I couldn’t resist putting this picture up once I decided on the title for this blog. I’ve been trying to avoid this blog subject for a while, but had several conversations surrounding this topic this past week and realized I didn’t want to avoid it any more.
Singleness and the Church.
The conversations got me thinking…why is this topic the elephant in the room? If it was the above cute little elephant, I don’t think I’d mind it at all. 🙂
I’ve been grateful to see the church growing in it’s desire to embrace the single community. Good questions are being asked and answered. Being a single myself, sometimes I can feel the uncertainty of others as they try to reach out to me in my singleness. Scripture talks a lot about marriage and family and the church has worked very hard at finding ways to be a support to families. This has been and always will be very needed! There’s a reason Scripture talkes about it so much. For the record, some churches are embracing the single community very well. This post is more geared to people who view singles like they would a rare animal in the zoo…staring awkwardly but never interacting.
Although I can’t speak for all singles, here are a few ideas that can help the church engage singles (regardless of if this is self-emposed or God-emposed singleness)….
1. Family – Scripture doesn’t cover much about singleness, because there were not many singles (in the sense that we understand) back when Scripture was written. That’s because everyone lived in family units. Singles now might not have any family around to be a part of, but they still desire those interactions and environments. Psalm 68:6a, “God sets the lonely into families.” Invite singles into your family and home. Not just for holidays, but for the regular everyday stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed helping a friend do her family’s shopping, or fold the laundry. We long for the family type community. Let us be a part of your family sometimes.
2. More then peers – We naturally gravitate to people in the same place in life as ourselves. There is beauty in this, but there is also a need to be surrounded by people of different ages and in different places in life. We need to interact with married couples, people with little children, people with older children, and even grandparents. Titus 2 talks about the older generations teaching the younger. You don’t have to be single to pour into another single’s life. You just need to be willing to listen, pray, and share your wisdom.
3. Embrace the differences – You can’t compare singleness and marriage. They are both hard and wonderful. We don’t need to be reminded about how “lucky” we have it. When it comes down to it, we know that you wouldn’t trade your family for anything. Embrace us where we are at and allow us to embrace you where you are at, the rough and the beautiful. We both need to find the contentment in our individual situations just like Paul did in Philippians 4:11b, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
I believe that it comes down to helping take down the walls that separate us. We want to belong. We want to help you. We want to grow. We want to serve. We want to love God. Exactly the same as you. Let’s embrace each other and enjoy the adventures He places before us!