Earlier this week I wrote a post “A Hunger for Connection”. In it I talk about my desire to connect with others. It is a desire that we all have and yet in our increasingly busy society it is a desire that we push to the side.
We all need connection, and there are many of us who feel like we are on the outside or that we are all alone even when we are surrounded by other women.
We sit and listen to them discuss their children or the joys and woes of pregnancy. We hear their stories about how wonderful their husbands are or how horrible their husbands are in some cases.
We sit alone on Sunday mornings.
We dine alone most nights.
We go to the movies by ourselves and do the shopping by ourselves.
We are the single women in the church.
And we are just as hungry for connection as the married women in the church (if not more so).
For most of my adult life, I have attended small churches where there are not a lot of other singles. Some of these churches have been wonderful about including me in things even though I am single. One church I attended would give me flowers on Mother’s Day because even though I don’t have any biological children I was a “mother” to many children in town through my preschool.
Other churches have not been so great about including me and welcoming me as a single woman. I have been treated as if I am invisible. I have actually had some married women tell me that they don’t think that we would have anything in common because I’m single, or there are those who now that they are married only want to do couple things. “Well, I would invite you, but it is only couples and I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.” Then there are the ones who are afraid that you are a threat to their marriage just because you are single.
It can be tough to be single in the church, but singles need community too. Singles need to know that we are a part of the church. We need to know that we are welcome and wanted. We need to know that we are loved.
Making singles feel welcome in the church goes beyond the singles’ activities. It goes beyond the singles’ Sunday school classes. It goes beyond the singles’ groups.
Don’t get me wrong. Those things are important, but that is not all that the church can do to let singles know that we are loved.
Let’s start with the basics:
1) Talk to us.
You might be surprised about what we have in common. You love to craft? So do I. You love to cook? Let’s trade recipes.
2) Invite us for coffee or for lunch.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I would love to grab a tea with you. Tell me about your family. Let me get to know you. Lunch is a great way to start.
3) Send us a note.
Write a letter or send a card. Let us know that you care.
4) Invite us for dinner with your family.
Yes, you read that correctly. Invite us into your home. Most of us love children and long to have children of our own so invite us to dinner with your family. It makes us feel as if we are a part of the family.
5) Check with us around the holidays to see if we have plans especially if we don’t have family in the area.
6) Have a Girls’ Night Out for all women
Personally I think this is one of the best ways for women to connect. Whether single or married who doesn’t love a night of pampering or chocolate tasting or discussing books or crafting.
7) Become a mentor
We need mentoring and accountability too. Take us under your wing. Teach us how to be godly women. Teach us how to be homemakers and how to love our husbands before they are our husbands.
8) Invite us to sit with you
Whether Sunday morning, Sunday night, or at a church dinner make room for us to sit with you and your family. In a place where we are to united I find it says a lot about a church to see people sitting off by themselves instead of sitting with others.
Now, singles, don’t think you are off the hook. We have to take responsibility for building community and making those connections too.
For me personally reaching out and trying to connect with others is difficult. It is out of my comfort zone, but I am just as responsible for reaching out to others as they are when it comes to reaching out to me. That list above applies just as much to us as it does to them.
A few other ideas for us to reach out and connect in the church:
1) Offer to babysit
2) Offer to host women’s events
3) Get involved in the women’s ministry. Help with the planning.
4) Teach Sunday school
5) Start a Bible study
Whether we are single or married, we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to the church to connect with others. We are supposed to be one because Jesus and the Father are one (John 17) so reach out to each other and build those connections. Trust me you won’t regret it.
Now it’s your turn.Come and link up at…