Is it a good idea to date a non-Christian, and hope they become a believer?
Missionary dating is when a single Christian dates a non Christian with the intention/hope of converting them to Christianity, and possibly scoring a Christian spouse in the process.
The problems with missionary dating
Putting it frankly, missionary dating is a bad idea. But not everyone agrees with me. For example, I've heard it suggested that good looking girls should date non Christian guys to save them from hell. I can see several problems with this:
1) Firstly, if you’re dating someone, there’s only two possible outcomes: you break up or you get married. If you break up, this can be a time of heartache and disappointment. If you know from the start it’s not going to work out, save yourself the pain and not go out.
2) If you get married, it means that you’ve decided to join together and spend the rest of your life together. This means you want to be heading in the same direction. It’s all well and good to think you can convince your non Christian partner to come along to church and believe in Jesus, but they’re going to be trying equally hard to convert you to their life style. And then you have a choice: commit to spending time with your boyfriend/girlfriend or commit to spending time with Jesus. You may think you are strong enough to stay true to Jesus, but do you really want to be putting yourself in such a situation?
3) The third and larger problem is the manipulative nature of missionary dating. Your non-Christian boyfriend or girlfriend may think you’re dating because you get on well together, but really, you have an ulterior motive. If you were the guy on the other end of that, wouldn’t you feel used? It's best for us to be honest and upfront about who we are & what we expect out of our relationships.
The final word on Missionary Dating
Missionary Dating is a terrible idea. It’s not loving to the non Christian as they are either being manipulated or going into the relationship under false pretenses. And ultimately, it puts the Christian in a dangerous situation where they have to choose between being faithful to God or “following their heart”. And if you’re following your heart and it’s not leading you towards Jesus, then it ain’t God who’s at work in your life.
For more thoughts on dating non-Christians, check out this article: "flirt to convert".