Peeing in the Pool

I have never been one to pee in a swimming pool.  I don’t want to swim in someone else’s urine, so I won’t increase the odds of them swimming in mine.  Recently, I’ve gotten an uncomfortable feeling in one of my social groups.  Folks who used to greet me by name with a warm smile now mumble “hey” and avoid eye contact.  It’s as if someone is saying I peed in the pool.

This past weekend, the sermon at my church was about the sin we won’t acknowledge.  Well let me clarify—I’m not sure what Jim was preaching about, but that’s what was in it for me.  I trust God in my life, I am doing my best to follow Him and grow closer to Him in every way.  But what sin am I holding back from God?  I mentally ran through the Ten Commandments in my head as the sermon wound down.  Idolatry? No. Taking the Lord’s name in vain? No. Taking a day off for the Sabbath? I do that.  Am I honoring my parents? Yes.  Murder? Not recently.  Adultery? No.  Theft? No.

Then I remembered #9: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

When I taught Sunday school, I always taught the kids that the ninth commandment referred to gossip.  While specifically targeting lying with the intent of hurting someone, the commandment can also be seen as an umbrella over the many ways our words can hurt others.  When we talk about others and say things that we would never say in their presence, that’s a good way to determine that we shouldn’t be saying it at all.

I am a direct person.  When I have a conflict with someone, I typically take it to them in an attempt to work it out in love.  I do my best to not accuse, and mainly share how the situation or behavior is causing me distress.  Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates this.  When I bring it up, the other person sometimes gets defensive and explains why it’s all my fault, or I’m imagining things, or that I deserve what I get.  It’s not often that the problem is resolved and the relationship improves.  In fact, it usually gets worse.

When I’m blocked, dismissed, or blamed, I don’t want to bring the topic up again with that person.  That’s normal.  The problem lies with where I choose to dump my hurt, anger, and resentment.  Instead of taking it to God, sometimes I complain to a mutual friend.  I gossip.

A couple of weeks ago as I was serving all day for Easter services, I got the distinct impression that somehow the tide had turned.  Many of those on the team who used to be quite friendly with me were now avoiding eye contact.  Was it my imagination, or was I being avoided?  No one has come to me with a problem, yet it seems clear that I have made some error (or many).  It’s a horrible feeling.  It would appear that I’ve been accused, tried and convicted, yet never to my face.  I am left to guess my crime and I have no way to rectify it.  I feel ashamed, rejected, and powerless.

Now perhaps it’s all in my head.  Perhaps I said or did something thoughtless that hurt the feelings of someone and I’m unaware of what I’ve done.  Maybe the fact that I’m outspoken for the cause of Christian singles (which is not something our church chooses to support) has worn thin with the married people on staff.  Then again, maybe I’ve acted faithfully as God has directed me and as a result, I’ve made someone feel uncomfortable, which was God’s intention. The point is, I don’t know, and if I don’t know, I can’t rectify the situation. Maybe I don’t even need to fix anything.  How do I know?

I only had to acknowledge these uncomfortable feelings for about a minute before I realized that the Holy Spirit was making a point.  How I feel (regardless of whether or not I’m imagining things) is how I can impact others when I share my frustrations instead of turning it over to God.  This is a terrible feeling.  I don’t want to make anyone feel the way I’m feeling.  If I am dismissed for bringing up a concern, perhaps I need to back off and reassess the friendship.  Maybe I need to work through my feelings and seek a solution with a neutral third party in confidence.  One thing is certain: bellyaching to mutual friends is slimy.

Just like peeing in the pool, I don’t want to swim in someone else’s gossip about me, so I should never put it in the water for anyone else, either.  There’s an appropriate place for my frustration: to God in prayer.

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The Man Church

Military, guns, boxing and bacon: these are common themes at the church I’ve heard many women refer to as “The Man Church.”  Many ladies are getting frustrated.  I, on the other hand, think it’s awesome.  The next time you’re in service, do a headcount.  The average church in America has around 61% female congregation. If we only look at the single protestant population, that shoots up to about 70%.  If we look at people who are involved at a deeper level than just the occasional weekend service, it’s about 75% female and “Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men’s ministry.”1

I look at this photo and think, "Awesome! Men praying!" Most men look at this photo and think "Ack! They're holding hands! That's why I never want to go to a Bible study!"

I look at this photo and think, “Awesome! Men praying!” Most men look at this photo and think “Ack! They’re holding hands! That’s why I never want to go to a Bible study!”

As a woman, I object to the absence of a male presence in our churches.  I’ve heard too many non-Christian men express a sentiment along the lines that “church is for sissies.” I’m not going to address this aspect of the argument, since this article titled, “Why Men Hate Church” does it so well.

