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 percent). Another 6 percent are widowed and 12 percent divorced or separated.
Most churches minister well to those 56 percent 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 10 tips for loving and ministering to single adults who are members or guests at church:
- 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.
- Train greeters at church. Comments such as "Are you here alone?" or "Is it just you?" may indicate that he or she is incomplete.
- Acknowledge single adults 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, projects and men or women's ministry teams.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and to support.
- Intentionally encourage single adults to participate in church events and ministries—Vacation Bible School, church dinners. Include them in your church traditions. For example, invite singles to light an advent candle.
- A church may provide some quality, uniquely single events, targeted to specific life circumstances. Examples: a single parents Bible study, singles mission trip, young singles retreat, single adult outreach event, mature singles' Christmas project.
- Connect with single adults personally as a friend. Encourage them. Invite them to dinner or dessert. True fellowship often happens across the dinner table.
- Be constantly aware of single adults all around you at work, in the grocery line, at the ball game, in your neighborhood. Invite them to your church.
As an individual member and as a church, how are you doing at reaching and including adults who are unmarried? See them. Pray for them. Love them wholeheartedly. God does.
Diana Davis (www.keeponshining.com) is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the South region, Steve Davis.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.