Naji Abi-Hashem, PhD

Psychologist, Public Speaker, Visiting Professor, Editor-Writer, Consultant, Ordained Minister, & Cross-Cultural Worker.

In Person Virtual

Single Minded Singleness: Handling the Challenges & Rewards of Being Unmarried in Ministry.

  • Breakout Session
  • Main Building ED 213
  • November 10 2023 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

In this seminar we will redefine the labels and terminologies commonly used to describe the singleness or unmarried persons. We will highlight the leading advantages, positive gains, and additional achievements that unmarried people possess and actually enjoy. There are a lot of advantages and freedoms for serving alone in ministry— like uninterrupted focusing on tasks, managing time/schedule, easier decision-making process, setting budget/finances for spending, moving between housing and living situations, building multiple friendships, engaging in wide range of activities, planning and traveling, and enhancing local/global outreach.

However, there are also challenges for long-term singleness in ministry (being unmarried/unattached), whether serving across towns or across national borders, that can be emotionally unsettling and can create inner dissatisfaction or even chronic frustration.

Not knowing how to handle our unmet needs, aloneness/loneliness, unfulfilled desires, and similar mental-emotional conditions/states, can actually hinder our sense of contentment in life and decrease our overall effectiveness in global service.

We all have an innate need to nurture and care for other(s) and to be nurtured and cared for by others. Virtually, “to love and to be loved” is a universal principal... Unfortunately, people with low or poor social skills tend to struggle more than average, due to their apprehension about social mixing and their high tendency to isolate.

In this session we will highlight the joys-rewards and the challenges-struggles of the single life of people who are involved in the helping professions, especially in Christian ministry and missions. We will define terminologies, correct misconceptions, encourage realistic expectations (of self-others-life-God), differentiate between legitimate psychological intimacy and physical sexuality, rediscover a biblical paradigm for creative singleness-living (solo-operation), and press on to develop a contented aloneness, instead of struggling with isolation and loneliness.

We will present practical suggestions and guidelines for a more fulfilling life in service— How to translate our frustrations into strengths and build a Koinonia around us, as an intimate community, that is mutually nurturing and empowering; how to build healthy relationships with the opposite gender/sex; how to begin looking for a partner-companion-mate when the time is ripe (courtship); and how to cultivate single-mindedness, joy along the journey, and higher aspirations for the Kingdom, while keeping “eternity in our hearts” so that we know what God is doing from beginning to end.

Finally, the presenter will share from his own personal journey, over 40 years of cross-cultural ministry and still, single never married, with a full life and plenty of open doors, platforms, and opportunities.