Young Christians should understand that being single is acceptable within the church, and they should avoid an idolatrous worship of marriage, evangelical speaker Jefferson Bethke said in a recent YouTube video.
In a brief video on his personal channel, Bethke addressed the idea of singleness, suggesting that often times, the modern church does a poor job of making single Christians feel welcome and accepted.
His message, he explains, is directed specifically at church leadership, as he believes churches need to sincerely ask themselves "are we making a space for single people?"
"So many times, we do such a bad job of creating a space for singles," Bethke explains, adding that young Christians "do not need to get married to live a full and flourishing existence."
Bethke notes that while church leadership don't explicitly say it, singles can feel like "you're a JV Christian until you get married."
The inspirational speaker and author says that while some Christians may idolatrize the idea of marriage, "the truth about spiritual formation is: you do not reach success by becoming married, you reach success by looking more and more like Jesus."
Forming a closer relationship to Jesus is available to people of all walks of life, including the young, the old, the married, and the single.
Bethke goes on to say that there are some instances where being single is more beneficial for the church compared to being married, pointing specifically to the narrative of Paul, which he says shows that single people can have huge impact on the church.
Although Bethke warns about the idolatry of "worshipping the idea of marriage more than you're worshipping Jesus," it's also important to note that "you don't need to be content" when you're single, as all humans were created for intimacy, and therefore it's natural to want to find a lifetime partner and feel such intimacy.
It's fine to be happy being single, just as it's fine to feel the "angst and burden about wanting to be married."
"Don't make marriage idolatrous […] but understand it's in the fabric of your humanity to want a relationship," the spoken word poet says.
Ultimately, it's OK for Christians to be happy with their singleness, just as it's OK to feel a tension in the waiting space before marriage, Bethke concludes.