Single Christians Have Common Needs—the Same Needs All Christians Have

Anna Broadway’s survey of global singleness challenges a marriage status hierarchy within the church.

For evangelical Christians, conversations about singleness tend to be predictable. Whether it’s a sermon, a panel discussion, or a conference message, discussions are usually relegated to the topic of how this season can be escaped through dating or marriage. Singleness is often presented as a means to an end but rarely as a valuable end in itself.

Over time, this mindset has cultivated a shallow theology of singleness within the church. Our disproportionate focus on escape routes from singleness leaves us unable to convincingly portray the beauty of this season or provide a substantive balm for the difficulties it brings. Furthermore, we struggle to highlight and celebrate all that a single, celibate, and often childless life can teach us about the Christian journey.

In part, this is because our reading of Scripture has led us to elevate our call to physical fruitfulness over our baptismal identity. We have created a hierarchical relationship between marriage and singleness, with marriage holding the place of greater spiritual maturity and singleness the lesser. Married men and women often serve as the source of Christian wisdom for singles, but the single season is seldom lifted up as a source of wisdom for those who are married. This marriage status hierarchy shows up in singles’ conferences, which frequently feature married speakers, while conferences on marriage hardly ever include single speakers.

To effectively minister to a growing population of singles both young and old, we need to learn from those who have spent time thinking deeply about their experience with singleness. We need a conversation that centers their voices and provides a vision for how singleness is not merely a pathway to a better life …

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