The average age of marriage has been steadily increasing over the past decade.
Ranging anywhere from 28 to 35, young singles are getting married at a different stage in life than their parents and grandparents did.
Another interesting dynamic? Nearly 50% of adults in the U.S. are single. That’s a staggering 130 million single Americans who are over the age of 18! Wow.
So.. what does this mean for the church?
These dynamics and trends don’t stop at church doors!
There are also more single Christians than ever before. With that, there’s a growing need for pastors to understand the needs of the unmarried at their churches and help guide them through the process of Godly dating.
With so much noise, misleading advice and endless ways to date (aka online dating) that constantly bombard singles, believers can often be unknowingly influenced by unhealthy ideas and intense pressure.
And without an alternative in their local church, it’s not hard to see how single Christians might not feel like they have many options that also support their faith.
5 Things Every Pastor Needs to Know About Singles Ministry
Pastors, do you know your single flock?
Those in ministry have a unique opportunity right now to support singles, help combat cultural norms and teach on what the Bible says about single men and women.
One challenge, however, is that the average age of pastors has gone up from early to mid 40’s to mid to late 50’s.
It’s more important than ever that church leaders from a generation with different dating and marital norms stay in touch with the current circumstances that come with modern singleness!
Here are five need-to-know factors that every pastor should consider when it comes to singles at their church…
1. Singleness doesn’t need to be the elephant in the room at your church!
It's helpful to understand the stigma that exists both in our culture and in the church around dating and being unmarried.
No one wants to feel like singleness is a disease that must be cured ASAP. People in a church body want to feel loved where they are at. One way to love singles well is to openly talk and preach about singleness.
Preparing the flock for healthy, Christ-centered relationships–including the covenant of marriage–can start with teaching on godly courtship and the role of men and women in relationship to one another in the Bible.
2. Singleness shouldn’t define someone’s entire identity. But that doesn’t mean singles don’t need help with the specific challenges they face.
Singles also need support. Married or unmarried, people need community, encouragement, teaching, counseling and discipleship.
Supporting and serving singles along their faith journey is an important facet of shepherding the flock and cultivating mature believers! The premise here is that everyone should have an opportunity to learn and practice how to be in a healthy relationship with God, themselves and others.
3. There’s more than one type of single.
Never married, divorced, widowed. Young, middle aged or older adult. There is no one category of singles or one-size fits all reason for why someone is single.
Each situation and stage of life is unique and should be given specific biblical guidance.
4. They want to serve alongside everybody else, but they also need a space for healthy, fun ways to connect with other singles.
The key word here is fun. We’ve all probably seen or been a part of a singles ministry that was awkward, forced or uncomfortable in some way.
The way singles meet has changed, too and the church should be willing to adapt to that. Single Christians who want to meet dates and eventually get married will likely be endlessly swiping on social media dating sites, so why not provide a better alternative?
Singles at your church and in your area could really benefit from organic fellowship and relationships (don’t forget the friendships, too!) created through events, mixers, outings or singles bible study groups!
5. Pastors, you don’t have to support singles alone!
You might not have a huge budget or a singles ministry pastor dedicated to this work at your church, but we guarantee there are willing church members who are excited to organize events, create small groups and do singles outreach because they know what it’s like not to have access to these things!
Is your church looking for a new way for singles in your area to meet one another? Check out IYKYK Christian Dating Mixers - we partner with local churches to host singles mixers.
Looking for a Christian Dating Coach to direct your singles struggling with Godly dating? IYKYK Christian Dating Mixer CEO Mel New has a Christian Dating Coaching practice!