By James Losey
If you are a single adult you have probably heard it all before: “Are you really praying and seeking the Lord?"…"When I was your age I was married with children."…"You’re just too picky." Or one of my favorites from Bible College, "Ring by spring or your money back." Don't get me wrong, this is coming from well meaning people most of the time, but after hearing all of these things being said in our American churches it is enough to make a single person feel as if they are a doomed quarantined leper.
Single men and women are often associated with immaturity. It's just something you grow out of when you "grow-up" and get married. That’s when real life starts. For some single men and women this may not be just another small chapter in their life but something that will last years or even a lifetime. Because of this we struggle with our need for companionship and our feelings of loneliness and sometimes depression. We ask ourselves: “Is something wrong with me?”… “Am I of value to my church?”…“Does God look at me the same way as married people?”…“Does God have a true plan for my future and am I truly seeking it?”
From personal experience if you are seeking a pastoral job in the ministry most churches won't even consider you as a candidate if you are single. Just because someone is single it doesn't mean they can't relate to people's struggles. If they are grounded in the word of God it should not matter.
"All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." - 2 Timothy 3:16
Churches are so marriage and family driven (which isn't a bad thing) that we sometimes neglect singles with stacks of programs, classes, books, retreats, small-groups and sermons. Sometimes we feel out of place when most conversations dabble in topics related to marriage and children. The truth is that the single adult population is growing and churches are having a problem adjusting to this shift.
So what are some practical ways the body of Christ can make the growing single population feel included?
1. Pray for us:
Pray that God would use this time to teach us self-control, patience and joy. Pray that God continues to shape us into the image of His son.
2. Invest in our lives:
When was the last time you reached out to a single person? If you are an older man or woman remember, singles need older wiser godly mentors pouring into their lives.
3. Rejoice with them:
It brings me pure joy to hear that a brother or sister in Christ got engaged, married or had a baby, but do we rejoice with our single brother's and sister's when God is doing something great in their life? It might not look as grand as getting married or having a child by our cultural standards, but God is still doing great things in their life and that is worth rejoicing over.
4. Get them involved:
Leaders in the church. Give single people something to do. Let them labor hard for the Lord and in service to the church with the gifts the Lord has given them.
Now I'm not giving singles a free pass or an excuse to say, "Woe, is me!" Singles are equally responsible when it comes to getting involved in their church and actively finding a community group. I would say VGF does a fantastic job at making singles feel welcomed. Most of those in my community group are married or engaged. I don't feel out of place at all and I'm really thankful for the friendships I've developed. As much as I desire marriage I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve the church, which is the family the Lord has given me right now.
In the end your marital status doesn't make you holy or mature. It doesn't matter if you are married, single, rich, poor, male, female, young, old, black or white. We are all sinners who are saved and redeemed by the blood of Christ and we are His body. We are family.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”