What is it like for a single woman over 50 at church? “Rejection is a deep wound.”

Single women, church, rejection, alone, SINK

 

A comment from “Love” came in on an older post and I didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle. This woman’s voice probably represents many women who are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.

6096758500_465ceaa962 single women in church

I wonder if I am the only Christian single, childless, 50-something, woman in the whole world who is not really focused on finding a man to marry. I can relate to other single women who have been made to feel like they have no place of significance in the church. I’ve even being asked not to attend a church that I poured my heart and soul into because the pastor thought “single women are a scourge on the church.”

I am involved in a much more loving church now, but I still feel somewhat isolated not only for being a SINK, but also for being older. Many contemporary churches don’t seem to have a place for older people, especially the very old. There are only a handful of people my age or older (all married), in a large church of 20-30 year olds. I do love the worship services, and take part in women’s bible studies and service projects (because they pretty much have to talk to me then 🙂, but any of the church social activities are just too emotionally painful.  Rejection is a deep wound.


Love’s words show incredible pain: “no place of significance,” isolated, rejection.

She also described spiritual abuse by a pastor who labeled single women as a “scourge on the church.” This makes me sick. That certainly was not a healthy place for anyone!

How can the church do better in this area? Are there any singles over 50 who have some thoughts or ideas to share?

85 comments on “What is it like for a single woman over 50 at church? “Rejection is a deep wound.”

  1. As a SINK male of 45, I can tell you that the church has zero interest for me. I’m not single by choice, but being single at my age is treated like a defect and even a sin in churches. So the hell with church. I *LIKE* sleeping in on Sunday morning, and I don’t miss being around a bunch of petty, nasty, vindictive, small-minded little people at all.

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  2. Make your own community, with like minded friends, to do service work, leisure activities and whatever. Community can be where ever you find it. It doesn’t always have to be in a church.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My former church has moved the traditional service, attended mainly by older people, to 9 a.m. to make room for a second contemporary service. It’s like they’re trying to push older people out.

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  4. Cue Daisy in 3…2…1… 😀

    OK seriously, that idiot pastor is in for a rude awakening one day given the growing numbers of singles of all ages in the Christian population. Churches that cater to married families with children will probably get by in the short term, but it will be interesting to see how the landscape has shifted by mid-century. Too many churches remaining stuck in the 1950s will mean the acceleration of what I call the ‘dechurching’ of America. I don’t just mean active discrimination against singles, but complementarian churches teaching that the married nuclear family is supposed to be the overwhelming norm throughout all of Christian history.

    What Shannon said about churches that schedule their traditional services very early is something I’ve long found annoying. Sorry, but not all younger adults with kids prefer the contemporary style worship. A few of us at least like the older liturgies and wish we could pass that experience on to our children, but it’s much more difficult to get them up that much earlier and to church on time, followed by Sunday school (usually). The assumption that only the old folks like the old ways has been a recurring barrier to finding a church with a reverent liturgy and sacraments that we could actually get to.

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  5. Pardon my ignorance, but could somebody tell me what “SINK” stands for in this context? I couldn’t find any mention of a definition in the post…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m a female SINK myself and have been throughout my entire Christian life (I’m in my late 60s and became a Christian in my late 30s). I haven’t experienced many issues, but it is probably because of my personality. Neither of my churches had specific ministries for me, but I didn’t mind because I’m an extreme introvert. Over the years I have been active in many areas: leadership, planning, finances, decor, teaching, worship and building committee. I have been in small groups with couples and me or with couples and other singles. I’ve always felt included and treasured by my church communities. I have attended evangelical churches that include women in leadership while still holding to a male only eldership. Although I am egalitarian I have felt that my both of my churches have included and welcomed women in many positions even including presenting sermons (on occasion). That said, I’m sure that many have had a different, less positive, experience. I just wanted to include my overall positive experience as a female SINK in an evangelical church.

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  7. I am not past 50. But when I was 40, my church threw me away. I was very involved in Sunday school. That was where I used my gifts, gave love, did something meaningful. And then someone there made it impossible for me to teach.
    As in, when it was my turn to give large group, she just led singing (which happens before large group) for so long that there is no time for large group. She boycotted me in several ways and actually ruined children’s Sunday school in such a way that no teaching to took place. And she told stories about me (nobody wants to tell me what she said) behind my back. I tolerated it all, because Sunday school is important and I can’t leave it to the ruiner under whom there is little to no teaching taking place.
    But then something happened that broke me…
    I recently read a story of a local (to my country) singer who told of being bullied in high school. The day came when he and the bully got into a fist fight. The other children quickly formed a circle to watch. And then something made him give up, which made his arms fall to his sides. It was not the bully’s fists. It was hearing how the whole circle around them was rooting for the bully. That is what happened to me.
    The leaders of the church decided to chase me away from Sunday school. (From what I heard, there was only Sunday normal school classes once in the 6 months after I left. That means that the instigator against me was making Sunday school impossible most of the time.) The church basically felt a married mother who makes Sunday school impossible is better than a single woman who loves to teach Sunday school and is good at it when she gets the chance.
    They got rid of me a month after my dad, who was involved regularly in raising funds for the church, died. And they never, before deciding to chase me out, even honestly talked to me as a fellow Christian about what they expect me to do differently. After that happened, I got no support for my losses (my father, the place I gave love, and the task that gave meaning to my life, within one month), no honest answer about why they got rid of me, no keeping of promises they made. Somehow, they did not want to use my gifts or support me as a person, that was clear.
    When it became clear that this was not an anomaly, that they will give me no answers or support or kindness or a place to use my gifts, I left. To be honest, I have not found any replacement for teaching Sunday School yet. What I most want to do is teach. The closest I get to it now is blogging. But what do I do when my “lessons” are written down, and my other lessons are for people who do not have the reading level to appreciate my lessons if I write it (children)?

    I’ll move on, but I have nothing to move TO…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The previous comment by me was my agreement that rejection is a deep wound.

    “the pastor thought “single women are a scourge on the church.” “

    What??? Does he read the same Bible I do? The one where 1 Cor 7:34 say

    “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.”

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  9. Retha… I think it all worked out. I really do. Where do you see a Sunday school in the Bible? You may as well sleep in ans save yourself some hustle. Please don’t be discouraged serve Him according to his word and don’t pay attention to anything else. Sorry, I do not mean to sound unsympathetic…that’s not my goal.

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  10. I think many churches treating singles like dirt, exploiting them as free slave labor, or completely ignoring them, is pretty bad for anyone who is over age 35.

    You don’t have to be specifically a single age 50 or older to experience discrimination by Christians or churches – churches have real problems with anyone past 30, but seems to get even worse approaching the mid 30s age range, for any singles.

    Being a never-married (as opposed to divorced or widowed) seems to be considered even more “wrong.”

    Also, being childless, especially as a woman, makes you marked, because so many conservative churches, in particular Baptists and evangelicals, associate a woman’s worth only, or primarily, with child-bearing and child-rearing. They have no clue what to do with women who have never married and never had kids.

    As to solutions, churches need to get back to the New Testament’s views of family and singleness (which includes inviting singles in personal family get togethers at various church member homes on weekends or whatever, in allowing singles of both genders to participate in, preach and lead, in churches), but they don’t do that.

    Many churches and Christian book authors, as a matter of fact, penalize single adult ladies and cutting them off from potential fellowship, by warning married men (and their wives) to view single women as threats to marriages. So, single women are not invited over for cups of tea and companionship by anyone who is married. Pastors invoking the silly “Billy Graham rule” are reluctant to meet with or help single ladies.

    In American churches, most Christians take secular, American preferences for marriage and the nuclear family and assume those are God’s intent for all or most people, rather than paying attention to the text which really respects an adult being single and/or childless.

    Paul wrote that one body part cannot say it does not need another, or that one part is lesser than another. An eye cannot say that a foot is useless and stupid.
    However, most churches assume that married couples with kids are THE preferred, most important part of a church or of God’s family, so they either ignore or disrespect anyone who is not married with children. They need to knock that off.

    So many churches are so traditional-family- fixated, I don’t know if I will either bother attending another church ever again.

    If I do attend a church again, it will be to ask for help with practical matters, if I need help (like if my car breaks down, and I can use a lift), because I don’t have a spouse to help me, and most of my blood relations are useless (they expect me to help them but they generally refuse to help me).
    I don’t think I will count on a church to provide friendship, companionship, or emotional support, though. They don’t like to do that for singles.

    I think if you’re an adult, childless single, you’re on your own, as sad as that may be.
    You’re in the same position as Non-Christian single adults who are lonely and feeling excluded, who find connection and belonging in society by joining other (Non Church, Non religious) groups.

    Some (Non Christian) adults take up continuing education courses to fill their time or to make friends, they date around to get a mate, use MeetUp .com site to meet folks with mutual interests, etc.

