Almost half of American adults are single, but how often is the subject of singleness addressed by the church sermon? A sermon on singleness need not be anti-marriage. One can be pro-marriage and pro-singleness. So here is my 3-point sermon for singleness.
1. Singleness is good
In Judaism, singleness is next to sinfulness. And the same is true for a variety of religions. Film & FM Radio speak the message loud and clear: Singleness is a deficiency. You're not complete until you've found 'the one.' But Jesus and Paul have something different to say. Jesus talks about people choosing singleness for the benefit of His Kingdom. Paul bluntly states that singleness is good, even better than marriage from his point of view. Do we agree with Jesus and Paul? Do we, as Christians, view singleness as a high calling? A good gift?
2. Singleness may come with greater freedom
I don't mean this so much on a superficial level (more freedom to have your own morning routine, all your favorite foods, choice of TV show, etc.). Most importantly, singleness may bring greater freedom to serve Christ. Paul is very clear on this issue. Marriage brings divided attention. A husband or wife must pay attention to their spouse/family (it would be sinful for them not to). A single person (granted they don't have children, of course), will most likely have greater freedom to serve Christ. Jesus and Paul are great models for living the single life well. Are single Christians using their freedom to serve God?
3. Singless has a message to tell to the church
When a Christian single recognizes their singleness as a good thing and utilizes their freedom to better serve Christ, they become a teacher of many lessons to the church. They teach that wholeness comes through Christ alone (I don't need marriage to 'complete me'). They teach us that the church truly grows by conversion, not by procreation. They remind us that single-minded focus on Christ is the way of the future. It is not singleness that is a temporary role we play until the wonders of marriage, it is marriage that is a temporary role until the wonders of eternity.
If singles can say this to the church, what does the church say to singles? Do we value their singleness or do we try to play match-maker? Do we invite their singleness or do we declare ourselves a 'family friendly church'? Do we learn from their singleness or do we segregate them to their own ministry area? A healthy church needs healthy singles for the sake of the Kingdom.