I have witnessed what in all likelihood could go down as the worst day to be single in the church.
Oddly, the sermon was not on marriage (or I would’ve possibly seen it coming) but it was on taking a stand for Christ. At the response time of the service, the pastor – moved by the Holy Spirit – made available pastors at the front of the church to pray for four groups of people who wanted to take a stand for Christ:
business owners & leaders,
and people who were fighting for a wayward child.
This, honestly, seemed quite well-intended and awesome until something incredibly awkward happened: almost every person in the church stood in front of one of these pastors except for two people groups – senior adults and single people. And at this church, that’s pretty much everyone but 20 people (or at least that is what it felt like while I was squirming in my seat).
The few of us remaining trickled out of the sanctuary while the married people, the people with families, their children, and business leaders were prayed for by church staff.
I quite literally was dazed and confused. I was so stunned, in fact, that it didn’t even occur to me to go to my small group afterwards. I walked straight to my car.
I don’t remember speaking to anyone.
I don’t remember being angry or mad.
I just remember feeling shame.
I’ve had months to think about this; months to cycle through every emotion possible; months to gain some objectivity about the situation, and I came to this conclusion:
I’m glad that it happened.
I’m glad that it happened because I am now more aware of senior adults. I had overlooked them, just as I, have been overlooked. I’ve taken for granted the wisdom of their years. I’ve walked passed them without acknowledging their value, not only as individuals, but to God’s kingdom.
And there is zero excuse for that.
Y’all! We have to do better. We have to be able to minister to people that are not like ourselves. We are commanded to take care of the orphan and the widow.
We are NOT, however, commanded to exalt any people group above another.
I don’t want you to take my word for it, though. I want you to hear it from people who do this for a living. Below are two links to sermons.
The first sermon is by Steve DeWitt senior pastor at Bethel Church in Indiana. It’s entitled “The Bachelor Pastor.” It was his last sermon as…well….a bachelor. He keeps the mood light while at the same time pointing out amazing truths.
The second sermon is by David Platt pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in my hometown, Birmingham, AL. He shares with us how both marriage and singleness are a picture of the gospel. It is brilliant, truthful and will likely give you a new perspective no matter in which marital status you fall.
The Bachelor Pastor
“The Bachelor Pastor: Premarital reflections on singleness, purity, and ministry” 08.18.2012 from Bethel Church on Vimeo.
Thank you for being so open and vulnerable. Your post – as I sit here drinking my coffee, BTW – has helped me see just how important it is that we look beyond our own “life bubble”. I see how great an impact you are having on our girls. And look so forward to your helping my baby girl navigate through some things when she gets home. I will begin praying about that.