To find a spouse, is it OK to change churches?
Getting married is something I feel is right, and so I guess my question is, would it be right to consider moving churches?
I am also considering a job move anyway, so if that happened, I would obviously look at moving churches if the job was in a new place.
I guess my question is this: Is it wise to seek other places to worship based just on looking for a bigger church and hence a bigger chance of finding a spouse? Or should this only be considered if moving locations, too?
Seeking out a new place to worship to expand your potential spouse pool is fine, even encouraged, but with a couple of obvious stipulations.
First, if you have a strong sense that God has called you to your current place of worship for this season for His purposes in your life or in the lives of others (for instance, if you’re in a place of leadership), then obviously you wouldn’t want to disobey that calling. If that’s the case, you can trust God to provide for you in every way, including a spouse if and when the time is right.
Note that being an involved and active member of a body of believers does not necessarily mean you have a specific calling to that community. It might just mean you’re doing what every believer is supposed to be doing — living in community with other believers. That’s a good thing. Bring it before God in prayer and get His blessing first, then you can go to the next stipulation.
Second, you asked if you should seek another place to worship based just on size and therefore its higher population of single Christian women. The answer to that is, no, not if you plan to spend much time there. You should not find a church with only one criteria: single, female population.
It’s important that your church meet some basic non-negotiables. You obviously want to make sure the doctrine being taught and the theology believed in by leadership is solid and that you agree with it.
In addition to doctrine, you’ll want to see if that doctrine is actually translating into life and fruit in the body. A high number of attendees does not necessarily mean that the church is alive and teaching sound doctrine. It’s important for your own growth and for the potential mate you’d be seeking there that all are being equipped and encouraged to make progress in knowing, following and worshipping Christ.
So, yes, I have no problem positioning yourself in a place that might make for increased opportunities for meeting marriage-minded singles, but there are more ways to do that than changing churches.
It sounds like you’re past the summer job season of life, but for other readers who find marriage-minded singles in short supply and who have some flexibility with summer employment, I suggest looking for work that puts you around single believers. I met my wife at a summer Christian camp where we both worked, and I’ve lost count of the number of marriages that have come just from that one summer camp. It’s not the main reason any of us worked there, but it turned out to be a great benefit!
Also, don’t be shy about getting help and using your network of friends and family to get introduced to girls they think might be a good fit for you. Even in your small church, there are probably people who have friends from work or other churches who have daughters to whom they could introduce you. Let them know you’re hoping to meet a marriage-minded girl who loves Jesus and that you’d appreciate any help. You never know how God might use such a network.
Finally, many churches or parachurch ministries sponsor outreaches or missions trips that welcome non-members to join them in the outreach or event. Joining one of those outreaches or trips might be a way to be around other singles without changing churches. In other words, you could remain in your church while taking advantage of some of the opportunities at larger churches if they welcome that.
Whether you change churches or just get a little more creative about being around more single believers, keep bringing your desire for marriage before the Lord and ask Him to guide your steps. Ask Him to help you keep your motives properly ordered, and He’ll do what’s best for you and what glorifies Him. That’s His promise.
Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.