What are some of the characteristics and values of young adults who have not yet married?

 By Dennis Franck

Answer: The single adult who is not yet married is usually a young adult in the 20s or early 30s, but may be an adult in the 40’s or even older. Older unmarried adults are becoming more common. There are currently about 52 million adults in the U. S. that have never married. [1] The median age of marriage has increased significantly since 1970 to 27.1 for men and 26.0 for women.  Some are choosing to remain single longer to establish a career, finish a degree, purchase major life items, or pursue other goals. Some have not found their life’s partner and are still waiting.

Waiting to marry, or not marring at all in today’s culture does not seem to carry the stigma it did thirty years ago. Society seems to accept singleness better than the Church, though. Thankfully, however, questions that used to be commonly vocalized in the church are not usually articulated, and mostly (hopefully), remain as thoughts and questions in people’s minds. (Aren’t you a little too picky?... Do you plan to remain single for the rest of your life?... Why do you let all the good ones get away?... Do you have something against marriage?... When are you going to settle down?... Are you gay?)

There are many important characteristics and traits of young adults in their 20s and 30s which influence a ministry targeted towards them. These include:

  • Importance of relationships       
  • Individualism
  • Love of diversity                
  • Self sufficiency
  • Wary of institutions                  
  • Wary of commitment
  • Welcome change                
  • Welcome risk
  • Spiritual seekers                
  • Wary of boundaries
  • Embrace technology            
  • Media savvy
  • Love of stories                
  • Love of music

Important Values to the Young Adult

A church wanting to develop ministry to/with young adults needs to understand values that are important to them:

  • Authenticity              
  • Relevance
  • Ministry different than the past   
  • New music and styles of worship
  • Diversity, yet alignment with Biblical values
  • Narrative stories to communicate   
  • Hands-on presentation of the gospel
  • Process evangelism           
  • Leadership by team 
  • Pastor’s role as equipper       
  • Lay leaders developing other leaders

[1] Mike & Harriett McManus, Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers, Intro. page XVII.

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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