By Dennis Franck
Question: Besides having a vital, growing relationship with Christ, what is the biggest need among young adults and single adults a ministry to them should address?
Answer: Probably one of the biggest needs of young adults and single adults of all ages is their need for healthy, quality friendships with the same and opposite sex. These friendships are probably desired even more by single adults than married adults. Married couples go home to a spouse who is, hopefully, also a friend. They share their life’s hurts, hopes, desires, surprises, dreams….almost everything together.
Most single adults do not have a friend to go home to and share all of these things. Many go home to an empty apartment with four walls; a dog or cat; or a couple children. The Church should be one of the main places where opportunities for quality friendships to form are given. If the church does not provide these opportunities, single adults will look elsewhere. Many times these are unhealthy places the world offers.
Developing healthy friendships with males and females is certainly one of the goals of a young adult and single adult ministry, and is a desire of many of the people attending. Leaders need to be aware of the relationship dynamics taking place in their groups for personal and ministry reasons. As Bill Flanagan states, “We need to capture the special opportunity that is ours to provide a seedbed for developing relationships, while at the same time speaking to the spiritual vacuum and human needs of the adults we influence.” (Bill Flanagan, “Priorities for Singles Ministry,” Single Adult Ministry, ed. Jerry Jones (Colorado Springs: Cook Ministries Resources, 1991), page 45) A ministry to single adults is partly a “meet market” where people can meet and develop authentic relationships in a nurturing, wholesome Christian atmosphere. The other type of “meat market” should be vocally discouraged and disapproved of in order that the beauty and reality of Christian love and acceptance will be displayed.