Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Question about Church Ministries

Should churches have something for singles beyond the usual college-age groups?

I've been pondering this question off and on for a while now. Usually after a conversation about it with someone.

It's a tough question to answer. On one hand, if church is a family, then segregating according to marital status and using it to define where people fit seems unnecessarily divisive. On the other hand, the older you get as a single person in the church, the more difficult it often becomes to meet other people who are also single.

So, how should we answer this question? How do we move forward as a church family on this?

As a single person in the church, who is beyond the age for the typical college-age ministries, I wonder if the answer to this question is both yes and no at the same time.

Yes, because there is less opportunity to meet other Christian singles the older you get. Sometimes it would be nice to meet with other people whose life circumstances in this regard are similar to yours. Being a single adult in the church, trying to follow Jesus, has some different challenges than others face. Or, at the very least, those challenges faced are handled in a much different way than for others.

It's natural for us to look for people similar to us in some ways to connect with. Singleness is on area of life where that can be difficult to find. Even if it's not the only area you look for common ground, it is one of the things that comes up.

But, my answer to this question is also no, because a God honouring community should be a place where everyone belongs regardless of marital status or age. One aspect of a person's life circumstances shouldn't be used to define people, no matter what it is.

There is a danger in creating groups or ministries like this that we begin to draw dividing lines that dictate where we've decided people belong based on their marital status. This limits and excludes people from using their God-given gifts and abilities in the church. There is a danger that we can use the existence of a ministry for singles to keep them out of other ministries. That's why my answer is also no to this question.

I don't know that this is a question with a clear answer. Or with the same answer for every church, or for every single adult in a church. If it was that easy, it wouldn't have taken me this length to try to answer the question. It would have just been a one word answer.

Should churches have something for singles beyond the usual college-age groups?



It depends on the church.

It depends on the single adults in a church - if they're asking for and looking for something like this.

But, whether a church does it or not, marital status shouldn't be the only determining factor for participation in most ministries within the church.

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