Listen, we’ll be the first to say that in the past, churches have largely ignored singles and their ministries to them have generally been an afterthought. But in our five years of existence, we’re encouraged by the conversations we’re seeing take place about how churches can better include singles within the Body.
Whether or not your church has an actual singles ministry or integrates singles into small groups that are not marriage-specific, we need to keep in mind that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to singles ministry today.
“Lame” can mean a lot of different things. But if you think your church’s ministry to singles–whatever it may be–is indeed “lame,” then let’s talk about how you can be an agent of change instead of a complainer. Because goodness knows the Church doesn’t need any more complainers…
SingleRoots Writers Say…
For wise counsel, we asked some of our SingleRoots alumni writers to weigh in on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“I wrestled with this for a long time at my church because we didn’t have a singles ministry at all because ministry that wasn’t for the entire church (e.g. Sunday services) was done through home groups. The truth I had to keep challenging myself to remember is that the essential mission of the church is to proclaim the gospel and make disciples, and if the church is doing that piece well then other pieces we find lacking may really be ok. If I’m honest, every time I wished my church had a singles ministry it wasn’t because I wanted the gospel to be proclaimed in a unique way that spoke to singleness, it was because I wanted the church to get singles in one place so I could meet Christian women and hopefully end my singleness. I wanted the church to be my dating service. While that’s certainly not the heart of every Christian single, nor the goal of every singles ministry, it’s something we really have to check our hearts on.
The solution is to focus on Christ and serve in other areas. I never liked hearing that as a single, and I’d roll my eyes whenever anyone said or wrote anything like that. But the reason I didn’t like this is because I didn’t want to do the work. I wanted to meet someone without it really costing me anything, and that’s not really an attitude that’s ready for marriage. That may not be the case for some of you. It may come down to God simply wanting you at a church where you are less distracted by the myriad of ministries that some churches offer (and it’s ok that they do) so you, in your walk right now, can focus on and trust Him.”
:: Don Sartain, author of Caring for Our Sisters’ Identity
“Oh boy. This one right here gets me. I have a passion for college and singles ministries like no other. I wish I could sit down with churches and ministers to speak into them the importance of caring for a singles ministry. But I also turn around and talk to the singles. It’s easy for us to sit and say it’s lame, when we aren’t putting any effort into leading or helping out. We like to couch quarterback the ministries when sometimes (most of the time) the minister or pastor is spread too thin over several areas. So here’s what I say to you fellow singles, let’s serve the church by being the church. Commit to assisting the singles ministry in some capacity, whether it’s hosting people at your house, showing up to an event, doing service work together, or suggesting lunch after worship one week. We know we can sometimes be lame…there are times I’d prefer a Hallmark movie and pajama pants on a Saturday night, but we can also be really awesome. Step up here and offer to do, to be. Then if it’s lame, you only have yourself to blame.”
:: Sara Stacy, author of There’s Not a Lot of Money in This Single Person’s Pocket
“I have never been involved in a church with a good singles ministry. I have always sought out women’s bible study groups or groups with mixed singles and married couples. You never have to wonder if someone is just there to find ‘The One.’ I just want to study the Word and I can do that with everyone regardless of marital status. I find gender-specific groups better for being transparent and having accountability.”
:: Stacy Conville, author of What If There’s No Expiration Date on My Singleness?
“Ask yourself ‘What role can I play in making this singles ministry better?’ That could be hosting events outside of church where you invite others from different churches to play kickball, have a prayer and worship night, or just share a meal together. It might be starting a new small group. It might be diligently pouring into the existing ministry to help it grow. Instead of complaining or being discouraged, see if you can be part of the solution.”
:: Katie Axelson, author of When Singleness Hurts
Explore the Topic Further…
For further discussion on singles ministries, check out these posts:
What If I Don’t Like the Singles Ministry at My Church? – “Let’s face it: sometimes singles groups are kinda lame, especially if you are older than your twenties. It seems like you have to go to a megachurch in order to find a singles group that doesn’t include senior citizens alongside the graduate students. Not to mention those small churches that seem to pretend that singles don’t even exist.”
How Can I Overcome My Struggle to Commit to a Church? – “Singles are notorious for not committing to the local church. No-tor-ious. They feel slighted and like an afterthought. And while it makes us sad that it feels like the church places a higher emphasis on marriage than it does singleness, we are seeing this tide turn and we’re hopeful for the future.”
My Community :: Why I’m Part of a Singles Ministry – “As singles, we often have to make the choice between a singles ministry or not. If we choose to forgo the singles ministry, then we have to make small group or Sunday school choices, such as men’s or women’s small groups or mixed groups with marrieds and singles.”
The Struggle to Find My Place in the Church – “Soon after I found myself holding my breath as I realized I didn’t know where I was supposed to go. I mean, the obvious answer was to find a church with a singles group, but I truly wanted to be a part of the entire body and not segregated to a group of people who were placed together solely because of their marital status, or lack thereof.”