    If you are a Christian single, you will most likely have to use the same tactics and coping strategies that Non-Christian adults use to get their needs met, and to get companionship, etc, since most churches do not care about any singles over 35.

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  11. Retha’s NOVEMBER 9, 2015 @ 10:27 AM post.

    Christians who are marriage- and/or children- worshippers (which is around 99% of them in the U.S.A.) conveniently IGNORE or try to EXPLAIN AWAY the “pro-singleness” verses in the Bible.

    I have seen numerous pastors do this – water down the pro-singleness verses by saying they don’t “really” apply today in 2015, or not for most people, including Mark Driscoll – who made the ridiculous assumption in one blog post a few years ago something like that if you are still single past 30, it’s only because God intends to send you as a missionary to die spreading the Gospel in hostile lands. Nobody else should be single, he feels. God demands everyone else to marry, Driscoll teaches.

    The dumbest one I’ve ever heard, and it pops up frequently in the United States in regards to American marriage and singleness, but has been disproven by cold, heard reality, is that God intends for most people to marry and have a kid.

    Now, this seemed to be the case, up until the last few years, since the vast majority of Americans did in fact marry and have a kid.

    But, in 2014, some studies were published which say that single adults are now in majority, not married couples. (And, out of married couples, fewer and fewer are having kids.)

    So, one can argue now that it surely must be God’s intent for MOST people (at least Americans) to be single and childless, since most citizens (in the USA) are single and childless.

    There is simply no Bible verse that says it’s God’s intent for most people to marry and/or have a kid. Evangelicals simply assume that this is so, then they repeat it in all their books, blogs, and sermons about marriage as though it’s biblical fact.

    It is not. I have not seen a single Bible verse which states “it was God’s plan for most people to marry, and God’s preference for most to marry.”

    But many American preachers keep arguing like there is a verse in the book of Corinthians or whatever that declares,
    “Thus saith God: it is the Lord’s will for everyone to marry, except one or two loser rejects, whom God has pre-determined to die spreading the Gospel to dart-blowing pygmy people in the Brazil rain forest.”

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  12. Seriously, mister – your attempt to tell a woman not only what she should do, as if you know better, but also implying that I wasted my time for 20 years is condescending. I did not waste my time teaching Sunday school.

    The question is not where a Sunday school is found in the Bible. For sure, God calls the church, and in particular those with a teaching gift, to teach those who do not know yet. If He did not call us to use the term “Sunday school” for our teaching – this particular term is not detrimental to teaching either.

    How dare you imply I was not following the word of God?
    (Related writing of mine: https://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/parents-versus-sunday-school-or-parents-and-sunday-school-together-who-should-teach-children-about-god/ )

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  13. Mister, why are you commenting on blogs? Where do you see a blog comment in the Bible? (Not a serious question. A similar argument to asking me where I see a Sunday school in the Bible.)

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  14. I am with you, Retha! I taught middle schoolers in Sunday School for several years and it was one of the most rewarding things I have done! At the same time, I attended adult Sunday school and learned a lot about the Bible. I feel certain that many, many children benefited from your teaching.

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  15. It seems like in every town I’ve lived in there was one church where all the single people went. I don’t know if it was just that that was the only church that didn’t look down on singles or what. People from very different denominations would switch to that church once they moved out of their parents house and then change again once they were married. Anyone else seem that in their towns?

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  16. Retha, I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you and especially the way you were treated after your Dad’s passing. When I read this part of your story:
    “What I most want to do is teach. The closest I get to it now is blogging. But what do I do when my “lessons” are written down, and my other lessons are for people who do not have the reading level to appreciate my lessons if I write it (children)?”
    I thought of a friend of mine who also is gifted at teaching children and she developed a curriculum that she is making available online. I know it’s not one-on-one interaction, but your lessons could be used and would be really helpful to many others who don’t have that gift. I hope I’m not overstepping here, just wanted to pass that thought along if you hadn’t thought about that yet. I know it’s not the same as teaching a class in person though.

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  17. “It was not the bully’s fists. It was hearing how the whole circle around them was rooting for the bully. That is what happened to me.”

    This statement breaks my heart. I can imagine how that would feel.

    I wonder if this church has the mindset that only parents should be in control of what their children learn at all times? A group with that mindset split off from a church I was attending once.

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  18. When I was young and in college (single at the time), there were quite a few single people in the church since it was a university town. There was one single woman there (we thought she was an “old maid” but was probably in her 30’s) who gave a lot of her attention to the young woman who were attending the university. She would offer us rides, take us places or even to weekend conferences in nearby Kansas City. She was fun and we loved going with her. Today we still attend that church and there are still single young women and men there who attend the university. Some of them are working with the youth group (my granddaughter is part of that group today) so even if Retha isn’t able to find a Sunday School maybe there would be other areas that would benefit from her knowledge and love just as well. For myself, I leared a lot from just being with that single woman when I was a student. It was a blessing when she would offer to pick us up for church when it was cold and icy.

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  19. A couple of comments here:

    1. Many of us singles over 50 know that we are emotionally healthier than a lot of marrieds.
    2. We are not only the backbone of many church events but often community and professional events as well.
    3. Sure, there are singles with “problems,” but — yowza — some of the married people are far more immature, narcissistic, whiny, and irresponsible.

    The key to making it in the church is to find other likeminded singles and build an intentional community. I and my single friends are well connected, altruistic, and sensible. We spend a lot of time together. We’ve created a community within our church that has very strong ties.

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  20. Retha, I’m sorry for your experience having to stop Sunday School teaching. I hope doors open for you to return but I do want to say that, in the meantime, I appreciate your blogging. You bring a refreshing perspective to so many issues. Mag die Here jou seën en troos (May the Lord bless you and comfort you).

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  21. @ Shannon:

    My former church has moved the traditional service, attended mainly by older people, to 9 a.m. to make room for a second contemporary service. It’s like they’re trying to push older people out.

    That’s the standard side effect. I agree it’s fair to ask if sometimes it isn’t deliberate. Churches that are that focused on being attractive to young people don’t seem to have time for anyone past 40. And I’m not welcome either because I’m a 20-something who doesn’t like contemporary services. I don’t know who they dislike more, young people who won’t conform or older people who they think are boring and irrelevant.

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  22. Retha,
    So very sorry for your pain. Your story of the bully broke me to tears. This should not have happened to you in a legitimate New Testament Ekklesia where teaching, preaching and ministering to one another aids in maturing people in their faith.

    Your story reminds me of a time when one of our children’s chickens needed to be taken care of due to their extended absence. Every morning they needed to be fed, watered, pens cleaned, and eggs collected. I watched carefully every morning to observe the ‘pecking’ order take place for it was not difficult to see the more important hens take their prominent place at the feeder first, with their legs kicking the other lesser hens out of the way until they were finished. One morning I noticed small sores on the back of one of the runt hens, that were bleeding, and watched as the other hens pecked at the fresh flesh. The following morning when I arrived at the barn, the chickens all came running except for one. She was missing and my heart sank because right there and then, I panicked knowing I should have taken action when I first discovered the hen pecking. As I searched the pen early that morning as the sun was rising over the horizon, it took me a few minutes to find that precious hen, for she was hiding in the dark on the other side of the egg laying boxes, shaking like a leaf. And when she ran away in fear, her backside was now missing most of her feathers and the open wounds needed ointment to prevent infection. I immediately removed that hen to the outside of the pen and trusted that she would not leave the barn as long as I fed and watered her outside of that chicken wired wall.

    Outside of her former toxic environment, I watched that hen become healthy again. She came running to me every morning as she knew she would receive her food and water first, she let me begin scratching her neck right behind her head (almost like a dog loving to be scratched behind their ears), and she perched herself on the beams above me at night, keeping me company when I was hauling grain, testing and recording the stats at my station in the barn. She was my companion, my friend, and I had earned and gained her trust. She grew to be strong, healthy, productive in laying her eggs outside of that toxicity and she trusted me for provision. And I loved that little white hen, my little runt friend.

    Similarly, churches can be exactly like that toxic pen of hens, not fully knowing the true Master and Shepherd of our faith, Jesus.

    There is some good advice here for you Retha, for as children of Christ, many of us are hungry for good online Bible study sources. In attending Bible studies locally, we rarely opened up our Bibles to study God’s Word, so I personally study His Word on my own, at times with the aid of online sources. Not that long ago, the Spirit was leading me into an area of my life that needed correction, tugging at my heart to learn what He had to say about jealousy and envy from a Biblical perspective. I used several online sources from good and sound Christian teachers that helped me tremendously grow in my trust and faith in Christ, exposing my sins, and leading me in prayers for healing.

    There is such a need Retha, for good and godly women to help others and I am most certainly open to learning as a child of our LORD. Be strengthened and encouraged in your faith dear sister (if you would allow me to call you that) !

