Most key positions in local churches are held by married people for several reasons. But are those reasons really legitimate? How can singles be useful and flourish towards their full potential?
This is often a source of frustration for singles. They want to get involved in a ministry and apply for certain positions, and married candidates get placed in front of them. For some marriage becomes almost an obligatory passage to get involve in the Kingdom of God, which is not a good reason to marry. It puts unhealthy pressure to find a partner at all costs, or it completely extinguishes the flame of a Christian to get involved. There are two sides to a coin, just like this problem. Let us try to reconcile these two worlds here.
On one side of the coin…
Why do the spiritual authorities “fear” singles? Okay, the word “fear” may be exaggerated, but there is actually some mistrust. We are not going to justify it but explain it. Single people usually want to get married. Once they are in a relationship, their schedule is likely to change. Either God will lead them into another ministry together, or the obligations of life will push them to substantially reduce the hours they give to the church. For a pastor, it can be discouraging to appoint a person to an important position in the church, knowing that they may leave after a year or two. In this sense, the single person can be viewed as unstable.
When selecting a candidate for a position of authority in the church, the pastor is strongly encouraged to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul. “one who rules his own house well, having children in subjection with all reverence; but if a man doesn’t know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the assembly of God?” (1 Timothy 3.4-5 WEB) Being single can make this “evaluation” more difficult.
Finally, it may be difficult for someone experiencing marital problems to seek advice from someone who is not married. Or someone who has parental challenges may find it difficult to speak to a person without children. For all these reasons, we can understand the position of some pastors.
But on the other side of the coin…
Even if these arguments seem logical, one should not forget the benefits that singles can bring to a congregation. Many bachelors have had a gigantic impact in the Kingdom of God and even at the start of the first churches. After all, even Jesus was single, right?
If parents like to seek help from another parent, singles may also identify more easily with other singles when they are experiencing difficulties with their situation. Appointing a single person of good reputation and steadfastness in their relationship with God may allow several people in the same situation to identify with them. Married couples can assist singles since they were in this boat before but sometimes it’s good to talk to someone “like us”.
Most of the time, singles have more flexibility in their schedule and also more availability. It’s quite an advantage when serving the Lord. The apostle Paul also considered it a gift to be single. “But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7: 32-33 WEB)
So do not be afraid of singles when it comes time to establish a Christian in a position in your church. There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides; it’s better to consult the Spirit of God than marriage certificates when appointing a servant. And if you are single, do not be offended if you are not chosen. Respect your authorities and pray for them. Listen to the voice of God: perhaps the reason for their decision has nothing to do with your social status, and you have points to improve on. But if you are convinced that you were dismissed based only on the basis of your social status, do not criticize. You can always offer your services elsewhere, there are thousands of community or religious organizations ready to welcome you. Let God lead you and enter your calling now.