By Dennis Franck
The priority of most evangelical and Pentecostal churches seems to be on marriage and family ministries. As a married man with children, I certainly can understand this! We need to strengthen and minister to married adults and families; there is no doubt about it. We live in a society that has seen the drastic, consistent deterioration of the family unit. God never intended this to happen, and we are paying the price for this in many respects! A church emphasis on family and marriage, however, should not be at the expense or neglect of single and single-again people! One leader states his perspective on this issue by saying,
Every group in the church has unique needs and gifts… children, youth,
men, women, marrieds etc. Because we have put emphasis on these groups
for so long, we have inadvertently forgotten the single adults and have led them
to believe we don't expect them to be involved in ministry. The apostle Paul
said that for ministry it is better to be single! (1 Cor. 7: 25-35) The purpose of
ministry to single adults is to help them see they are the church and to help them
come to a place of ministry.
-Reddout, David, Pastor of First Assembly of God, Leesville, LA, Adult Ministries Consultant, Assemblies of God Sunday School Department, 1981-1985.
This minister understands the need for making ministry to single adults, young and old, one of the church’s priorities. Unfortunately, I believe this not the case in most of our churches.
Reasons why many churches do not have a targeted ministry for young adults and/or single adults.
Most of our pastors are married and because of doctrine concerning divorce and remarriage, there are few credentialed, remarried pastors. This makes it difficult for them to see some of the needs of the single again person.
Most church board members are married, and usually only once, making it difficult to see ministry to the never married and divorced person a priority.
Most church pastors have not personally experienced the death of their spouse or death of their marriage through divorce and, therefore, do not see this ministry as a priority.
The emphasis on family is the main priority in most churches sometimes to the exclusion of single adults.
The “traditional ministries” receive the priority in most church budgets (children, youth, music, missions etc.).
A lack of understanding the unique issues and needs of single adults is sometimes the case. Many leaders have not consistently worked with the separated, divorced, or widowed person so the needs of these individuals are not always seen.
A lack of understanding the benefits young adults and single adults can be to the church hinders some churches from targeting them.
The existence of myths and misunderstandings about single adults by church leaders and married adults is many times a problem.
A reluctance to deal with more “needy people” than the church already has. These ministries will attract both hurting and healthy people.
The challenge of addressing the difficult issues that many single and single-again people have may cause hesitation to begin targeted ministries to them.
It is my contention that many unmarried adults need specialized ministry opportunities to reach, retain and disciple them before they will be integrated and involved into the total life of the church, which is the ultimate goal of ministry to young adults and single adults.