How to Value The Singles In Your Church & Get Them Plugged In
As humans, we like to categorize things. And not just things; we like to categorize people, too. Church ministries tend to be dictated by the categories that we come up with, and most of the time, it makes perfect sense: Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, and Men’s / Women’s Ministries exist because each of these groups has some needs specific to its own members.
But what about the (oft-dreaded) Singles Ministry? Churches recognize that young, unmarried adults might want to spend time with others who are in the same stage of life as they are, but then don’t know how to minister to them or value their potential contributions without simply relegating them to some thinly-veiled "dating ministry."
I don’t think that churches actually view singleness as a “less-than” phase of life, but they don’t know how to integrate singles into church life in a meaningful way for both the single members of their congregation and the church itself.
Here are a few suggestions for doing just that.
1. Don’t call it a Singles Ministry.
This kind of name for your ministry - even if the targeted demographic is almost entirely unmarried young adults - inherently defines its members as, first and foremost, single. It can also make them feel like they’re in a dating ministry. While some probably want to meet their future spouse (and might at your church), I’d argue that most don’t want to have to think about impressing the opposite sex every time they step foot in church.
Most singles don’t want to have to think about impressing people every time they step foot in church.
Also, it can make unmarried but dating members of your congregation feel a bit lost - they’re not technically single, but they also can’t join a young marrieds group. And if your adult groups or small groups are all comprised of married couples, those can be a bit intimidating to the not-yet-marrieds.
2. Create a mentoring pipeline.
As a mid-twenties member of a church in Washington, DC, I was struggling to find someone a bit more mature in her faith walk to help guide me. I asked my pastor, who graciously suggested his wife (with her permission, of course - pastors, please don’t volunteer your spouses without first asking them!). But a lot of my friends weren’t as blessed to get connected to an older Christian for the kind of one-on-one time I had with my mentor.
An established system for pairing young adults with older mentors would help bridge the divide that can sometimes develop between generations. Learning from Christians who are further on their faith journeys would help young unmarrieds focus on the long-term goal of their own faith and give older Christians a way to impart their learned wisdom to the next generation.
3. Connect singles & families.
One of the best ways to prevent division between singles and families is to purposefully bring them together. Your church can develop a program where singles can be paired up with families where the young adults are invited for dinners or to fun family outings, and young adults can help serve the families by helping to cook, do household repairs, or babysit. Along with a mentorship pipeline, this kind of program can normalize full integration of all the different segments of your congregation into a unified body that is striving together.
What are some ways your church is ministering to singles and integrating them into the life of the church in a holistic way?
If you liked this, you'll also enjoy 4 Sure-Fire Ways To Drive Singles From Your Church.