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  23. Whatever so-called pastor said ““single women are a scourge on the church” may well have been engaging in a sort of blame-the-victim mentality. It could well be that this pastor is engaging in dishonoring, demeaning and even immoral conduct toward women. It may be that lust has such control over him that he is indulging in pornography, the pursuit of illicit relationships, or maybe just the imagination of a wandering eye. If so, then to make himself feel better, however unconsciously, he blames the targets of his lust. In emetically hurling his disparaging remarks at single women, he is very possibly targeting the very ones he is most tempted, and prone, to defile.

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  24. Single adults without children, and couples without children are the largest demographic. ‘Non-couple’ households represent 55% of the population. The Church needs to get its ‘house’ in order.

    Thanks for the link, David. It’s time for the church to realize they need to minister to individuals, period. Marital status means nothing in the bigger scheme of things. There’s not going to be marriage in heaven, right?

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  25. “There’s not going to be marriage in heaven, right?”

    Well, there’s all that business about us being the bride of Christ. To tell the truth, as a man this whole idea of being married to Jesus tends to make me squirm. But there it is.

    Although there will be no marriage as between believers, I really do hope there will be a special relationship with my wife, who I strongly suspect will have a much higher place in the Kingdom than all these “pastors” and other men who marginalize women.

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  26. @Hester:

    I don’t know who they dislike more, young people who won’t conform or older people who they think are boring and irrelevant.

    Remember:
    NOTHING GETS OLD-FASHIONED FASTER THAN OVER-RELEVANCE.
    (“Groovy, Man!”)

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  27. David wrote,

    Here is a recent survey of Europe – looking at households.

    Single adults without children, and couples without children are the largest demographic. ‘Non-couple’ households represent 55% of the population. The Church needs to get its ‘house’ in order.

    Information for the USA is the same.
    Married couples with kids living at home comprise only about 20% of the U.S. population, and other studies released in 2014 claimed that over half the US population of adults is single.

    While it is true that most American churches remain oblivious to this demographic shift, unfortunately, for the ones who ARE aware of it, they are useless.

    So deeply ingrained is their marriage worship, rather than helping adult singles in their singleness, and rather than helping marriage minded singles over 30 who want to marry to get married, guys like Southern Baptist Al Mohler or “marriage mandate” authors instead…

    1. shame never married adults over 30 for never having married (they assume we chose to be single, even though many did not)

    and they

    2. scream at anyone under the age of 25 to get married NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!

    So, even when they are aware that there is an over abundance of adult singles, they don’t change their SOP. (Standard Operating Procedure. )

    They still shame singles for being single, and just tell teen kids to marry before they hit age 25. even when they do become aware that singles are now greater in number than married couples.

    Goodness forbid these jerks actually treat singleness like it’s acceptable, goodness forbid they actually start to tailor sermons or ministries to truly help adult singles with whatever issues are particular to adult singles.

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  28. This is from 2014:
    _The US Is Becoming More European: Half Of Adult Americans Are Now Single_ (Forbes)

    An interesting little report on the demographics of the United States. With a finding that now, for the first time, half of the American adult population are single. The report that notes it thinks this is unique and of course for the US it is.

    I fear the evangelical, Reformed, or Baptist response to such news, rather than, “Oh gosh, how can we help adult singles??” – which is what it should be….

    Is going to be more of,

    #1. “This is unacceptable!! We need to pressure singles to marry even more than before!!
    “Those singles are denigrating marriage by not marrying, how can we pressure them into getting married even more than before?
    “How can we shame adults singles and convince them that being single over 25 or 30 is disgraceful and a disease, or just as shameful as having lice or dandruff????”

    Or, #2. “How can we convince those singles that marriage is awesome, and they should WANT to get married??? They are obviously marriage haters and love being single more than the idea of being married.”

    Both points #1 and 2 bother me, but as a single who has always wanted marriage, point 2 really ticks me off.

    I get angry when these Southern Baptist goofs like Al Mohler and others assume I deliberately CHOSE to stay single into my 40s. I most assuredly did not. I don’t know why I did not get a spouse.

    But these Christian dingle-berries who hate singleness will tell me my singleness is my own fault, that I obviously must be a hairy, mustache-wearing feminist man hating monster who was too career focused and/or no man wanted to marry me, and that’s why I’m single.

    None of that is why I am single. I don’t hate men or marriage, either. I was engaged in my 30s. I had men want to date me. So no, I’m not a hideous looking viper, either.

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  29. From the main body of the post:
    “I’ve even being asked not to attend a church that I poured my heart and soul into because the pastor thought “single women are a scourge on the church.”

    Shame on that pastor!

    “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”
    ~ Thomas Paine ~

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  30. It’s no piece of cake for single Christian men who are past 50 either. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked what’s wrong with me, why can’t I find a wife, am I gay, etc. And yes, I made an effort to find a godly spouse without success. While I still hold out some hope that I may marry someday, I also realize the odds aren’t very good for someone who’s closer to 60 than 50 and whose last serious relationship was over 10 years ago.

    My last date with a Christian woman was a few years ago. Someone in my church set us up. Sadly, it wasn’t very long into the date that I figured out she had some serious issues and wasn’t ready for a relationship. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve dealt with a number of single Christian women who were either emotionally unhealthy or otherwise not ready. In all fairness, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from single Christian women regarding the Christian men they’ve dated.

    Thankfully, my church isn’t as bad as some others regarding the relegation of older singles to third-class status. Singles have served on our church governing body and two of our clergy are single. I serve as an usher at a monthly Sunday evening service.

    However, there also isn’t much support for singles over 35, the upper limit of our young adults fellowship. Earlier this year a group of older singles tried to launch a group targeting that demographic, then opened it up to married folks as well. Over the last couple of months their efforts have hit a wall and I fear the group may be on life support.

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  31. Singleman, thanks for sharing your experience. The single folks who have commented have once again helped to open my eyes to your plight. And it’s because of my readers and their stories that I am much more intentional about connecting to the singles in my church. Thank you, all!

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  32. Our “plight” is often of our own making.

    I think we need to become uppity singles who don’t care what the church thinks of us. We have gifts and talents and we use them.

    It helps to attend a younger church where singleness isn’t a big deal.

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  33. I have to wonder about the younger believers (married or single, with or without kids) who fail to recognize the God-given treasure of older single believers who are willing and able to mentor, counsel, and teach the word without the encumbrance of spouse or young kids. The church is jettisoning one of its most valuable gifts.

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  34. If you really want to see “ageism”, try and become part of a church’s worship team!! The only two requirements are youth and a decent voice.(yes, in that order). I am married to a pianist and have watched especially the women being dropped after reaching a “certain age”.

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  35. Retha, you remind me of what I’ve read about Charlotte Mason. She was a single woman who, through her love of children and teaching, started a school for teachers. Today is not a good day for my brain (headache), so I can’t articulate well, but you can find more about her at this link: (and if you google her name, you’ll find a lot more)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Mason

    She revolutionized the way I taught my own children. (But her influence goes way beyond that.)

    Be encouraged.

    And to “Mister” — really? “Sunday School is not in the Bible” — I mean, really? Somehow I’m reminded of Job’s comforters.

    There are a whole lot of things that aren’t in the Bible. If we were to stick with the Bible and *just* the Bible, we’d be chanting only the songs recorded there (because the tunes have been lost). We’d have no new preaching, maybe only read Paul’s letters to the churches, because that’s “in the Bible”. Um, let’s see, would it be mandatory for church leaders to dance naked before the Lord?

    I’d be outta there in a heartbeat.

    Sorry for the sarcasm, I’m having a very difficult migraine morning and sought to distract myself here.

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  36. Daisy said, I think if you’re an adult, childless single, you’re on your own, as sad as that may be.
    You’re in the same position as Non-Christian single adults who are lonely and feeling excluded, who find connection and belonging in society by joining other (Non Church, Non religious) groups.

    Some (Non Christian) adults take up continuing education courses to fill their time or to make friends, they date around to get a mate, use MeetUp .com site to meet folks with mutual interests, etc.

    Yesterday I took my adult daughter out to breakfast. There was a large group of people there, mostly older (it was day shift working hours). They’d pulled several tables together and were drinking coffee and talking animatedly. I asked one who came in late and sat down next to us if they were some kind of club. He said they were a walking group, “everyone welcome!” who met at a local park with lots of walking trails, every morning at 8 a.m.! They’d all walk for a designated amount of time, but not all together — some would walk faster and farther, some slow and short walks — and then meet up after the walk at some local place where they could sit awhile and have coffee and talk. It sounded lovely. I’m thinking of joining them with my daughter, at least a couple days a week. Neither of us can walk very far, or very fast, but that doesn’t seem to matter with this crowd.

    Like

  37. jkpvarin said,

    I have to wonder about the younger believers (married or single, with or without kids) who fail to recognize the God-given treasure of older single believers who are willing and able to mentor, counsel, and teach the word without the encumbrance of spouse or young kids. The church is jettisoning one of its most valuable gifts.