I’m a very practical person.  I think society functions better when families attend church regularly. Families function better when men attend church regularly.  I continually hear single women complain about the lack of character and integrity in men, specifically in regards to sex and relationships. Sermons pointed at men address these specific issues better than gender-neutral sermons. Therefore, I believe it’s in everyone’s best interest if men find church appealing, and a good way of doing this is by making it a more masculine environment.

What differences have I seen in the congregation and my own life in the last 3 years or so that the church in question has been on this man-track?  Well for starters, I’ve seen more men in the seats.  I’ve also seen more men volunteering in every ministry.  I’ve seen a change in the men I know.  Some of these men spent a lifetime feeling like they were drifting without a real understanding of what it meant to be a “good man” without being a weenie and feeling like no matter what they did, women were furious with them.  Often their own fathers never really showed them what they needed to know, and heaven knows culture paints a pitiful picture of men in general.  They expressed a hunger for direction and validation from other men.

With the strong message they have received at the “Man Church,” men increasingly feel confident of their purpose and are far more assertive about reaching for God and pursuing friendships with other godly men.  I’ve heard spine-tingling stories come as a result of the challenges received at the Men’s Retreats.  I’ve seen wonderful changes in men and I have seen these changes bless the women here, too.  With all the belly-aching we gals do about men, we should be thrilled when a church makes such a concerted effort to improve the situation. We need to be patient with the process.

Here’s the reality: in the absence of great teaching or nurturing community, women will seek it out.  We will read books or find small groups or switch churches until we find a place where we can grow and connect.  It’s much easier for us.  It really doesn’t matter if we’re learning from men or women.  We come into this world more relationally and spiritually oriented.  Men are not.  It’s harder for them.  As women, we need to acknowledge this and help them connect in the way that’s best for them—through the leadership and fellowship of other men.

I want to see a healthy Christian community across all denominations.  I want to see men who are passionate about God and lead their communities and families by Jesus’ example.  What must we do to fan the embers in the hearts of men toward God?  I will do what I can, and I will support those churches who do as well. I love being a part of a “Man Church,” and I know my marriage is a direct result of the leadership and fellowship my husband has found here.

References

Murrow, D. (n.d.). Quick Facts. Retrieved from Church for Men: http://churchformen.com/men-and-church/where-are-the-men/

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus, is available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content like this blog and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!  

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Modesty Sells

Marketing is everywhere.  Before my daughters could read well, I’d point at signs as we drove through town and ask what they were selling at that store.  A giant burger in the fast food window, an inflatable milkshake on the roof of an ice cream shop, and our favorite, the giant plaster donut, brought squeals and giggles as we completed our errands.  One day we saw three shapely young teens walking down a busy street in outfits which left little to the imagination.  I asked the girls, “what do you think they’re selling?”  After a moment, a little voice came from the back seat. “Their bodies?”   Luna was about six at the time, and even she could see the connection.

I’m glad to see that we are moving away from shaming women for the lust of men.  It’s been a long time coming.  But once we get past the blame shifting, let’s just talk about motivation for a moment.  The apostle Paul said, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, NAS).

Marketing consultants get paid enormous sums to advise individuals and corporations on how to positively impact the opinions of total strangers.  Something as simple as the tie a presidential candidate wears in a debate may impact his success in the polls.  The difference between fonts of the lettering on a new product’s label may make or break its future.

As angry as it may make some of us, the reality is that humans really do judge a book by its cover.  We can’t help it. All sorts of psychological and sociological studies have shown that our minds are constantly at work to keep us safe and make sense of our world.  Often our actions are based on this instantaneous internal processing of which we aren’t even aware.  At a base level, we are all advertising ourselves by means of our external packaging whether we want to or not.

Ineffective question: “Who’s at fault for the lust of men?”

Effective question: “How do I want to be treated by others in my world?”

In my twenties I was friends with a woman who dressed like she was just leaving the set of a heavy metal music video.  She totally loved Jesus and she was incredibly kind and loving, but her “packaging” was incongruent with her inner self.  I soon discovered that my current boyfriend had “dated” her in the very recent past.  David was a perfect gentleman.  He had not even tried to kiss me on our first date and now wanted me to fly to Maine to meet his parents.  Yet he had treated her like a late-night booty call.  He never took her out, didn’t introduce her to his friends, and really never treated her with any respect.  He had no remorse. He didn’t know he had done anything wrong.

Would YOU take these men seriously?

Would YOU take these men seriously?

