Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why aren't churches hooking up more singles?

On an online Christian forum last night, I read a particularly heart-felt post from a lady, who'd noticed how many unpaired people, both male and female, there were at a New Year's service at a very prominent church in the American South. She asked why churches weren't doing more to get their singles together. Responders to the post echoed the same sentiment, complaining that singles Bible studies didn't do enough to encourage couple-hood and that they were instead, run by "marrieds", dolling out the usual "be patient" and "this is all part of God's plan", to which one poster replied "walk a mile in my shoes". (I've personally heard more of the studies and activities turning into perpetual, drama-filled, Bible-based dating games)

At first thought, I felt as if I were more than qualified, because I have walked a mile or two in the shoes of singleness, but I've come to know that it comes in different forms, with people single for different reasons. I fall more toward the end of the "Single by choice" spectrum...not shunning partnership, but not endlessly pining for it either. It's hard for me to genuinely understand, but I know that there are Christians that deeply want to be married or don't want to be single anymore. I don't know if I'll ever understand, but I can sympathize.

That said, I do not believe it is the responsibility of churches to actively get their singles together. To do so is to imply that everyone should be coupled, or that everyone that WANTS to be married, should be. I do, though, believe that the church has certain responsibilities to singles:

1) To provide an environment that is "safe" for them. Basically, an environment where they can be single, without being accused of whatever short-comings people tend to believe "cause" singleness or left out of church activities.

2) To provide an environment that does not pity singlehood. The more it's pitied, the easier it is to view this lifestyle as something negative. It's not. It's a period where you have more room in your life for other people than if you were married.

3) To provide an environment that does not trivialize single life as a pass-through period of life. Whether you marry at 18, 30, 65 or never, being single isn't marriage's waiting room.

4) To encourage singles to take care of themselves as individuals, not just in preparation for marriage. Staying fit is about honoring the body you've been given, not just attracting, or pleasing a potential mate.

5) To create an environment where singles CAN get to know each other.

6) To maintain lines of communication between marrieds and singles. Yes, the two lifestyles do have aspects of them that should not be actively shared, but both have ideas and opportunities to offer each other, and shouldn't be completely segregated.

I also believe there is a duty to acknowledge that the title "single" also includes divorced people, separated people, those who have lost a spouse and possibly, even those who are attending church without their spouse.


  1. This is an amazing post. I honestly have never seen anything like this addressing singlehood and faith. Most posts imply that singles are defunct or even disobeying the Bible, which is not true.

    I love how you wrote a full perspective of considerations for singles. Most think the only thing that should be on one's mind if single is desperately seeking couplehood.

    Incredible post. Great job.

  2. Fire... You did the damn thing on this post... No further comments #InstantFan