About six months ago, in mid-January of this year, College Park hosted the Redeeming Singleness conference. Over 175 people attended, taught or served over the course of the weekend. As I reflected on how things went, I found myself with three big takeaways—things I think our church needs to know about singles of any age or life stage.
1. The church is a family for singles.
Our church family is a place where all Christians are entitled to call one another “sister,” “brother,” “mother,” and “father,” and we get to treat one another like true family (1 Tim 5:1-2; Matt 12:50). In fact, we get to “do good first to the household of faith” (Gal 6:10)—and this may involve bringing singles into your own household. As blogger Jennifer Grisham points out, “God settles the solitary into a family—and it may be yours” (Psalm 68:6).
During the conference, I loved hearing pre-session stories from Paula and Kim who both talked about how God has provided relationships, opportunities, and encouragement in their callings through flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters in the local church. May our friendships with one another look more and more like family.
2. God is a Provider for singles.
An incredible tour through the story of Ruth in David Hoffeditz’s conference session left me with a deep recognition that when all seems lost, when desires are unmet, and when needs are gnawing, God provides.
Singles are often a lighthouse of this truth in the midst of a foggy world. As Pastor Mark Vroegop reminded conference-goers, singleness is a “platform” to publicly declare the sufficiency, provision, and goodness of our God. It may be the voice and life of a faithful single brother or sister that pushes you past discontent or fear to trust their same Provider.
3. Singles have a glorious calling.
God calls His children into all sorts of seasons and experiences, and the calling to singleness (whether the calling is short-term, long-term, or lifelong) is not actually about being single. The calling to singleness, as Paul unveils in 1 Corinthians 7 is about the Kingdom of God, not the individual self.
The gospel provides a way for people to serve the Lord in whatever condition they were already in when they came to Christ: including the conditions of their job, their social standing, and their marital status (1 Cor 7:17-24). But, there is a radical new calling that comes to the single person who now knows Christ—to be “anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord” (1 Cor 7:32).
Single men and women get to exercise a freedom of devotion to God’s Kingdom that should be exercised whether that singleness is short-lived or long-term. Pursuing the expansion of God’s Kingdom is a glorious calling that makes all Christians, married or single, more than just friends. It makes us teammates.
Whether you are married or single, I’d encourage you to listen to the audio from the conference. You’ll be pointed toward the gospel and the goodness of God, and hopefully, learn something about how to better relate to the family of God at College Park.
- Session 1: Redeeming Singleness in the Church (Pastor Mark Vroegop)
- Session 2: Redeeming Singleness Like Those Before Us (David Hoffeditz)
- Session 3: Redeeming Singleness: The Big Picture & Me (Pastor Joe Bartemus)