At my church if you’re a single female, pretty much the only way you get to serve in the church is by working in the nursery. We’re talking children under school age here, only. Sort of like there’s no other option due to one’s unmarried status. (And sort of like no one else wants to work in the nursery!)
Church leadership literally declined my offer to co-teach the middle school students but made it perfectly clear they always need help in the nursery. They wanted a married couple to be involved with middle school.
Little ones are great, of course, but that isn’t everyone’s calling. Personally, I don’t mind holding a baby once in a while but it definitely isn’t my calling in life. Not to mention that every time I volunteer in the nursery I end up with a cold or some other unpleasant bug no matter how much hand sanitizer I use.
And, very selfishly, when I discover I’m at least a decade older than these babies’ parents, it doesn’t help me. It’s one thing watching children I’m related to but at church I feel weird and isolated. It’s just a heavy reminder of my single status because the ministry isn’t my choice. It’s also glaringly obvious that the parents of these children don’t know what to say to me because I don’t have children of my own. A lot of them would avoid the singletons in general if we weren’t otherwise dolling out pacifiers and goldfish crackers to their little ones.
Which is why I am not currently serving in church. Aside from attending weekly Bible studies, there really isn’t a place that the church leaders think I belong other than a nursery. It makes me sad.
I’d like to think I have more value to my church family than baby-holder, sometimes baby diaper-changer. But how does one function in a church where that’s where your pastors think single women belong? (The only place we belong?) What if our God-given talents lie elsewhere?
As much as I hate to admit it, it might just be time to find a singleton-friendly church.
Have you found yourself compartmentalized as a singleton in church ministry?