How Can My Church Minister to Singles?
Thoughts on Showing the Love of Christ to your Unmarried Brothers and Sisters
By Ellen Dykas
God calls us to live in community, so we should consider how to love and care for one another. Here are four thoughts for the married and unmarried members of the Church to ponder as we seek to love our unmarried sisters and brothers in Christ and encourage them in godly sexuality. The first two points apply to the married as well. We should remember that God’s truth on how to love and encourage others crosses over all age, life-station, cultural and circumstantial distinctions. Personalized love should be shown to every person.
Consider how Christ-centric and gospel-filled ministry to the unmarried can be guided by these four principles:
1) A kingdom mindedness
Jesus’ command to “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” (Matthew 6:33), is a foundational truth. The Kingdom of God includes many realities. Here is a partial list: (a) love and loyalty for the King, (b) receiving the reign of the King in our lives (struggles, decisions, relationships, affections, etc.), (c) love and service to other kingdom citizens, (d) good works the King has prepared for each citizen to do, (Eph. 2:10), and (e) participation in the mission of the King and His kingdom. Our mission is that all the nations of this world will be blessed by hearing the gospel of grace and forgiveness in Christ.
When a church (leaders, adult education committee, women’s and men’s ministries, etc.) attempts to plan a ministry to the unmarried without a kingdom mindedness, that ministry can easily become focused on the here and now rather than the bigger picture of what God is up to in this world. When ministry is only planned around a focus on the here and now, good discipleship tools offered for singles (social groups/activities, counseling, seminars, conferences, etc.) will tend to encourage a perspective of “We are singles who happen to be followers of Jesus” rather than “We are followers of King Jesus and citizens of His kingdom who happen to be unmarried.” There is a huge difference!
Our goal is not to make our unmarriedness ‘work’ or to be manageable while we live on this earth. Our goal is to seek first the Kingdom of God as we live in an unmarried state! When a kingdom of God heartbeat pulses throughout a local church family, it will change the way the unmarried are encouraged, discipled, counseled and exhorted!
2) A foundation of family -- God’s family!
It is significant that each local church not only disciples from a kingdom of God mentality, but with a conviction that radically new relational realities come with the gospel. We are sons and daughters of the Father King, and thus are brothers and sisters to one another! Jesus said in the presence of His own family, including His mother, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,’” (Matthew 12:47-50). In Christ we are entrusted with the gift of being true family to one another. This does not deny the beauty of marriage or human families. Rather it elevates the spiritual reality of Christ’s blood creating a family of His own.