Singles seem to be getting the short end of the stick in Christian churches and are often marginalized, shamed, and literally left alone. The Marginalization of Singles in Church – What is the Solution to This?
Becky, found SSB through someone’s link and responded to an old article on singles: Singles in the Church: Treated with Respect and Dignity?
I want this place to be a “sounding board” where my readers can have a voice and express their concerns and so I asked Becky if I could repost her words in a new article.
Since blogging and hearing the voices of singles, I have been keeping my eyes and ears open to how churches treat them and it is troubling to see the way singles are marginalized, especially when we see that Jesus and Paul and so many key figures in Scripture were singles. Why do we allow this to continue? What can we do to help remedy this situation? ~Julie Anne
I also am single, served in my church and in a women’s Bible study for years. I don’t mind doing my share of serving but I do resent the fact that others think I have ‘extra time’ to serve and that simply is not true. Since there is no one else to help me at home or help pay for bills I have no choice but to work full-time and take care of the house, car, and everything myself as best as I can.
I did so much obliging and serving that I neglected my own needs for years. The state of my own home reflects this. I became completely worn out and embittered by that.
I finally took some steps down because I was so worn and was too easily angered.
I still serve and help out in various ways just not to the extent as before.
And as for getting help to meet a christian mate, I would really like that but for some reasons churches are reluctant to do this. Anybody have any ideas why that is? We come to church to grow in faith and for spiritual insight in regards to drawing closer to God, looking forward to our heavenly future, but also to find hope for our earthly future which for many would include marriage.
And that brings up another point, have you also noticed that in many churches today there are all these women only Bible studies and men only Bible studies? I feel like they are keeping us separated so that we can’t mingle and get to know a potential christian mate. And that really hurts. beckyg1003
212 thoughts on “The Marginalization of Singles in Church – What is the Solution to This?”
I hope it’s okay to comment here as a married person. I find it alarming that we now hear more about what pastors and bloggers think about this or that rather than what God thinks. We must be careful not to confuse them. I’ve done it myself and felt a lot of shame and it affected me spiritually. If a pastor says that you have pride in your virginity, I must ask if God thinks so? If you have stumbled and fallen, does God forgive but still expect that you will repent? Singleness is great! This is well noted in the Bible. Marriage is equally celebrated. We can not confuse man’s opinion and God’s. We live for God. Don’t feel bad about that!!! We have a very sexualize culture and I fear we are very reactive in our churches rather than letting God’s word speak for itself and defend itself.
My good friend is a single in her 50’s never married. At this point, I don’t think she wants marriage. Nevertheless, she doesn’t even go to church because of the way singles are treated. It breaks my heart for her. I think all of you make great points about how isolated you feel and I want to affirm your feelings. You all are loved and cherished for being you!! I, personally, am so sorry that church life is made difficult because of your singleness. This is not how it should be.
I’d like to speak to the segregated bible studies and women’s events. I would like this topic discussed further. Why is this happening? I have opinions and speculation, but I’d like to know the real reasons. For me particularly, I came away feeling like I was not allowed to speak or converse with the opposite sex in ANY way at all. The only males I should be in contact with for the rest of my life are my husband, brother, or dad. Other than that, I should only be around women.
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Want to know what to do? Give NO MONEY to to any organization in which you are marginalized – including the church! My pastor is so cold and rude that he will actually come up to a person I am speaking with, completely ignore me, and start talking to the person, completely ignoring me and interrupting the conversation! And other elders in the church do this as well- repeatedly! U know what I do: I don’t give a dime to this church anymore! Treat this as u would treat any organization that treats u like u are invisible: whatever the reason! When the pastor’s salary cannot be paid, u will have the opportunity to say why!!! Unfortunately, money talks- even in church…!
ater yrs of being single in church. I am tired of being today’s leaper. cards, alter flowers are nice, but don’t make me feel supported. I don’t go to church events anymore. i do volunteer in the thrift store.serve other ways. I have been attending church, because it s too lonely.
The church serves christ was single , yet singles are today s leapers!
Those who are alone , seem to \have little value rto the church!
For some reason I came across this post and discussion thread over the weekend, and it’s interesting that someone posted here last month.
