2. Be a friend.
Whether you’re single or married, you can provide support and intentional friendship to single women in ministry. Often single women are friends with singles and married women are friends with other married women, but both groups can benefit from the other. There’s no need to separate! We both benefit when we have a mutual relationship that sticks it out through the best and worst of life.
3. Invite singles to your celebrations.
Now that I have a 3-year-old, I’ve been tempted to assume that my single friends don’t want to spend time with my loud, tantrum-prone, high-energy daughter. Sure, there are times that it’s best that we get some time together without my daughter, but by and large, my single friends want to be part of our family celebrations and holidays. It’s an amazing privilege to be able to invite my friends into our family moments so they can share in some of our traditions. So whether you’re throwing a birthday party, headed to the fireworks, or hosting Thanksgiving, invite a single woman along. The only rule is that you can’t be offended if she doesn’t take you up on the offer. Sometimes we need a break from our church family to recharge—so allow single women in ministry the freedom to do that.
4. Encourage healthy boundaries.
To whatever degree you can influence your church culture, encourage people in ministry to be allowed rest, vacation, and good boundaries. This is crucial if we want to see single women succeed in ministry and stick around for the long haul. Single women need the time and space to develop their close friendships, travel to see family, and invest in life-giving hobbies. On top of that, single women have double the amount of housework and errands because they don’t have a spouse to share the load. This fact flies in the face of our idea that single woman have more time for ministry than married women. My friend, Rachel Wassink, who serves on staff at a church plant leading a variety of teams and ministries, wisely says, “Just as married people need to tend their marriage, single people need to tend their singleness.” We don’t often think about it in those terms, but it’s absolutely true. And, as several women shared with me, they feel guilty when they do try to set healthy boundaries or take time off. So if they have other leaders advocating for them and supporting them in this decision, they’re much more likely to do it. Wassink’s church, for instance, asks her to block off a day for Sabbath each week and ensures she gets a longer sabbatical break on a regular basis.