    A lot of Protestant / Reformed / Baptist churches believe it is biblical and permissible for married men to lead and teach only.

    Not all, but quite a few pastors/ churches believe that God does not want singles in position of leadership and/or their underlying prejudices against singles and in favor of marrieds carries this out, so that single adults are not even considered for certain roles.

    If you google for it, you can find an interview with an unmarried man who had a degree who tried to become a preacher. No church would have him, because they either favor married guys, or are opposed to adult singles.

    The same article (New York Times, I believe) interviewed SBC Al Mohler, who pretty much said (IIRC), that he feels the Bible frowns on adult singles being pastors or leaders, so he opts for only hiring married men.

    There was a book online written by a guy who is still single or didn’t marry until later in life. He talked about a church who was seeking a new youth pastor. They refused to even consider an unmarried man for the role (and of course no women at all).

    This guy knew why. He called them out on their unspoken bias, he said, “why not the single guy? Because you think he’s going to have affairs with the teen girls, am I right?”

    He said the church board/crowd got super quiet at that point, but yes, that was one of their suspicions, that a single man would “hit on” the young ladies.

    He said to them – and I totally agree – that out of all the sexual shenanigans he has seen in churches, all cases have been by MARRIED MEN, so that married men are also prone to behaving inappropriately. Married men also fondle girls, have affairs, etc.

    But yet, so many in the church harbor this suspicion that single adults are randy harlots that have wild sex with 456 people every week, when in truth, a lot of us are more chaste than married people.

    Like

  38. As a follow up to my post right above:

    Even if a church allows you, a single adult, to serve in a teaching, or whatever position, they may still treat you like garbage.

    There was a blog a few years ago by a never married Christian woman in her 40s. She attended a Baptist church for several or more years, and I think she taught the teen to college aged (20 somethings) classes every Sunday.

    At some point, her health went down hill. She had to get back surgery (maybe that was it? Or she got the flu?) and had to skip church for about a month.

    She said during her recovery time, not a single person from her church even noticed that she was missing! Nobody called her to see how she was, no cards or anything.

    And her church knew her family of origin (her parents, siblings, etc) all lived 2,000 miles away, on the other coast. She had no ‘blood’ family in this town near to help her.

    This was after years of faithful, consistent service to this church.

    She wrote she was so hurt and offended that she spoke with the church preacher in his office. She mentioned all this to him. He blew it off like it was nothing.

    She said she told the pastor, “If I was one of the church’s 80 year old widows, I bet you guys would’ve noticed me missing and hot footed it to my apartment with some dinner to check on me, right? You know that to be so. But because I’m a younger, unmarried lady, I don’t count. I don’t matter.” The pastor still shrugged it off like it was no big deal.

    This mistreatment bugged her so much, she left that church (Baptist I think it was) and joined another denomination, after trying out differing local churches.

    A lot of singles just give up and stop going to any church at all.
    Do churches care? Nope. They are still running around catering to married couples, like married couples are all that matters, especially marrieds who have kids still at home.

    Like

  39. Ann said,

    If you really want to see “ageism”, try and become part of a church’s worship team!! The only two requirements are youth and a decent voice.(yes, in that order). I am married to a pianist and have watched especially the women being dropped after reaching a “certain age”.

    I’ve read about this on other sites. I read about a woman who got to 35 or 40 and was dropped. She noticed her church was only allowing women under 35 or 29 to be on stage to sing.

    Sometimes, churches are equal opportunity gender offenders at this stuff.

    I recall reading on some other site that Mark Driscoll screamed at his staff that he didn’t want some Mars Hill dude on stage singing or preaching because the guy had a weight problem.

    I think Driscoll bluntly screamed that the guy was a “fat *ss” or “lard butt” or some derogatory term. He only wants young, skinny types on stage.

    Driscoll himself is a greasy little pudge ball with a bit of a double chin and his face is so round, so I don’t know where he gets off knocking some other guy over looks.

    Like

  40. singleman said,

    It’s no piece of cake for single Christian men who are past 50 either. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked what’s wrong with me, why can’t I find a wife, am I gay, etc. And yes, I made an effort to find a godly spouse without success.

    I can believe it.

    Yes, churches treat male adult singles like losers, too.

    I think women singles get more of a black mark because most society (Christian and Non) do not really expect men to have children.
    However, much of culture thinks that a woman’s only role in life is to have a kid, so if you are a woman and don’t have a kid, you are treated poorly or thought odd. If you are a man, you are not defined by parenthood the way the female gender is, for the most part.

    I read a horrible, sad story in a book about why singles leave churches.

    One story in the book: This single guy, over 50 years old, had wanted to marry since his 20s, but could not find the right lady.

    He went to around 3 or 4 different churches, one after the other, since his 20s. At every church, he asked the men’s groups and preachers to pray for him, that God would send him a wife.

    Every time he made this request, the men would shame him or insult him for it!!

    They would say trash like, “I don’t think you are a marrying kind, I don’t think you deserve a wife,” and, “if God wants you married, God will just send you a wife, you don’t need to pray for it, and I refuse to pray that God send you a wife.”

    They just kept giving him totally un-biblical advice (the Bible says you are to pray and ask for what you want, not just assume God is going to send it, as they were saying).

    The rest of their advice or commentary was very insensitive and insulting.

    And who are these jerks to determine that this man did not “deserve” a wife, or was not fit to marry? It’s not their place to make those types of judgments, the condescending jerks!

    (end of part 1 to singleman’s post)

    Like

  41. (Part 2, reply to singleman’s post.)

    We single ladies over 35 get sort of the flip side of what you were saying, the insults like, “What are you, gay? What’s wrong with you that you can’t find someone?” etc.

    Like, church people (and even some Non Christians) think they are paying us single women a compliment of sorts, or commiserating with us, when they say stuff like,

    “But you’re SO PRETTY, funny and smart!! How can such a super awesome catch like you STILL BE SINGLE?”

    Okay, comments like that actually come across a lot of the time as being rude, insulting, and hurtful.
    Not always… it can depend on one’s mood, how well one knows the person saying it, how close you are to them, etc.

    But for the times when it is offensive?
    What you are doing is being patronizing, and implying (perhaps unintentionally) that there is secretly something wrong with me.

    You are implying that I’ve got the looks and brains but still can’t get a man?, so hey, there must be something else, some skeleton in my closet keeping me single. I must be deeply flawed in some other way is what it suggests.

    Oh, yes, and the assumption that you’re just living in a closet all day long and have not tried finding a spouse, even though you have tried dating sites and what not.

    The married Christians think, or will tell you:
    “Gosh dang it, if only you would GET OUT AND LOOK, you would be guaranteed to get a spouse!! You must not be looking hard enough!! Have you tried eHarmony??? Have you tried First Baptist Church’s singles class???”

    But then, you have the Christians who tell you it’s wrong to look for a mate and to try dating sites, you are only supposed to “trust in the Lord, pray, and wait” for a spouse. Those types are common, too.

    Do you know some of the only married Christians who “get it”? The ones who marry like at 23, get divorced by 35, and find themselves single.

    They when they go back to church as a divorced person (single again), they are like “WOW, holy COW the church treats singles like doody and trash. I never noticed this while I was a married person.”

    I have seen blog posts by the divorced who admit this. They are like, ‘man, when I walked back into church as a single after my spouse dumped me, it was then I noticed how terribly singles are treated by churches.’

    (I’d maybe also add the Christians who married at 25 or 35, then their spouse died when they were 40, 55, or older, then they noticed how terrible churches treat people who are not paired up.)

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  42. I’d like to say though, I realize that some singles are happy being single and do not want to be married, like the Original Poster Julie Anne quoted at the top of the page.

    I am the type of single who would like to marry, but I can imagine how frustrating and tiring it must be if you are over 35, have no desire to marry, but all Christians you bump into at churches keep assuming you want marriage, and some of them may think you are a weirdo for not wanting marriage.

    Whether you want marriage or not, many churches treat you as though you are defective if you are not part of a couple, and especially if you are over the age of 30 or 35.

    Like

  43. Daisy said, I think women singles get more of a black mark because most society (Christian and Non) do not really expect men to have children.

    Except in the culture we came out of, every new child was a new confirmation of a man’s virility, manhood, and manliness. You ought to have seen the fathers of large families preen, when announcing that their family was about to grow again.

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  44. Daisy said, I think women singles get more of a black mark because most society (Christian and Non) do not really expect men to have children.

    Except in the culture we came out of, every new child was a new confirmation of a man’s virility, manhood, and manliness. You ought to have seen the fathers of large families preen, when announcing that their family was about to grow again.

    Like

  45. @Daisy:

    And who are these jerks to determine that this man did not “deserve” a wife, or was not fit to marry?

