Aren’t all churches friendly to singles? Yes and no. In theory the church should reflect the demographics of the community but statistics shows this not the case. The 2006 census in Australia found 50.4% of the population aged over 15 was single. This percentage of the population is not reflected in the church (though it is very hard to find the exact statistic. One American book said it was as low as 15%).Hence the need to help churches become Singles Friendly.
One of the functions of the church is to disciple people in the Kingdom of God but for some singles, the church may have to address their specific needs to enable growth to occur. Their needs may include emotional healing especially grief recovery, household help, financial, relational connection particularly with other singles and the basic provision of child care for singles parents to be able to attend church events.
Many times churches are unaware of their bias towards marriage and family to the exclusion of singles, often due to most of the church leadership being married and not having the personal familiarity with singleness, therefore creating a lack of understanding of the needs of singles. There may also be misconceptions about singles and sadly the label that ministry to singles is ‘too hard’.
Singles need some specialised attention from churches.
Churches that are inclusive of singles
- use examples in their sermons that can be related to singles not just married couples
- present scriptural single role models
- have strategies to connect singles into the life of the church (with child care considered)
- remove barriers for singles to be involved in leadership and serving in ministry eg child care
- look for the leadership potential in singles
- have representation by singles on committees and in leadership
Some may even have a targeted Singles Ministry. Singles ministry may cuts across many areas of church ministry including counseling, kids and youth ministry, men and women’s ministry.
A great starting point for any church looking at their single friendly status can be to determine the age and demographic of singles in their church and compare this to their community.
If you would like more information on Singles Friendly Church or to arrange a presentation to your church leaders of the Singles Friendly Church please contact us.
Resources for ministering with single people
’Many single adults are not in the church body because of the lack of an organised opportunity for relationship with other single adults who have interests and issues similar to theirs. A targeted ministry for single adults can attract them and bring them into a loving fellowship of believers.1
Here are some resources to help you grow your churches inclusivity of single people:
- Join the Single’s network http://www.thesinglesnetwork.org/ Sign up for their newsletter, lots of articles, resources and connections for singles and for ministering with them
- Read Reaching Single Adults by Dennis Franck (available through the above and Koorong)
- There’s a growing movement overseas to form a prayer group for those who want to get married called Pray for a mate http://www.prayforamate.com/about.html Kris Swiatocho says, ‘The church needs to help single adults meet each other in a healthy way, directing them toward godly friendships and teaching them the principles of courtship and marriage preparation. Otherwise, they will find other ways to find a spouse, often outside the church and possibly, with someone who isn’t a believer.’
- Franck, D (2007) Reaching single adults, Baker Books U.S.A, p73