The Church and Singles
Pastor Oliver offers some practical advice on how we as a church can care for the singles in our midst.
According to the annual Population in Brief report for 2018, the proportion of singles in most age groups in Singapore has gone up. We have also seen increasing numbers of singles and singles again in the church. Sin is sin, and temptations are no respecter of marital status. Both singles and marrieds will struggle with sin and idolatry. But singles tend to be more vulnerable to certain temptations: we battle loneliness and struggle with finding satisfaction elsewhere other than in Christ. We can either idolise relationships or worship our independence. Hence we need the church to help come alongside us. However, singleness (or a period of singleness) is also a gift from God. Singles generally have less familial responsibilities and more flexibility with their time and schedule. So, the church also needs singles who can steward this gift to love and serve God and his people and make disciples for the gospel's sake. We thank the singles in our midst who have given much of their time to help Grace Baptist Church.
Regardless of whether you are single or married, we need one another as a church (1 Cor 12:14-27, Eph 4:15-16). Singles and married couples are parts of one body of Christ; we all need one another to care for each other. The goal for us in the church is to help one another grow into Christlike maturity and reach others for Christ. Singles and marrieds can help build up the body by speaking Scripture in love to each other. We also need one another to grow in discipleship to Christ (Matt 28:18-20). We all have a responsibility to the Great Commission given by Christ to make disciples. We can partner with one another, making disciples for the gospel. The whole church is involved in discipling and growing in godliness that accords with sound doctrine (i.e. the gospel) (Tit 2:1-15). Likewise, we need one another to battle sin (Gal 6:1, Jas 5:16, Jude 22-23). We are to confess our sins to one another, pray for each other, bear with one another, and even snatch the one sinning away from sin. Both singles and couples can help each other fight sin and grow to image Christ better.
But what does it look like? How can we as a church practically care for the singles in our midst? Do not treat singles as a separate category or project but rather care for us as we integrate singles into the church's life. We can invite singles to our homes for a meal or hang out as we practise hospitality. We can include singles in our family life: ask them to join you as you do grocery shopping or other chores. Also, have singles in our circle of friends. Sometimes, over time married couples with family tend to hang out with married couples with family. We are in the same phase of life facing similar challenges, so it is easier to relate. However, include our single friends too. Above all, remember to challenge our singles to grow in their love of God and discipleship to Christ.
As a church, we can also do less of what is not as helpful for singles. Marriage is important but do not overly-emphasise marriage. Marriage is not the goal for singles; instead, growth in godliness is the goal. Do not make ministry plans or activities arrangements only for marrieds and families. Give a thought for singles too, but do not segment singles into a mono-demographic group. We need each other, and we best portray the gospel of Jesus Christ when we are in groups that are unlike one another: showing that what knits us together is Christ. Finally, do not pity or overly console singles. Singleness (or a period of singleness) is a gift from God. Help singles discern God's purposeful sovereignty amid this period so that they can live stewarding this gift of singleness for the sake of the gospel. Church, we need the singles in our midst, and singles, we need the church!
[In May, EQUIP conducted a series on The Gospel and Singleness which are now available on our YouTube channel.]
1. EQUIP: The Gospel and Mental Health
What does the Bible say about mental health? What encouragement does the Bible give for the strugglers?
Tuesday, 8 June 2021, 8-9:15pm
Two sessions (June 8, 22)
Zoom Link: gracebaptistchurch.sg/equip
Meeting ID: 812 6058 7002
Because of the Fall, we are broken relationally, physically, emotionally and mentally. As a result, some of us will face struggles with mental health. The Bible speaks to the matter of mental health and offers hope. This Equip class is for those with mental health struggles. It is also for the rest of the church to learn how to come alongside and help these strugglers.
2. Livestreaming of our Worship Services
Grace Baptist Church will have our weekend services via livestream this weekend. Please join us for our Saturday 5pm and Sunday 9am livestream services via YouTube. Please pray that God will prepare our hearts for the service and to hear His Word. We continue in our series in Psalms: The King and His People and will be hearing from Psalm 45.