What happened to the singles ministries? Did the Church forget that single people attend too? Depending on which poll you read, half of people in the United States are single. Whether that is by choice or circumstance does not really matter. What matters is that there are a lot of single people in this country who are hard-pressed to find a ministry at their church that might actually put them in the same room as other singles of the opposite sex.
I am not claiming that all churches ignore the single people. There are some churches that do actually have singles ministries, and they do them quite well. Some may frown on doing a singles ministry, because they view it as the Christian version of a singles bar. While there could be a ring of truth there, it is unfair. Are single Christians just supposed to wait for others to introduce them to someone? Are we supposed to hope that the person we happen to meet at the mall, or wherever single people meet other singles, is actually a Christian?
Some might suggest that churches have men’s and women’s ministries. That is great, keep them growing! But seriously, how is a 28-year-old single guy supposed to relate to a 50-year-old married guy’s stories about how it was when he was single? Let’s be honest—he really can’t. The world we live in today is radically different from the one we lived in 30 years ago. Or even 20 years ago for that matter.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that younger people have nothing to learn from those who are more seasoned in life. I am saying that dating in today’s world is not the same as it was, and is something that does not translate well across generations. I loved my grandparents tremendously. However, if I took dating advice from them, I would have been sitting on a porch sipping sweet tea with a young lady for about a year before we were allowed to go anywhere unchaperoned.
I know God designed marriage for a reason. However, there is nothing wrong with being single. Some of us are just called to be single. Paul even talked about it not being a bad thing when he said that unmarried people can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit, because married men and women have to also consider their earthly responsibilities to their spouses (1 Corinthians 7:32-35, NLT). While we are capable of devoting ourselves to the Lord without the church being involved, doesn’t it make more sense for the church to be involved so we can have sound teaching, advice and mentoring to help us traverse those rough patches that come with being single? The church certainly does that for married couples.
At some churches, the only time they talk about single-life issues (dating, purity, etc.) is in their youth ministries, which may include up to young college-aged people. That is great! Keep talking to them about it and encouraging them, so they will be strong and resist the behaviors that the enemy is just waiting for them to give into. However, when the church only talks about aspects of marriage and family to the rest of the congregation, they are leaving a lot of people out.
I am 39 years old and single. I’m a college student, but I hardly fit in with the 21-year-old people who go to college (or 21-year-olds in general for that matter). I’ve also been divorced, so how can I relate to the older couples who have been married for 20, 30 or 40 years and beyond? Other than enjoying some great stories about life in general, I do not think I need to hear dating advice from someone in their 60s or 70s (sorry Mom & Dad).
The church needs to wake up and realize it is ignoring a large demographic. For some churches, it is all about the numbers (attendance/tithes). The last time I checked, the Great Commission was to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19, NLT). That did not mean the ones who already met the designs of God’s plan (married couples) or the ones who are the future of that design (next generation). How about building up the ones who are single, are content being single, and are trying to be devoted to the Lord? The ones who just need some encouragement and teaching?
It is easy to say, “Well, Wayne, why don’t you get off your duff and do something about it instead of complaining?” A pastor once said if you complain, then you just volunteered. I could, but maybe that isn’t my calling. I am just pointing out a need that is being overlooked by a great many churches. Maybe I should beg Jill Monaco to move her ministry out to beautiful, sunny Southern California so she can get a movement started out here … hey, there’s an idea!
About the Author: Guest contributor Wayne M. Wright is a 39-year-old blogger and college student majoring in psychology and human resources management. He loves sharing the Word of God with anyone and does life coaching through his church. An avid reader and a certified Star Wars geek, he believes life would be a lot easier if he could have a coffee IV put in. In the meantime, he is happy to wear out his welcome at the local coffee house.