1 Corinthians 7:8

I have a friend who went to seminary to be a pastor, graduated from a reputable school with an MDIV, and is absolutely great with people, but he was never able to find a job working as a pastor in the church. It wasn’t for lack of effort, he’d applied for different positions in different denominations, but nothing ever panned out. It turned out there was one thing missing from his resume and it wasn’t any education, skillset, or experience. It was the fact he wasn’t married. My friend termed it his “fourth finger disability.” His ring finger was void of necessary adornment that would have made him hirable within the church.

While his story is unique to him, and while there are certainly other circumstances that surround his journey, the truth remains, that in many churches, being married is an unspoken requirement of being on staff. Many single people also express they are often treated as being less mature than those who are married as if they’re missing a key component to adulthood. In many ways, this devotion is more of a manifesto and a stake in the sand to say that’s not right. The last time I checked, Jesus was single. If we wouldn’t hire Jesus as a pastor or consider him to be a mature adult, then it should cause us to rethink, well, everything! In addition to that, Paul wrote to the Corinthian church saying, “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.” (1 Cor. 7:8)

Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of a vision for singleness that is not only acceptable but in some scenarios even preferable. It appears the church’s vision for marriage is, at times, based more on convictions about love formed in the Romantic Era than grounded in Scripture. Marriage is often baptized as God’s universal calling for all people, even though Paul states some would “be happier if they remain single.” (1 Cor. 7:40)

As one reads through 1 Corinthians 7 with the lens toward singleness, it becomes clear Jesus has a great plan for single people, and it’s not just for them to get married someday. In this chapter, we see the way single people are a distinct part of God’s plan to build his kingdom and integral parts of the family we call the church. Because of that, our desire at EFCC is for single people to know they are full, contributing parts of our church. We’re not waiting on anyone to get married before they feel welcome, there is a single seat always open at our table.

If you are single, please know you are welcome and valued here. If you are married, invite one of your single friends over for dinner this week and ask them about their journey as a single person in the church.

Ryan Paulson
Lead Paulson

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