Single adults are now 50% of the U.S. population and continue to rise. Many churches are overlooking this group of people. Most churches, especially small to medium size churches focus on children, youth, men/women ministries that are focused on married individuals. Some may have a seniors group with a mix of couples and widowed. This has been their traditional role. Churches are not keeping up with changes in society.
Some churches claim or are proud that they do not have adult singles in their church or very few by percentage. What they are inadvertently doing is putting a stigma on their singles, either from the pulpit or by peer pressure. The current church structure is very focused on married families.
They sometimes forget Jesus was single and the current churches would inadvertently be putting that same stigma on Jesus himself. Sometimes what they are really saying is all of our adult singles had to go to another church, or singles who do come here, do not feel comfortable. This is not done on purpose.
Single adults are tough to categorize and understand. They are single by chance, change or choice, whether theirs or someone else’s. They fall into one or more of the following categories:
1) Never married
2) Formerly married
4) Single Parent
5) Separated (The separated person is legally married but living a single lifestyle)
WHO WE TARGET
Single adults cover a wide age range. Different age groups represent different interests, needs, activity preferences and physical abilities. More people will be reached if separate groups are begun. Most churches, however, will not be able to begin a group for each age, which is where CSCS2 comes in. Also, consider each age group may have several types of single adults within it, as mentioned above.
BASIC AGE GROUPS WE CONSIDERED
After 10 years of ministry, addressing age groups is not easy. Particularly the group below as we describe it as "GenXY". Do we keep a group defined by birth dates tied together or do we organized by actual age groups (GenX, Geny, Boomers). We started by age groups as we labeled the groups. As we analyze the dynamics for the future, we may need to change that concept. As our GenXY group ages we now have some of them in their low 50's already. Those in their early 30's see 50's as their parents age and will not stay. In the future we may need to divide by actual age of the individuals. Groups will need to be divided by age: 30's and 40's and those 50 and greater. There are more commonality in those age divisions. Those in the cusps will struggle and complain because they are being moved to another group. We will have to loosen the age requirement and give a 2-3 year leeway to handle this. Those in the cusp age areas must be encouraged to interact with both groups and not just the younger group. Giving them a chance to adjust.
Currently we have defined our groups as:
A) Young Adults (Post Moderns-Gen XY 30’s and 40’s
Currently we have over 100 singles in this age group who we already have on a distribution list. This group should be divided into two groups: previously married / singles with children and those that have not been married. Each of those two groups has very different needs. Several churches are addressing the younger, never married group.
As of November 1, 2014 CSCS2 started a group for most of this bracket. We are calling it “Gen XY” focusing on those born after 1964. They are probably the least served by churches. As to our current understanding CSCS2 is the only Christian singles group addressing this age group.
B) Single Adults (born before 1965, single-again, divorced and widowed)
Currently we have over 1200 singles in this age group who are already on our distribution list. The “Boomers” by shear volume was the easiest to reach and has been our focus since early 2008.
Other interest/need groups include:
A) Single Parents and their children
B) Divorce Recovery Workshops
PURPOSES OF A SINGLE ADULT MINISTRY
A) To provide unconditional love and acceptance
B) To provide opportunities to meet Jesus
C) To provide ministry to and for the single adult
D) To provide opportunities to meet other single adults
Leadership is probably the most crucial area of our ministry to/with single adults. Without effective leadership the ministry will fail. The leader does not have the time or talent to do everything, and if s/he did, would deprive the people of running the ministry. More than any other, there must be a regular emphasis on recruiting, training and motivating leadership.
• Single again person better than a never married person due to life situations of most in this age group
• Remarried couple can relate well to these people
• Age within 10 years of the youngest or oldest target age
• Has a passion for this ministry
• Has time to spend with the people
RECRUITING OTHER LEADERS-GUIDELINES
• Be specific/intentional in what you are looking for (activities, publicity, discussion leaders, etc)
• Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit
• Look for strengths in a person that would fit the need
• Develop a relationship with the potential leader before asking for a commitment
• Ask the person to be involved for a specific period of time (6 months is suggested)
• Give the person the responsibility and authority to do the job
A job description could/should be provided for each person in leadership so an understanding of expectations, purposes etc is clear. When beginning a ministry, the leadership team should decide which positions are needed first and seek to develop these.
LOCATION – MEET AT A NEUTRAL SITE
This means not being tied to any one specific church doctrine. This is an outreach group!
It is designed as an Outreach Ministry. By outreach, we are referring to a group that is not a true bible study format, but is also a topical teaching with a discussion format! This format will attract Christians who do not have a single adult ministry, unbelievers who do not go to a church at all, and would provide enough people to sustain an ongoing group. Small churches simply do not have enough single adults in the congregation to maintain an “in-house” ministry. Because of the transient nature of singles resulting in a high turnover, (50% – every 6-9 months) there needs to be a continuous flow of new people coming into the group(s).
OFF CAMPUS BENEFITS
1) More community exposure
2) Attracts more unbelievers due to the neutral setting
3) Attracts more believers who do not have a singles ministry at their church
4) Easier to build a city-wide influence and image
5) Easier to build relationships with other leaders
6) Less denominational hang ups in peoples’ minds due to the neutral setting
7) More flexibility with schedule
8) Any size church could sponsor the ministry
9) Easier for several churches to sponsor it together
We want to work with the small and medium churches! Churches who decided they were too small or chose not to develop a single adult ministry, should at the very least work at understanding the issues singles face, and endeavor to portray open, accepting and informed attitudes and actions towards them. Helping a single-parent mom with occasional home or car repairs, free childcare, financial help to attend a church event, etc. shows Christ’s love in practical ways.
Single and single-again people are here to stay. America has become a nation of many “family types.” CSCS2 can help the churches to be effective in reaching, nurturing, disciplining and training adults, the single adult warrants our efforts, time, prayer and resources. The singles population is too large to ignore and the abilities and talents of these people are too valuable to waste. Their salvation is at stake!
If possible a church of any size can and should minister to single adults, whether it be through an established group or individually. The advantage CSCS2 offers is we can help churches to reach singles without losing them to other churches. Most singles groups are at the mega-churches and they steer people to their church events. We encourage each single to remain in their own church. We offer them a safe location to study and socialize with other Christian singles.
In addition, we have decided to be and alcohol-free environment. All events are designed to be safe for all participants.