The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
What happens if you get into a relationship with someone who is a Christian and then starts to have serious doubts about it a few months down the road?
Well there are a couple of pretty obvious answers to this question. The first one is talk to the person you are dating about how you are feeling and the doubts you are having. And then, depending on how strong your doubts are and how that conversation, there is a possibility you should break up with them. Those answers are obvious to the point that what we really need to look at is why you seem to be trying to avoid them.
There are not a lot of things about relationships that are universal, but one is that communication is of the utmost importance. If you can’t talk to someone about real feelings that you are having, unpleasant as they may be, then you cannot have a functional relationship with that person. The plan of just waiting for your doubts and fears to resolve themselves is something we have all tried, and it never works. I know the conversation will be uncomfortable, but life’s like that sometimes.
Having doubts does not necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. I know that people who write movies and people who write Christian dating books would have you believe that once love happens, there is never a moment of anything but rainbows and gentle music. Unfortunately, relationships that aren’t scripted involve real people and real people have moods, and insecurities, and doubts. Talking it out is the only way to resolve it, which is the only chance you have at the relationship moving forward in a positive direction.
And while we are on the subject of wildly unrealistic attitudes some Christians have about dating, a break up is not a failure of you two as human beings, it does not mean that you have given away a piece of your heart that you will never get back, or any other nonsense. A break up means that you made the determination that a relationship wasn’t working for you and you decided to end it. That is a good thing, that is a mature thing. Dating can lead to marriage, but agree to date someone is not some engaged to be engaged to be engaged promise.
Break ups suck, and they hurt, but they are not sinful. We Christians, as a culture, have a huge problem with confrontation. There are people who would rather everybody just be miserable in silence forever, than someone say something that will may hurt someone’s feelings, but will allow us to move on. A couple of years ago, I was dating a girl I was absolutely, out of my mind, head over heels about. She broke up with me. It wrecked me, but it didn’t make her a bad person. It made her a person who respected herself, and me, enough to not want to be in a relationship that wasn’t working for her. I could see past the hurt to respect why she made that choice.
Niceness is not next to godliness. If you want out of the relationship and don’t say anything out of guilt and fear, you will be shortchanging both yourself and your significant other. That is neither nice nor godly.
-Matt from The Bridge
Anonymous asked: I am very involved with my church, and I love the people there. But the thing is, I think there are some things that the leadership, especially the youth pastor, could be doing better. He’s not like doing anything wrong, he’s just not getting the kids fired up the way he could. How do I bring the subject up in a way that he will listen to me?
I answered: Don’t. This thing you are thinking about doing, do not do it. I get how you are feeling, it is a feeling that permeates youth. I know you are on fire for the Lord and you want everyone else to be where you are. That is not a bad thing, it’s a great thing. The idea of telling someone in a position of responsibility that they are dropping the ball, based on your zero years of experience, is not a good use of that energy.
Here is the thing, God put him in that position. That is true of every position, the Bible talks about the authorities placed over you. That does not mean he is good at his job, but even if he is not, it is true. And since you say that he’s not doing anything immoral or wrong, there is not anything to confront him on (which would not be your job anyway). Hebrews 13:17 says: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” So if he is dropping the ball with the ministry he has been entrusted with, that is going to be between him and God. And you are called to make his life easier. Luckily, there is a way to do that and help ease your ministry energy.
That’s right, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start doing something. You want kids to be fired up, time to start doing the firing! (that turn of phrase kind of fell apart halfway through, let’s all just move on okay). Tell him you would love to help, and start doing some stuff outside what is set up already, with his permission. Start taking kids to lunch, playing frisbee golf, or if you are a girl…pinteresting? is that a thing? Invest in one on one relationships, that’s what gets kids (or anyone) fired up. Not a super sweet worship band or the neato glasses frames the youth guy wears. Nothing wrong with those things, but if those are all you get you don’t have much. You might find out that this guy’s job is tougher than you think. You will at least have gained some experience to shape your ministry opinions and give them some weight. It will be harder, and better than you think. Got get ‘em.
-Matt from The Bridge