Growing up, I watched a lot of romantic comedies. Honestly, I still do. I am swept away by the stories of a guy wooing a girl and defying all odds to be with her. For so long, I believed that once I found my person and got married, life would be full and complete.
Boy was I wrong.
Marriage is a gift from God, and it is complex and difficult. The same can be true of singleness, and yet the struggles and joys of the single person in the church are often ignored not only by romantic comedies but also by the Church. Many of us hear sermons and hear of bible studies on marriage and for married couples, but where do you go as a single adult?
Sometimes it feels as if the Church is divided between single and married people. It is not uncommon for single people to feel isolated and ignored. I have spoken to many single people who feel like they do not belong to the church community because they do not have a spouse. Some even feel like they are less than other married Christians.
If this is your story, I am so sorry. God does not consider any of His children as lower-class citizens compared to others. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are all equal and united in Christ in Galatians 3:28, which says, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Jesus died for all of His people and unites us all in His body, the Church.
Rather than focusing on what divides the single and married person, let us remember what unites us. We are all children of God, saved by His grace through the blood of His Son. And we are all called to be disciples of Jesus and go into the world and make more disciples through the power of the Spirit (Matthew 28:18–20). Our gifts and life stages may look different, but the apostle Paul encourages us, “Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches” (1 Corinthians 7:17). Our circumstances are different, but we can work alongside one another to serve God according to our abilities and circumstances.
We see singles and married couples work alongside one another from the beginning of the Church. The apostle Peter was married (Matthew 8:14–17, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38), while the apostle Paul was single. And yet, the two both served the early church as leaders and missionaries for the gospel. Peter was not greater because of his status as a husband, and Paul was not lesser because of his singleness. Both were used by God. No matter your marital status, you are valuable and necessary to your local church.
How to Get Involved in the Church as a Single Person
If you are feeling lonely or out of place in your local church because of your singleness, prayerfully consider the following:
- Is there someone I can talk to?
Perhaps there are others in your church who feel just as lonely as you do, even if they are married. Or your church community might be unware of the fact that you and other single people feel isolated.
When we humbly confess our needs to the Church, we can hope that the Church will follow the command of 1 John 4:7. It says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” We can lean on our community of God’s people to help us in our time of need, knowing that they should love us the way Jesus does.
2. Where can I love and serve others?
Sometimes we feel inadequate to serve, lead, or teach when we are single. But Scripture is full of gifted leaders, prophets, and servants of God who were not married. Part of being in the Church is serving others in the same way Christ served us. Pray for God to show you where He has gifted you and where you can use those gifts to build up His Church.
3. Where can I find common ground?
It can be difficult to make friends in a community where most are married and you are single. But as Christ-followers, we have so much more that unites us rather than divides us. Invite someone from church to coffee or lunch at a time that works for both of your schedules. Meet a friend at the park while her children play. We can enter the lives of others even if their life stage is different from ours.
And no matter your circumstances, we pray that you will fill the nearness of our Savior who is always with you.
Additional Resources for Being Single in the Church: