What godly eldership looks like with a 30-something single man...
(Tim) Kevin Offner is a longtime friend who does grad student and faculty ministry in the Washington D.C. area under Inter-Varsity. Recently, a Christian magazine known for its love for heterodoxy and its dabbling in heresy shocked the world by publishing a piece that promoted early marriage. Flying in the face of the magazine's egalitarian feminist commitments and subscribers, fur flew in the big kerfuffle.
Which brought Kevin to the defense of marriage, and what I thought a very sweet testimony to God's kindness in his own life leading him to repentance. He kindly allowed me to post his testimony here. (He's responding to one of the comments posted under aforesaid article.)
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I’ve never met you but found your comments here good and helpful.
I don’t have much to add other than that I thought the author over-emphasized the sexual in the article (very good that this was discussed but a bit overkill, I thought).
But his general, somewhat radical, thesis is, I think, spot-on: we really do need to be encouraging *earlier* marriages these days. Our churches should be intentionally counter-cultural here. In the 1950s this was all the rage, and perhaps the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s rightly reacted some to this. But the pendulum has swung way to the other side now. It should be rare, rather than the norm, for 30-somethings to be single.
My special concern here is with the 30-something single male...
Over and over again I meet these (yes, godly) men and, after talking for awhile, I’ll bring up dating. “Any women in your life these days?” And invariably the answer is something very casual. Yes, he’d like to be married some day but no big rush, lots of other things on his plate, etc. “If it happens, it happens,” he ho-hums. Or then there’s the proverbial, “Whatever!”
I’m so grateful for the church elder in my life who met with me when I was 33 and very active in my church. He asked me, “Kevin, do you think God is calling you to life-long singleness?” When I said no, he then asked, “So you think He is calling you to be married?” I said yes.
He then said, “Well, what are you doing about it?” I think I said something like, “Whatever". He then gently but firmly confronted me: “Kevin, you’re not 23, you’re 33. And if you think God is calling you to marriage, you need to be moving in this direction: praying daily, intentionally going to where marriageable women are, asking advice from older Christians you respect, etc. It most likely won’t ‘just happen’—you’re the man, hard-wired by God to be the pursuer, so get out there and start taking some initiative.”
I was never the same again! And I got engaged and married soon after.
Single men know all about how to write resumes and look for a job. They know how to look for housing, find a good church, volunteer for service projects, etc, etc, etc. They need to be encouraged to make moves towards marriage as well. And not just “date around”—they need to be very intentionally looking for a wife. And sooner rather than later.
Godly single women are longing for men to take some initiative. We, the church, need to create the sub-culture where it’s only natural—and expected—for single men to be moving towards women in marriage…and fight against the “whatever” culture.