Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Ways to Love the Singles in Your Circles (That They Actually Want)

  • RJ Thesman Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
10 Ways to Love the Singles in Your Circles (That They Actually Want)

Statistics show that most of us, particularly women, will live alone at some point in our lives. What might the status of being single for a lifetime look like? And how might we want to be treated? With so many singles in our networks, the time is now to discover ways to reach out to singles and love on them - even as we want to be loved.

Or consider the following scenario: your son or daughter moves away from home to live alone in a big city. No friends. Just a nice job and a small apartment. You may worry and pray for a new friend, yet you know how difficult it may be to find a circle of influence. After a couple of weeks, your child texts you and says, "Guess what, Mom? There's a nice lady in the neighborhood who brought me a welcome basket. All kinds of coupons and the best homemade muffins I've ever tasted - except for yours." Wouldn't that scenario thrill your mommy heart? 

So how can we reach out to singles we meet in our everyday world? Here are 10 ideas. 

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  • 1. Listen

    1. Listen

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    Ask them what they need from the church or the workplace, then listen carefully to the response. Most singles need the same things married people long for: someone who cares enough to listen and respond. It’s encouraging to find someone who hears what you have to say – no matter your marital status.

    At work one day, I received a greeting card from a fellow worker. She mentioned that she “saw” me as a person and noticed how my hard work was often ignored. This woman mentioned nothing about the fact that she was married with children and I was single. She “saw” me for who I was. Although I no longer work for that organization, I still keep that greeting card in my encouragement file.

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  • 1. Listen

    2. Equal Time

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    Especially within churches, we tend to present sermons on marriage relationships. Some pastors will even preach a series on marriage. Sure – we all want to know how to have a happy marriage. But that means approximately one-half of the congregation may feel left out. A Pew research study in 2017 noted 42 percent of people are living without a spouse or a partner. That’s a lot of people who may feel as if the church is centered only on the traditional family model. 

    Give equal time for sermons that focus on how singles serve God at church and within the community. Check out the Apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35. He suggests how singles can serve God better because their devotion is undivided.

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    3. Inclusion

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    Single people have just as many gifts as married folks. Include them in every aspect of church life. Worship teams, children’s ministries, the elder team, teaching classes and even the pastorate. A single pastor can minister with credibility to the entire demographic of single attendees. Singles often love to be around children and teenagers. Allow them to use their creative ideas to serve groups (but don’t force them just because they “have the time”). 

    Consider the value singles have added to our world: Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, Condoleezza Rice, President James Buchanan, Mary Magdalene, and scores of missionaries throughout the world. Let’s validate the gifts of single people wherever they are.

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  • 1. Listen

    4. Don't Assume They Need or Want to Be Married

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    Marriage is not the end goal for every person. Many people are perfectly happy remaining single because they have the freedom to be who God created them to be. They don’t need or want to be an appendage to someone else. If you have a singles group in your church, its aim should not be to make couples. 

    In some churches, single women are not considered “safe.” This truth is underscored for divorced women who are often shunned from activities. It is not true that divorced women want to steal married men. Don’t assume every single is looking for a mate.

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    5. Expand Your Outreach

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    It’s easy to stay within our own demographic, but singles live all around us, working and serving in every aspect of life. Do singles live in your neighborhood? Invite them to attend church with you or to join you in your backyard barbecue. Is your work cubicle next to a single person? How about sharing your tickets to a ballgame? 

    We often get stuck within our own demographic because it feels more comfortable. We don’t have to work at relationships that mirror our own. Yet widows, divorced people, and widowers have a particularly difficult time finding friends when they no longer belong to the “couples” group. Don’t let these children of God live within that rejection.

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  • 1. Listen

    6. Invite Singles into Your Life

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    One single woman I know has become the favorite babysitter in the neighborhood. She is particularly gifted with young children and they love her. What other gifts can singles add to your life? A single gentleman helped me fix my wooden fence. He knew exactly the right tools to use and how to level each post. Many of my writing clients are singles. We enjoy meeting for coffee and book discussions, beyond the reach of professional coaching sessions.

    How about a Super Bowl party or a chili cook-off during the finals of the NCAA season? Many singles, men and women, would love to be invited to join you and your family for these fun events.

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    7. Adopt a Single during the Holidays

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    Some single people cannot join their extended families for the holidays. Other singles no longer have family. For example: An only child whose parents are both deceased. The holidays are a particularly lonely time. Adopt this single for the holidays. Invite him/her to bring a special dish and join your family for the day. 

    During the first Thanksgiving holiday after my divorce, my landlord and his family invited me to join them. We had a lovely fall day with amazing food, football-watching and plenty of leftovers to take home. My son and I felt incredibly loved on a day that could have been nothing but sad.

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    8. Follow the Golden Rule

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    If you were single, how would you want to be treated? Do you remember the loneliness of your single life before marriage? How do you wish people would have treated you back then? Treat others the way you once longed to be treated. Inclusion and acceptance move us toward understanding and love.

    Follow the principle written in Matthew 7:12. Remember: Jesus was single. How would you act if he lived in your neighborhood or worked in the next cubicle?

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    9. Be Present

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    For single people, Sunday is often the loneliest day of the week. They sit alone while families take up the entire pew ahead of them. They watch the husband put his arm around his wife or the children snuggle up to their mother. They feel the rejection of being alone in a place that is supposed to represent family. 

    Invite a single person to sit with you and your children. One family did this for me in the years after divorce. Just being near another warm body while we worshipped together made me feel like I still belonged in the family of God. Rejection was replaced by acceptance.

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    10. Eliminate the Singles Label

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    Although this article is all about how we can love singles, we often label people within certain demographics. Once we accept labels, then we assign stereotypes. One pastor told me he believes the majority of single people are living homosexual lives, so his church avoids the issue of developing a singles ministry. This stereotype is simply not true.

    Single people are no different than any other human being. They work, love God, become marathon runners, struggle with bills, and get sick. If we begin to eliminate the singles label, then we can look at every person as a brother or sister in the family of God. 

    Being accepted and loved is what we all need, no matter how we mark our marital status.

    RJ Thesman recently published her 10th book, No Visible Scars. She writes from the perspective of an author who offers hope through fiction and nonfiction. As a certified writing coach, Thesman shares writing and editing expertise to help her clients reach their publishing dreams. She is a columnist for the Johnson County Gazette, a contributing writer for Crosswalk, and a weekly blogger. She is currently at work on another nonfiction book and plotting the structure for a new novel.  You can connect with her at: https://RJThesman.net.

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