Why Are Single People So Often Left out of Church Leadership?
I have been in churches of all sizes throughout my life. I have been a member of a mega-church that had over 8,000 members, much smaller churches that had 30 to 40 members, and every size in between. Regardless of the size of the church, there is a common theme I noticed when I looked at the leadership in the church. Every person who was in a leadership position – whether they were a pastor or the head of a ministry – all shared one thing in common.
So if an apostle can be unmarried and a pastor of a church can be unmarried, then clearly marriage is not a qualifier for leadership. Whether churches do this consciously or subconsciously, the time has come that we stop disqualifying people for leadership just because they are not married.
When the church puts a ceiling on single people in leadership, this can have other unintended consequences. I have heard of people who were young and got married because they knew leadership would not happen if they weren’t married. Again, where do we get this thought process from? By the way, if you think being married will reduce possible sexual temptation, and that is a reason you choose married people, well, we have seen married leaders fall to temptation, so that idea hasn’t always worked either.
We should consider qualified people for leadership roles in the church, regardless of their marital status. We need to stop making single people feel like pariahs in the church, and this is an even greater reality the longer you remain single or never married. Single people can do more than serve in a ministry, they can lead ministries too. If you read Scripture, you could argue they might be the best candidates to do this. Consider these words from the apostle Paul.
Let’s be clear: Paul is not disparaging marriage, but he is making a point that is obvious. A single person is usually less divided in their responsibilities than a married person. For this reason, rather than overlooking a single person for leadership because of their marital status, that might be the reason they may be more qualified. Obviously, they must possess other leadership qualities, but it is tragic these qualities often get missed just because a person does not have a spouse. Clearly, this is not what God intended.
If you are a pastor or leader, please stop overlooking single people. Also stop adding qualifiers the Bible didn’t add. If people are called and qualified to lead, then give them the opportunity to do so. It should not matter whether they are single or married. By the way, if you think it’s a great idea to have a qualified single person lead the singles ministry, make sure you don’t make that the only place they can lead.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.