Whether you're the leader of a church or you're interested in one, pastoral dating isn't exactly the same as having a relationship with a non-ministry member. As the spiritual head of a church, the pastor has to not only uphold the religious institution's moral values but also set an example for the parishioners.
Following the rules of etiquette can help the dating pastor -- or the person who is dating the pastor -- to date in an appropriate way that aligns with the church's teachings. If you're a pastor, it's likely that you have accepted that abstinence until marriage is a part of your life.
Even though this is part of your belief system, it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone you date has the same idea. Part of pastoral dating etiquette includes when to tell your date that he has to wait.
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While there's no set-in-stone time to tell, doing it early can help both you and your potential partner decide whether a lack of physical intimacy is acceptable or not. For example, pastor Wren Miller tells "Marie Claire" magazine that she tries to wait to tell potential suitors, as they may not want to stay and get to know her if there's no possibility of intimacy before marriage. The flip side of a pastor telling a date about his abstinence beliefs is the date accepting it.
The decision to accept waiting until marriage to get physical is a personal one. There's no precise rule governing whether to wait along with the pastor or move on. Daters may look to their own belief systems, morals and values when choosing whether to stick with the pastor or not. Some people simply don't feel comfortable with this decision, and choose to leave before anything serious gets started.
If you think that you feel a certain chemistry with your pastor and want to pursue a relationship, keep in mind that, while in some cases this is acceptable, many churches specifically prohibit pastor-parishioner relationships. For example, your church's ethical guidelines for the pastor's service may say that romantic and physical relationships with church members are not allowed.
10 Reflections of a Formerly Single Pastor
If there's a no dating rule at your church, you'll need to accept it and look for love elsewhere. Pastors don't just have a commitment to their religion, they also have a commitment to their congregation.
This means that when dating a pastor you'll have to take a backseat to church-related issues and activities. For example, you have plans to spend the evening with your pastor boyfriend. I live in a parsonage and have a neighbor parishioner who is a big, jovial uncle type with whom I am very close.
We all want you to be happy. The fact is, it benefits the entire congregation when a minister is happy and well-matched. My predecessor in this congregation has an amazing wife who was every bit a partner in his long pastorate and much beloved by everyone. I would dearly love to have a wife who could provide that same kind of presence and support me in the same ways. If our people want to help us find a great hubby or wife, more power to them.
Make time to nurture your social life. Single parents in ministry can very easily get into a rut where their entire circle of relationships is church or children. There is nothing illegal or immoral about putting a profile on Match. Design your profile knowing that it may be seen by those who know you in ministry and hold your head high.
Single and Called: Should a Single Pastor date someone who attends the same church?
If it could happen for them, it might happen for me. His minister has no idea why, but I have a good inkling. What church are you with? We are ministers, in the business of officiating at and solemnizing marriages.
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I regret the times that I have dated folks who were separated and not yet divorced; I have come to the conclusion that to do so lacked integrity and made me a hypocrite in terms of my religious commitment to the sanctity of the marriage covenant. In this day and age when legal divorce can take a long time and many adults choose to enter into adulterous relationships and think nothing of flirting and giving the impression that they are truly unattached when they are quite attached, we have to draw careful boundaries for ourselves.
So, Minister, I hope this list is helpful to you and answers some of the questions you may have about dating. I wish you all the best in your adventures and remember: They are the ones who know and love you and will help you return to equilibrium after the vicissitudes of the dating scene do a number on your heart and soul. Does Online dating really help?
Sometimes but u have to pray about it. Hey Greg, I think this is a fantastic 'Dating Mandate' that is absolutely spot on for everyone - not just for pastors!