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

8 steps to leading your church back to growth

Church revitalization is both a popular and critical need in North America. That’s one reason I’m glad to be a part of Church Answers and Revitalize Network. Sometimes, however, pastors and church leaders overcomplicate the process of revitalization. Here are some simple steps all...

3 things I would do differently in ministry

I will soon celebrate 40 years in full-time ministry. During the course of my career, I have pastored four churches, one of which was a church plant. I am now in my third interim pastorate, and I continue to serve as a strategy coordinator with the state convention. I have often...

When the kids come back: Navigating new challenges in your children’s ministry

Your church has decided to reopen its children’s ministry for Sunday mornings. With excitement, you dust off curriculum packs and plan for a grand welcome back. Children who have been learning virtually and in person on a limited basis walk in the door and you expect a return to...

The role of pastoral health in church revitalization

The “RevitalizeNC'' podcast is hosted by Terry Long, senior consultant for church revitalization with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Each episode includes an interview with a leading expert in the field of church revitalization to offer help, hope and...

Whose side are you on?

It’s human nature to divide everything into sides. We take sides in insignificant matters like what toppings to have on our pizza, or whether to drink Coke or Pepsi. (Some here in North Carolina may be a little partial to Pepsi since it was invented in New Bern.) College...

Explainer: EDT transitions, special meetings & more

A special meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has been called for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem to elect an individual to serve as the next executive director-treasurer (EDT) of the state convention.The process for...

Top 5 resources for May 2021

Every month, we spotlight five helpful resources for you as you seek to walk closely with the Lord and make disciples. Many of these resources are created by the staff of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to help meet the ministry needs of pastors and lay...

Why overcoming negativity is crucial to fruitful ministry

One of the greatest enemies of longevity in ministry is negativity. This disease presents its hideous face in many ways in our personal lives and ministries. Like many other hindrances to our walk with the Lord and our relationships with family, friends and those we lead in our...

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!