    Christians(TM) who all married at 18, of course.
    God sent them a wife who magically appeared on their doorstep one day.

    “I Got Mine,
    I Got Mine,
    I don’t want a thing to change
    Now that I Got Mine…”
    — Glenn Frye

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  46. “Gosh dang it, if only you would GET OUT AND LOOK, you would be guaranteed to get a spouse!! You must not be looking hard enough!! Have you tried eHarmony??? Have you tried First Baptist Church’s singles class???”

    Yes, I’ve heard words to that effect many times over the years. A church I attended in the 1980’s had a singles group in which I participated for several years. It turned out to be one of the most dysfunctional groups I’ve ever joined. The group eventually disbanded and I left that church. So did a lot of others who participated in the singles group.

    Some years later I received numerous suggestions to try out a singles group at a local megachurch, and I took a dance class sponsored by that group. Ironically, the man who taught that dance class advised me against dating the women who attended as so many of them were emotionally wounded and spiritually immature. (In all fairness, the same could easily be said for a number of the men I met there.)

    As for online sites, I frankly haven’t bothered. For every person I know who’s had success with online dating, there are plenty of others who’ve shared horror stories. I don’t need any more of those in my life.

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  47. Unfortunately singleman horror stories are often a part of dating no matter the method. =) Of course if you are not comfortable with online dating that is completely understandable.

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  48. In my mid 20s I went to a church where they didn’t exactly come right out and say you must get married, but there was a lot of peer pressure. Interestingly enough, there were also several guys who had decided to follow Paul’s example and be “a bachelor ’till the rapture.” Which begs the question… who were the girls supposed to marry if the men were all going to be Paul wanna-bes?

    My first husband and I succumbed to the peer pressure and got married. Although I was 26 and he was 27, we were both VERY immature and had NO business getting married, and we didn’t last long. Interestingly, decades later, he has never remarried. We talk occasionally (he lives in another state now), but I’ve never asked him whether he gets any flak these days for being an older single (and worse yet, divorced) man who isn’t beating the bushes looking for a new wife. I married again, but let’s just say I apparently have a broken picker and leave it at that. And I’m not looking either.

    So I hold the dubious honor of the triple crown: Twice divorced, no kids, and about to turn 60. (And how did THAT happen?? Last time I looked, I was 25!)

    Reading posts like these on this blog and others, I am incredibly grateful that I go to a church where I am not shamed or dissed for any of the above. Yes, our congregation is mostly younger, and we have only “contemporary” worship, but this old lady actually got to play with the worship band a few times here and there. I don’t go to the girls’ night gatherings because playing musical chairs (and getting stepped on, some of those girls are SERIOUS!) and then doing some dorky craft really isn’t my cup of tea. At a recent brainstorming session for women’s ministries ideas, one lady who is quite a bit older than me (also divorced, and she helps run Divorce Care) piped up that she’d like to see some options for older women, and I loudly and enthusiastically seconded the motion, but so far, nothing has been forthcoming in that department. We are a fairly young church, both in demographics and time since founding, and we just don’t have a lot of stuff in place.

    Another thing. From time to time a general call will go out asking for volunteers to help in kids’ church, and they’ll take pretty much anybody. Some of the most faithful helpers are a couple of adolescent sisters and some divorced women with grown children, plus some single middle-aged women, but most of the helpers are actually the moms of the kids. They’ve never asked me, and it’s never been implied in any way that because I’m female, (a) that’s all I’m fit for, “women’s work,” or (b) because I’m female I naturally have a gift for watching kids. (I don’t. Seriously. The best thing about other people’s kids is you get to give them back.)

    Do I have a point? Heck if I know. Just my meanderings on this fine morning.

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  49. I just wanted to say that I can relate to a lot of what this lady initially posted about being single, over 50 and a woman in a church…for many years after my divorce, I was a church-hopper, always looking for a church to go to – but could never feel like I was connected or felt “at home” – and then somehow, almost three years ago, the Lord put on my heart the idea about starting a meetup group for Christian singles ages 45+. Now meetup groups are NOT dating groups….if you check it out online… at http://www.meetup.com you will see that it’s most “social” activities for people of ages, genders, etc., no matter how old, young, single, married, divorced, widowed…even couples, families, etc. can be in various groups. I wanted to start a group for people my age so that we could do some fun things together, have fellowship by having dinner, going to movies, restaurants with live music, go dancing, go to concerts, and even some church activities that were being sponsored around town which we were notified about. It really worked out to be a special blessing to many of us because we were able to develop some really good friendships with both men and women, and I always encouraged everyone to not worry about any pressure about “dating” anyone in the groups – just start out “as friends” and enjoy the time together and see if the Lord brings it to a different level in His way and His timing. I also run two other groups, an “Everything Music” group and a “Baby Boomers” group which are not Christian singles but just single people my age and I’ve often done events with all three groups and it provides us who are followers of Christ to reach out to unbelievers and be like Jesus would be to do them….we’ve been able to have some amazing opportunities to meet some great people in these groups. Anyone can start a meet up group and there is a charge to those who start one, but it’s worth it. But it’s also a great way to be able to enjoy life at this age with other believers and to reach out to those who are not believers in the way the Lord wants us to. So check it out and maybe God will use you to do the same in your area…and by the way… I have since found a good church where I feel more comfortable and “at home” and they do have some singles my age that I’m getting to know…so it’s definitely not impossible to find a good one…it’s just a matter of His timing and His will…blessings to you all!!

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  50. I’m married with a few ankle biters. Practically speaking:

    How can people like me best serve SINKs? (I hate that people are feeling unloved in the fold)

    What can I do to love and serve you?

    Honest question. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  51. I got married at 38. My husband and I do not have children. Speaking from my experience single and as a childless married woman I would say that it is sad how hard it is sometimes to connect to the “married-with-children” folks. Having had both experiences, I encourage not only striving to connect with singles, but with those who don’t have children as well. Even when people try to be friendly at church, it’s so hard to find someone that will make you part of their life outside church.

    I believe the church was meant to exhibit age, racial, economic and familial integration. That is what I grew up with and I cherish the memory of that biblical model. But, how can we encourage that in church today? I try myself to reach out to people, even when they don’t reach out to me. I try to talk to people after services who are in different age groups, though not as effectively as I’d like. I’ve thought a lot about the model of the family in recent times as I’ve considered the patriarchy movement’s selfish teachings, and my conclusion is that when Jesus set up the church He intended it to be something new and different than what had been before. Although the family units are still honored to a degree in N.T. teaching, we also see so much teaching on our relationships with each other that indicates we are to be a family in Christ. This was new and different. Many believers then and now don’t have saved family members, or have only few. The new system of the N.T. church was meant to provide for that. Sadly I feel like a lot of Christians don’t “get it” now.

    There are ways you can make a difference. Do you include singles and childless couples who have no family in your family activities sometimes? Invite them on a picnic or outing? Ask them to join you for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Do you ever send them a card, a gift or flowers on a birthday; or maybe invite them for dinner or to eat out? If you don’t, who will? For many, no one will. I realize not all will respond to this, but I know some will! My husband and I were really touched when we were invited to a child friend’s birthday party once because he wanted us there – because his parents invited us to spend time with his family. We went to that party too, by the way, and I took a lot of photos for them. You see, we do have things to contribute too. 🙂

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  52. Wow people, can I relate…I grew up Baptist, and I tell ya, that was TOUGH, we had hell, fire and brimstone, and little love in our congregation. So I rebelled and went to the other side, to a different flock of people who actually lived Acts…but then they got really focused on the whole family is the ONLY way doctrine. And I am sorry because I think I participated in making many singles feel like outcasts, or that they were somehow less, if they couldn’t find a mate, or chose not to have a mate. Sorry, it was ignorant thinking, but it was the doctrinal teaching I was exposed to, sigh.

    I married young, but I wasn’t immature, and I married for love. And our church certainly catered to married, and those with kids. I struggled with fertility, and I was thought of as defective. I might as well have a scarlet “C” on my clothing-for childless, as every miscarriage seemed to be more fodder for the church to attack my life. Put it under scrutiny on why I couldn’t have kids. Then tragedy happened when I finally had a son and he was 9. Then it was a whole different scourge, I was a widow too young for churches standards. I remarried, and blended a family-more critique on why good christian’s won’t succeed in joining families. Then a slew of tragedies and no spouse, no kids, all alone at 50…Now it was severe shunning for all the trials that was my journey. Because after all a prosperous christian, a faithful christian wouldn’t be beset with all the calamities my life journey presented. So I read Anne Graham Lotz’s book, wounded by God’s people. Someone finally got my journey and helped me heal when I couldn’t at “church”.

