I approached the building with trepidation, my footsteps feeling heavier moment by moment. Nearby, throngs of people walked in the same direction—smiling, laughing, and interacting with their children. I was not smiling or laughing and felt as if a neon light flashed over my head: “Single. Alone.” I nestled myself in a seat toward the back of the worship center. The back is always safe. Less interaction, fewer eyes glancing your way, the perfect place to hide. This scenario occurred over 20 years ago after I moved back to Oklahoma from California and I was in search of a church home. I consider it one of the most difficult journeys for me, yet one of the most rewarding. I had to wade through a plethora of emotions, insecurities, and frustrations to locate the perfect fit. It was one of the best decisions with the biggest impact on my life in various ways.
Maybe you experience the same apprehension about entering the church building. Perhaps you struggle with finding your niche in a community of believers. You may have had so many emotions running rampant that you left and promised yourself that you were never going back, not realizing how essential attending church is to your well-being.
As a single woman, why is it important to attend church? Great question. I can only begin to answer from personal experience. Here are my top three reasons why church should be a top priority for us single gals.
1. For community. Being part of a group of like-minded believers who have your back and will encourage you in your journey is vital. You need a place where you feel safe and can be authentic and real and not only receive support but offer it to others. If your life takes a turn where you require financial help or become ill, then this is the group that will rally for you. They can come alongside in time of tragedy or famine. This is the place to find acceptance and accountability.
2. For your children. It’s important for your children to learn the Bible stories and see the bigger picture of God. Little minds are like sponges, and they will absorb the truth. It’s essential they develop the habit of attending so when they’re grown it’s ingrained in their being and they understand the significance. You set the example on establishing the priority of God in your home in all the different ways—from prayer to Bible reading to church attendance.
3. For your spiritual life. Going to church is not just about you or what you receive. The focus should be worshiping God and spending time learning about Him. Sure, you can watch church online, but it’s not the same as being in community with a group of believers as you sing and worship. You develop deeper relationships with friends as you hang out in their homes, and it’s the same with God’s home. It helps you gain broader and stronger perspectives, too. The Bible tells us something special happens when “two or more are gathered in His name,” so it’s beneficial to gather in a house of worship and let the Holy Spirit move.
Many of you have been hurt by the church. Some of you don’t feel welcome. A few of you may have been abused by leaders. Wherever you reside on the church spectrum, church attendance is still a valuable tool for your well-being. Members of a church are human and have made mistakes and bad choices. The majority sit in those seats because they know they need a Savior.
I live a life that can be very isolating. It is vital that I pull myself out of bed each Sunday morning and make my way to church. Some weeks are easier than others. I sometimes still encounter moments of isolation in the parking lot, but the minute I cross over the threshold, my spirit rejoices and I feel as if I’m home.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/