Inside Out: Single in the Church

04.25.18 | Martha Manikas-Foster

For single Christians who want to be married, the hardest words to hear can be from fellow Christians trying to be comforting.    

“I think it sounds something like, ‘If you keep yourself pure and if you’ve done everything right, then God is faithful and He’s going to reward you with a spouse. And if He’s not bringing you someone, that’s because He’s working to refine you in some way,’” says Joy Beth Smith, author of the new book Party of One. 

But this, among other things singles hear from church friends, is based on faulty theology.  

“God doesn’t actually owe us a husband and he doesn’t owe you a wife,” she reminds us. 

What God promises singles is what He promises all who follow Him—that He is good and has things under control, that He will not leave us, and that there’s greater joy with Him in the future than the grief we know here on earth. 

“I can actually be fulfilled in this relationship with Him because He didn’t promise me a husband. He promised me joy and satisfaction and eternal life and community—all of these other things that He has promised me that I can lean into right now today. But He didn’t promise me a husband today. So, He’s not disappointing me in that.” 

Joy Beth Smith wants single believers, and the entire church, to know that the single life is valuable. Listen in on our conversation as we talk about the God’s promises, holding patterns, community, and grief, as well as how the Church can listen and minister to (and with) the many populations of single adults who love Jesus. 

Listen to our 16-minute conversation by clicking on the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD icon above. 

Learn more about Joy Beth Smith, her writing, and her book Party of One.


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 04.25.18 Andrew Maitland commented

I’m about to listen to this podcast. It feels like it could be helpful and hopeful. “Could” being the operative word.

I went to Watson Homestead three years ago (whatever year Ken Rudolph was the speaker prior to his latest appearance last February). There was a skit there that was very well done on the first night. God chiseling away on a person.

I really enjoyed the skit. I did not enjoy the fact that I actually was able to find someone at the retreat who I did manage to go out with that July, only to find out she never had any intention of dating. (A point I have brought up numerous times to hopefully help those wanting to try and find a significant other at the retreat, as I had tried).

But just reading the blurb above, I’m wondering if FLN is as guilty as church congregations in general of using “faulty theology” whenever it comes to ministering to any single. As much as I enjoyed the skit those years ago, I implied its point as being: “If you stay ‘pure’ and on the path with Me, Jesus Christ, I will make all your dreams come true...including finding you a spouse should that be one dream.”

I’m about to listen to the podcast now. Thank you for posting it.

on 04.26.18 B.K. Daugherty-Shri commented

I haven't read the book yet, but this is so needed in the church. The Life Groups are geared more toward couples. Our pastor tried one service to remind the congregation that after service on Sundays, many get together with family, but singles may not have that luxury - single, widowed, divorced, empty-nesters, kids away at college, etc... I wanted to attend Fln's singles seminar to bring this message back to our church, but they only offer it 5 hrs away near Bath,NY
Thanks again for bringing this to the forefront again.

on 05.08.18 Debbie Fero commented

Thank you for commenting on the blog. We totally understand that everyone has their own interpretation of the weekend and possibly even the expectations of the weekend….BUT….The purpose of Family Life’s Singles Conference has never been to provide an event where singles can meet their significant other. Our purpose has always been to provide an encouraging and enriching weekend retreat for singles. A place where they can worship together, hear the Word of God preached and enjoy spending time and connecting with other singles who love the Lord.




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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