a student, a doctor dating a patient, or a lawyer dating client. They are seen as having undue influence. As I said though, love is a gamble!
If both are single, it is appropriate. However, the consequences of a relationship gone wrong, may be detrimental to themselves and the congregation.
I have a friend who's a minister's son in long line of ministers, an asst. minister himself. I mentioned it & he quickly said 'no' but was reminded of bad results, but was thinking of a case of a married minister playing around. Obviously NO.
To answer the question strictly, no I don't think it is a good idea for a minister to date a member of the congregation. Dating is difficult enough as it is. But, when you have a person of authority, one who is in a position of counseling, there is a high potential for the lines of the relationship to become blurred. It is kind of the same in the business world. I believe a boss should not date employees. Teachers should not date students - that's the direction I'm going here.
Now, after saying all of that, I didn't say a minister should be forbidden to date a member of the congregation, I just said it was not a good idea. It is more difficult; there is the possibility to attract other issues like insubordination and distraction from matters associated with running the church. On the other hand, we are all humans and we never really know who the Lord will deliver to us as a mate. If a minister is attracted to a member of the congregation, then I believe the relationship should be discreet until such time that the couple is in a committed relationship that the congregation can stand behind and support.
I think we all want our ministers to be happy and if that means dating someone in the congregation there simply must be some precautions... like being discreet and not airing their ups and downs with the congregation.
how can there be insubordination to a pastor. he is not a boss. he is just a saint like she is. actually he is supposed to be a servant and Lower than the other saints no above or over
Humans are human. That's true. The Lord loves us all. None of us are better than the other. Pastors are in a structural position. You know... Level 1, 2, 3, etc. A pastor is a leader. Others follow. Those who follow are subordinate to the position.
marlene -- pastors and the churches of men teach that , But the problem is that is absolutely the opposite of What Jesus and Paul taught. They both taught that ministry is a position of servitude, the lowest place in the church.
I understand about service, celafoe. And, as I read through your comments it appears that your position is merely to challenge vs. to truly comprehend. I have absolutely no desire to entertain that type of behavior.
challenging that, that is unscriptural, whether you like it or not is necessary if we want to see the true church of Jesus Christ.come forth in these last days
I can't say yes or no. If a minister is dating a member of the congregation, the relationshipwill eventually need to be public and above-board so as not to fuel gossip. A man or woman who is committed to a relationship w/ a minister will most likely have to become very involved in parish activities. I see no problem as long as their is mutual respect and understanding. There should be no conflict of interest as long as the minister keeps his word of confidence in dealing w/ parishoners.
No, I do not think it would be a good idea. Having been the wife of a pastor, I know the job is highly stressful and filled with problems lay people rarely think about. If you were to put that into a dating relationship, no it would make the congregation very uncomfortable. It couldn't be good for the pastor or the person he might be dating.
Good & spoken from experience, duffsmom! The point of dating is to reveal those issues before becoming committed to a lasting marriage. One would hope the good congregation of believers would support that 'testing' time for their minister!
I would say no, though there may be some exceptions...
can you give one scripture for this please? I cant find one.
1 Corinthians 32-33. Meaning, when a man is unmarried he can devote his works to the Lord. When a man is married, his devotion is split between the church and his wife. It is better/easier not to be married, but there is no commandment against it.
Marlene that scripture does not apply. you left out 4 little word "because of the present distress" it was for that specific time.
2. it was not talking about ministry.
3. it would be contrary to i Timothy 3-2
Well, I am just giving my opinion. To remain like Paul is a different thing again. Here I am referring to church leaders who made mistakes thereby bringing confusion in the church. If is the will of God and according to scripture it is okay.
I didn't leave anything out. I didn't even quote the scripture (just the address) because different people have different versions of the Bible. Interpretations vary. Naturally, everything is "according" to the situation. What's the problem?
of course there is nothing wrong with it if they are both single and their relationship is scripturally honorable. It seems there are still way to many that do not understand a minister is not different or on a different level than any one else in the church. ALL saints are equal some just have more responsibility. GOD HATES THE CLERGY -LAITY context in His church. Yes I know it is perfectly ok in the churches of men. But the real God of the bible says it is not to be in His church
The question was minister, there are ministries that are not elders or pastor, the true new testament church will be headed by Elders (plural) and they would have to be married in order to hold that responsibility, so for them --they better not be dating
I don't see anything bad in this relationship. This relationship, however, will be under the spotlight. Therefore, both must have confidence in themselves and in their relationship.
The family and friends support should be unconditional.
Fornication and adultery should not be among saints of the Christian faith.It is not accepted by God nor the the ones that involve themselves therein.
These days the church is so corrupt until they follow after the pagan and negative ways of humankind more than the truth and righteousness of bible doctrine.
As it is written...They honor me with their mouth and worship me with there lips...but their heart is far from me. Matt. 15 v 8,9 ....in vain they do worship me.
I think it would be perfectly fine, but it would depend on how they went about it. I think it would be better for the minister to be married before becoming a minister, but if a minister is ever widowed, I wouldn't deny them a partner in life.
Think for a moment about a widower President of the United States dating one of his citizens. I wouldn't think all 100+ million eligible Americans would be out-of-bounds for the President, but it should be done with discretion.
For the minister, dating a different woman every week would be a bad thing, especially if they're all from the congregation. But being in the congregation means that they share religious and spiritual ideals, which is a good thing for a relationship.
My father and maternal grandfather were ministers, but they were each married before their ministries. That kept it simple.
It has to do with responsibility. It wouldn't be very responsible to date casually, because a relationship, especially for a minister, is a serious life choice, not something to "toy" with. Something like that takes time to develop. You can't make such decisions with a one-week fling.
I psychiatrist has a different kind of relationship with their patients. It would be unethical for them to date their patients, because they are mentally vulnerable.
And yet, when a member of the congregation is vulnerable and impressionable, the minister should recognize that such a person would not make a good partner. That has to do with wisdom.
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