If you hang around church very much, maybe take the “Experiencing God” class you will hear the following: “I want to find out where God is working and join him.” This is an excellent approach to life. I also think it is a very biblical way to pattern one’s life.
I shared in my last article, Singles and the Glass Ceiling, the disproportionate number of single adults at Graceway when compared to married adults based on national trends. In the evangelical world the tendency would be to run out and start . . . something (who knows what for sure) . . . to “reach” singles. This reasoning leads to discussions, usually by married men with children, about how to effectively “reach” singles. The conversation will typically focus on whether or not to have a singles’ class, ministry, small group, mixer event, emphasis, etc.
Rather than asking how to “reach” single adults, a better question might be: “What does the disproportionate number of adult singles at Graceway say about where Graceway might not be 100% in touch with where God is working?” This is a different type of question. This is a better question.
So where are adult singles? I mean, where are they from a social, community, interactive standpoint? Eric Klinenbert wrote a bestselling book entitled Going Solo. He took a look at single adults in the US from a sociological standpoint, focusing on singles living alone. This is not a Christian book (I struggle to use the word “Christian” as an adjective, it’s weird), but I found his research helpful, insightful, and interesting. He dispels a lot of the myths surrounding singleness.
In reading the book I noticed a trend among singles in the US. They are heavy users of the Internet, social media, and social networks. They are not living alone in social isolation, as is often the mischaracterization. Singles are more likely to frequent places where people interact and they are more likely to meet new people,
What really got my attention was the fact they participate in large numbers with community volunteer organizations and are also more likely to give of their time to serve the less fortunate and marginalized of society.
So while I was reading up on singleness a friend, Dr. Lori Wetmore, gave me some books on church and social justice. One book, Generous Justice by Tim Keller, discusses the trend in evangelical churches in the last few decades where churches that once focused almost exclusively on individual salvation (“How do I get to heaven?” churches) were beginning to understand God’s emphasis on reaching out to the poor, fatherless, widow, immigrant, and prisoner in our communities. In the past the fundamental conservative church would oftentimes neglect these ministries to give more time to engaging in culture wars and politics. There has been a huge shift in evangelical churches – this is where God is working!
Where are the singles, both current followers of Jesus Christ and future followers of Jesus Christ? I believe they are working with God in the communities that surround our local churches. Shall we join them?
Director of Church Administration