Can God use online dating to help two prayerful Adventists find a lifelong companion? For an increasing number of church members that seems to be the case, according to the site AdventistDating.com, which I manage.1
Online dating has become a norm all over the world. According to some estimations, about 20 percent of current serious relationships were formed online to some extent. A 2019 Stanford University study found out that in the United States, online dating accounted for 39 percent of relationships.2 It’s a trend, experts believe, that has gained even greater prevalence given COVID-19-related restrictions.
Established in the mid-2000s, AdventistDating.com has created a way for Adventist singles who long for something more than their local church friendships to connect with the larger Adventist world. One of the several advantages of online dating is that people can get to know each other through conversations and video chat before they meet. It’s easier to say goodbye online than in person. Users can ask meaningful questions and give thought-out responses.
Adventist Dating has some innovative profile-matching options. Our matching system is such that if one member does not meet another member’s criteria or vice versa, the two profiles will not even show up in each other’s searches.
For some people the thought of signing up for online dating can feel demoralizing, but even though there has traditionally been a stigma to saying “We met online,” that sentiment has largely gone away. Members quickly learn that online dating through an Adventist network enlarges their scope of the world. It is especially vital to those who live in more isolated areas or communities with a minimal Adventist presence—which often means that single Adventists are an extremely small sliver of the Adventist population there. The site is also proving helpful for busy professionals seeking a committed relationship in hopes of establishing an Adventist home.
We regularly receive requests from members to have their accounts removed because they’re now engaged or married to someone they had met on AdventistDating.com. This includes pastors, other professionals, and one 85-year-old “Adam” who has met his “Eve.”
In 2016 we decided to do a complete revamp of the Adventist Dating website and helped our existing members migrate to the new platform. We included additional screening procedures—for example, some basic test questions that most members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church would know. These knowledge tests help our moderators process user account requests and ensure that the dating site remains exclusive to Adventists. While the test questions and detailed profile setup do not completely eliminate “catfish” (a colloquial term used to describe those who are not who they claim to be), they do add effective layers to the screening process. Each user’s review and approval are done by a live Adventist Dating administrator and can take several hours.
Since our 2016 launch on the new platform, more than 25,000 additional members have joined. The total number of active profiles, including those who migrated to the new site plus brand-new members, is currently more than 27,000.
We get stories of happy matches all over the world. Here is what one couple said:
We met at the AdventistDating.com site four years down the line. It took God’s arm to make our dream a reality, since he thought I was a scammer. We faced lots of challenges, but we kept faith in God. Hebrews 11 was the [Bible chapter] we clung to until the sun shone on us on October 9, when he came to my arms. He left all for me! We thanked God!
We were later united in a church wedding on December 8, in the presence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost! Great thanks to the Lord and the AdventistDating.com service team. I share this story to inspire other Adventist singles worldwide who are looking for Adventist marriage partners.
Here is another story from Shane Linden, the lead counselor at PostumCafe.com:
I am Shane, and this is Mel, and we met on AdventistDating.com. We dated for 19 months before we got married, and we used online dating to chat. This allowed me to take Mel to the store with me, to take her to church, and [we] even went on a virtual vacation [together] to the Grand Canyon with my kids.
Shane was in Texas, United States, and Mel was in Lebanon when they got to know each other on Adventist Dating. Before they were married, they made sure to meet each other’s children and receive their support.3
We provide tips on how to be safe online. Just as there are people with ulterior motives in our physical communities, they exist in our online communities as well.
I’m delighted to report that the vast majority of users have a very positive experience. Many members have established an Adventist home and are more involved than ever in the mission of our church. We hear success stories every day and remain committed to providing our users with a fun, fulfilling, and thoroughly Christian experience in the world of online dating.
Stan Jensen is communication director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada.