If There Are No Singles At Your Church, Should You Leave?
You'd like to get married, but the church you're at now doesn't have many available singles. Or, at least ones you'd consider dating. Should you leave your church and find another to improve your chances of getting married?
This is a great question, and comes from one of my readers. Let's dive in.
If you'd rather listen than read, you can use the player right here.
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First Things First
Before we get too far, here are a few preliminary thoughts.
First, if getting married feels like a big deal to you, it's because it is. After all, Paul says, 'this mystery [of marriage] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.' (Ephesians 5:32 Planning, and being intentional, are commended in scripture. So, it stands to reason that we should be intentional about getting married, too.
Planning, and being intentional, are commended in scripture. So, it stands to reason that we should be intentional about getting married, too.
Maybe, Though, You Should Stay Where You Are
1. 'Being intentional' can be code for 'being in control.'
‘Being intentional’ and planning under God's direction are good. But when God doesn't deliver the results we want, it's easy to grab the wheel and put him in the backseat. The more important something seems, the more likely we'll be tempted to wrangle control, which makes the area of dating and marriage a prime candidate for a role reversal.
2. We're natural-born consumers.
Before we can say a word, we instinctively wonder, 'What's in it for me?' So, no matter how long we've been in Christ, we should have a healthy self-suspicion. Galatians 5:17 If you’re happy at your current church, apart from its lack of singles, don’t leave lightly.
If you’re happy at your current church, apart from its lack of singles, don’t leave lightly.
So What Should You Do?
So, what's the best decision for you, in your particular situation?
Only the Holy Spirit, helping you connect God's Word with your life, can show you that. But, here are a few more thoughts.
1. If you’re happy at your current church, apart from its lack of singles, don’t leave lightly.
It's not easy to find a church where the preaching is biblical and connects with your life. Where people are willing to know you, and be known. Where they care about the spiritual and practical needs of people who don’t yet know Jesus. If those things are in place, you’ve found a gold mine.
2. Consider your membership vows.
Becoming a church member is not a forever promise, but it is a covenant commitment to real people at your church. Presumably they are invested in you, too. And the leadership is charged with watching over your soul (Hebrews 13:17). In fact, John Piper recommends involving them in your decision if you're thinking about leaving in a short podcast on this post's topic. Those are precious things, not to be left behind lightly.
What Else Can You Try?
Even if there are few available singles at your church, maybe there are other options than leaving.
Have you considered...
... asking your friends for help?
I'm sure you've thought about it, and maybe asked them to keep you in mind. But could you ask them to think a little harder? Can you reach out to more friends, perhaps a few that aren't in your inner circle? I'm consistently amazed at the ways God uses relationships and networking to bring about things we never saw coming.
... online dating?
It's not for everyone, but online dating has worked out for a lot of people, Christians included. It has the obvious benefit of connecting you to people you'd never know otherwise.
One single my wife and I met had a negative first experience online, but was planning on involving friends she trusts after she gets serious with future dates. That way, they can help her vet guys she meets, and minimize one of online dating's biggest pitfalls.
Normal, Next Steps
Like most things mature Christians face, this isn't a binary, right/wrong decision. It will require wisdom, time and all the other, normal, unglamorous things God calls us to pursue in making any significant decision.
The input of trusted friends. Prayer and deep trust in God's goodness. Understanding that marriage, for all its grandeur, can't provide ultimate fulfillment. And, pursuing Jesus as our greatest treasure, no matter what.
With those guardrails in place, you have total freedom to stay at your current church, or, try a new one that has more available singles. Whatever you decide, may God give you this good desire of your heart.