Is there an under-served demographic in your local church? If so, chances are it could be your single adults. In recent years, the rise of adults who have never married or are no longer married has risen to record levels. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that single adults comprised 50.2 percent of the American population.
There are many reasons for the rise of single adults, most notably that the stigma of being single has lessened over the past few decades. Young adults are also delaying major life decisions more than in past years, due to such possible factors as increased life longevity and having more money to live on. Whatever the reason, singles are sometimes an easy group to overlook.
If you have considered beginning a ministry to singles and are not sure where to begin, consider some of these ideas:
- Start Small—Like a soft opening of a restaurant, don’t make flashy announcements and create large expectations. You may set yourself up for disappointment. Consider doing a few special events to gauge the interest for a more long-term or consistent ministry. When I co-led the singles ministry at our local church, we launched with a potluck game night and passed out surveys to see what type of activities and studies they would like to do.
- Consider Not Setting Strict Age Limits—Age was frequent question for our group and we made the decision to try and not exclude anyone. We did have active ministries to seniors and college-age members, so we did not target those already involved, but opened our doors if there was interest. Many times, our activities (a trip to an amusement park, a day trip to a nearby playhouse) would tell us what types of ages or backgrounds would join in.
- Plan a Variety of Activities—Singles have so many options for their time. Use a variety of activities to appeal to different backgrounds and ages. Focus on making great memories together.
- Be Welcoming, But Not Forceful—No matter how inviting you make the group, there are some that will never be comfortable joining the activities, simply because of the singles designation. Keep the door open for them as an option but don’t sweat it if they never join. Constant nagging will push them even further away.
- Focus on Fellowship, Not Dating—Singles are the most wary when it appears they will be forced into awkward situations with other singles. We focused primarily on providing a safe place and fellowship to people who weren’t connected in other ways. My regular line was, “If you’re going home to an empty house or apartment, this group is for you.” Dating was never a topic of discussion and because of that, everyone who joined the group felt comfortable.