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I’m joining Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch as they discuss the topic of singles in the church. I’ve learned a lot in this year of blogging and covered at least four stories relating to being single in the church. Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have been from reading the words of my readers as they share their stories. My eyes have been opened. Thank YOU!! If you are single, I encourage you to check out the articles on Wartburg Watch. Be sure to read the comments. You will definitely feel the love there!
- Why Singles over 35 Are Saying Good-bye
- Teaching ministries directed toward couples with children
- Church activities and fellowships that disregard singles
- Few opportunities for single women to develop ministry gifts
- An unrealistic expectation that singles have more time for service
- Few opportunities to find a Christian mate
- Neglect of those who are divorced
- Lack of compassion when counseling singles
—Julia Dunn, Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing and What to Do about It
And one of the things that was the most helpful to me in recognizing and understanding what I was dealing with was reading other people’s stories online.
A couple months ago, I wrote an article More Background Info on the Movie: UnMarried and singles left some great comments. Here is one that came in close to the time I switched blogs and probably most people did not get a chance to read it, so I wanted to give it a wider audience because I’m sure that stillfrustrated speaks for so many.
stillfrustrated December 27, 2012 11:55 AM
I stumbled upon this today and wow, it’s nice to know there are other single people out there in the church that feel the same way you do and have had similar experiences.
I attended a church for several years and began to notice that every time we had prayer in the services, it always specifically called attention to the marriages and families.
After listening to that for literally several years, I’ll admit I became frustrated (being a life-long single person) and approached a member of the leadership to ask why the single people in the church were not valued like the married people and families were.
I explained that it was a single person (me) who drove to the church at 4:00 a.m. on Sundays to either turn on the heat or A/C to ensure the married people and families had a comfortable environment to worship in. It was a single person that drove back to the church again before service began to set up the fellowship/reception area. It was a single person that volunteered to set up communion so the pastor didn’t have to arrive early to do that. It was a single person that was there to open up the church on Wed. nights and get things ready for the mid-week service. (And ironically enough, there were people who attended the church, married with children, who lived on the church property and never offered to walk across the parking to lot to help with any of this.)
I asked him the question, Are not single people entitled to the same respect and dignity as a human being as married people or families? I wasn’t looking for recognition for my actions, I just wanted to know that I mattered as a human being.
To his credit, he apologized for the oversight and confessed he’d never really thought about it since he had been married for so long and a parent as well. After that, everyone in the church was included in corporate prayer.
Having grown up in the church and being over 50 years old, I know how most of the churches I’ve been in view single people. You are incomplete and need to be married/fixed. They form “singles ministries” that are more often than not, attempts at match-making. That’s the church’s way of dealing with single people.
My Bible says that I am complete in Christ, He is the one who completes me, not another imperfect human being. If it were true that another person completes me, we wouldn’t have all the divorce in the church. For the record, I’m completely in agreement with marriage as the Bible defines it, but I don’t see it as an idol that is to be worshipped.
I also find it interesting to note that Jesus Himself defines the greatest example of love in John 15:13 and nowhere in that verse does it allude to spouse, children, other family members, but rather friend. It seems to suggest the 1st point, marriage is temporal, not eternal.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.