This is a message to all those who are single or who have spent any years in the Church as a single person.
As a pastor who has served in local church ministry for the past 18 years, I wanted to apologize to you on behalf of so many of us who minister and who too often have failed you.
I am deeply sorry.
I’m sorry for the ways we unintentionally distanced you from community; the times that we overlooked your deep needs and your unique challenges as we planned and prepared.
I’m sorry for the times we relegated you to the segregated ghettos of Singles Ministry, making you feel that was enough to hold you over until you eventually graduated from your relational purgatory.
I’m sorry for the times you felt like an afterthought in our worship services.
I’m sorry for the times you felt unwelcome or extraneous in our small groups.
I’m sorry for unknowingly depriving you of the great richness of multigenerational ministry.
I’m sorry for the many times our sermon series lifted up Marriage and Family, and in the process ignored the awkwardness that might create for you.
I’m sorry for the way our programming and event schedules might have accidentally diminished your contributions and your worth.
I’m sorry for the way we so easily defaulted to lazy language that so often excluded you.
You need to know that this was never intentional, but even still I know it is incredibly painful.
You need to know that you are valued and treasured and appreciated, even when we have failed to let you know.
You are The Church.
You are not second class Christians.
You are not inferior members of our communities.
You are not worth less than those who have found married life a reality.
Your singleness is not a temporary affliction that you need to be healed of, or a sad fate you need to be rescued from.
It is not a sign that your faith is suspect or that your prayers are not earnest or that your goodness is at all in doubt.
It is not proof of your character flaws or your moral failings or your lack of value.
It is simply this place and time in your story.
You may not remain single forever, however if you do, that is not a defeat and it is not a compromise.
You are a child of God. There is never wrong or loss or failure in that.
You are not currently incomplete, biding time, just awaiting to be made half of something else.
You are a beautiful whole human being, made singularly and perfectly in the image of God.
We in leadership in the Church have often failed to really see you or have fallen short of pastoring you well.
We may do it again, and for that too I ask for forgiveness.
Never ever doubt how priceless your life is.
You are deeply and fully loved; every single one of you.
photo credit: thegospelcoalition.com