Today there are more single adults in America than married ones—and the number is not shrinking. What can pastors and church members do to honor and care for singles in their midst?
“Singleness is not monolithic,” Carolyn McCulley explains in a new roundtable video with Jennifer Marshall and Betsy Childs. “It’s helpful to minister based on life stage more than on marital status. A single 50-year-old is very different than a single 20-year-old.”
“It’s vital to cultivate a congregation where families absorb singles, wrapping them up in the everyday life of the church,” adds Marshall, author of Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century (Multnomah, 2007). “We need to be learning from people who are different than us, who have different burdens and challenges.” As Childs points out, diverse community groups—as opposed to, say, siloed “married” and “singles” groups—can help foster such a culture.
After all, just as marrieds can give helpful input to singles, singles have valuable input to offer marrieds. “I think often we can absorb the culture’s false message that unless you’ve experienced something, you can bring no truth to it,” notes McCulley, author of Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?: Trusting God with a Hope Deferred (Crossway, 2004). “We must really strive to emphasize the siblinghood of Christ.”
“Isn’t it wonderful to have the example of Jesus himself?” Childs concludes. “He knows from firsthand experience what it’s like to live as a faithful single.” Amen. See more from Childs in her article “Should I Be Content in My Singleness?”
Watch the full nine-minute video to hear these three women discuss the idolization of marriage, what McCulley loves about Psalm 25, advice for the discouraged, and more.