Singleness is not the problem…

“Singleness is not the problem – inability to see God’s sovereignty in singleness is.” (Pg, 67)

Wedding invitations, baby showers, and now the church. Entering into our twenties it feels like you just can’t catch a break from the constant invitations and events which celebrate the joy of family growth. It can be such a blessing to share in that joy and to learn from those who have gone through those life stages. It can also cause hints of bitterness and dissatisfaction to fester in the hearts of those still single. A couple months ago, we took a closer look at 1 Corinthians 7 and Paul’s encouragement to single Christians. This month we will be looking at how the church can support and encourage this mindset of devotion as well as the difficulties many single Christians face when it comes to getting connected in the church.

Recently, I was given an article titled “Flying Solo in a Family-Centered Church” which is Christianity Today’s review of the book One by One written by Gina Dalfonzo. Her book aims to acknowledge this unmistakable truth: many churches have excelled in the area of family ministry but have often neglected to make efforts to include those who do not fit this criteria.

Unmarried young adults are often found in ministry roles such a teaching children’s lessons, on the worship band or hospitality team. The question lies in what is really being done to pour into their lives and recognize their value in the ministry. Instead of sitting around waiting for a family, we are called as single members of the church to the work of Christ. This should be something which the church encourages and seeks to develop the hearts of those in this unique and potentially very crucial time in their lives. Singleness, especially in the life of a young adult, opens many doors for growth simply because of the minimal time constraints. It can be a time of foundation building in faith, a time to develop patience, and to just enjoy those areas of your life which God has given you a passion for. Revisiting a passage in 1 Corinthians 17, we hear Paul’s heart for the unmarried in the church.

“32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.”

Understanding God’s sovereign plan for this season is crucial and having a church family which encourages this heart is such a blessing. I have seen both sides of this coin and have been so encouraged by the church in this season.

“One by One teaches us how to repair the damage. Instead of envisioning every single person as someone’s potential spouse, Dalfanzo works to restore the integrity of the individual – she highlights the value unmarried people add to companies, organizations, and families. She emphasizes the church’s need for single people and the biblical value given to their lives and ministries.” (Dalfanzo, 2017, Pg. 67)

Beyond the college ministry, I have heard many individuals who have felt very disconnected; too old for the college ministry, still single and therefore unable to join the flourishing ministry to parents and married couples. Granted, many churches do provide wonderful programs for this life stage and I have seen great things come out of such programs. With the issue of church programs and opportunities aside, the importance of this book lies in the following truth. Dalfonzo states:

“Singleness is not the problem – inability to see God’s sovereignty in singleness is.” (Pg, 67)

With this truth in mind, unmarried church members are given the freedom to serve and devote their hearts to the Lord while the church comes alongside them to support and empower.

I look forward to reading Dalfonzo’s book One by One and hopefully sharing a personal review in the near future.

 

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