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The Miseducation of the Christian Single

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Unmarried Christians are a big part of the church. They play intricate roles in ministry work, and they are faithful members who are often overlooked and undervalued. Many Christian singles attend churches where they have thriving singles ministries that focus on their spiritual growth, while others don’t. Some attend places of worship where they’ve been taught so many things about what to do to get married, how to involve themselves in ministry work and how NOT to date. However, the one thing the church hasn’t done for singles is taught them how to live and be a single Christian outside of things that focus on marriage. While marriage is a wonderful thing for those who want it, it should not be one of the primary focuses for singles or churchgoers for singles. In order for unmarried believers to thrive in life they need specific support from their church families. Here’s what this can look like.

● Pray for singles to live a life according to biblical principles. Many parishioners often pray for singles to find their soulmate, rather than praying for them to recognize their wholeness and live a fulfilled life with or without the benefit of marriage. If you’re going to God on behalf of someone, make sure you know what their single needs are according to their desires for their life and relationships, not your desires for them. Singles should also be taught how to pray for each other and themselves.

● Stop encouraging singles to position themselves to be found, and encourage them to live this time the way God wants them to. This message is misleading for so many reasons but primarily misleads them into thinking that if they’re doing certain things in life or working in the church or going to certain areas they will be “found” by the one God has for them. This is not the reality for many singles and it can be discouraging if their expectations aren’t met.

● Create singles ministries that focus on their growth, and not groom them for marriage. Singles ministries should be formed so unmarried Christians can grow in their faith, learn how to live prosperously during this season and build themselves up in Christ. Counseling shouldn’t just be available to married couples.

● Have Christian counselors available for those who struggle with being single. Many singles grapple with not being married or having a family they can call their own. With this struggle comes self-doubt and in many cases, depression. Having counselors or counseling for singles in the house of worship will show them that they’re valued in the body and will help them with their struggles.

● Avoid telling singles they should date someone who attends church. It’s a great thing for someone to work in the church, but it does not mean they are worth dating. Just because someone actively attends church does not mean they will have pure intentions in dating. There are many reasons people go to church and be active in ministry work. Some intentions are pure; some aren't. It's important to understand the difference between the two. So, rather than date someone simply because they go to church, singles should look at how they live their life outside of the church.
● Teach singles how to date. The world shows up for singles in every aspect of dating. They provide their point of view, opinions and philosophies of what it looks like. Meanwhile, where do single believers go for directions on dating? It should be the church, but oftentimes it’s not and this must change.

Churches across the globe must change the way they support their unmarried members. They should be affirmed during this time in their lives and not convinced that marriage qualifies as the key to happiness. Single members should also take responsibility for their spiritual growth and work towards implementing changes to support them in their places of worship. Singleness is a gift and should be treated and supported as such.

Liz Lampkin is the “Wright Now Writer.” She creates Faith and Lifestyle stories to give a voice to the unheard. Follow her on social media @Liz_Lampkin

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