Passion City Church of Washington, D.C. was planted a little over a year ago, but its pastor, Ben Stuart, was inspiring young people before making the big move from Texas to the nation’s capital. He formerly served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries, “a weekly Bible study attended by thousands of college students on the campus of Texas A&M.” While serving there, Ben spoke on a topic he saw of great importance to many of the young people he worked with: dating.
He gave a series of sermons and lessons aimed at college students on the subject of singleness, dating, engagement, and marriage. They have since been turned into podcasts and a book: Single, Dating, Engaged, Married[. Through these talks, he outlines the ways to have successful and God-centered relationships in the modern world.
Along with thousands of other young people, I have found Pastor Ben Stuart’s advice on dating and relationships extremely effective and inspiring. He walks through the core difficulties of being single or having one’s heart broken. With compassion and kindness, he doesn’t belittle the heartache and frustration that many people face while on the search for a person to marry.
Within each of the four stages of a relationship, Stuart implores his listeners and readers to understand how important their personal relationship with God is in order to make any dating relationship successful.
He talks about the season of singleness and encourages people to use this time to grow and improve themselves. He reminds his audience that if they do get married and start a family one day, as statistically speaking most of them will, their time will be much more limited than it is when they are single. Now is when they have time to volunteer, expand their minds, improve their relationship with God and be the kind of person that will lead a family well.
He uses the mental image of running after God’s purpose, glancing around and grabbing hold of the other people who are doing the same. His message is this: you have to get our relationship with God right before we can get a relationship with a guy or girl right.
When the season of singleness starts to diminish and we find ourselves in the pool of dating, his advice is to use this in order to “evaluate” one another. Once in a relationship, focus on whether or not you have two main things: “character and chemistry.” He specifically encourages people to see one another in environments of community instead of just the two of you. It’s also important to make sure that your lives are going in the same direction before moving forward.
In his engagement discussion, he talks about the ways in which to discover whether or not the person you are dating is “the one.” He details the ways in which to navigate family emotions during an engagement process. In regards to discernment about this choice, he says it is important to “sense an internal commitment” or in other words, to ask yourself, “do you want to work through problems with this person?”
Stuart ends with the “picture” of marriage in his talks. The previous three stages culminate in the final task of entering into marriage in a healthy way. He makes the point that anyone can get married, but “in our country, we don’t know how to be married well.” In order to discover the ways in which to have a successful marriage, he goes back to the intent of what marriage was meant to be in the Bible.
Pastor Stuart’s messages on singleness, dating, engagement and marriage are a helpful way in which to discover the healthiest and most life-giving ways to have relationships in our world.
For more information on Pastor Ben Stuart and his church, visit https://passioncitychurch.com/dc/.