Church Planting Challenge: Singles

22 09 2008

Many fundamental church plants are planted in areas with lots of young families, and the churches produce advertising materials that primarily target families. I wonder why? I’ve been mulling over some of the possible reasons:

  • The family unit is a God-given structure that is foundational for a healthy society and church.
  • Families may be most likely to “put their roots down” in an area and provide long term stability for a church.
  • We are eager for any evangelistic inroad we can find, and children often provide such an inroad with their parents.
  • Advertising budgets are tight, and it’s hard to get excited about spending a lot of money on an ad campaign focused on a narrower target audience.
  • Fundamental churches have traditionally placed a strong emphasis on high-quality children’s programs, and we obviously want to invite people to our strengths.

I’m sure other things could be listed, but that’s a start. Most of those reasons are probably valid, but the end result is that most church plants struggle to reach singles. Now, you might say: “Christian churches in general struggle to reach singles – it’s not just church plants of fundamental churches.” True. However, we come into church planting with a plan for reaching children and a plan for reaching families – but do we have any plan for reaching other social groups?

Many contemporary churches have focused their attention on singles. A stereotypical church has a Saturday evening alternative service targeted toward young singles. There is plenty to criticize about how these churches go about this, but we still should notice that they are trying to reach our beyond just families. What is our plan?

For church plants near colleges and universities, campus ministry may be a significant part of the answer. But what about church plants in locations like ours, where the nearest university is 30 minutes away? How do we meet the challenge of reaching out beyond just families?



One response

23 09 2008
Dennis Muse

I would say the reason that churches do not target singles is multi-reasoned. For one, being that 99.9% of pastor are married they can not connect to or relate to singles, and singles do not connect to them as to dealing with and relating to their real life issues and how to apply the Christ life to the single life.. Every pastor I have ever met got marred during their colleges years or just after graduating, and if you marry before 30 you really have never really known what it is like to live a single adult and all the issue that one encounters and deals with on a daily bases currently as an adult, therefore their messages target marrieds.

Just for comparison look at teens, Middle and High School kids, there is a reason church separate them from the main service, why they send them off to their own meetings, why they have separate church activities during the week, they would get board in 10 min with the adult things, they think how does what the pastor is saying relate to the my life as a teen. So they are taking out and put somewhere to hear messages and do activities that apply to them, really it is the some with singles, you need to create two different experiences, churches. In a lot of ways we singles do not fit in to normal church and it’s not so much that we get board, but uncomfortable with a church that is all about the marred family life and activities centered on family life, its not our thing, we do not fit in, that is not where we are in life.

So a lot of pastors go with what they know, target what they know and can relate to, plug into with ease, married with family, so the singles get passed over in many ways. There is also a lot of discrimination towards singles also, for example; church planting is something as a single you must do alone because the majority of churches and church networks like Acts 29 do not allow single pastors or single church planters like myself. They see no place for singles in church planting and pastoring, so it is a handicap being single to do church planting, you must do it on your own. And the majority of church will not allow singles to do children or youth ministry now, will not let them even lead singles groups and we can not do couples groups, where single so what is left for them to plug into, to contribute to, they are left with a when you get married you can become part of the church feeling. We really are treated like the infamous redheaded step child, everything in most churches because the pastors are married, everything in the church evolves around being married and having children, that is the teaching and activities, so that is what they target. These things do not apply to every church, just the majority of them.

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