In the United States alone, it is said that 44% of people are single. That translates into our church numbers as well. Anywhere from 30% to 50% of our congregants are single and while some are certainly happy being single, some are actively looking for (or at least open to) meeting someone special.
Singles ministry has become more and more popular over the last decade as churches look to connect with this large selection of their congregation. However, there’s a distinct difference between a thriving, encouraging singles ministry, and a small group filled with bitter people who gather to rehash past relationships and hurts, and who are openly “on the hunt” for the next relationship. One is life-giving, and the other is life-smothering.
So what makes a great singles ministry so great? The leadership, for one. Find someone who has a heart for single people, an encouraging and positive spirit, and an adventurous side! Also empower this person to change the group’s direction and tone if it veers off course, and gently correct or counsel others (privately) if they’re disrupting the vibe of the group with negativity or using it as their own personal dating pool.
Offer a wide range of activities that would appeal to several age groups (and both sexes): Bible studies, hiking, mini-golf, cookouts, movie nights, and dinners. The goal is to create an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone—with no pressure put on meeting someone in the group. If relationships come from it—great! If people find a community where they feel welcomed, loved, understood, and make a few new friends—great!
Last, but certainly not least, celebrate singles openly! Always announce the singles groups along with the other small group activities. Even consider doing a fun Valentine’s Day activity for the singles ministry since that’s likely the one day each year that has the potential to drive singles further away from church if all they see are celebrations for married or dating couples. Make sure to include silly gifts, cards, or chocolate for everyone!
The best singles ministry is one that is encouraging, positive, attracts both men and women, and is more focused on fellowship and personal growth, rather than finding someone to marry.