Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Invisible Christian singles?
Although singles make up over one-half of the U.S. population, it seems that singles represent only about 20-30% of church attendees. This is a very rough estimate because most churches do not keep statistics on the number of singles in their congregation. This week, in honor of National Single and Unmarried Americans Week, we are asking churches to reach out to their singles and encourage them.
We all know that churches are very strongly geared towards marriages, family, children's ministries, and even toward helping the hurting and needy through such wonderful ministries as Divorce Care and Celebrate Recovery. These are all very wonderful and needed ministries.
We've seen two opposing sides regarding how to deal with singles in the church. Some churches are doing away with singles ministries completely and directing the singles into other groups such as men's and women's ministries, and other service ministries. Others continue to strive to maintain and grow healthy singles ministries, which is an ongoing challenge. I suppose a third alternative is to simply overlook the singles - unfortunately a popular option, especially for smaller churches. As one Facebook friend said, "Normally singles are treated differently than the rest of church. In a large church you pretty much get lost in the crowd."
I can see this blog post going about 40 different directions. What I really want to convey, or plead, is for churches not to ignore the singles. They are young, old, divorced, never married and widowed. They are single moms and dads, and some have had to give up on their dreams of ever having their own natural children. Most of them suffer loneliness to some degree.
Please don't write and tell me there is nothing wrong with being single. That is absolutely right. Certainly singles have more time and possibly more resources to serve others and grow deeper in their walk with Christ. I'm just asking the Church (leaders and individuals) to recognize these special folks who may not enjoy the lifestyle that most members live - that is, "married, with children." So, consider inviting a single to lunch after church. Pastors, consider recognizing singles from the pulpit from time to time. Give a single a hug and let them know they are appreciated (and missed when they don't attend church!)