Singleness & the Kingdom of God: Single Doesn’t Mean Alone (09.16.19)
Opening Silence & Prayer
Open in prayer and then sit in 3 minutes of silence to shift focus toward this time of seeking God and practicing the way of Jesus.
Practice: Knowing One Another in Singleness & Marriage
Single, married, dating, divorced, celibate, parents… and the list goes on – we all have unique experiences, desires, unmet needs, and vulnerabilities around our identities and sense of belonging. As a large group, give everyone a chance to respond to the following prompts (as applicable), taking care to give the sharer your full attention as they share their heart with the group.
- My favorite part about being single is…
- The hardest part about being single is…
- I wish my married friends knew that…
- If I could ask one thing of my married friends, it would be…
- One way I want to serve you through my singleness is…
- My favorite part about being married is…
- The hardest part about being married is…
- I wish my single friends knew that…
- If I could ask one thing of my single friends, it would be…
- One way I want to serve you through my marriage is…
After going through this practice, take note of any people not in this group whom you might want to call to express your heart to them as well.
Respond to Sunday’s Teaching
Read Matthew 19:1-12 and then reflect on this Sunday’s teaching, especially these key takeaways:
- We are in a church culture, within a broader culture. In the church, there can be an idolization of marriage. In the broader world, there can be an idolization of individualism and romanticism (believing the highest good is romantic fulfillment).
- The Old Testament mandate is to be fruitful and multiply — have kids and be blessed as parents. The New Testament mandate is to make disciples — help others become born again and be spiritual mothers and fathers.
- Whether married or single, both are gifts from God to serve God and the Church. The idea of “the gift of singleness” is not the same as having spiritual gifts like tongues or prophecy; rather, it’s about seeing our singleness as a gift from God (1 Corinthians 7:7).
- On a pastoral note: singleness is not second best. Married people must find ways to welcome single people into their lives — possibly through communal living, inviting to holidays, or making them godparents.
- Ask one another about single life.
Discuss as a group:
- Outside of a Christian context, what do movies, TV, and other sources from our culture have to say about singleness and marriage?
- How has your experience of singleness aligned with our larger culture’s definition or stereotypes of singleness? How has it differed?
- From a Christian perspective, what is the purpose of singleness? Of marriage?
Intercede in prayer for one another: for those you know who need prayer and for God’s will to be done in our city.
As a large group, use the Unity Prayer model to pray short prayers lifting up themes and words of praise and petition. Here is the form: “God, hear our _______.”
Invite someone to close out the prayer to end your time together.
Optional Prayer: The Examen
After group and throughout the week, spend 20-30 minutes prayerfully examining your own heart and feelings on the following:
- What are the biggest fears or anxieties I have when it comes to singleness and marriage?
- What hopes do I have?
- Are there any things that make me feel jealous, envious, or insecure when I look at other people and their relationships?
- How can I serve my community with my gifts — right now — exactly as I am?
- How does God want to meet me as I am?
After reflecting and praying, reach out to a friend to talk about what God showed you.