He Said-She Said: What Can the Church Do for Singles?
- Thursday, July 16, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness, please CLICK HERE to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: Why does it seem most churches focus so much on married couples? They have two or three Sunday School classes for them but not one for single adults. It even seems that the widows and young singles are left behind. Sometimes I think if you're not married, you really do not fit in. This makes me think that is why so many single people go to bars to find love. It is hard being a Christian single; you're lonely but where are the singles there … not in church because the church seems to just cater to the married couples. Why can we not make something or a class where singles, widows, and single parents could relate to each other the same way married couples do? I'm in a married couples Sunday school class. There is not a singles class available, and I feel so out of place. They're always talking or jesting with each other and sometimes you just want to say "Stop it." They do not realize I would love to have someone to share my life, too. So what can we do to fit in better? Do we just keep going on like this? Is there something in the Bible that could help with this situation? I pray the Lord will bring me someone, but evidently that is not what He wants for me yet. So how can the churches reach out to everyone, not just married couples?
HE SAID: I have attended several groups and programs for singles, visited many churches around the country, and talked to hundreds of unmarried people during my tenure as a single.
I have seen singles groups for "20s", "30s", "Careers", "30s-40s", "Single Again", "Single Parent", "Single Wanting Children", "Still Single After All of These Years", "Single and Holding Out Hope", "Mature Singles" (these are probably those who have accepted the fact they are still single), "Golden Years," and "Single and Jaded" (the honest singles), and I am sure you can add many more titles to the list. Okay, some of these may not be actual names, just feelings I've picked up from the different groups.
There are so many titles because there is such a diversity of who singles are and what we are looking for. Each of us have our own unique backgrounds, wants, desires, goals, likes, dislikes and purpose in life (baggage included).
Unlike married people, our journey is perhaps more dissimilar than similar. You are a single parent, I am an older single, there are singles in their teens and 20s, and others are widowed.
As a result, most churches have difficulty servicing the various stages and needs of singlehood. We are perceived as a segment of the population who are (hopefully) relationally transient, autonomous, and self-sufficient. For many of us, we don't answer to anybody nor are we responsible for anyone (although we should be accountable to others).
"Singles ministry" is not extremely critical in the big picture of ministry when compared to married couples, families, missions, building, children, elderly care, homeless, and community outreach.
Many churches lack the wherewithal and the personnel to handle the diversity, complexity and needs of singles (and we aren't the easiest group to commit). I have seen several churches "do away" with singles pastors even when the population numbered over 500.
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