I recently moved from the West Coast of the U.S. to the East Coast. There is a very different culture and mindset here, and I am still adjusting to the changes. One thing I did not expect was to see that churches in our area do not have singles groups!
I am puzzled. Flabbergasted. Singles comprise nearly half the population in most states in the union. Since my area is still considered “Bible belt,” and since almost half the population is single, I don’t understand why most churches here don’t have large, visible singles groups.
I understand that singles groups were the up-and-coming ministry to have a couple of decades ago. According to church growth “specialists,” however, that was a fad of the 1990s. We are no longer a target audience. I understand church fads, but we single Christians are not fads. We’re not going away.
Not only are we not going away, there are more of us in the population, percentage-wise, than there ever were before. There are more of us now through divorce, as well as never-marrieds (whether by choice or not) and widows/widowers.
What’s more, the holidays are coming, and I’m not used to spending much holiday time alone. Even as a newbie, I want to be part of a widespread singles network that is active doing fun things. What’s a new, single, Christian girl supposed to do to find new, single, Christian friends when no local churches have singles groups?
I’m not sitting around waiting for people to find me. Although I am more introverted than extroverted by nature, I have enrolled in two different singles Bible studies. One is through Meetup, and one is through my church. I discovered that, before I arrived, someone in one of the studies had already identified this very same problem, and they are working on networking with other singles Bible studies in church to see how we can all connect with each other. And if your church doesn’t have a community-based Bible study exclusively for singles, consider hosting one. Or going to a study for your gender, or just your basic Sunday school/small group/home Bible study. It’s highly likely you will find singles in these other studies who want to meet as a group, also.
Use free social media outlets like Meetup and Facebook to identify active groups that might be doing what you enjoy in your area. If there aren’t any, don’t be afraid to start one. There are more single Christians in your community than you think. Just be sure to start meeting face-to-face once you have a handful of people, hopefully within 30 days of starting an online group, so interest won’t die out.
Look for Christian opportunities and events at churches, parks, concerts, regional fairs, ministry opportunities, gospel outreaches and crusades, and other venues that you could attend. And don’t be afraid to go to Christian service projects, Christian singles retreats and cruises, and other Christian singles getaways alone. You won’t be alone after you arrive! You may even go home with the phone number of a new friend or five to stay in touch with. I did!
Pray (A Lot)
Speak with church leaders, especially if you attend a fairly large church, and ask if they have a singles ministry, even if you know they don’t. Be prepared to remain under their authority for awhile while they hem and haw and tell you either why they don’t have one, or that they’ll pray about whether or not they should host one (it might not be your church who will host such a group). And be prepared to answer questions like “Are you part of a small group?” or “There aren’t that many single people here, are there?” Do your research ahead of time about the demographic statistics of your area. What percentage of your geographic region is single? Single male? Single female? Age brackets?
Once you start finding other single believers in your church, start sitting together during the services. Let people around you know that your group is part of the singles who attend your church. Introduce each other to various church leaders. Keep meeting together for prayer, fellowship, activities and Bible study groups. Take turns co-hosting potlucks and other activities at each others’ homes. Sooner or later, something will happen. Hopefully, your church will birth a singles ministry.
You are not alone in your singleness!