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Wait, You’re Single…and Happy?! June 30, 2010

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity, family, life, singles, The Church.
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The Church is a family-friendly place, as it should be. Every preacher in America has preached sermons on family, on having healthy marriages, and on how to be a better parent; most pastors preach on these topics several times throughout the year, some the majority of the year. In churches such as mine, where the majority of the congregation are married and have families, this makes sense. Sermons on building healthy families are needed, and needed often. The sad part is for single people, like me, is that we usually have to put up with the old, “You singles listen up! You’re going to need this one day when you have a family!” While this statement may indeed be true, I usually take it as a slap in the face. 

Now, I know some of you might think that I’m being too harsh because several churches have good singles ministries. In this you are correct, there are some excellent singles ministries out there. But, I’m talking about corporate worship services and the interactions we get from our married brothers and sisters.

First of all, singles are not guaranteed that we will ever get married. The old idea that “God has someone picked out for everybody” is proven untrue every time that a lonely single dies unmarried. This being the case, I may not need the sermon on how to build a healthy family, because we can’t be sure that I ever will get married. I’m hopeful I will, and I even think that’s it’s probable that I will, but it is far from guaranteed.

But, the thing that bothers me most about the Church’s focus on the family (I hope I don’t have to pay James Dobson royalties for using that phrase), is that it seems like most married people with families view the single person as lacking something.  The last time my pastor preached a sermon series on the family, one of his points was that, “being in a family adds value to your life.” So, my life as a single is less valuable that someone who is married? I understand what he was saying, and while there may be truth to it, that statement didn’t exactly edify me.

In addition to that, when singles tell married people they’re single we usually get this line: “Aw, you’ll find somebody. The right person is out there.”  The connotation there is that being that we are not married, we must not be happy. Granted, I know a lot of singles that are indeed unhappy and lonely, but sometimes I wonder if they are like that because those feelings have been willed onto us by our church family, because again, they make it seem like we are lacking something. 

Let me just say that if you are single, you are not lacking anything. It is well noted that even Paul thought it was better to be single than to be married (1 Corinthians 7:25-35). My request to the Church is that we get shown some love. Yes, a lot of us singles are lonely. Yes, a lot of us singles are sad. Yes, a lot of us singles do have dreams of being married and in a family one day. But, we are not lacking anything. Instead of constantly teaching us about how to build a healthy family or to find a godly mate. Teach us how to be content in our singleness, and how to best serve the Lord while we are single. Please do not just assume that because we are single that we are unhappy. Ask us if we are! If we are, please minister to us! If we are not, then laugh with us! Whatever you do, just don’t make us feel like we are lacking something!

Do you think that churches put too much emphasis on ministering to families and not enough on singles?

Have you ever felt like you were lacking something because you’re not married?

What are some ways the divide between married people and single people in the Church can be bridged?

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Transitions & Changes May 24, 2010

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Bible, changes, family, Holy Spirit, life, The Church.
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I had an emotional day yesterday. I got up and headed north to Hattiesburg, MS to visit a church that is showing some interest in my services as a youth pastor. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Since I was 15, working in a church and having a ministry has been both a calling and a dream. Now, I was standing on that dream becoming a reality. Few people get to say that in their lives. I was shown around the church building. Everything was beautiful and sparkling clean. The worship was a good and the message was great. I ate lunch with the pastor and his wife who both were very gracious and nice. They invited me back to hang out with the youth in a few weeks.

I left feeling good about the meeting and looking forward to going to meet the youth. It wasn’t until I looked at my phone did I realize something was wrong. I had received a text from m, y dad about 45 minutes prior. All it said was, “If I call, can u talk?” I replied, “Now you can.” My phone rang immediately.

You see, my dad’s sod company has been slow lately, a victim of the economy, so he found a job working offshore. We had expected for him to leave for training some time around midnight last night, and then be back by the end of the week and leave for his regular six week rotation a couple of weeks from now. But, when I answered the phone and asked him where he was, I was surprised to hear that he was already in the Gulfport Airport, and wouldn’t be back for another 8 weeks.

Me and my family are quickly entering into major changes. We’re excited about the possibilities of new adventures, but nervous and scared about how the transitions will effect us. Personally, I worry if I’m ready to lead my own youth ministry, even though I know that I’ve had the appropriate training, and learned a lot of hard lessons through working underneath the youth pastors at the Journey.  But, the doubts still creep in. Will the youth like me? How will I mesh with the staff? Can the church feed me spiritually? Then I worry about my dad and my mom being lonely if and when I inevitably have to move.

Transitioning into changes is never easy,  but we do have the Holy Spirit to help us through them. I think about the disciples after Jesus died, and about how they were terrified. The Bible says that they locked themselves in a room because they were afraid that the Jews would come after them. But, then Jesus appeared to them and granted them both the peace and power of the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23).  Later, after they had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, these same disciples were no longer afraid, but bold when they were challenged. The Bible says that Peter, along with the rest of the apostles, stood up and addressed those that were persecuting, and 3000 of them got saved. Pretty good for eleven guys that were terrified to go outside a couple weeks before. The same Spirit that empowered the disciples through times of change, is the same Spirit who empowers us through times of change.

What are some big transitions or changes that you’ve had to go through?

How did you deal with them?

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