Singleness Insight #3

There is a bias against singleness in the evangelical church.

How many senior pastors, church elders, church staff, evangelists, or missionaries do you know who are single? Although the American single adult population leans towards 50 percent, this is not reflected in the leadership of evangelical churches or organizations. I believe there may be several reasons for this, but after 30 years of being involved in ministry, I have found that many in evangelicalism hold marriage as an unspoken qualification for ministry. We feel more comfortable with a married individual working with our teens, leading our worship, and conducting a marriage ceremony, than we do a single. Many perceive singles as incomplete and some would even see singleness as a disqualification for many kingdom leadership roles. Few places in society use marital status to determine leadership capabilities as we do in evangelicalism.

Marriage is a good thing, but then also is singleness. I agree with people that the Lord has been good to them in providing a wonderful mate and beautiful children, but God is no less good to me in not providing a wife or a child, for he has given me a good gift called singleness (1 Cor 7:7). I doubt at the end of Paul’s life that he felt regret or remorse because he had not married. Paul encourages singles to remain single, if possible, so that they can serve the Lord with an undivided devotion (1 Cor 7:35). It would seem that singles would be a good hire for kingdom work because their focus will be on serving the Lord and they will not distracted by the many concerns that a family brings.

3 thoughts on “Singleness Insight #3

  1. Its funny – I was just reading 1 Cor 7 this morning. Its true that there are churches that have an unspoken rule that you must have a wife and she must be willing to do all the things that you do in ministry for you to be a successful pastor/minister/whatever. Its a killer on marriages. And its a killer for people just trying to serve the Lord in singleness.

    Preach on brotha!

  2. You know, I never will forget the time I talked to my oldest daughter about maybe God has called you to be single. She freaked out. I then realized the enormous pressure there is on young people to grow up, get married, have a family, and repeat the cycle to grand babies, and so on, even my youngest has started this behavior. I said to her how do you know that God has not called you to be single. She is 8. I believe he calls someone to be single early. You can serve better when you do not have a family to distract you from your father’s business. I believe there are people called to be like Paul and that God will be the everything they need as he should be with all of us. I can only hope that people will listen to the Lord when he calls them instead of doing the PC thing to please mom and dad.

  3. “How many senior pastors, church elders, church staff, evangelists, or missionaries do you know who are single?” Actually, most Protestant churches have banned single men from serving as pastors or deacons, like the Southern Baptists. It’s common to see churches take out help wanted ads in local newspapers for pastors and include among the qualifications: “We are looking for a husband and wife team who have two children.” I remember asking one church deacon about this and he said “that’s what the church prefers.” I think that says a lot. It’s gets right down to the deep level of perversion that our churches are in. Wrapped up in their greed and family idolatry, Jesus himself would not be welcome in most of them. BTW, i do have the gift of celibacy, and I’m a senior citizen.

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