Trends Affecting Single Adult Ministry



I. IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING TRENDS

  1. Times change/SAM evolving
  2. Determine potential needs
  3. Determine potential directions in ministry

 

II. TRENDS MAY VARY SOMEWHAT

  1. Area of country-Cultural differences
  2. Development of SAM
  3. Leadership understanding and ministry styles


III. TRENDS IN THREE AREAS

      Some trends overlap into 2 or 3 areas depending on where issues surface!

  1. Personal-attitudes/perspectives/lifestyles OF single adults
  2. Leadership-attitudes/perspectives TOWARDS single adults
  3. Ministry-attitudes/perspectives/programs TO/WITH single adults

 

1. PERSONAL TRENDS

  • Growing awareness of aging single adults

-Singles themselves
-Leadership
-Subtle “agism discrimination”

  • Growing poverty of single-again women

-60% female single parents below poverty level
-Divorce- 73% decline in living standard for women
- 42% increase in living standard for men
-Book-“It’s All About the Money, Honey”-George Moschacher

  • Growing Bias/backlash in fundamentalist circles toward unmarrieds

-Bible school leader’s attitudes-“Bridal School”
-Relate better if married
-Family Model

  • Continued growth in cohabitation

-35-40 yrs old-49% lived with unmarried partner (SAM Journal, Issue 124, p. 5)
-1978-1998 unmarried couple households increased 800%
(523,000-8.5 million) SAM Journal, Issue 130, p. 5)
-Busters more cynical/skeptical of marriage (parents divorce)
-Challenge for church to accept and minister to

  • Growing hunger for community

-Awareness of way we are living-faster and faster rat race
-Desire community, family, intimacy

  • Never-married issues becoming more pronounced

-Grief over parenting, grandparenting, extended family desires
-Loss of hopes and dreams
-Never hold kids or grandkids
-Single-parent stigma in church circles
-Some ministry positions carry traditional “marrieds first” attitude

  • Step-Family Issues

-Rearing children, parenting styles
-Marital issues-Money, property, planned vs. spontaneous
-Ex spouse issues
-Affecting a SAM group and pastor/leaders

  • Church Rage

-We rage against what we cannot control-Particular opinions/preferences
-What happens in autos and airplanes now happens in churches!
-Too much stress-too many demands
-“Individual rights” in society now in the church

  • Continued de-emphasis of denomination and similar labels

-Where are things happening?
-Where can I get my desires/needs met?
-Labels, traditional names etc mean little

 

2. LEADERSHIP TRENDS

  • Credibility issues of leaders

-Single adults want leaders who are credible, knowledgeable-not just have a program

  • Crucial need to cast vision

-To denominational leaders- to Church leaders/pastors-Single adults

  • Move from official leadership to gifted leadership

-Credentialed person (usually outside) vs. gifted person(usually inside)

  • Large church attitude-coming around to priority of SAM again

-Lost vision, passion for a few years
-SAM possibly seen as a fad?

  • Development of leadership training in SAM groups

-Targeted to specific ministries
-More priority realized and given

 

3. MINISTRY TRENDS

A.  Stabilizing of specific SAM groups

-Hiring staff to develop Single Parents, Divorce Recovery-large churches
-More priority even without paid staff

  • Bringing Divorce Recovery outside the walls of the church

-Neutral settings attract more people-unbelievers
-Corporate settings
-Community settings

  • Focus on Bible teaching as well as issues teaching
  • Single adults setting the pace for short-term missions events/trips

-Surrogate missions vs. hands on missions

  • Away from big group only SAM”s to small group experiences

F.  Growing understanding of need for young adult groups (18-28yrs

-Realizing we are losing them

G.  Transition from young adult ministry to single adult ministry

-Realizing we are losing them
-Planning, discussing strategies

  • SAM STILL NEW in some areas of the country!

-5 church denominations have a paid person to oversee SAM
-19% of AG churches have a SAM-2000 of 12000
-VAST majority are volunteer leaders

OTHER TRENDS YOU SEE?

The purpose of Assemblies of God Single Adult Ministries is to help districts, churches, pastors and leaders build spiritually-strong single and single-again adults of all ages.

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