Even though I’m married I get to play cello in a worship band for Austin1027, a movement of single adults in Austin, TX who desire to live out Luke 10:27 — “He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Many of the singles ministries from various churches in Austin gather once each quarter for a night of worship and ministry.
On Tuesday we had another worship night, followed by a Q&A session with 4 of the local singles ministry leaders from various churches. After listening to so many of my single friends with SSA talk about the isolation of not only having SSA, but also of being single, I looked forward to hearing the Q&A session. Two days earlier Maureen and I were at a church where the lead pastor actually stated that their prayer was for God to “fill our parking lot with minivans”, loaded with parents and kids. Given, it was a Mother’s Day Sunday, and they had just prayed for many parents and young kids, but nevertheless had I been a single person attending there I’d have wondered if they also prayed regularly for the parking lot to be filled with singles.
The Q&A session at Austin1027 confirmed that many singles feel that the church really struggles in this area. Why do we get so enamored with our American success story of the happy little nuclear family, and often promote that as an ideal in our churches? Does that really square with the selfless call of the gospel message? Not to say that being married is selfish, but for the church to focus on that model without giving equal time to singles will inevitably create difficulties for our single brothers and sisters.
The blessing of Tuesday night was hearing the ministry leaders challenge the singles who were there to seek first His kingdom, and all these things would be added. Time and time again they were asked questions about X issue, or Y technique, yet they always went straight to how that question looks in light of focusing first on Jesus, and then letting Him meet all of our needs. That’s the same thing we promote at LifeGuard Ministries, to focus on His mercy and grace in Christ Jesus, and receiving His love. Only by abiding in Him can we naturally produce Christs’ fruit in our lives.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” That’s how we break free from our western cultural stereotypes, and live in His freedom!