Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why the Church Owes Single People an Apology

Why the Church Owes Single People an Apology

We owe single people an apology … and a change.

We’ve meant well, but we’ve been wrong. Single people are a treasure to the church and deserve equal status with those of us who are married and/or with children. Not all, but many churches pass them over for leadership opportunities, staff hires or key roles of service in the Kingdom.

Tie goes to the married person.

We preachers too often leave them out of our illustrations. Not all of us. But, for some of us, everything is about marriage and kids.

Without even recognizing it, we tend to focus on reaching “young families” more than anyone else and have viewed (or at least insinuated in our language) singles as incomplete people until they are married.

Perhaps you’ve been a part of a hiring process for, let’s say, a youth minister or preacher. At some point, someone will raise the questions of:

1. Whether they can be trusted sexually because they aren’t married and have no sexual outlet (as though married people are always perfectly chaste and without temptation)

2. Whether they possess enough wisdom to perform their duties well given they have never … you know … been married

3. How they can relate to people who are married with kids when they aren’t married with kids.

There is a germ of legitimacy in each of these questions, but the fact that Jesus himself was single is forgotten in all of this.

Let’s take them one at a time.

1. The question is whether they are glorifying God with their body, whether single or married. Over the years, I’ve found sometimes single people have BETTER discipline in this regard because they are more “on guard,” and some have chosen not to marry as quickly as others because sex is not as big an allure to them.

2. Come on, married folks, we need to listen to our pride here.

3. Their job isn’t to relate. It’s to pastor people with wisdom and righteousness. Sometimes, it is the advice that comes from their “otherness” that brings new perspectives and pulls people out of their emotional wormholes.

Wisdom comes from God, not empathy. We are always not somebody else.

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Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California--a fast-growing plant launched in 2011. Tim is also the purveyor of New Vintage Leadership - a blog offering cutting edge insights on leadership and theology and the author of numerous articles and one book: Jesus, the Powerful Servant.