What message do you have for single women in ministry, specifically?
In writing the book, one of the things I did was gather roundtables of single women all around the country. We varied in age and ethnicity. Some were divorced, some had never been married, some had kids. If you’re going to sit in a room full of strangers, and the only thing you have in common is that you don’t have a spouse, what would you say?
It created this beautiful authenticity and support, because there’s no competition there. There’s no one-upmanship. If I were in ministry, that’s something I would find—that place where I could come and grieve and be heard and know that there are other people saying, “Yes! I completely understand!” And I know there probably aren’t a lot of places like that, so it might even have to be online, but there’s something to be said for community, for having people around you who can say, “I hear you, and I know exactly what you’re talking about.” It’s worth doing because that community is invaluable on the hard days when people are really insulting and say really horrible things, when you feel so lonely, and when you question your ability to lead. When all those unfortunate circumstances arise as you’re in ministry, community can help insulate you from some of that. And it may take knitting yourselves together awkwardly at first, but it can turn into something really beautiful later.
For support if you’re single in ministry, see Navigate Singleness in Ministry.
To understand what single women leaders face, read “Why We Need Single Women Leaders.”
To learn how you can support single women in ministry, check out “10 Ways to Help Single Women Flourish in Ministry.”
To discover ways to integrate singles into small-group ministry, read “Why Your Small-Group Ministry Needs Singles.”
Joy Beth Smith is a managing editor with Christianity Today and the author of Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness.