Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top 10 Critical Issues in Single Adult Ministry Today

There are certainly many important issues in ministry to single adults due to the vast age range of people, diversity of reasons people are single, differences in styles/models of ministry, and many other reasons.  If I had to choose the top 10 most important issues, I  would probably say…
1.  Recruiting and Training Leadership                                                                                 John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I believe this to be true, especially in single adult ministry. The ministry group(s) are only as healthy as the leadership.  Well-trained, competent, motivated leaders who love the Lord and the people will greatly influence the health of the ministry. Maintaining ongoing training for existing and new leaders is needed.

2.  Maintaining a Healthy, Positive Image      
Keeping a positive, correct image of the ministry in the eyes of the church is an ongoing need, at least at first. Because there are many types of people who will be attracted (hurting, lonely, socially unskilled, mentally or physically handicapped etc), some people will think the single adult ministry is mostly for, or made up of, these people. Ideas to help keep a positive image include.

·    Regularly stating the purposes of the ministry to the various single adult groups, congregation and pastoralstaff                                                                                           
·    Highlighting healthy single adults in the services, newsletters, websites, and classes             
·    Interviewing sharp single adults in the services and single adult ministry groups                       
·    Providing/stressing outreach opportunities for single adults

3.  Ministry to Single-Parent Families
An ongoing ministry to single-parent families is probably one of the most urgent needs of a well-established single adult ministry. Regular times of teaching and discussion targeting their needs, fellowship, food, children’s classes, and activities can be an integral part of their lives. 

4.  Bridging Older Young Adults Into Single Adult Ministry
Strategizing and finding ways to help older young adults who are unmarried (probably age 35 and older) become a part of the single adult ministry is a challenge. If this is not done, both  a young adult ministry and single adult ministry eventually become older and older.

5.  Correcting the Meat Market Mentality
Some people in the Church and community, married and single, think the single adult ministry is either the place to find a date, or mate, or, think most who attend the ministry are looking for a date or mate. Although it is true that some people are looking for a date or mate in the groups, this is not the main purpose of a ministry for single adults. However, it can be a side benefit, and I would rather have them look here than in many places they have looked before in the world. We must work hard at correcting the mentality that we are a “meat market” where people look you over well, and are the place to find Mr. or Miss Right.

6. The Inability/Unwillingness to Confront/Address the Tough Issues

Some of the tough issues in single adult ministry that need to be addressed are: Sexuality and singleness, cohabitation, pornography, lust, masturbation, pre-mature marriage issues, weaknesses in leadership, certain biblical beliefs and others. If these are not openly addressed and faced in teaching, counseling and leadership meetings, they will tend to weaken a ministry. People want   leaders who will be genuine, authentic and bold in facing the real issues of life.

7.  Lack of Effective Follow Up of Guests and Semi-Regular Attendees
A single adult ministry will attract many first-time visitors. If these guests are not made to feel welcome, chances are very high they will not return. An effective hospitality and follow up ministry is important to the growth of any ministry.

8.  Lack of Community Outreach Events
Single adults can become selfish by necessity—They must wash, cook, clean, pay bills, raise the children, repair the car, maintain the yard, etc by themselves. Opportunities to get involved in serving others helps them to look outside their own needs into the needs of people who may have circumstances even more dire than theirs. A single adult ministry needs to offer these opportunities on a regular basis.

9.  Lack of Consistent Evaluation
Many aspects of the ministry should be evaluated, in writing, at least twice a year for possible improvement. Teaching topics, styles, teachers, activities, friendliness towards visitors, outreaches, retreats, discipleship opportunities, refreshments, and other areas deserve an opportunity for opinions to be expressed. Don’t be afraid of the answers surveys reveal.  Leaders can learn a lot, which can improve and refine the ministry. 

10.  Ministering to the Needy People
Ministering to the majority of the people who attend without marginalizing the needy people
(see # 2 above) can be somewhat difficult. Needy people should be allowed to attend and should be ministered to, but should not be the major focus of attention of the leaders. Discussing ways to effectively minister to the needy should be one component of leadership meetings. 

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