Singles | The Village Church
Confronting the Ghost in Christian Dating. Ryane Williamson. In a world of impossible standards, meaningless hookups and a disregard for the. Listen to Til Death Do Us Part: Singleness & Dating by Village Church Audio for free. Follow Village Church Audio to never miss another show. The dating worries and anxieties they've long since left behind in their own Coalition Podcast to answer some tough questions on singleness and dating. Matt is lead teaching pastor of The Village Church in Dallas.
Let me give you a couple of quotes. This first one is from a man named Dan Mattson. I reject the representation of a life striving for celibacy as miserable, and part of my mission in life is to debunk all of the dreary, droopy tropes out there of what celibacy is all about.
Ron sounds like a guy I would want to hang out with. This is a quote from Ron Belgau. Yes so is marriage; so is grad school; life is pain, princess. Is it frustrating at times? Yes but watch someone raising toddlers sometime and it may change your perspective on the challenges of celibacy.
Have there been times when I wanted to give up? But is it worth it? And do I regret it? The second is by and large the largest group of singles, and this would be dedicated celibates. This category is what we most often think of when we think about singles.
They look forward to being married.
Then the last type of celibate, or single… Jesus adds this really radical category that the Jews would have had a very difficult time processing in the first century of vowed celibates, those who simply renounce marriage because of the kingdom of God.
Regardless of which type of single you are, the Bible is clear that singleness is a gift from God. Let me show you that in 1 Corinthians 7: I wish that all were as I myself am. God is being gracious to you and giving you gifts in your life circumstances. Now I want to add this caveat, specifically for those who are widowers. It is not the loss of your spouse that is the gift.
It is the singleness that is your gift. I am single because God is good and this is his best for me. Singleness is your gift, single. Marriage is your gift, married. This is what God has given you in this life stage for your good because he is good. Now I want us to look at what the Bible calls the advantages of singleness.
Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it.
For the present form of this world is passing away. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.
And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. Then he goes on to define what those troubles are as married people. I have, as a married man, a wife I need to tend to and a marriage to cultivate and to at times be anxious about. How are we doing? How am I doing as a husband? How are they doing?
How am I cultivating them as their father? I carry these anxieties as a married man, as a husband, as a father. This is according to the text. I want your focus to be broad and not narrow. I get this from Peter Scazzero. My attention is on you. He says that in your singleness, the advantage you have is the opposite. You have an undivided mind and an undivided heart. I want to talk about it this way. In fact, in a very real way, they probably have less. There is a breadth of relationships they have, a breadth of places that they are sowing in their gifts, a breadth of places their monies are going.
So most often, singles actually have less time and less money, not more time and more money. This is the great advantage of singleness: They are freed up to serve the Lord and to devote their lives more fully to the Lord, because they are not divided in their affection because of a spouse or children and, according to the Bible, the anxieties that brings. What, then, are the struggles of singleness? Let me start with sexual temptation.
The lie is that sexual expression and sexual experience are necessary for human flourishing. Preston Sprinkle says the whole idea that sexual expression is essential to human flourishing comes from Freud, not from the Christian worldview. This is, again, a very modern idea, that what I need to be most fully alive is great sexual expression and great sexual experience. This is handcuffing and paralyzing and wreaking havoc, not just among marrieds but among singles, as they try to navigate spaces where the prevailing norms are sexual expression and sexual experience, fast, without a lot of connectivity, and a lot of anonymous going about and doings.
It draws us to it. Singles have to navigate this space in an over-sexualized culture where they are dedicated celibates, giving themselves over to showing that Christ is sufficient, that they are dedicated mostly, if not fully, in an undivided way to the Lord. This is a pervasive and persistent lie. The married people are going to struggle with sexual temptation, but they also know the limits sexual experimentation can bring.
You have sex, and you know it does very little to quench sexual appetite. In fact, I heard someone say the ache for sexual fulfillment is itself the gift. The longing to be satisfied points to something beyond the satisfaction you feel in the act of sexual intercourse. The angst, the longing itself points to something that is to come in the return of Christ and the consummation of all things. Then I think singles will struggle with loneliness in a very different way than married people struggle with loneliness.
The single will think that loneliness might just get filled by a spouse, but the married person is not under that illusion. Those emails were intended to provide clarity and insight into a fragile and complex series of events. Since we sent those emails, we have had the opportunity to gather more information, have more conversations and hear from more people.
The following afternoon, the church sent an email to all Covenant Members in order to communicate our belief that we owed Karen an apology. Karen responded to Matt a few days later noting that she was encouraged but cautious and wanted time to seek counsel, pray and process before agreeing to a meeting. After the sermon was posted online, Karen responded with an email communicating her desire to meet with Lead Pastors Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson.
Is Singleness a Gift?
Matt and Josh started the conversation by telling Karen that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but to ask forgiveness.
Matt and Josh specifically told Karen, after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline. Matt and Josh reiterated that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but simply to repent and hear from Karen directly. She graciously accepted the apology and extended forgiveness. This beautiful exchange set the tone for the rest of the day, which was spent trying to unwind stories, clarify confusion and discuss next steps.
By the end of the meeting, Karen was satisfied that we had heard all of her concerns and was eager to see us follow through on some specific items.
Til Death Do Us Part: Singleness & Dating by Village Church Audio | Mixcloud
In the days following the meeting with Karen, Josh and Brian Miller met with Dallas campus elders and staff to further examine our interactions with Karen and Jordan in a new light. As a result of these conversations, The Village Church is taking the following actions: We are apologizing more specifically to Karen in front of you, our members. While Karen is no longer a member, we are doing so with her permission and cooperation. Some of the information in our original Covenant Member email sent on May 23 was insensitive and did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations.
We are sorry for our error and how it affected Karen. While the gospel is certainly for all sinners and grace is available for Jordan, we believe that the nature of his sin requires treatment that is beyond what The Village has been able to offer—and we should have recognized our limitations earlier. We will vigilantly follow the recommendations of this counselor regarding necessary next steps.
We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening.
As we communicated in our previous emails, we believe that the policies and procedures that are currently in place at The Village Church to protect children and families are strong. However, that belief has not stopped us from diligently moving forward with a thorough assessment of our abuse prevention and reporting processes across all campuses. In the months to come, experts will be analyzing everything we do in this regard to ensure that we implement best practices across the board.
The elders have also already had several meetings, both small and large, to review our current practice and procedures. There will be definite changes to our system based on these meetings, including a much more patient process before a member enters formal church discipline. We also want to recognize that there is a time and place for specialized treatment that goes beyond the kind of care that we, or even a qualified biblical counselor, can offer.
We are working on these new policies and procedures and will update you when they are complete. As a result of this divine reconciliation, we have also been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation 2 Cor.
We are also called to an ongoing ethic of confession and repentance. Reconciliation is often hard and painful, but it is always beautiful. Thank you for your patience and grace in this time. It is an honor and joy to serve you. Statement from Karen Hinkley As I laid in bed the night of December 16th, I wondered if I would wake up the next day and find myself in the middle of a crisis of faith. I believe that the only feasible explanation for this is that God had a plan for me that required me to trust Him.