An Interview With Chris Burge
Question: What is the biggest issue facing Christian singles today?
Burge: Christian singles are always asking, “Where do I go to meet the right person?” but I believe that’s the wrong perspective. I believe that you have to first become the right person and then God will send the right mate to you. We need to change our focus from, “Where do I go to find people,” to, “How can I become the type of person I would like the Lord to send me?”
Too many singles think that when they say “I do” all of their problems will magically go away, but there’s no wedding cake that strong. I believe wholeheartedly that most marriage problems are simply unaddressed “single problems” that were brought into the marriage with the thinking that marriage would solve them. In reality, marriage only amplifies existing problems.
So many people have expectations that marriage is going to give them something that only their relationship with Christ can give them. God can use a person to bless us, but only God can heal us of our deepest hurts. When people look for another person to heal them, they put unfair expectations on that person—expectations which that other person was never designed to fulfill. Too many singles are looking for marriage to provide what only a close relationship with the Lord can provide. God will never give us anything to replace our need for His Presence in our life.
Isaiah 54:5 says, “Your Maker is your husband” (NKJV). I believe God views how we treat Him as singles as an indicator for how we’ll treat our spouse-to-be. For example, if we won’t spend time with God as a single, what makes Him think that we’ll be selfless in a marriage covenant? If we don’t have sexual integrity as a single, what makes God think we will have it in a covenant? Why would God give His best in marriage to someone who hasn’t shown himself or herself faithful as a single?
Question: Why is this issue about Christian singles so important today?
Burge: Without question, pastors have underestimated the percentage of singles in their church. The census bureau has reported that the number of people getting married over the age of 30 has quadrupled over the last 25 years. And with the high divorce rate, there are those who are referred to as “single again.” The Church’s mindset is that singles are just a small population, but pastors would be shocked to know how big the group really is.
A second reason why it is very important is because many single people desire to be married, and when their dream seems as though it is being deferred, they start engaging in very unhealthy behavior to medicate their frustration. So unless churches speak directly to the issues of this growing population, singles will continue to engage in unhealthy behavior.
Question: Since statistics say that singles account for half of the Church population, what can the Church do to more effectively minister to them?
Burge: The Church must first realize that singles face a wide variety of complex issues, and then the Church must help singles address those issues in godly ways. Generally, the Church thinks the only two issues that singles need to have addressed are, “No premarital sex” and “Don’t be unequally yoked.” Both of those are true, but they are far from the totality of what singles are grappling with today. They grapple with loneliness, finances, fulfillment, and a whole plethora of issues. Churches have to open their minds and deal with the panorama of singlehood that today’s Christian singles face
Question: What advice would you give to someone who is “single again”?
Burge: My advice to the person who is “single again” is to really ask himself or herself what went wrong the first time, because lessons that aren’t learned are destined to be repeated. Even if a person was cheated on, I would still ask if there were any warning signals he or she ignored—or if he or she originally violated inner peace just for the sake of getting married.
Question: What life experiences led you to write His Rules?
Burge: The book is a composite of issues that have been raised during meetings where I have spoken—issues that churches aren’t answering. Plus, being single is a topic I know a lot about because it’s in my face every week as a single man.
One thing I’m grateful for is that when people read my book, they say they are blessed by how biblical it is. That was important to me, because a lot of great speakers and leaders out there have moved away from the Bible and more toward psychology.
Question: Your book has 15 rules singles should follow. What is one of the most important rules?
Burge: Cleaning house. Ask yourself, Who am I when no one is looking? The healthier you are, the less needy you are. When you’re needy, you idealize the other person and have blinders on. You want so much to be in a relationship that you will ignore character flaws and checks from the Holy Spirit. But when you don’t “need” someone, you can take a more objective look.
Question: How will the knowledge a reader gains from this book as a single help him or her when he or she is married?
Burge: The most important thing this book will teach you is how to utilize this time of being a single to prepare for marriage. You can’t overprepare for the covenant of marriage. Also, this book will benefit singles because even if you never get married, you will become so healthy from engaging in the process that’s outlined in His Rules that you’ll be able to make a tremendous contribution to the Kingdom of God. A lot of singles are not working on themselves, and they’re not doing anything for the Kingdom. You should be so busy fulfilling the call of God on your life as a single that God has to interrupt you to get married.
Question: How did RHEMA Bible Training Center help you get to where you are today?
Burge: I learned so much from RHEMA. First, the standard of excellence that the ministry espouses and promotes. The second thing is the faithfulness of Pastor Kenneth Hagin and Mrs. Lynette Hagin—and also seeing their humanity. I was able to interact with Pastor Hagin as a “regular guy.” Plus, the third-year pastoral program helped prepare me for the practical side of ministry, giving me training that I use now. Finally, all of the godly examples I had in the deans and instructors.
Question: Do you have any final thoughts for the singles regarding this topic?
Burge: To singles, I would say, “This is one of the most unique seasons of your life—be productive for the Kingdom and explore interests and hobbies you are able to have without the constraints of marriage. While you’re preparing for marriage, take advantage of this time. Realize that you’ll never have the opportunity to repeat this season, so maximize it for the glory of God!”