Being called to bi-vocational or vocational ministry is unique and as rewarding as it is terrifying. Compound that with being a single adult and the calling to ministry that once felt like a spiritual high now feels like an island of isolation. Carrying the burdens of day-to-day ministry alone will often feel less than whole to the American ideal of a married couple with a family and pet.
Single pastor, you are not alone. Those whispers of loneliness and inadequacy are not founded in Scripture. However, the emotions of feeling that way are seen in several Biblical examples! Here are three things you might be telling yourself as truth when they are not.
I need a wife to complete my ministry
• The apostle Paul is walking on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 when God calls him to ministry as a single adult. Scripture is silent on if Paul was married before. Given his past role as a Pharisee, he is likely a widower or a type of single adult at his calling into ministry. God did not require a wife for Paul to be called or be active in ministry. In fact, God used it as an asset in his life in several ways to proclaim the Gospel.
I need a family to have credibility
• Paul writes to the church at Corinth and in several areas of relationships as a single adult. He gives advice on being single, getting married, how to have a great marriage, and defines love. The church heard his message as a single adult. He used his singleness as an advantage.
I need to be married to be taken seriously by others
• Pastor, more than any other lie, this one is far from the Lord. You are complete in Christ. Jesus was single. As a minister of the Gospel, you stand on the promise of Colossians 2:10 and are complete in Christ. Other people will say things, think things, or attack you for not “understanding” where they come from. Remember, Jesus shared examples of Biblical truths, not from his experiences but from the promises of God. You carry that same authority and can humbly communicate Biblical truths in any situation. As for if you will be taken “seriously” or not, that is not under your control. Be faithful to proclaim the Scripture and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
If these lies are believed, they will handicap your ministry to faithfully carry out the calling in your life. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Be complete in Christ and surround yourself with community.