Christian Living: Should An Opposite Sex Christian Single Couple Be Ministry and Prayer Partners?

 

Recently I was asked about the propriety of a Christian single man and a Christian single woman being prayer partners and ministering together.

I had to admit that at one time, before marriage 23 years ago, my best friend hailed from my home area and was working on her MBA in Texas. Although, we were very close friends, nothing inappropriate ever happened.

Nonetheless, the results could have been much different. I don't think we realized until after I was married how much we really cared for each other.

The truth is that the anointing will make anyone more appealing. So even the anointing to pray can generate an attraction that can go over the limits. Remember, the devil would love nothing better than to contort something good into a disgrace within the body of Christ.

With that said, my answer to the young lady went like this: There are only 2 questions that have to be answered here.

The First is, What is the Spirit of God saying to you about this relationship? The Second is, does what you are hearing from God, conform to His Word? They must be in agreement.

Regardless, of how they may proceed, I thought the following guidelines used by Rick Warren's Saddleback Church were excellent. Even if they choose to proceed they will be well served by following the limits set by these boundries.

Avoiding sexual temptation in the church office

Every church pastor rubbing elbows with an attractive secretary, ministry leader, or vivacious volunteer needs to know they’re bouncing on a high diving board over a pool with no water in it.

If a pastor has begun delicate counseling sessions with the opposite sex that delves into intimate marital issues, it may be time for a referral.

Innocent feelings of fondness or affection for the opposite sex can turn into a torrent of desire with shocking speed – all fueled by an unseen enemy who wants to devour you and your ministry.

I caught a posting by Ed Stetzer, with LifeWay Christian Resources, where he mentions some commonsense boundaries established by Saddleback Church for their staff. Here are Saddleback’s  “Ten Commandments”:

1.  “Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex.

2. “Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.

3. “Thou shalt not kiss any attender of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned.

4. “Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home.

5. “Thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex alone at the office, and thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex more than once without that person’s mate. Refer them.

6. “Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.

7. “Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with an attender of the opposite sex.

8. “Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chatrooms, cards or letters from the opposite sex.

9. “Thou shalt make your co-worker your protective ally.

10. “Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.”

(The first three do not apply to unmarried staff.)
 
I  must admit to having violated several of these commandments, which allowed me to skirt the edges of disaster. Several things saved me from a fall: being in God’s Word daily, my involvement in a men’s accountability group where we had to answer tough questions, the prayers of the saints, and Jesus fighting for me.

With the rise of social media, a possible addition to the eighth commandment could include a warning about becoming Facebook friends with former girlfriends or boyfriends.

 

1 comments
Tim
Tim

I used to think having to tell people this was weird because you would think it was commen sense but after hearing so many stories of people who fall into sin and cheat on their spouse because they didn't apply these guidelines made me realize we shouldn't assume everyone knows to do these things. As I grow in my ministry I constantly have to remind myself of these things especially when you get to a place of comfort and think you would never do something wrong. Thank you for sharing this!

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