[I have been single my entire adult life. Because I am single, I have had a front row experience of how churches are reaching and growing singles adults. As a result, I have found that most churches simply did not know much about us nor how to reach us. After several years of serving on various singles ministry leadership teams as well as starting my own, God called me to help others do the same? Specifically to help reach the church, the pastors and staff; to educate and provide resources so that ALL churches would know how to reach singles.]
In my last article, I shared with you two myths about single adults. Myth #1, we have more time than married adults and myth #2, we are less committed. In summary, single adults have the same amount of time as any other adult however, depending on if they have kids or not, the use and flexibility of that time will vary. The fact that single adults are often blamed for being less committed has more to do with perception than reality. See my other article for a complete explanation of this myth.
MYTH #3: ALL SINGLES ADULTS ARE HURTING AND NEED TO BE FIXED
While there are many single adults hurting due to divorce, death of a spouse, financial issues, abandonment, rejection, broken relationships, etc. I have also found married adults to have the same problems. The issue again comes down to perception.
Another area of ministry I train others in is first impressions. I think this area of ministry is critical to the growth of the church. From how your website looks and is updated to your parking lot, to greeters, ushers, those who follow up, and staying connected can make or break your church.
On any Sunday morning when I greet, I watch the various couples arguing in their cars over who knows what, only to get out of their car and pretend everything is ok. They will walk into church and smile, giving the appearance that everything is wonderful on the home front. But I know it’s not. They are fighting about finances, extended family, kids, intimacy, house issues, etc. The thing is most married people deal with their issues before they come to church while singles bring all their issues too church. Why? Because the church IS our family. So the perception that we are all hurting, that they have more issues than married’s, more problems is inaccurate. In my research, single adults have fewer problems than married people. Just like Paul in the Bible talks about in 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35*, when you are married you have more things to worry about. Now, please don’t get me wrong. For singles that have kids and exes, there are a lot of similar problems to married’s. But either way, we will share their problems with others singles. We want help. We want our lives to be different. We aren’t afraid to let others see our struggles. Even though sometimes, it would be good for some of them to hold them back. lol.
Now the other issue of being ìfixed.î If I have one more little old lady ask me why I am not married and if there is something wrong with me, I am going to be on the six oíclock news for punching her out. Marriedís seem to think itís their job to find us a mate. (Note: I know there are singles that ask married’s to find them dates too.) They want to tell them what their ìproblemî is. They even want to dress them or give them a makeover. First, while yes, there are some singles who could use some help, please make sure they want it to begin with. As a married person, do you want someone always trying to fix you? Believe me, there are single adults who struggle with self-esteem, putting the proper shirt and pants together, knowing how to talk to a girl and so forth. However, sometimes God has simply not brought them a spouse yet or made it apparent that stripes donít go with flowers. Itís not a married personís job to ìfixî singles. Itís Godís. Just like all of us, we are in process of changing to be more like God. Help us grow in this way. Now do we need Bible studies on being a great friend, how to date Godís way or prepare for marriage, building your God esteem, paying your debts off, divorce recovery, healing from grief, raising kids alone, etc.? Yes we do. Just like married’s could use some of these as well. But what is important is teach that ALL of us need to ask God what HE wants to change in us. What is there in us that need to be removed? What is the sin that entangles versus the personality that bores? Is there something in us that is causing others to fall? Is there something in us that keeps us from establishing authentic friendships? Friendships that could lead to a dating relationship and then to a marriage. Are there areas of our lives that keep us going to empty wells versus those places that make us stronger?
Please know, not every single is meant to be married or will get married. So instead of trying to fix us, encourage us to be the best we can be where God has us, single, single again, single with or without kids, widowed, etc. Teach us to love this season and embrace it to serve the Lord. And know all people are hurting in various ways. And we all need a Savior to heel, help and restore.
Take the time to get to really know the single adults in your church, in your life. You might just find they are ones who are more serious about making changes. Changes that last. They just might surprise you and be living the example of what all people will want to be…sold out for the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:32-33 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lordís 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. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.