Where do singles fit into the church family?

May 29, 2019

Is there a black sheep in the church family? To many, the ideal family consists of a mom, dad and 2.5 children. However, today’s political and social movements have led to cultural shifts that challenge the traditional definition of family.

In their blog “The Church’s View of Singleness,” Keith Clement and Laura McGee note, “As evangelicals have become more politically involved, there has been the rallying cry for ‘family values.’” So how does the concept of family affect Sunday School and small group ministry?

One retired widow compares her small group to an “island of misfits,” because single women of diverse ages and contexts do not fit any traditional mold created by the church. We have groups for wives, mothers, husbands, children, married couples and families, but where do single people fit into our church family?

Singles ministries used to be for college students and young professionals — people under 25 who have never married. Now we have single people of all ages who have never been married, whose spouses have died or who are divorced. As we create groups to connect people in our church families, have we neglected some?

As we create groups to connect people in our church families, have we neglected some?

In their article, Clement and McGee point out the inequity of church ministries between families and singles. “Many evangelical churches are unapologetic about their primary ministry focus to families, and they structure their ministry offerings and resources to encourage and strengthen families.”

Clement and McGee conclude by sharing how Jesus addresses the definition of family in Mark 3. After receiving word that some of his family members are looking for him, Jesus asks, “Who are my mother and brothers?” and then answers his own question in v. 35: “whoever does the will of God.” Jesus’ statement expands the idea of family beyond blood-based relationships.

How are single people doing in your church? Maybe a better question to ask is how is your church doing connecting with singles? All people need community. Groups are not only the vehicle by which people join a church’s community but can also be game-changers in people’s lives. Four components of healthy groups are:

  1. Spiritual health is foundational to the life of all Christ followers. Spiritual health is not measured by attendance records but by the biblical standard of falling more in love with Jesus Christ. This growth is the outworking of spiritual habits, e.g. Bible study, prayer and meditation.
  2. Relational health takes place as people build healthy relationships centered around the gospel. Rather than manipulating, guilting or shaming, the gospel transforms lives and creates an inviting environment for singles.
  3. Authentic frameworks are key components of healthy groups. If your group is comprised of both genders, it is important to build gender-specific clusters. These smaller clusters create intimate bonds of trust where people can share personal struggles with other Christ-followers who will walk with them and pray for them, life on life.
  4. Internal and external service opportunities are very attractive to singles. Most singles have a desire to connect with others, which can happen through serving both inside and outside of the church. Singles often suffer from loneliness, and being on the mission of God can replace loneliness with a God-given purpose.

If all people are unique individuals created in the image of God, we can learn from one another and serve together rather than gathering only with “people like us.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Hughes, senior consultant for Sunday School/Small Groups, BSCNC can provide more information on singles and groups in your church.


Terri Howell
/  Production Assistant  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

The treasure of tribe

Mass shootings, political strife, threats of war, the daily onslaught on the soul of our children — say what you will, but our world is rapidly changing, if not declining. With so much uncertainty in our world, one thing remains steady and sure: America desperately needs Jesus,...

Emphasize baptisms, ACP in your congregation

For many years, we have lamented the decline in baptisms that we have witnessed across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). While it’s heartbreaking to see these declines, I don’t believe that the numbers alone paint a complete picture of how many people are placing their faith...

What’s your ‘why’ in children’s ministry?

As a children’s minister, I excelled at checking off my daily to-do list. If someone needed markers, tape or Goldfish, I was the one to call. As I reflect on the years I spent on a church staff, one major downfall I admit is the lack of vision I had. Having a vision would have...

Is your ‘one’ a child?

As Southern Baptists, we are being called to ask ourselves a question: “Who’s Your One?” Who is the one person you can pray for, build a relationship with and have an ongoing gospel conversation with? Who is one person you can focus on who needs a saving relationship with Jesus...

Halloween: Don’t let it divide you

Christians have long had differing views on how to approach Halloween. But Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear said in a recent podcast that the holiday doesn't have to be divisive -- in fact, it can be a great way to get to know your neighbors. "Some participate and...

A beginner’s guide for disciple-making parents

Discipleship for the next generation begins at home with the parents. Because of today’s culture and the influence it can have on our lives, many of us don’t know what it means or looks like to disciple our children. Below are some simple starting points for you to begin...

Healthy churches are our mission

Our calling is to serve North Carolina Baptist churches in their health, mission and efforts to impact lostness in their own communities and beyond. Back in 2015, author and professor Chuck Lawless wrote an article entitled 10 Traits of a Healthy Church. Reading it caused me to...

Sexual abuse among breakout topics at Annual Meeting

Highlighted by a panel discussion hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), more than a dozen church and ministry leaders will address the sexual abuse crisis in the church during a series of breakout sessions at the...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!