The church is guilty of idolizing marriage and forgetting that singleness is a Biblical option for Christians. The church, across all denominations, needs to refocus on the history, Scripture, and tradition of singleness in Christianity. While single groups can be good; they most often harm singles and by extension, the congregation. There are five main ways that church singles groups hurts both singles, the church, and the Body of Christ.
Five Ways That Church Singles Groups Hurt Singles
Separated From Congregation
Churches today like to have singles groups. This separates singles from their church and only directs them to meet fellow singles at their church. This impedes building relationships throughout the church and the Body of Christ. Likewise, it hurts couples because they are not able to interact and to learn from Christian singles.
Isolated From Christian Couples
By being separated from couples into their own singles group, those who are single are isolated from couples in the church. This makes it harder for singles to make friends outside of their social circle who are not single and works vice-versa for couples in the church. While single groups can be beneficial, with society’s and the church’s fetish with marriage over singleness it implicitly implies that singles need to meet someone there.
Implication To Date In The Group
The implication to date so that singles can move up a rung in the congregation from being single to being in a dating relationship is a problem with single groups. This is also known as single shaming and the church is guilty of this. There are better ways for Christians in their congregation to interact and to meet others instead of single groups. There can be young adult groups, Bible studies, church events, and church groups that do not focus on the relationship status of a parishioner.
Treat Singles As Less
As a result of the church’s failure to recognize singleness as good in its congregation, singles are viewed and treated as lesser than married couples. This hurts singles. But it ultimately hurts the whole Body of Christ and the church. This problem within the church comes from elevating marriage to a place where it should not be by making it the goal that must be attained to be a good Christian. This comes from an incorrect reading of Scriptures and church history.
Failure To Affirm Singleness As Good
By not affirming singleness as good, the church falls for false teachings. The consequences of this on the congregation is that the best way to serve God is to get married, neglects other Christian vocations, and hurts the church’s single parishioners in the process.
Marriage is good. There are certainly singles who want to get married; but the consequence of idealizing marriage and making it the only way to live the Christian life is false, detrimental to the church and Body of Christ, and does not affirm that being single is good. Some theologians would argue that singleness is preferable for Christians over marriage and that Scripture supports that idea. The church needs to correct its ship and redirect its teaching to positively discuss what the Bible says about singleness and being single.