    Now I have issues with church being an over 50 single that didn’t have that perfectly blessed life. Church makes me feel highly inadequate and severely judged. And may I interject I am not an unconfident soul. I LIKE myself, I don’t suffer from depression or self esteem issues-unless I venture into some churches, ha. My life was messy, my life didn’t follow the story book plan or the unwritten perceived plan that seems to be the standard, but through it all, I walked it out as Biblical as I knew how. I exiled myself for preservation, and I don’t regret not attending when I was fragile. Now I am more comfortable with my circumstances, and plight as it were. I have visited many churches and still feel there isn’t really a place for me to be involved or useful as a single. The whole shift in worship is foreign to me. I don’t need entertained at church I was looking for community, but I find like so many on here, that finding community in your singleness is rare, and WORSE in a church setting. Very sad, and I think that is why there is a whole group of society that is wondering why bother with “church”, they love the LORD but they don’t find church a meaningful uplifting place. I have talked to Pastors and most recognize the need, but have no ideas, solutions or suggestions to rectify the need.

    I grew up in church, I married into a global ministry family, I worked for many of the parachurch orgs, I know lots of the movers and shakers in Christendom and my experience with talking to other singles is not limited to just one part of the Body.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Dear Savannah,

    You wrote:

    …I am not an unconfident soul. I LIKE myself, I don’t suffer from depression or self esteem issues-unless I venture into some churches, ha. My life was messy, my life didn’t follow the story book plan or the unwritten perceived plan that seems to be the standard, but through it all, I walked it out as Biblical as I knew how. I exiled myself for preservation, and I don’t regret not attending when I was fragile. Now I am more comfortable with my circumstances, and plight as it were. I have visited many churches and still feel there isn’t really a place for me to be involved or useful as a single…

    In my opinion, the reason the church is falling apart is the elitist attitudes. It is so common in Evangelicalism: If you are single and over 50 something must be wrong with you. If you divorced, something must be wrong with you. If you don’t measure up to the married-two-children-good-income standard, you are a second-class citizen. If you can’t buy the tidy little dogmas, you are a heretic.

    I agree that many Evangelical churches are not safe places for singles, no matter how honorably we’ve lived, no matter how involved or generous we are.

    Like

  54. Dear Beholdason,

    You asked;

    How can people like me best serve SINKs? (I hate that people are feeling unloved in the fold)
    What can I do to love and serve you?

    It’s simple: Have coffee with us and be our friend. Have dinner with us and be our friend. Wave at us in church. Smile at us. Include us at your table or in your pew or row at church. That’s all it takes. Our lives from M-F, 8 am-5 pm are like all other working adults.

    So what common ground can you find to discuss?
    – spiritual journey
    – high school experiences
    – hobbies, travels, missions
    – sports
    – books, movies, TV, music,
    – goals, aspirations, dreams, vacations

    What encouragement can you offer young singles?
    – encourage exploration, independence,
    – tell them to live life to the fullest
    – recommend they pursue travel and other life goals now — and not put their dreams on hold until after marriage.
    – get a great education
    – take lots of internships with excellent companies (companies really going somewhere).

    I’m an older single (divorced a million years ago). In my experience (having lived in a very expensive part of the U.S. all of my life), many of us singles are high income earners who’ve done well in our careers. Those of us who are financially stable and over 50 probably aren’t looking to marry or remarry.

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  55. Hi Julie Ann,

    Thanks for highlighting this appalling and abusive behaviour that occurs in some churches..

    Churches are meant to be communities of disciples committed to the compassion, healing mercy and loving kindness of God revealed supremely in Jesus of Nazareth and are to be expressed in their life together.

    If churches are not welcoming then they are not worth attending. Jesus welcomed those that society that the religious leaders rejected as outcasts. He touched lepers and healed them. He befriended the lonely, healed the broken hearted, brought good news to the poor, the outcasts, the rejected and the marginalised.

    Why is it that many of those who name his name fail to walk the walk. The fruit of the Spirit is love …. By excluding older people and singles, church communities are failing to follow Jesus of Nazareth whom they claim to love. Sometimes, there is far more community and kindness outside many churches. Where practical compassion and kindness are found, God is present in some way. Where they are absent, God is not present, no matter how much churches say they follow Jesus.

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

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  56. In response to being rejected single 50 year old woman at church I to Julie and persecuted almost every week I have women constantly coming up even during prayer they grab my clothes pull them up to where they think it’s proper to be roll their eyes at me never take an interest or talk with me. I continue to go to this church because I enjoy the sermons The Bible classes and yes like you I enjoy the Women’s Bible groups because it makes me feel included and I want to learn more of God’s word. I’ve seen women at my church dress what I think very inappropriate but I don’t say anything it’s not my place to judge. I believe it’s because I’m single and over 50 no children so forgive me for sounding harsh they make me feel worthless but I do not allow them because God I know considers me his beautiful treasure daughter of the most high King. Hang in there sister Julie in Christ Jennifer cook

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  57. I’m a guy, but I saw the exact same thing in the last church I attended. When I started there, it was a very welcoming place for everyone, young, old, married, single, with/without kids, etc. The singles group I was in was for people out of undergraduate school, but either working or graduate studies (mid-20s to mid-30s mostly). It had around 100 members with 50 or so being regulars and the rest attending when work and/or school allowed. There were also singles groups

    However, over time the church leadership committee (comprised solely of married people in their late 60s or older) decided that having probably around 200+ singles (not counting the 18-25 year old college students of which this town has well over 50,000) are just not acceptable. For about a year one of the old women would visit out class twice a month and tell us we needed to “hurry up and get into the ‘Young, Married Couples Class’” because that is what God intends. They also did their best to meddle in the class by trying to force our teachers (we had a wonderful couple as our teachers and they were the true definition of Christian) to make all of the classes about relationships, sex, morality, and other issues THEY thought we should be discussing each week. Thankfully they refused except when it was mandated twice a year for one Sunday. Oddly enough, usually no one showed up that day.

    When the harassment didn’t work, they went nuclear. First they got rid of the contemporary service that most singles attended, changed up all services/Sunday school times, giving us the choice of either “traditional” (for the old people) or “blended” which really meant 1-2 contemporary worship songs and a bunch of hymns. Church attendance dropped rapidly and they soon cut all funds off for the singles groups. Thankfully our teachers were very wealthy and paid for it out of their own pockets, but it didn’t matter as by the time I left, the number of singles over the age of 25 and not counting those who were widowed, was down to 11 people. Not long after the couple who had stood by us also left and found another church closer to their new house.

    Since then, I’ve visited about 20 churches in this town (some I will not go to as I do not agree with their doctrines nor will I attend a church which has forsaken the Bible in order to be accepted by the ultra PC society of today) and not one has any kind of concern or interest in those of us who are single and older than college age, be it 30, 40, 50, etc. We’re all seen as defective at best, or at worst, potential adulterers and sexual deviants.

    I have no desire to attend church again. As a single, I am not wanted so why should I give up one of the two days I actually get to sleep more than 3-4 hours to go be around people who at best will whisper behind my back, or reject me to my face at worst. I can worship God on my own.

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  58. When the harassment didn’t work, they went nuclear.

    Wow. That’s crazy. I don’t understand what posses churches to do these sorts of things. I don’t understand the impulse to meddle. I don’t understand the need for control.

    I sort of wandered in the wilderness, occasionally attending church but mostly not. Now I go with a family member to an ‘ultra pc’ church, but they sing hymns and have liturgy and welcome women. I sort of gave up on meeting someone at church when I decided to go here (although oddly enough there are a few single guys my age that attend my service!). I am not worried about making friends at church either, I just come.

    Like

  59. Kyle Re: MAY 25, 2016 @ 8:50 PM

    If this helps at all, know that you’re not alone. A lot of single adults have experienced what you have and have decided to stop going.

    I’m over the age of 40 and have never married, never had any kids. Once I got to my 30s, that was when I began noticing that most (conservative Baptist / evangelical) churches have no place for singles who are over the age of 25 or 30.

    I’ve stopped going to church for several reasons, one of which is that most exclude singles. Everything is about The Nuclear Family, Parenting, and Marriage.

    The way the married couples at your former church harassed singles out makes me furious. What a bunch of jerks.

    Jesus himself (who never married) would not have been welcomed there, either. Did those idiots ever consider that, or that Paul wrote in the New Testament it is better to stay single than to marry?

    Re:

    For about a year one of the old women would visit out class twice a month and tell us we needed to “hurry up and get into the ‘Young, Married Couples Class’” because that is what God intends.

    So, what are you supposed to do, just grab and marry the first breathing single you run into?

    Meeting a compatible person is not that easy. I broke things off with my fiance’ because I eventually saw he was not right for me.

    You don’t marry just any old person for the sake of getting out of singleness, or to make other people happy.

    Re:

    We’re [adult singles] all seen as defective at best, or at worst, potential adulterers and sexual deviants.

    Yes, it’s a common stereotype among 99% of married Christians that all singles past the age of 25 are over-sexed canines in heat.

    I’m celibate and over 40, so no, I’m not sexually sinning all over the place. I don’t sleep around with 30 guys a week. I don’t hit on married men.

    What I find amusing is I notice that about 85% of the time, when a Christian man is outed or arrested for having affairs or being a child molester, he’s a MARRIED man.

    You are more apt to find married Christian men starting affairs (with married Christian women), or molesting kids or what have you than you are to see this in news stories.

    But most married Christians think a person being married makes them magically immune from sexual temptation and fornicating all over the place or using dirty web sites and so on. Wrong, wrong, wrong!! Almost every sexual sin story I see involves a married guy. Tons of married Christian men admit to using dirty web sites constantly.

    RE

    I have no desire to attend church again. As a single, I am not wanted so why should I give up one of the two days I actually get to sleep more than 3-4 hours to go be around people who at best will whisper behind my back, or reject me to my face at worst. I can worship God on my own.

    I appreciate this. I too would rather sleep in on Sundays and watch movies on cable TV than get up early, dress nice, and drive to a service only to be ignored, or else treated like a possible man-stealing Jezebel by the married women.

    I’ve read books about why people leave church, complete with chapters about how terribly churches treat singles. A ton singles have said in these books they got tired of being either ignored or treated like losers for being single, so they stopped going to any church at all.

    Some churches, by the way, are more than happy to pay single adults attention, but for all the wrong reasons: some of them take note of singles, but only in how they can exploit singles for their benefit.

    Such churches will encourage the singles to babysit for free for the married couples, or sweep the church’s floors, and so on.

    Adult singles are not opposed to lending a hand or sweeping floors, you see, but are opposed to being treated as though they is all they are good for.

    Singles do not appreciate it when marrieds assume, “you must have lots of free time, so you do ‘X’ at church this week.” Married church-goers often are pretty presumptuous about singles and singlehood itself and what single life looks like.

    And the same churches that want the singles to sweep the floors and baby sit for free often times refuse to have the rest of the church (including married couples) do nice gestures for the singles once in awhile.

    If you bring this fact up – that you are a single with needs and want to get them met by church people occasionally, the church and the marrieds will shame you and brush off your concerns by saying, “You come to church to serve, not be served.”

    No, I come for both (if I attend at all) – if I’m going to scratch your back, you need to scratch mine in return when, or if, I need it.

    Asking me only to regularly meet the needs of other people and you refusing to meet mine is a one-way, unfair relationship. I used to permit myself to be used by other people, but no more. I gave that up.

    I am appalled at how many church people think it’s valid to mooch off singles, exploit them, and then refuse to do anything for the singles in return.

    But I would say that the vast majority of Christendom among conservative evangelicals just ignore singles altogether. If they bother to notice, they exploit us, or put us down, or like at your former church, they just yell at you to hurry up and marry.

    Like

  60. Correction:
    “You are more apt to find married Christian men starting affairs (with married Christian women), or molesting kids or what have you than you are to see this in news stories.”

    Should be…
    “You are more apt to find married Christian men starting affairs (with married Christian women), or molesting kids or what have you than you are to see single adults doing those sorts of things in news stories.”

    But the assumptions by the church continues, that it is the unmarried, Christian adult who is a predator or a horn dog who has 45 sexual flings every week.

    In reality, it’s usually the married Christian men who are more often guilty of those things.

    Like

  61. I don’t sleep around with 30 guys a week.

    That would be an impressive feat, though, you have to admit…

    Like

  62. Hi, I’m a single woman who has never married, have no children and am 51. In fact, I’m still a virgin. And, no. I’m not gay, struggling with SSA nor especially content about still being an “unclaimed treasure” either. Ha. I laugh because at the moment I don’t feel like a treasure.

    I’ve got the unclaimed part mastered though.

    Contentment is a daily thing where I learn to constantly die to my desires and to stir up biblical hope in God’s desires (no matter the cost).

    Your use of the word “significance” gave me a chuckle. Am I supposed to be seeking significance in this world?

    No. That’s a big fat negatory. Nope.

    Do you need verses?

    Yah, life can really stink. But it’s short. Do you need verses to show that God will make our sacrifices worth it?

    What if the day after you came to God He said, “I know you aren’t saved by ANYTHING you do what so ever; but, would you be willing to… Because of what I’ve done for you out of love and gratitude for me?”

    Anything He might ask of us is a reasonable request. Our “reasonable sacrifice”. Give up family. Become isolated. Maimed. Wounded. Mentally ill. Weakened. A mockery. Your life?

    He’s worth it. Ask anything, Lord. Then, grant me the power to follow where you lead me.

    Lastly, no offense but your churches sound weak. I’ve learned there just doesn’t need to be any special programs or events or families with tender hearts just for the unmarried.

    You be that one.

    You invite them in.

    You’ll find if you are in the word much that others are suffering, too.

    So, you asked what it’s like?

    I’m grateful. God has used it to weed out sin in my life. Sanctification is my blood purchased right.

    Seek that.

    Seek Jesus.

    Nothing in this world can be offered to you as a reward for what’s coming if you do.

    Like

  63. Single, over 55, in church here. The single scene in church is the same as in the world..It sucks, plain and simple. Only difference? The single middle aged men who identify as Christians look good on paper. They act like they’re all super pious when in reality they’re just a bunch of rigidly conservative (bordering on fascist) sexist jerks who are terrified of their definition of the boogeyman: the fat ‘modern feminist.’ They love picking women apart and will go to great lengths to expose their flaws, so they can reject the woman and justify dating much younger mail order bride types. Sorry, but churches are USELESS when it comes to ministering to single people except to say, (if you’re still young, white, thin and pretty) well let’s get you married…or to the ones they don’t see as physically attractive such as older, non-white and overweight… you get the patronizing ‘oh, you’re such a strong woman who loves the Lord! You don’t really “need” a man. Embrace the gift of singleness” I’m sooo over that. I’ve had to face the reality that I will never find a man in the church to marry, and since I can’t be ‘unequally yoked’ with non-believers, I’m destined to be alone for the rest of my days. It makes me wonder why God hates me so much? 😦

    Like

  64. Singleandhatingit

    I don’t think god hates you. I’m so sorry.

    I could say a lot of things, but I’m afraid they would spiral into annoying dating advice and you’ve probably heard it all…I’m also single although not quite in the same age range (but definitely beyond the mid-twenties which seems to have been the ‘proper’ marrying age)…I will say I’ve seen things work. My uncle recently married a woman who is late fifties and had never been married and they seem very happy. I wish you the best.

    On the weight thing, I think I was not dating during my prime dating years because I was unhappy with my weight (and maybe a little depressed), and that is something I regret. Now, even though its scary, I’m putting myself out there and that is having better results.

    Like

  65. @ Singleandhatingit.
    I’m in my 40s and have not married yet.

    Churches treat singles horribly, and there are little to no single men from roughly ages 25 to 65 in most conservative / Baptist / evangelical churches.

    Have you ever visited blogs such as “A Cry For Justice?” Almost daily, you can see posts on there by Christian women who had to divorce their Christian husbands because their husband was an abusive jerk or a pedophile or who knows what.

    Just because a guy is a Christian or claims to be one does not mean that he is one, or will treat a woman decently.

    I’ve seen posts by Christian women who divorced husband 1, who was a Christian, because the man was an abuser, adulterer, or whatever, and went on to marry husband 2, who was an atheist or some other sort of Non-Christian.

    These women say they are ten times happier with husband 2 (the Non Christian) than they ever were with their “Christian” husband. They say their Non-Christian husband treats them with more kindness and compassion than their Christian husband ever did.

    I no longer abide by the “be equally yoked” teaching precisely because of those reasons: there is a man-shortage among Christians, plus, the ones who may exist are abusive jerk weeds.

    I’ve already changed my preferences on dating sites to accept atheist, agnostic matches. I’m not ready to jump in the dating pool again, that may be some time away for me, but when I do date again, I am open to dating Non-Christian men.

    Like

  66. Well I am 51 now and was NEVER my plan to be single, yet I am and have no choice in it. I feel like I am being punished for something I did not do.

    I’m a total SINK and the church treats me like I STINK. From what I see is that these FAMILY churches are just that. FAMILY ONLY (also inner circle of friends). Age 35 to 55 (55 is the age people start to die where you MIGHT get a slim chance to see what life is like with someone but now to old to really enjoy much) the church assumes you are dating or married. Most sermons talk about marriage and dating. Outings for dating and married. Singles are just swept under the rug and forgotten.

    You need prayer at church? Well they will pray for you then do a 180 and walk away from you and have nothing else to do with you. They got plans with other dating/married people.

    Singles in church are highly neglected and most do not give a 2nd thought about it. Women in the church avoid me and treat me like I’m a stalker or predator. Gives me a good feeling that someone cares…. NOT….

    I still go to church, but I say nothing to anyone and no one talks to me at all. They just look at me. When service is over I just leave. Would hate to bother anyone with my singleness and hint I’d like some friendship and be invited out to feel some what normal.

