With this post, I’m beginning a series of posts that will be discussing the topic of singleness in the church. So leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Have you ever walked into a room and felt like you were on the wrong end of an inside joke? There’s not much more embarrassing. In the church world today, it seems that this is the very thing happening to many of our single-church goers. And even moreso in ministry circles. This is most distrubing because according to recent statistics, 41% of Americans 18 and older are single. Many in the church world view a person that is not married as immature or as if something is wrong with them. For example, I had a friend recently interviewing for an associate pastor position and this is how part of the interview went:
Pastor: So are you married?
Friend: No, I’m not.
Pastor: So are you dating anyone? Any prospects?
Friend: No, not right now.
Pastor: So are you gay?
It’s as if singleness is a disease. A disease which has only one cure: marriage. The danger in that is there are people who are not ready to be married, who have not found the right person God has for them to marry, or who feel led to a life of singleness. In forcing marriage on people, I believe many are undermining the work of God in that person’s life, and creating doubt in the plan God has for them. Something I’ve always believed and have read in scripture is that God equips people uniquely because He has a unique plan for their lives. With that said, in a person’s attempts to help someone who is single, they can actually be setting them up for failure. In 1 Timothy 6:6, the apostle Paul explains that great gain (success) is found not in what we can achieve (marriage) but rather in godliness and contentment. Therefore, in the Christian community we need to encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin, in who God has made them and where He’s placed them, rather than trying to force them to fit into our own little Christian box.