Singled Out: Does the Church Ignore Singles?

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Our spiritual life is not dependent on our love life. Singleness is just as valuable in God’s eyes as marriage.

A while ago, I had someone e-mail me and ask whether or not I believed the church pushes marriage. I immediately thought, yes, I think the church does push marriage.

But should it?

Do we really want the message that the church promotes to be one of marriage versus singleness?

Is marriage a sort of spiritual achievement worth striving for and if so, where does that leave all those who are single?

So yes, the church at large places marriage on a pedestal. However, I think part of the reason the American church idolizes marriage is a bit less honorable than we might suspect.

For starters, marriages produce children, and children produce families. More marriages–more children. Bigger families, you guessed it…bigger churches.

Now, please don’t misunderstand.

I do not think this is the sole reason many churches promote marriage. Not at all, but it is certainly a factor. Families are a powerful force, helping to shape the culture, from the movies that are made to the foods that are manufactured. Many churches are run like businesses, and businesses need consumers.

But beyond the need for families, the church has other reasons to promote marriage. Marriage is, after all, meant to serve as a reflection of Christ’s relationship to the Body. Yet, I doubt many pastors consider this fact when they are preaching from the pulpit about the need to be married.

Instead, it seems to me that many church leaders push marriage as a sort of excellence to be achieved– a Christian trophy to be won. They see marriage as the ultimate prize.

But is it? Is marriage really worth all the church fanfare?

Heck, yes! I love marriage and I am a huge proponent of it, as you would know if you’ve spent longer than 3 seconds on this blog.

But that does not mean that I think those who are married are somehow superior or more Godly.

Nicole Cottrell Nicole Cottrell is trained in the fine art of button-pushing. She uses her skills daily on Modern Reject where she writes about the intersection of faith and culture as well as the unpopular stuff no one else likes to talk about. Nicole is a speaker, writer, discipler, and coffee fanatic. She and her husband planted the Foundation, a network of house churches in Arizona. Nicole lives in Scottsdale with her husband and two little munchkins, three of the coolest and funniest people she knows.

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  • Kristen

    Also, you will not find the phrase ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ anywhere in the New Testament. That phrase was used almost exclusively to Adam and Eve, and to Noah and his family, for reasons that would seem to be rather obvious

    • Mar Komus

      Good observation!

  • Anon

    Of course there is that whole thing that the God of the Universe said about it not being good that man be alone – then gave him a wife. …

  • Anon

    I find the idolization of children far more of a bigger issue. Single, married, old or otherwise, if you don’t have small children then you’re useless, ignored and not given any attention to. The focus is on kids and the energy they require and adjusting church life to that all the time (not easy when you have health issues at the age of 32). I read an incredible quote: The worship of children keeps a church or society immature and stunted. Its not the right order or where our worship lies. Children are to be raised to be adults.


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