Singles (even without kids) are part of family ministry

We need singles in the church. Unmarried people are an important part of the family model of ministry. They are important members of the family of God because they are legitimate members. It’s a shame that we forget the Apostle Paul said that if one is unmarried it is good for them to remain unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:8).

Singleness, as pointed out by Paul Zahl in Living By Grace, is the natural state of each human. We are born into the world as singles and we exit the world as single. But just as true, we know that every human is born craving human interaction. Every human needs community.

In discipleship, singles are just as important as children, and just as important as parents. All members of our communities need to be adequately considered in disciple making. Unfortunately, many churches put a priority on people who live in a home with adults (parents) and children. The best reason for this is that we value our young people. The worst reason for this is that nuclear family is the most marketable demographic for churches.

Adult singles are an important part of the family-model of ministry. They’re important because they are a growing demographic in our community, as more people are choosing to never marry. Some may curse this, but they’re wrong to do so. Singles can be just as committed, if not more so, to the work of the Kingdom of God. If we alienate them from our churches by redefining church as a compilation of families, then we will lose a large part of a generation of believers.

Singles should feel welcome in the church. This doesn’t mean that we need to create large singles ministries, as in programs where singles go to hang out with the hope that maybe they will meet someone they can marry. This plan has two things wrong with it. First, it assumes that singles need to have a special, separate place in our fellowships. There will be occasions that singles should do things together, but peer gatherings should not be their primary interaction with the church. The second problem with designed singles groups is that they often become dating clubs, which again sends a message that we only value singles as potential couples and families. This path should not be supported by the church.

Rather, we can do these things to involve singles in our churches:

  • View singles as whole numbers. They aren’t partial people waiting for a spouse to complete them. Christ is their completion.
  • Lift up single leaders in the church so that those joining your church do not feel marriage is a requirement for full membership.
  • Develop a culture where families and singles mix regularly.
  • Make an extra effort to see that singles are enveloped in the fellowship and discipleship groups of the church.
  • Provide care and a positive disposition for single adults who return to live with their parents. This is becoming more common and does not have to be seen as a shortcoming of the adult child. There are many good reasons for an adult to live with parents, but there are also different kinds of relational concerns that must be addressed for both the adult child and the parent.

Our churches are composed of all types of people. As we develop the family ministry model, it is important that we recognize the value and needs of all people. Married parents, single parents and unattached adults should find their place in this model. As we prepare ways to involve single adults, we will discover that they have much to offer the other groups, including the children, of our churches.

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9 Responses to Singles (even without kids) are part of family ministry

  1. Kathy Brown says:

    Steve and his wife have modeled this concept. Their home has been open to singles of all ages. This has created a connection across generations. In my case, very close friendships have developed. We now share the good and the hard things of life, and we help each other grow in godliness as we face them. We have provided accountability, counsel, and encouragement for each other. We have been available to meet each other’s needs and we have helped each other develop and use our gifts. The Body of Christ is a better place because Steve and his wife life the principle Steve wrote about today. Besides all that, we have had a lot of fun together! 🙂

  2. Linda Jacobs says:

    Glad to see this message. I too believe that singles belong in the church. Many times they are left out simply because they do not fit the church’s idea of “family”. Yet when you look at the Bible, what do you see in Jesus? Wasn’t he single as best we can tell. What an example to every single wanting to stay active in worship.

    Single people bring a lot of talent and resources to a church. Embrace them as part of the church family.

    Thank you.

  3. Wanda says:

    Great post. Singles without children make awesome disciplers of children. Children’s pastors miss a great resource if they don’t reach out to them.

  4. Lameka says:

    I love this article. Being a single person over 30 in the church made me feel out of place. It was went I went to an AWESOME singles retreat. I realize this was my time to grow and work in different ministries. More churches needs singles ministries.

  5. Tess Worrell says:

    I love this post. As a former Children’s Ministry Director, some of the most dedicated Sunday School teachers we had were single. Their love for children and desire to share what they had learned as they walked with Jesus found an outlet. Their energy was a great boost to those of us drained by regular care for children. Their perspectives added a new dimension to our thinking.

    Given we are all part of one body, I get so disheartened when groups are divided off–i.e. when singles are encouraged to focus on singles activities, older members encouraged to focus on ministering only among the older members, or teens encouraged to meet and work only with teens. I see that as kind of like sending toes off to be by themselves. Lonely for them and makes getting around hard for the rest of the body. When we encourage each group in the body to minister together, we all become richer. Including singles in children’s ministry is a wonderful way to bring this about.

  6. Tami says:

    This is a great article! I’d love to hear how others have invited singles into their family/children’s ministries! Thanks!

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