On Being the Church’s Third Wheel
The month of February means red, white & pink bouquets, chalky heart-shaped candies, discounts on dating sites and of course… a marriage series at every church in America.
Being single or divorced in the Church during the month of February is like being at the kid’s table on Thanksgiving. A marriage series is cute and all, but it’s not enough to simply say, “store this away for later” to the non-marrieds in the crowd—while carrying on with four solid weeks on how to be a better husband, a better wife or for you more “relevant” churches… how to have a better sex life.
It may be shocking to learn (and you may want to sit down for this), but the singles in your church are not waiting around for marriage in order to start their lives and to live out God’s purpose for them. And if they are—then you are teaching the wrong message!
Please understand that I am not a bitter single woman dreading Valentine’s Day. It’s not a Valentine’s, February, etc. issue. It’s an issue of overlooking an entire demographic in the church whatever month or day of the year it is. Granted, by and large, the single community is smaller than the married community, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
Is it appropriate to do a marriage message once in a while? Absolutely. Just as it would be appropriate to do a message that directly supports the hearts of single people. But who do you know that does this?
Dismissing the needs of an entire group of adults in the church is devaluing them as part of the Body—whether that is the intention or not. It says, “because you’re not married, you don’t have a place here.” That could not be further from the truth. One could liken it to ignoring middle schoolers because they are in between elementary and high school (which we can all agree would be terribly awkward).
God has a purpose for single people now… today. We all have a part to play in the Body of Christ and no one should be made to feel that they are somehow inadequate because of their life stage.
So have your marriage messages… but respect the singles in the body by giving them a part to play as well (and please… not as date night babysitters).
If you’re single, what are some ways you would like to see the Church value your life stage?
If you’re married, how can you help create a culture where it’s safe to be single?