Using the perspective that Jesus was single (and assuming the definition of single means unmarried), we are able to learn by example and see some practical and significant ways a single person can use the single stage in life to advantage in being a leader, in touching lives, and in influencing change and transformation. When we think of Jesus as a leader, we don't see his singleness first and foremost. We see a leader who tended to the least, the last, and the lost; and he happened to be single. It wasn't
Some single people may feel that their singleness is a result of being a victim of some negative consequence — or a positive consequence, for that matter. Most single people do not live first and foremost as single people. They are not waking up in the morning, thinking that singleness defines their whole identity. The typical single person is not saying, "I am a single person. How will I live today as a single person?"
It is probably safe to say that Jesus didn't start his day that way either. So what is significant about being single? As a single person, what is practical about being single in the work of making disciples?
Single people can be effective leaders by embracing key advantages of their stage in life.
Most single people do not believe that they have more time (than do married people) just because they are single. An abundance of free time is not an advantage that singles have over married people. What they may have is more flexibility in terms of caregiving responsibilities. However, singles may not have flexibility if they are the primary caregivers for aging parents or children.
Single people — whether single by choice or not — are usually more conscious about building relationships, or they are more open to understanding their connections with a variety of types of people. Sometimes singles give relationship building a more constant effort than do married people. Although married people are concerned with relationships, their concentration is on building the relationships they already have — with spouses, children, inlaws, and so on. A single person is aware of the need to continue to build relationships because single people have a different sense of what family is. Friendships may become more critical than "family" to singles. For many singles, their friends are their families. Isn't making disciples all about building relationships first?
What a great advantage it is to see your single stage in life as a benefit to your leadership! Single people manage everything in their lives. Singles don't have an option, even if they manage their lives poorly. They have to take care of themselves and all aspects of managing a household. This article is not arguing about which is better or easier — being single or being married. Rather, it is intended to make the point that because single people are free to manage their own lives, they can navigate through the different settings and ministry opportunities more readily. They may have flexibility in their busy schedules to take advantage of where people are.
Although single people raising children or caring for aging parents probably have even less flexibility than do married people, their advantage is that they understand the demands of a family and the difficulty in finding balance. They can reach many people because of their experience being both single and the primary caregiver of a household.
Although being single may not be the reason you are successful as a leader in any setting, being single offers some advantages. It is critical to celebrate your gifts as a leader who happens to be single!