What Happened to Singles' Ministry?

I read a very interesting article the other night on the ever changing face of singles’ ministry. In the short time I’ve been in ministry I’ve seen so many changes in this particular ministry.

Adam Stadtmiller wrote . . .

The last 25 years have seen the church alter the way it relates to and reaches singles. The fervor to target singles directly is no longer front and center. On the contrary, ministry to singles is seen as a burden to many churches. What started out as a brilliant success has disintegrated into the realms of an epic fail.

Singles ministry proved to be harder than the original pioneers expected. It took too much time, too many resources, and produced too few sustainable results. We are now living in the post-singles ministry era.

Before writing this article, I contacted 16 churches about their singles ministries. Many of these churches you would know. I was looking for a thriving singles ministry.

A few of those I spoke with recounted the glory days of their ministries, days when 300-500 singles packed their facilities. While some of these churches still had a singles ministry, no longer did any have a full-time person focused on singles. Most were now only running a skeletal version of their once full-bodied singles ministries.

Also sobering was the fact that none of these successful churches had been able to sustain a singles ministry for more than three years. I discovered a cyclical pattern of failure and restart. Groups had either been recently launched, shut down, or were in the process of regrouping for another re-launch.

In the end, singles ministry had proven to be unsustainable for all of these churches, even though there was still an often-vocal single contingent clamoring for a ministry they could call their own.

He goes on to list some common themes to why he believes most singles’ ministries don’t work . . . 

  • Singles don’t actually want to be part of a singles’ ministry.
  • “Singles’ needs are best addressed in a segregated setting” is a faulty premise.
  • Singles’ ministries that focus primarily on the needs of singles emotionally destabilize the group.

I have to say that I agree with the majority of the thoughts shared in this article. We’re blessed to reach a ton of singles at Cross Point who are a very important part of our church family. And, ironically, the only organized singles’ ministry we have in our church is completely focused on serving and bringing justice to the less fortunate of Nashville.

You got any thoughts on singles’ ministry?

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Pete Wilson
Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, WithoutWax.tv. Pete is married and has three sons.

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