    Some stats I saw last year was that single Christians age 30 to 55, over %40 leave the church because they feel rejected and no one cares for them.

    I have pretty much given up on having friends and even dating.

    Like

  67. I’m a male, almost 60, and been a life-long single. It seems like it does not get better with age being as I am. I came close to getting married a few times. I was 21 when a girl proposed to me. I loved her but I felt like I was way too young to get married. And around 20 years ago I almost got married to a woman that wanted to marry me. She loved me, so she said, but I didn’t feel the same way. I had to let her go. And then recently I met a Chinese woman at where I live, who could hardly speak English. I think she said that she wanted to marry me, but I felt like she wanted to marry me so that she can become a citizen of the US.

    When I almost got married to that woman around 20 years ago, I went to the church that she was going to. I couldn’t believe the nice treatment I got while at that church. I was like “big man on campus”. I never got treated nearly as nice as that when I want to other churches alone. And it’s still that way.

    It’s been about 30 years (I became born again @23 years old) since I felt OK at going to a church. I’ve been to all kinds of churches and none of them had any kind of staying power for me. I recently left a church I was going to for four years. The whole time I was there, it was never that great. But I felt too lazy and discouraged to look elsewhere. One time I had a counseling session with the Pastor. I told him that I feel lonely. He then told me, “yes I know. People at our church avoid you because they sense that you don’t feel comfortable being around others”. Well I do have some social anxiety. Probably because of all of the hurts I’ve been through. But also that church was mainly real old people and they were in their comfortable cliques. When the Pastor made that remark, it floored me. Needless to say, I gave up on that church.

    I’ve been single and alone for so long, that I have given up any kind of hope that I will ever get married or just have a companion. I guess I’m OK with it because I’ve been acclimated to it. If I can’t get married, I’d at least want to have friends. And that’s very hard to come by, too. I still continue to go to church, but it’s incredible that I do. And there are times I feel like – what’s there to look forward to in life?

    A year-and-a-half ago, I had Prostate Cancer Surgery. I had my whole prostate removed. So now that’s affected me with confidence. In case if you don’t know, having that surgery is equivalent to being sterilized (no need to get graphic about it).

    Like

  68. Tom, your former pastor said, “yes I know. People at our church avoid you because they sense that you don’t feel comfortable being around others”

    Why is he okay with that? Shouldn’t the church be coming alongside the lonely?

    I felt ostracized in my old church because I had a lot of pain from spiritual abuse, and they, over and over, pushed me to the side because I didn’t have a smile on my face and lots of great comments about what wonderful joy God was bringing in my life. In my new church, I still feel on the outside, but the sermons are right on point. It’s okay to have pain. It’s okay to be depressed. But, especially, we should be coming alongside those God brings in our lives that we can minister to them.

    I’ve been working through some similar issues. Someone asked me… do you have joy? Well, not really. The God I grew up learning about wanted me to wear a smile, because, if I didn’t, he would smack me. If I made a mistake, he would smack me. I know that fundamentalist God is not the true God, and I know that the true God loves me and wants to show his love towards me, but I still feel like there’s a lot of pain to work through before I can experience that joy.

    Like

  69. As a single,never married christian woman of 50 + – I was saved as a teenager, I have found my most special times of ministry and fellowship have been with organisations such as prayer ministries and single christian ministries which are not church based. I have always belonged to a church, but by also belonging to these other ministries, I have an outlet for ministry and fellowship a church alone cannot give me. I also join in with a work based christian group which also gives me fellowship during the week.

    I have tended to find small churches more intimate than large churches and inner city churches have more singles than suburban churches.

    It takes time and effort to maintain friendships but it is well worth doing in order to have lifetime friends and continuity in fellowship.

    Like

  70. I have wanted to go back to church but I’m divorced and almost 60. Ugh! It almost adds to my aloneness and a sense of being lonely because rarely do people speak to me or include me because activities are almost exclusively centered around families and couples. I want that spiritual connection with others and am not expecting to find a husband! Lol I just want to be a part of a spiritual group that is somewhat similar and still very active.
    I wonder if there are 50 and over churches like living communities all over the country.
    Are there others with the same issues?

    Like

  71. I can relate to much of what is said here. It is tough to be closer to 60, have been left by your husband, and try to find a place in the church. I am slogging away at it, but it is certainly true that there is not much of a place for someone like me in the church, and when there is, it is in the nursery. Don’t get me wrong, I do volunteer to work with the little ones, and it is an important thing to do. Serving others is important, and a servant’s heart is important. But since my divorce I feel like I have become the dirt on the floor that gets swept up and thrown away when it comes to church. Still, I will try for awhile longer to make some sense out of church.

    Like

  72. Hi Beth,

    I’m sorry that you’re feeling like this. It’s the nature of the Beast.

    Your disillusionment with this thing called ‘church’ is entirely natural. Jesus did not come to establish religious clubs like the ones we see in the NT.

    We are his body. Each of us has unique gifts for the purpose of doing His work.

    I don’t believe that God’s intention is for his body to jam themselves into a clubhouse to use these gifts just for his people.

    The pastors have done a great job making us think we need to get busy for Jesus in ‘church’ ordained ‘ministries’ to use these gifts for the benefit of God’s people.

    Jesus was very clear. So was Paul and James.

    Byways and Highways.

    Poor and Needy.

    Widows and Orphans.

    If you can find a couple of genuine Christians for simple fellowship then you are doing well. The NT saints met in houses. They did not have a religious leader presiding over their meal. The Elders in the bible were the older people. No religious leaders. This nonsense all comes from Rome.

    Beth, our cities are full of lonely and unsaved people.

    We need to go find them and bring them in.

    (To Jesus’ church- his assembly)

    Not a place. It’s a people.

    This means that we need to open up our lives to ugly and broken people.

    “You are a city on a hill”.

    The institutions exist to make money.

    We are told to count the cost.

    The longer I am out of the religious club the more I realise God wants every piece of me.

    He wants my compliance. He leads as he does and my job is to say, “yes Lord”.

    And guide he does.

    This is not popular with modern Christianity. Where God does not teach or guide his people by His Spirit (God IS spirit) and instead you need to be taught by a seminary trained professional who gets a salary to serve (aha!)

    Beth, you are useful in more way than you may realise.

    Go find some really hard people to love. And kill them with kindness.

    They don’t find this kind of love in the church.

    And this is how people will know you are one of his.

    Liked by 2 people

  73. Doug, I listened to your pastor – God really blessed me with the message he gave and with later messages.

    One gripe I have with being single in the church is that my gifts are not being used. Instead, i am assigned jobs I am not equipped to do, often they are sprung on me so that if I do not do them, I will be blamed. I now have had to learn to take a lead and tell organisers in advance what I can and cannot do. Also, I no longer worry if a job is left undone – I’m not a leader so it’s not my role to tell others what to do – and amazingly, it always get done by someone else.

    Like

  74. Who the hell would care about church anyway? Not us single people that is for sure since many of us good single men out there never saw this coming in the first place which we would have a much better chance getting struck by lightening since finding real true love for many of us men now is very extremely hard nowadays since the women of today unfortunately have changed for the worst of all. Most women are very picky when it comes to finding love since they will only want the very best of all and God forbid should they settle for less since that is very unlikely to happen the way that women are these days which makes it very sad. And for the ones that are married with their families should go to church since their life is very much complete since are life really sucks altogether since many of us men are really not single by choice.

    Like

  75. Being a single man over 50 I have been hurt by the church many times. HOWEVER, we are there to learn about God. If we are Christian we might remember the God sees it all and nothing escapes him.
    I always thought I would be married with kids and have friends. No clue why God seen fit to push it all away from me. All I can say is in the end I will be in heaven and all my loneliness and misery will be gone forever. I try to stay focused on the finish line.
    This is a true test that God has given many of us to do.
    Stay strong, alert and try to focus on God always.

    Like

  76. I am 51 and have never been married and am alone, my ex-girl is not married and single is alone, my daughter is single and alone, my daughters mother is single and alone. Everyone I have encountered is positively arrogant, worthless and stupid with levels of selfishness which are intangled with short sighted ignorance and a false sense of youth and immortality. Places of worship are merely a controlling parasite to steal youth, vigor and time away from all of you through fairy tales of reward and guilty. This delusions fear mongering should be made illegal but won’t be because there’s to much money in pimping an elaborate lie to provincially minded dummies. It really shame people fall for it. Hope is a lie there is only merely the everlasting eternal moment which is a non event and requires nothing. And then it’s over. Don’t be fearful, no one and nothing escapes it. So keep pursuing collecting more junk they’ll have to throw out instead of building a life. Too many alone and going nowhere because nothing is ever good enough. So stay there waiting to be moved from a big box to a small one if you can even afford it anymore.

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