This is the last post in a series about what it might look like to make the church unmarried friendly. We’ve talked about why this is so important for the future of the church and why it matters in the big picture. Last time we talked about the theological side of being a church that welcomes 66% of folks who don’t go to church – the unmarried. Today I want to get practical
The question you need to ask is what is the user experience for a single at your church? Here’s what I can tell you experientially; I was single until I was nearly 41 years old and one of the hardest places to go was church. The experience was mostly not good.
So what does it look like, or maybe a better way of saying it, what could it look like?
One of the things that always bothers me is when we assume single people should do more ministry. This sort of thought process happens all the time for several reasons.
It comes from the pulpit because pastors either misunderstand or misuse what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7. Without going into too much depth here as I’ve written extensively about this, Paul is not saying if you are not yet married that you are therefore not distracted and able to be a better, more focused Christian. He is instead saying if you are not distracted by a desire to get married, it could be that you have the gift/calling of celibacy and that would be a good thing.
But this is where this gets really ironic is that the same people telling you to “take advantage of your singleness” in ministry don’t want you to actually lead the ministry. Perhaps what they really mean, is that while they can, they want to take advantage of your singleness.
You see it’s fine if you want to serve in the nursery or maybe the youth, on the worship team, set up and tear down, and in the rare church you might even be able to lead a small group.
My last two posts I’ve been responding to a post from Relevant that Scott Sauls wrote dealing with the Church and its focus on the nuclear family and lack of focus on singles. I want to respond to one last part today.
I want to restate that I’m not trying to pick on Scott or attack him in any way. I appreciate that he is at least identifying that there is a problem in our evangelical culture when it comes to this issue. I also believe that he represents where a lot of people in our circle are at. That is, they see there is a problem, but they don’t realize how deep it is and that a lot of the assumptions they are making are actually deeply flawed.
In the last post we looked at the idea that God will either bring you someone or He won’t and if you aren’t married then He just hasn’t done so yet. I actually think the main reason that Scott brought this up is not so much to offer a terrible platitude to singles but to try to say that unmarried folks can have just as rich of walk with Jesus as married folks. Let me say a huge Amen to that.
I think more and more church leaders are waking up to that idea. However, the way in which they view that unmarried life is lacking and it is a huge reason we have all the confusion that we have. So let me respond to that here.