Singles in the Church: When Labels Hinder Gifts

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We live in a world of assumptions. We assume that if it is raining the morning commute to work is going to be terrible. We assume that if someone get’s engaged at the end of a season of the Bachelor they are going to eventually break up. We assume that The University of Alabama is going to be the best football team in the nation for as long as we all live. We assume that if someone is a Christian they love Chick-Fil-A. We make assumptions about people so frequently we probably don’t even realize we are doing it.

It is not uncommon for us to make similar assumptions about people within the church. Through all of my years going to and serving in a church, I’ve noticed that assumptions in the church often come under the cover of labels. All of us have labelled people inside of our churches.

  • The family who home schools.
  • The ones who have been burned by another church.
  • The family who comes to every activity.
  • The young marrieds.
  • The inconsistent churchgoers.
  • The ones who only come on holidays.
  • The young singles.
  • The church hoppers.

Almost from the moment people come through the doors, we slap a label on their head and think we know exactly what role they are going to play in the life and ministry of the church. We think singles will be great for our tear down and set up team. We think all young married couples will serve best in the youth ministry and count on them to lead small groups. If we have an accountant in the congregation, they will want to be the head of our finance team. If we have a former police officer, they should be our head of security. And all of the current, former, and wannabe teachers should be serving in children’s ministry.

Personally, I hate assumptions and labels. I don’t like when people make guesses about me. The reality is, I know myself better than almost anyone else. I am a single, 28 year old female, and I am confident in who the Lord has made me. I love the Lord and I strive to know Him better at the end of day than I do right now. I know what strengths He has given me, and what weaknesses I need to work on, and I know what brings me great joy and great sorrow.

Though I know myself and walk confidently in the identity that the Lord has given me, the church has often labelled me. I’ve been told what ministries I will serve best in because I’m single. I’ve been asked to come early and stay late for events because I don’t have a family to feed or take care of. I have often been asked to babysit for meetings and parties instead of invited to attend.

Here is the truth about me and a lot of singles I know. Yes, we do love to serve the church in various ways. We love to come early and stay late for events. It’s fun and often creates an opportunity to build relationships. However, it can be just as hard for singles to come early and stay late. We might not have a family to feed or put to bed, but we do have other needs and responsibilities that may not always allow us extra time. We love to babysit and spend time with children. We know it greatly serves families and we are happy to do it from time to time. However, we also desire to be included in the actual meetings and parties. We want to be a part of the church in ways where we can use our gifts and callings. Oftentimes, we can feel like second class citizens when placed in roles simply because of our singleness.

The church should be a place where singles (and anyone for that matter) can come assumption and label free to sit, sing, participate, and serve exactly how the Lord has equipped and called them to do so. The kind of church that is full of people who are serving, not always where others thought they should serve because of their age or marital status, but exactly where they are equipped and called to serve. That is the kind of church I want to be a part of.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varies of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

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