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Leading the Way

Leading the WayLeading the Way

Dating that Delights God, Man and Woman!

Should the men initiate encouragement dates?
It is fine for the single women to set up dates with the single men. There is no Bible command that says we must do otherwise. However, are there any benefits if the men do the initiating? Some single women feel frustrated that they do most of the initiating and would be encouraged if the brothers took a lead in this area. Some single men tell me they are intimidated about setting up dates. Does the Bible give us any indication as to the merits of the men taking the lead?

Basic Bible Principle
The first Biblical principle to consider is that God has called men to lead the church, and their family (1 Tim 3:1-12, see also Acts 15:22, Heb 13:17). Women support the men in these tasks (the implication of Gen 2:18) and are of equal value - “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28 NIV). Jesus interacted with women in a way that was counter-cultural to his time. He demonstrated that their faith mattered (Matt 9:22), that their needs were important (Lk 7:14-15) and that they were important to him (Lk 10:38-42). His ministry was financially supported by them (Lk 8:1-3). Yet he never challenged the established culture or structure of men leading. Men leading healthily and with conviction is a serious matter. Adam failed to lead in dealing with the serpent and the result had catastrophic consequences for humankind (Gen 3:1-12).

Practice Makes Perfect
The second Biblical principle is that we grow when we get some practice. We get better by doing. Jesus sent the disciples out to preach, teach & heal (Lk 10:1-11). He got them baptising (John 4:1-2). Everyone needs training for the roles God has in mind for them to fulfill (Lk 6:40, 1 Tim 4:7, Tit 2:4, see also Eph 4:11 & the training manuals that are 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). Taking the lead in arranging and conduct dates is excellent practice for single Christian men in learning how to take care of women in a godly and pure manner. We get the opportunity to practice leading women in a low-pressure setting with sisters who are willing to be gracious and forgiving. What better place could there be to practice leadership and the encouragement and protection of women.

The Dating Training Manual
Here are a few ways in which initiating dates can help men grow in leadership skills. These skills are useful in all roles God calls you to, and specifically in leading your future wife and children. Initiating dates ....

i. Takes courage - you may be rejected!
ii. Means arranging details - like when and where to meet
iii. Takes communication - such as the above details
iv. Requires budgeting - how much it will cost, is it affordable, do you need to discuss it with the brother you are doubling up with, or the sister?
v. Involves managing the situation if it goes wrong (a backup plan)
vi. Means looking after the sister - making her feel special

I am sure you can think of more ideas. Send them to me if you like and I will include them in future articles. In the meantime lead the way, brothers! The single women in the church will feel cherished, honoured and protected - and that is something that pleases God.

Malcolm Cox (Dec 2010)