You are more than your marital status.

In many churches, children and youth programs as well as couples ministry emphasis can make people feel that not being married makes them somewhat incomplete (or 2nd class). For the single (including divorced, widows and widowers) such emphasis can imply they don't fit in or belong; this is not the way it's supposed to be.

The Apostle Paul brings practical teaching in 1 Corinthians 7. He begins by introducing radical equality within marriage (v1-8).  He then moves on to also write about singles possibly being in a better position to serve God because of their availability (not being married). He calls out his own life as an example (v7). Again, radical teaching - singleness was on par in value with being married in the Christian community (v32-35).

In the 1st century Roman world marital connections were everything. Roman widows were actually fined if they didn't remarry within 2 years o their husband's death during the reign of Augustus.  Paul paints a different picture of life for the single person (in particular women) that was incredibly freeing. The Christian single was not under compulsion to get married - it became a matter of Christian liberty; it still is.

At Lakeside we want to be careful to ensure that all members of the church family are valued for who they are (in Christ). To this end we encourage everyone to take time, energy and even resources to get to know one another. The person who is single is wanted and needed here as much as the married couple. Our church family is incomplete without those who are single.

What would it look like if we all took care of one another? What would happen if we intentionally looked past our states in life (married or single) and reached out to draw in others - to share a meal, cup of coffee or simple conversation with them? The world around us will look in and see something very special happening.  Singles mingling with married couples; young people mixing it up with older people; each stretching beyond their comfort zones in order to bless the other. When we lay down our lives intentionally and sacrificially people notice. When we love one another all people will know we are Jesus' disciples. Let's do this thing and stop defining one another by our marital status and be about making relationships of substance.

Our identity is in Christ not our marital status. #whoareyou