By Dennis Franck
Question: Have you ever been frustrated by a married adult’s attitude about your singleness? What can you do about it?
Answer: 1) Read this short article
2) Print it
3) Give it to a married person who needs to read it
How Married Adults Can Minister to Single Adults by Dennis Franck
After 28 years of ministry to and with single adults, I have concluded that the evangelical church in America is mostly marriage-and-family-focused…continue reading
This in itself is not wrong - I’m all for marriage and family; however, I have witnessed thousands of single and single-again adults feel excluded and isolated from the church because of this emphasis on marriage and family.
The Great Divide
A great divide exists between married adults and single adults in the church today. Many single adults feel like a fifth wheel in our family-oriented churches. Announcements such as “ladies, talk to your husbands about your attending the upcoming women’s retreat”, exclude up to 45% of women in the church. Married women feel guarded and sometimes suspicious towards single women who befriend them and their husbands. Many times church staff look for married adults to fill key leadership positions before single adults. Ironically, this is the opposite of Paul’s perspective in I Corinthians 7, which indicates that single adults have more time and flexibility of schedule to minister and are not encumbered with the potential challenges and stresses of marriage and caring for a spouse,
Many single adults are not coming to the church because of the perception, (whether intended or not) that church ministries are directed mostly to married adults and families. The common practice of befriending like people, (married to married and single to single) prevails in most churches, despite the emphasis of reaching out to each other.
Ideas for Bridging the Gap
The word “family” is more than a noun; it is also a verb! The church is to be family-ing the single adult so that he/she feels included. Virginia McInerney, in her article “Bridging the Chasm between Singles and Marrieds”, published in the Aug/Sept 2003 issue of “Spirit Led Women”, said that, “Bridging this gap is one of the most important things we can do to make the church a family. Ordinarily, the social circle of singles diminishes as we age and friends marry. The gap between singles and couples distances single adults from half the population, cutting the pool from which old friends are kept and new friends are made.”
Single adults need to be willing to “push their way in” despite feeling out of place. Married adults need to be willing to “pull single adults in” and expand their own dimensions beyond family life. Psalms 68:6 states, “God sets the solitary person in families.” The truth is God can use married adults to “family” single adults. This needs to become more of a reality in our churches across the country.
How married adults can minister to single adults:
1. Resist the temptation to suspect that a single adult might be after your spouse.
2. Don’t suggest a “match” for single adults or ask questions such as, “Why isn’t a wonderful single adult like you married yet?”
3. Pray for single adults and let them know they are praying for them.
4. Reject cruel myths such as: single adults have fewer problems, single adults are on the prowl, single adults are lonely, single adults are rich, etc.
5. Offer to help single parents with home repairs, child care, visiting the single parent/adult when he/she is in the hospital, etc.
6. Get involved with a single adult ministry or a young adult ministry.
7. Invite single adults over to their home for holiday times to include them.
Families in many churches tend to network well with one another, but the connection between single adults and married adults is usually not strong. This gap does not reflect the body of Christ ministering to each other the way God intends it to. Commit yourself to doing all you can to close this gap and bridge the great divide between married adults and single adults.