In my previous blog I made the point that singleness is not just the absence of marriage, but is a good and blessed thing in and of itself. I also began to look at some ways that our actions say something different. This blog looks at another way our actions declare something different, I want to look at the importance of church being a family and its implications for singleness.
Jesus defines his family as those who follow him rather than those who are related to him. E.g. Mark 3v31-34.
However, the impression that we can unintentionally give is that the church is made up of biological families, and that unless you are part of one of these conveniently shaped building blocks, you won’t ever fit in.
When church feels like a family, single people say they can cope with not having their own partner and children. When church hasn’t worked in this way they struggle.
In denying someone a sexual partner, God is not denying them intimate relationships – he provides them in countless other ways. However, if the church discourages non-sexual intimacy it gets in the way of what God intends. Too often our response to the sexual revolution going on outside our doors has sadly just been to promote sexual intimacy in the context of Christian marriage. And to encourage people to keep it there by promising this will then deliver all the intimacy they’ve ever wanted. We need to do more, we need to encourage and promote non-sexual intimacy. We need to put as much time and energy into promoting good friendships as we do good marriages.
All this is the responsibility of us all, married people and single people, leaders and those they serve. We all need to work together to ensure that the church is full of the types of relationships God intends.
Written by Tony Thompson