So, what’s it like being single in church and what is the church view of singles in their congregation. As I look back at the different churches I have been to and recall how many had singles ministries, how many acknowledged the need for recognising that they had singles in the congregation, the answer is surprisingly none. I didn’t see or miss it at the time but looking back there was never a time the word single was part of the church vocabulary. The Word, of course, was almost always at the forefront of leadership’s agenda but the church view of singles has been little mentioned or acknowledged. I saw youth ministries, marriage ministries, women’s ministries and men’s ministries but rarely did I come across a Singles' ministry.
Don't Mention the S Word
How the church views their singles wholly depends on the leadership recognising and wanting to embrace singles in their midst. Unfortunately many leaders are of the attitude that waiting on God is also not mentioning the word single as you will be perceived as committing idolatry by wanting to be married, and I’m sure some of us are but is that because we are left to our own devices of figuring out how to deal with the many physical and emotional needs we go through.
Many singles can feel very lonely and isolated and the church is the one place we could feel even more single and be even more isolated when we step into the church doors. Single women can be viewed as a threat to married couples and not treated as family members but as second class citizens as we tend to be ignored. If the church view of singles does not change it could be a time bomb for singles looking elsewhere for that acceptance ending in biblical consequences. So what answers can we find from our leaders and from our own relationship with the Word and with God?
Many leaders of course first look in the Word of God for answers and what they see is the apostle Paul dedicated to serving God with a very important mission.
Paul says we should learn to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves which is good advice and one that I encourage singles to embrace, but does that mean we should not address the issues we inevitably encounter at different times in our lives, issues of sexual temptation, loneliness and even bitterness at our singleness, issues we don’t seem to be supported by the church.
I have come to the conclusion the church finds it difficult to find answers for the single plight, one that they shun away from as they have no answers. Remember most of our leaders and pastors are married and have been married for many years so they really don’t know what to say to a bleeding single. Also it is much easier to give a biblical scripted view of seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the rest shall be added. How many times have I heard that believing I must not be seeking God’s kingdom even though it is seeking Him that has kept me in church, in Christ and still single.
To change the church view of singles will take a change in attitude in acknowledging that healthy singles aids in a healthy church. Singles are not always pining to get married but we sometimes do need to be acknowledged, remembered or supported in those times when our singleness hurts. When something hurts it need comforting.