Church feels unsafe for many singles. Although congregations would say that they love singles and that they are welcome here (We even have a singles’ ministry!) there is a subliminal double message, which says, “You’re not enough.”
Marriage and having children are an unspoken rite of passage in our churches and often a qualification for ministry and so for those that have never married or have never had children there is the sense that you have not yet arrived. (In my research I have discovered couples that are unable to have children experience a similar stigma as the singles do in their churches.)
Singles also look around their churches and notice that rarely are there singles in leadership. Just today I was told of a lay leadership position in a church that was not given to a person because he is single. He was told that the church was more comfortable with a married couple in the position even though he was the most qualified person in their church to lead that particular ministry.
One question I ask singles is if their spiritual leaders have affirmed their singleness?
To date not one single that I have talked with has ever been affirmed in his or her singleness. They are loved and appreciated by leadership and their spiritual family but no one has ever pulled them aside and said, “We see your singleness as a gift from the Lord and that you are a whole person and a capable individual. Your singleness has enabled you to do ministry that a married person could never do. We are glad you are single and part of our family!”