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If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?(James 2:1-4) Follow approved church and denomination practices in staff selection processes. Provide regular staff team building, affirmation, training, evaluation, and feedback.Interpret the Bible accurately and apply it discerningly: “In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7-8). Give due credit when using the words or ideas of others.
Tell the truth, or remain discreetly silent: “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret” (Proverbs ).
Yet, while I take questions about my singleness in stride, for many other single clergy, having their relationship status brought up by parishioners in conversation can be a sensitive subject.
“What my husband did for a living and asking how old were my children were the first questions my parishioners asked when they met me,” a friend of mine (who is a single, 54-year-old woman) recently told me.
“Needless to say, they looked disappointed when I told them I had no children and was not married.” While there are more second career individuals becoming pastors later in life than before, there are also more unmarried or divorced individuals in ordained ministry than previous generations.
While I applaud this new trend of diversity in ministry, the reality can also be hard for single ministers who are more inclined to feel isolated and lonely in their call.
(Philippians ) All who are called by God to the ministry of the gospel solemnly commit to a life of joyful obedience and selfless service in order to glorify God and enrich his people.