by Diana Davis
A stunning fact you may not know: According to U. S. Census data, more than one-fourth of all adults have never been married (27%). Another six percent are widowed and twelve percent divorced or separated.
Most churches minister well to those 56% of adults who are married. But, do we also acknowledge the great value and importance of that “invisible” enormous multitude of unmarried adults?
I interviewed several unmarried Christian friends, and discovered seven tips for loving and ministering to single members and guests at church.
1) See each single adult as a valued individual, ready to meet God and serve Him, with or without a boyfriend or girlfriend, fiancé, spouse or three kids in tow.
2) Acknowledge singles as full-fledged members, not just as sideline people. Plug them into leadership and ministry roles to fit their spiritual gifts. Encourage them to serve on important church committees and projects.
3) Involve singles in small groups. Many singles enjoy a small group with similar marital status and life stage. Most singles I interviewed, however, are involved in a small group of both married and unmarried. Offer choices.
4) Unless he or she personally requests it, don’t set them up with your cousin or recommend online dating services. Avoid communicating, “It’s God’s will that you find a mate.” That’s not necessarily true. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul taught that singleness is a gift. Most singles aren’t coming to church to find a mate. They’re here to worship, to serve, to support.
5) Intentionally include singles in church events, ministries and church traditions. Examples: Wednesday night dinner, VBS, Christmas Eve service.
6) Encourage them to make the most of their singleness. Recognize the extra gifts they may bring to the church, such as more freedom to serve and travel, and sometimes more financial freedom, etc.
7) A church may provide some quality, uniquely single events, targeted to specific life circumstances. Example: a single parent Bible study, young singles retreat, singles mission trip, mature singles’ Christmas project, single adult outreach event.
As an individual and as a church, how are you doing at reaching and including the 44% of our adult population who are unmarried? See them. Connect with them personally as a friend. Love them wholeheartedly. God does.
© Diana Davis www.dianadavis.org New Hope Publishing just released Diana’s new book: Six Simple Steps—Find Contentment and Joy as a Ministry Wife.