4 Things You Can Do as a Dating Couple to Live On Mission

couple on a date
(© OlsenMatt (iStockphoto.com))
Are you dating someone right now? When you both love Jesus and want to honor Him with every single area of your lives, it makes sense that you are wondering how to use dating to His glory too.
And it's so possible. Are you surprised that God is interested in this? He cares deeply about dating because He is wild over you, so your heart is His investment. This season of life can be used very intentionally for the Great Commission if you're willing and ready for some steps of faith.  
Here are just a few ideas to get you started in using dating on mission:
1. Serve Together
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Gal. 5:13-14).
Jesus was always serving people—physically, spiritually, emotionally. Although you probably won't be healing lepers anytime soon, let's follow in those very clear footsteps. As Paul spurs us on in Galatians 5, get to work and start loving your neighbors up!
When Ryan, my now husband, and I were dating, he planned a memorable date to an inner-city homeless shelter. We served a meal and visited with dozens of people who were without a home.  It encouraged and strengthened us to see each other loving our neighbors.
2.  Share the Gospel Together
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Pet. 3:15).
Two of my very greatest friends, Hannah and Daniel, are gospel-sharing powerhouses. Oh man, they are just so good at it. I can't recall every detail, but basically these two decided they wanted to share the gospel with any couple they had dinner with. Amazing, right?
They intentionally invited friends over for dinner to one of their apartments, shared a meal, and when the Spirit prompted, they clearly presented their hope found in Jesus with the other couple. It was not awkward, and they used simple transition questions to steer the conversation intentionally. 
This is the perfect example of living the Great Commission as a dating couple!
3.  Pray Together
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).
It's no secret that prayer is super powerful, and Jesus was a huge fan of it. When you're dating, prayer will be a foundation as a couple and individually.
So, why pray?  
To ease anxiety (inevitable in dating sometimes, right?). To figure out God's future plans for you as a couple. To give you wisdom in your dating journey. To continue strengthening your personal relationship with God. And for strength to remain sexually pure. Important!
Prayer is legit for a million other reasons, but these are just the top contenders. When we seek God, He promises to hear and act.
4.  Influence to Encourage
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thess. 5:11).
Dating can be twisted by our culture as something shallow, or it can even be used selfishly. But strive to redeem it! Use social media, a blog or whatever you can within your unique influence to encourage others in the dating journey. 
Brag about each other's kindness or giftings in your status updates. Blog about what you're learning from Jesus as a couple. Or tweet about a fun servant-minded date you are on (see #1).
People love to be encouraged. And you never know you who you are influencing eternally. Standing out as a couple of encouragement and Jesus focus will spark questions and be a ministry to many more than you can dream.
So, rock your dating experience to the glory of God. He is invested and wants to see it used purposefully. I'll be praying for this wild ride you're on to use dating with purpose and that you both are a light to so many.
"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4:12).
Reprinted by permission from Missional Women (www.missionalwomen.com). Carly Decker is a husband-swooning, health-inspired, simplicity-loving Jesus follower. Connect with Carly at ryandcar.blogspot.com.

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