Some people label single adults. What can be said to tactfully help them see labels can be hurtful?

By Dennis Franck

Potential Labels - The Five “L’s”

There are many common myths, misunderstandings and biases about some single and single-again people today. Because of these biases, people sometimes give labels pertaining to single adult ministry and some of the people who attend.  These labels can be summarized into five categories which I refer to as the five L’s.  The first four express a negative connotation and seem to be in the Church more than in society.

     The ministry/group          The people
1.  “Lonely hearts club”.........."Loners"
2.  “Dating Market”................."Lovers"
3.  “Hospital”..........................."Losers"
4.  “Church"............................"Leavers"
5.  “Place of/for ministry”........"Livers"

These labels express what some individuals perceive a ministry to single adults to be. They are biased, and when verbalized tend to discourage some people from visiting a ministry group. I would be the first to admit it is true there are lonely people that attend groups for single adults; it is true there are people looking for dates in a ministry group for single adults; it is true there are hurting people that attend single adult ministry groups.  It is true there are individuals who consider their single adult ministry group to be their church and do not involve themselves in any other area of the church, including the Sunday service.

I am quick to point out, however, it does not take being single to be lonely! The loneliest person in your city/town tonight is not a single adult, but a married adult who is in a horrible marriage. This person is wondering, “Lord, can it get any worse than this!” This married adult knows what loneliness is.

A person does not need to be single to be hurting. Many married adults are hurting from the pain of rejection, misunderstanding, lack of affection, verbal and physical abuse, pornography, adultery, and many problems that can be part, although sometimes a hidden part, of a Christian marriage.

It is also true that some single adults are looking for a date or mate in a single adult ministry. As was stated earlier, however, I would rather a man or woman look for a date or mate in a Christian group, where the chances of relating to Christian men and women with biblical morals and values is much higher than places the world offers!

Considering the label “hospital and losers”, it needs to be understood that we are all losers without Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Singleness certainly does not necessitate the word loser.

The label “liver” expresses single adults who come to give and to receive! They are growing in their spiritual, social and emotional life and want to share what God has taught and given them with others. They also realize they are not “there yet” and desire to receive what the Lord will do in them through the teaching, discussion, prayer, involvement and learning that comes through others. This is the type of person leaders need to help people become!

People who use the labels “loners, lovers, losers, or leavers” concerning single adults, and/or use the labels, “lonely hearts club”, “dating market”, “hospital”, or “church”, do so out of fear, insecurity, ignorance, pride and disrespect! In reality, everyone, Christian or non-Christian, have areas in our lives that are weak and lacking Christ-likeness. The same exact labels could be used for some of the people in almost any church today, but should not because they reveal a biased, prejudiced perspective toward single adults.

The purpose of Assemblies of God Single Adult Ministries is to help districts, churches, pastors and leaders build spiritually-strong single and single-again adults of all ages.

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