It was a glorious Sunday morning when I walked into a potential church home. I was excited at the new friends I would meet, the great sermon I would hear and the spectacular worship I would experience. I was there by myself, of course, I was a single woman with no children.
I looked to my right and saw a man in a suit with sunglasses on and a walkie-talkie. He looked at me and frantically muttered something into his walkie-talkie. I looked to my left and saw three other men in suits and sunglasses running towards me. Not knowing what to do, I ran down the nearest hallway only to be pulled into a dark room by yet another man in a suit and sunglasses. They shut the door, set me down at a table and put a spotlight on me.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Well,” one of them said. “You’re single.”
“Yeah,” I said, not understanding what the problem was.
“This is church,” he said.
I was even more confused.
“We don’t know what to do with you,” the man said. “Single people in their 30’s scare us. We don’t know where to put you.”
“Could I start off by just going to church?” I asked.
“Who will you sit with?” one of then asked.
“Myself. It’s not social hour, I’m here to worship and learn,” I said.
“But then what? Then what do we do with you?” one of them said. “Where do we put you?”
“Well, is there a place for me?” I asked.
The men all shouted in unison, “No!”
“Can we create one?” I said.
They all just looked at each other before one of them spoke up. “It’s just easier if we ignore you.”
My heart broke, but I wasn’t surprised. It was the same story at every church I’d ever been to.
“We do have a women’s group!” one piped up. “It’s for ladies in their 30’s, just like you! They meet every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.”
“I have a job.” I said.
“Well most of these ladies are stay-at-home moms. Don’t you want to be that?”
The men were so baffled that they removed their sunglasses and rubbed their eyes.
“There has to be a place for me!” I screamed.
“We have a great college group,” one began.
“I’m 32. I’ve been out of college for 9 years,” I said.
“We’ve got a phenomenal group of singles who are divorced or widowed,” one spoke up. “They like to get together and talk about their hurts and how hard it is to move on.”
“I’ve never been married,” I said. “Can’t I just join a group that focuses on my relationship with Christ?”
No one said a word.
“Isn’t that what it should be about?” I asked.
Finally someone spoke up, “But we still don’t know what to do with you.”
“Would it be easier if I just left?”
“Yes!” they all said.
So I stood up, walked out of the room and out of the church. They just didn’t know what to do with me.
There’s a spot for everyone at church, or so they say. But I think being a single person above the age of 30 is the worst thing to be at a church. Even a drug addict can walk into a church and people will know what to do- they will pray, help the person find addictions counseling, sign them up for Celebrate Recovery, and get them well on their way to a better life. You could be someone who just lost their entire family in a horrific shark attack and the church would know more what to do with you than it does with a single person.
Why do you think so few single people go to church? It’s because we don’t fit in. People think you aren’t married because you must be some sort of demonic person or partier, or that you have absolutely no social skills.
Women’s groups are all focused on being a wife or a mother, or both. Men’s groups are the same way, you’re a husband and/or a father. Churches have tried the whole, “people in their 30’s, no matter what their situation” type of groups, but they don’t work. It always turns into talks about being moms and dads. Plus then the women get catty when you have more in common with their husbands than you do the them. Sorry gals- I can’t talk breast feeding and potty training with you, but I can talk about last night’s IU game with your husbands, and it doesn’t mean I’m trying to steal them away from you.
I wish it would just be about God. I know small groups are intimate and women will share sdetails of their lives with each other- that’s to be expected. It just seems like so many groups are solely focused on being a spouse or a parent.
The church just doesn’t know what to do with us. I can’t say I blame them, and wish I knew of a solution. While my story above is obviously fictional, I have been told by multiple workers in various churches that they really don’t know what to do with us. This isn’t all in my head!
I’ve resorted to having my own Bible studies… with myself. I guess that’s fine, at least I’m getting spiritually fed. I just hope that maybe someday churches will figure out what to do with all of us crazy single people.