I have an update from one of the comments I posted six years ago. The pastor I mentioned in that comment accepted a call to another church as soon as he returned from sabbatical, so I never got to talk to him regarding my suggestion. Ironically, he returned as a guest preacher on March 8 of this year, the last Sunday we met for in-person services prior to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Our longtime senior pastor retired last year; he was replaced by a never-married man in his 30’s. I was hoping that would improve the standing of singles in our church. So far, that hasn’t been the case. However, they are seeking to fill a newly created position, director of family ministries. Sigh.
A few weeks ago the new senior pastor posted an online devotional with plenty of platitudes about how the church should care for the lonely and how God sets the lonely in families. Yeah, right. Thanks for the laugh, pastor. Although I frankly don’t find the situation humorous.
What? What does that even mean?
I hope all the singles are doing ok amidst the pandemic, it can get lonely. I’m newly single (like, yesterday lol) and this isn’t a great time to be dating but i’m reaching out to friends and family. Take Care all.
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Lea, the statement about God setting the lonely (or solitary, depending on the translation) into families is a reference to Psalm 68:6. In practice, I haven’t found that to be the case at the Christian communities in which I’ve participated over the years.
No, this isn’t a great time to be dating. How is it even possible to meet anyone, even for someone like me who’s considered an essential worker? The only dates I’ve had in recent years have been the kind I purchase in the produce section at the grocery store.
Singles are totally marginalized in church because churches IDOLIZE “family”. Everything revolves around children and the babymakers (or money makers). So instead of creating an atmosphere where everyone is welcomed, if you don’t fit into the” babymaker” group you are marginalized. They spend thousands on children’s church, and children’s programs, youth programs, high school… but ok once you get out of high school or in some cases college — well oh well you aren’t “accepted” or “fit in” unless you are married. Then if you are married you better be having kids real soon or something is “wrong” with you. It is all bollocks! I’ve seen it first hand. The worst part is if you did ever want to marry the church does ZERO to help you meet anyone. Their answer is always “volunteer more” — um excuse me, I’m a working adult, I really cannot spend hours hoping that someone notices me or even says two words to me by forced volunteering in hopes to meet someone.. Oh and I did that and met NO ONE. The reality is that churches are filled with many many singles. These singles are not seen as full members, truly, they are not allowed to “lead” in anything (since in my church only married people can “lead” in any capacity). Yet I see many singles tha tknow more than the married couples leading, or are better organized. These people are not pastors that lead say a cell group, so who cares if they are married members or not?!!! Singles are treated like inept children!.
I totally agree with all you site in the article above. My church I has plenty of activities for the young or professional singles or married couples like marriage night couples out or other things like that. But nothing for singles over 40. Which caused me to go to a different Church that was starting up a single group. I so reluctant to have more groups for the singles over 40 other Bible studies the whole Bible studies but when it comes to activities or like a dance very few churches in the Phoenix area has anything to offer. We like to do things and Phoenix used to have Christian coffee shops and even like a little nightclub shirt for Christmas but they won’t stop so bottom line is this if you can give me some more information or ideas that I can activate my single group I really really appreciate that thank you
I just turned 70. I became a Christian when I was 29. I have never been married. I decided to “let go of the marriage idol” and spend all of my time serving the Lord, instead of looking for a mate. I found that as a single, and a workaholic for Jesus, I did not fit into the church and was forced out. I tried many many times to go to pastors and ask for help, and was brushed off. I am scared to death of God. If this is the way he treats his friends, I would hate like heck to be one of this enemies.
Hi Dennis, your story breaks my heart. The modern Evangelical institutional church is a far cry from what Jesus was trying to build. I was caught up in the system and it abused me when I didn’t fit the neat little mold they had for me.
I now read the gospels with new eyes. The “Pharisees” that Jesus yelled at and whipped, those are the Evangelical leaders of today. They are interested in power and fame, not in doing right, unless they get more power and fame in doing right. Jesus hung with the people like you that were on the fringes of the church and society. He showed them love that they could not get from the religion of the day. In that way, Jesus is the representation of the love of God.
I have a lot of baggage to work through, because likewise, the god I was taught was angry and spiteful, but that’s just not who he is! That’s pure Machiavellian fear tactics to get money in the offering plate and make the pastor feel important. If God wants to teach you through his Spirit and love you unconditionally, where’s the power and prestige for the pastor?