2017 Books · Christian · july2017reading

One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church


*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I finished this book weeks ago, but I find myself thinking about it all of the time.  I’m a single, 34 year old Christian woman who is deeply involved at my church.  I love my church, I love the Body of Christ, and I love my friends, most of whom go to my church and are strong believers.  That being said, in my late 20’s, I stopped going to church for several years.  It wasn’t that I didn’t love the Lord or suddenly became an atheist.  I wasn’t having a crisis of faith.  I simply felt completely out of place among people who previously were like family to me.

Suddenly, my tight-knit group of friends who surrounded me every Sunday and Wednesday night were nowhere to be found.  I walked into my favorite building in the world every Sunday morning feeling insecure and unwanted for the first time.  It was a huge adjustment to suddenly realize that I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends anymore because they were in the “married” section of the church.

On the surface, this book could come across as slightly bitter.  The author spends a majority of the book explaining what it is like to be single in the Evangelical church and how many things could be done differently to better help us.  I struggle with sharing these things with others because I don’t want to come across as bitter either.  Because despite the inadequacy of the church in this area, I’m quite happy.  I have friends that I love (married and single), a career I’m passionate about, and a relationship with the Lord that sustains me.  However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be honest about how we feel the church treats us.

Reading this book felt like reading a personality description of Melancholies or INFJs (both of which describe me perfectly).  It hit the nail on the head so often that I felt instantly understood.  I can’t say that applied to every single part of the book, but often enough that I felt a great deal of solidary for the author.

One thing the book touches on that resonated so strongly with me is that many, many pastors and Christians believe that to be married is to strengthen your relationship with the Lord in a way that being single can’t do.  Therefore, many single adult Christians are viewed as never having grown up and spiritually immature.  They are also treated as “less than” probably with no intention of doing so, but the truth of the matter is that the church believes people aren’t complete until they are married.

One thing that I wish so much married families in the church would do is to involve more single people in their lives.  Invite that single person to your house for dinner, let them play basketball with your kids, take an interest in their lives.  Singles just want to feel like they belong, in a world where they are often segregated to the side or lumped in with college students.  Jesus was single.  And I think He would be greatly disappointed by how His church behaves toward other singles.

(By the way, four years ago I came back to church and decided that even though it wasn’t perfect, I needed it.  And I’m very grateful for it.)