People who are socially and romantically adept might be able to turn these narrow windows of time into dates, but, then again, people who are socially and romantically adept usually don’t remain single. Churches will need to provide better opportunities for those congregants who aren’t in the upper echelons of social and romantic skill.
Churches can provide better opportunities for their singles to mingle by way of single groups, but only if they’re done right.
Two Errors to Avoid in Singles Events
There are two errors churches can make in addressing their singles.
The first error is to impress single congregants with the sense that there is something bad or wrong with being single. This notion is unbiblical, but single Christians can feel the impression of this sentiment if church members express the expectation that they participate in efforts to find a mate.
Some Christian singles are perfectly content and happy with singleness. In my personal experience, they’re few and far between, but they do exist. Content singles shouldn’t be expected or urged to find a mate.
Even for a single who wants to marry, being urged to make efforts to find a match can aggravate the already felt displeasure and frustration with singleness.
The second error—which is sometimes made in an effort to avoid the first—is to offer singles no help in finding a match at all. Perhaps the best way churches can help single Christians meet is by providing appropriate opportunities to mingle.
How to Help Christian Singles Mingle
Out of all the Christian singles events I’ve experienced, the best one was provided by a church that was a 30-minute drive from my home. This church provided monthly single events on Saturday evenings, and these events were publicized on the church’s website.
The one I attended began with unstructured recreational time. It was early summer, so I and the other singles enjoyed playing outdoor yard games together. Several of us organized a game of ultimate Frisbee.
From recreation, the event transitioned to dinner, which the church had provided through a local restaurant. I happily ate and talked with several other singles around a table, which provided a chance to get to know them better. Never underestimate the power of shared meals to form relational connection.
After dinner, everyone assembled for a brief time of musical worship followed by a biblical message.
After the message, everyone returned to an unstructured time of mingling and talking as the event wound down. That was when I got the phone number of a lovely young woman who was among those with whom I played ultimate Frisbee and ate dinner. Getting her number led to the two of us later meeting for coffee.
The brilliance of this event was that it offered the opportunity for romantic connection between singles without requiring it.
There was enough time for meeting and mingling for romantic connections to solidify. But the event never felt as though its sole purpose was matchmaking. Singles who didn’t want to form romantic connections could have participated in and enjoyed the fellowship without trouble.
Events that offer opportunity for romantic connection without requiring it are the events that serve Christian singles best.