We do not start living when we get married. Marriage may never come to some. Moreover, it may not be the will of our Master for some lives. We can still establish relationships which nourish us through meaningful prayer, heart-lifting worship, and shared fellowship around our common faith. We can become family. We can duplicate the church within our rooms. We can learn how to minister first to one another, then as a team to the world beyond.
Some of the most effective ministers I know are single. Both professionals and lay single men and women have dramatically influenced me. These are the ones who have set themselves aside almost exclusively to the service of the Lord.
We of Protestant background have scoffed too often at cloistered servants of God—those choosing to be single on the part of charity. Only Heaven will reveal the way the earth has been preserved unto His Coming through the prayers and good works of these fine people. We need to consider singleness as one choice for the purpose of ministry, rather than as a state attained by default.
We need to recognize that singleness is a Scriptural option. One of the most encouraging things for me to see as a pastor’s wife is single people discovering their gifts and using their homes as places of ministry. When this happens I am aware that some barrier to growth has been crossed and a deeper maturation is taking place.
It is impossible to relate how often David and I have been uplifted by the unmarried people in our congregation. Two young women, for example, ministered to us with the gift of laughter. They made a point of celebrating Epiphany with us, each celebration growing more grandiose as the years passed.
It began when they appeared on our porch on Twelfth Night, lantern and fruitcake and tambourine in hand, singing poignant carols. The next year was set aside with historical literary readings, dinner for four, and handmade gifts. Their combined sense of the ridiculous was healing. How often we gaily sat on their floor giggling and hee-hawing at the antics those two could contrive. After so much heavy counseling, it was good for nothing more to be required of us than our humor.
One ingredient singles living together don’t have in common with marrieds—since even the possibility of children, foster or adopted, is open today—is the promise of a lifetime commitment. Yet, many have discovered that even temporal moments can be indelibly lasting when we make our own joyful memories.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.