This past weekend, I attended our church conference's Annual Camp Meeting. This is a time during the year when church members from churches all over our conference (TX, AR, OK, LA, NM) gather together in Athens, TX for worship. You get to see people you haven't seen since the previous year, and meet new faces as well.
I arrived on Thursday because I had Singles Ministry training (I am a Singles Ministry Area Coordinator for the Conference). I was really hoping that the training would be good, since I went to Athens earlier than I had anticipated because of the training. I must say, that it was much more than I expected.
The training was conducted by Pastor and Sister Lee, who work in Family Ministries for the North American Division. They are such a lovely couple, who have been in ministry for many years. I have watched them on television (3ABN) several times before, and knew when I saw them there, that the training would be great.
Sister Lee started the training by stating that Jesus was single, and Jesus was one and He was whole. That was so profound. She stated that because we are single, it doesn't mean we are broken. We should not let other people's perception of our singleness define us. Others should not make us feel that we are less than anyone else because we are single. We need to let people define themselves. She and Pastor Lee expressed that singleness is not a disease.
They informed us that we were created for relationships, otherwise God would not have created Eve. He would have left Adam alone. But before we can engage in relationships, we need to be whole, one. Just like Jesus. We must be whole before connecting to another whole person. If not, something will be missing from the relationship.
Because we were created for relationships, most single people long for someone to be connected to. But we must be sure to engage in meaningful relationships based on what Jesus needs and wants for us, and not what we desire for ourselves. We must define love by God, and not by a man or a woman.
Pastor and Sis. Lee explained that many singles are leaving the church. They are the population that are turning from the church most often. As a church, we must engage singles in the life of the church. We should not make them feel ostracized because they are single. We should not try to force relationships and marriage upon them because they are single. Because, as Sis. Lee stated, "Sometimes singleness is the best way to be saved."
I was feeling much better as a single person after the training. No, I don't want to be single forever. But I know that I can be happy in my singleness. The world that we live in places stereotypes on singles, as if there is something wrong with us. But I was told this weekend, "Because we live in brokenness, we don't have to act broken." I am a single. I am one. I am whole in Jesus Christ.
Are you feeling whole in your singleness? Are you feeling broken? What do you need to be happy as a single?
**photo courtesy of North American Division of Seventh Day Adventists