By RJ THESMAN

Angela (a pseudonym) felt numb, as if she was in shock. After twelve years of marriage, she was suddenly single again. Not only had her status changed, but also her concern about how her church family might accept her. As a professional counselor, she knew the stats. Sixty-seven percent of single moms leave the church and never return.

But Angela was determined not to fall into that category. She wanted to continue to worship with the same congregation and use her gifts as she had before life so drastically changed.

Whether never married, widows, or walking through divorce, how can we make sure the Angelas in our churches feel welcomed and loved? How can we avoid becoming another congregation that condemns single women just because they don’t fit into the traditional family box?

Here are 10 Ways to Love the Single Women at Church:

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

1. Sit with her.

1. Sit with her.

Sunday can be the loneliest day of the week for those who drive alone and sit alone. From our earliest memories as traditional families, we think of Sunday as a family day—together in church, then the big Sunday dinner. When a woman becomes single, that status changes how she does Sundays.

How can we help remedy that lonely feeling, that solitary signal that grips single women and reminds them they no longer fit in? The answer is simple. Invite her to sit with you and your family. Save a place for her every Sunday and remind her during the week that she is welcome to sit with you.

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2. Eat with her.

2. Eat with her.

Because Sunday is the day for family dinners, make sure the single women of your church have a place to eat and a meal to share. If you’re eating out, invite her along and offer to pay for her meal. If you’re eating at home, invite her to join you and bring her favorite recipe. Perhaps once a month, invite several single women to join you and your family for the Sunday meal. Hospitality is a gift and eating together was even celebrated in the Early Church.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2:46

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3. "Adopt" her.

3. “Adopt” her.

Many churches have a thriving ministry around the foster and adoption focus. It is a beautiful way to follow the command to “Look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). Adopting outside the country can be challenging, but almost a romantic adventure. Rightfully so, we look on these families who accept fostering and adoption responsibilities with respect and awe. While the child from Haiti or China can find a home with a Christian family, the single mom and her children are often forgotten as a viable example of this James verse.

The single mom and her children are often left to fend for themselves. We can be proactive to adopt a single woman and her children, to include them in holiday gatherings, to mentor the children and meet her practical needs, to play soccer or Monopoly together, to be an example of healthy family relationships. An important step might be to organize a program within our churches where traditional two-parent families are paired with the single mom families.

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4. Avoid trying to "fix" her up with single guys.

4. Avoid trying to “fix” her up with single guys.

When brothers and sisters in Christ relate as friends and work together for the Kingdom, we become living examples of the life of Christ. Respect her singlehood and avoid trying to change her status. She is single for a reason. If God leads her to marry, she is capable of working on that issue all by herself.

Just because a woman is single does not mean she is somehow inferior. In fact, Paul encourages us to remain single so we can focus on living a healthy Christian life rather than spending our energy trying to keep a spouse happy (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). Singles groups in churches can be valuable places to build relationships, but they don’t have to result in marriage.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

5. Help her with car problems.

5. Help her with car problems.

Some women are mechanical experts. They know how to change tires, fiddle with spark plugs and calibrate engines. But many single women find cars puzzling and the issues they bring financially challenging. A church in the Kansas City Metro offers quarterly oil changes to single moms and helps rotate tires or even replaces all four tires. A car dealer in my area offered me a sizeable discount when I needed a different vehicle. He used his business as a ministry, and I responded by referring all my friends to him as a fair and honest dealership.

Another brother in Christ came to my home and walked me through the vehicle I inherited after the divorce. He showed me what to watch for and how to pay attention to the engine lights, how to check the oil and the nickel test for tire tread. (If Abe Lincoln doesn’t sink into the tread, you need new tires!)Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

6. Be available for practical helps.

6. Be available for practical helps.

Be available for practical helps. Plumbing issues, foundation cracks, landscaping problems—all these and more become major challenges for single women. Yet, within our pews sit people who know exactly how much mulch to add, how to fix that leaky faucet and how to caulk around windows.

One of my Christian brothers climbed onto my roof and fixed the shingles. Another group of brothers painted my deck. I baked the brownies and served iced tea.

By offering practical help, we underscore the teachings of the Apostle James who urged us to keep our faith practical, to follow our words with action (James 2:14).

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

7. Respect her spiritual gifts.

7. Respect her spiritual gifts.

Like every believer, single women possess spiritual gifts. Encourage these women to use their giftings within the church body. Don’t assume they belong in the nursery or the Sunday School department teaching children, unless they want to serve in these capacities.

One of my single friends serves as her church’s financial accountant while another friend leads the worship team. One of my former clients just finished her theology degree and has signed a contract to be associate pastor. No matter what her marital status, God has gifted her to add value to the church. Respect that gifting and encourage her to serve. Her gifts have nothing to do with her marital status.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

8. Pair single women with a woman from another generation.

8. Pair single women with a woman from another generation.

Older single women have lived a lifetime of faith. Whether they buried a husband, never married or were abandoned and left to raise their children alone, they have learned how to do life with Christ as Husband and Maker. These older women can serve as mentors to the younger generation, to lead Bible studies and cell groups, to do one-on-one counseling, to be the voice on the other end of the phone when the nights are scary. Set up a partnership in your church and allow these older women to share their wisdom and life experiences.

Likewise, single women can be a voice of wisdom for younger teens. They can encourage them in their faith and explain how true forgiveness works. When young girls struggle with life-changing decisions, a single woman can be the refreshing voice to help them understand how to live a contented single life in the real world.

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9. Examine Expectations.

9. Examine Expectations.

Many single women face condemnation and fear from the very people from which they need support. Some churches refuse to allow single women to participate in cell groups with married couples. They mistakenly believe these women are “out to get a husband” by stealing one from someone else. They do not realize many of these women have trust issues and the last thing they want is to deal with another man.

These women want brothers and sisters in Christ to accept them for who they are and respect them for how they add to the Kingdom of God. Single women can teach the church about refusing to assign labels and how to trust when you have no one to depend on but God.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

10. Show affection.

10. Show affection.

Show affection. Every human being needs affection, and single women are no exception. They know how to receive and how to give warmth with a caring touch. While we do need to be careful about how we greet one another, a friendly hug is acceptable. An arm around the waist offers support. A handshake or an arm around the shoulder feels friendly.

But it is important, especially for hugs, to ask first. Women who have been through domestic violence can be triggered by any type of physical touch. We can be respectful yet loving, accepting yet cautious. By showing affection, we bring the encouragement of love, which is the basis for how we should always treat everyone in the church.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

About the Author

About the Author

RJ Thesman is the author of 10 books and 700+ articles, and her work has been included in 14 anthologies. She is also a Certified Writing Coach who helps other writers birth their words. Thesman writes from the heartland of Kansas where she lives with her adult son and an elderly cat. She enjoys teaching workshops, gardening and cooking—especially anything with blueberries. You can follow Thesman at: RJThesman.net.

Written by bishopchinedu

A preacher of the Gospel. An evangelist of the Gospel of Christ. The fundamentals of my preaching hing on the Legal and Vital sides of our redemption.

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