Through my many years of singles ministry and working with pastors, one phrase is repeated often — “single for a reason”. It is the idea that singles are composed of misfits and odd ducks that are stranger than… married people. Next time you hear this phrase, here are some possible responses:
We’re all messed up
- The false promise of this statement at its core is that it compares married and single adults and deems one group inferior or strange. Would someone not be “single for a reason” simply if his/her marital status changed? It is the same person but with a different marital status and still “odd” or “quirky” in nature. The point is categorizing people as more “together” or “not together” by their marital status should cease. A married adult ministry is filled with the same adults who were once single, and for that reason, we are all the same messed-up Christ followers, in need of the same church family and support.
Reject rejecting language
- When you’re in the presence of this phrase being used, why just stand back, laugh, and lower your eyes in agreement? Ministry is full of people, each unique, and sometimes just plain odd. That doesn’t mean their relationship status is for any reason other than following God’s direction in their life. Let’s stop language that tears down other believers in Christ as inferior and, instead, see ministry opportunities where we are called to love God and love others.
- Is it really a group of people’s fault when a group declines with individuals who may need extra ministry attention? Pastors, we argue it is vital to have leadership that is following your church’s direction and God’s vision for your community. In singles ministry, nearly 50% of the adults in the group will be married at some point, so by nature, it requires more leadership recruitment and investment than other ministries. However, doing so will lead to a vibrant singles ministry and an adult ministry with leaders on fire for the Lord.
The reason you or a group of people are “… for a reason” is not due to a stereotype associated with a marriage status. It is due to a perception we allow to be pervasive in our churches regarding singles. Singles are a whole person. Jesus was single. Paul advocated for singles. We should start valuing our ministry opportunities rather than passing judgment on certain people groups in the family of God.