In the business world, the same rules apply.  There was a study done a while back showing that when watching a business presentation, if the woman was wearing a suit which revealed cleavage and had a mid-thigh skirt, the men did not have as favorable a reaction to her presentation as the men who were shown the exact same presentation by a woman dressed in less sexy attire.  The respondents seemed unable able to focus on the presentation nor take the presenter seriously when she was dressed like “actresses” they had seen in pornography videos with “boss/secretary” themes.  Astounding, I know.

Women often get offended at this idea. We want to wear whatever we want and yet be treated with the same level of respect regardless of our external image. This is childish.  If you were alone in the city at night and you saw a man dressed like a gangster approaching you with narrow, darting eyes and a swagger, you would be a fool to not be concerned of the potential for danger.  This is not to say you should spray him with mace, but it would be wise to let him know that you had mace pointed at him. We all judge others on outward appearances, at least at first.  We have no other means by which we can determine our odds for safety.

However we present ourselves in the world has a direct impact on how we will be treated by others.  This has nothing to do with right or wrong, Christian or secular.  It is just logic.  If we want to be treated with respect and honor, we should dress and carry ourselves in a respectable way which lets everyone know our expectations.  Whatever packaging we choose, we are marketing ourselves.  Sexy dress and behaviors sell us as sexual objects; everything else about us is considered secondary. Modesty in dress, language and behavior sells us as so much more than just sexual objects.

What are you selling?

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Chasing Crows

Heresy.  That’s a powerful word that’s been used to shut down religious opposition for centuries. Lately some Christian leaders have been saying that heresy is the greatest threat to the church we face today.  I’ve seen loving Christians become so wrapped around the axle over it that their Facebook feeds become a poison well of anger, hatred, and division.  Ironic, isn’t it?

Heresy isn’t a new phenomenon. In about 600 B.C., the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. ” (Jeremiah 14:14, NAS) There are similar passages all over the Old and New Testaments.  So why is it suddenly seen as the greatest threat to Christianity?

According to the apostle Paul, the greatest threat to the church is not heresy, but division.  If you take a 10,000’ view of the Pauline Epistles, Paul appeared to be most concerned with two things: bringing the lost and broken into a relationship with the living God through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and unity among all those whom Christ had saved.

Were heretics found in the early church? Absolutely!  Did Paul and the other apostles focus their ministry on driving these men out of the church? No.  Instead, they explained the truth to their congregations and emphasized the importance of knowing the truth, clinging to the truth, and sticking together. We are not commanded to go track down heretics and bring them to justice.  In fact, Ezekiel 13:8,13,14 states that this is God’s job, not ours. He will take care of it.

Two thousand years later, there are still people pitching the same nonsense in a new wrapper. But what happened to the church?  Christianity has spread from Israel to the Roman Empire to all of Europe and the entire Western Hemisphere.  Some of the fastest growing churches in the world are in China and the Middle East and there has been renewed interest in the past decade in bringing the Gospel to Africa. All of this despite heretics trying to lead people astray.

So what’s a Christian to do when we hear nonsense being preached?  That depends.  Is this coming from a friend, co-worker or family member? Then lovingly question them to find out what they believe and why. Often people can come to see the flaws in their logic when they have to defend a losing position. Know what you believe and be able to make a strong case (in love). Be able to back up your position with Scripture.  Need help? Do some research or ask a knowledgeable friend or church staff member.

Debating our beliefs can be an excellent way to reach a deeper understanding of what we believe and why we believe it.  Be willing to listen to their point of view.  If they think you are just trying to bully them into submission, they won’t just check out of the discussion, they’ll likely check out of the friendship.  Then again, what if you are wrong? Hard to imagine, I know. Pray for wisdom and that the Lord will show you the truth. You just may learn something, even if they are wrong (wholly or just in part) or have a different way of seeing things.

If the heresy you hear is not coming from someone you personally know, proceed with caution.  There are many who are excellent debaters and love to destroy the faith of others. Proceed under the cover of prayer, and make sure the Holy Spirit– not your own ego– is moving you to challenge this person .  If the nonsense is on T.V. or some other media, for heaven’s sake: TURN IT OFF.

Jesus gave us a great parable about this, “And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.’” (Matthew 13:3-9, NAS).

Jesus did not teach us that it was our duty to manage every teacher of the Word.  It is not our job to monitor what everyone else’s church is doing to make sure it’s “as biblically sound as our church”.  Our job is not to chase crows.  Our job is to spread more seed.  So what if we tried Paul’s suggestion and built each other up instead of picking each other apart?  Outsiders may just come to know we are Christians by our LOVE.  What a concept.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus, is available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content like this blog and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!  

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Judgement and Repentance

An amazing thing happened to me today.  I was given the opportunity to apologize to someone I wronged long ago.  Part of what made it amazing was that it happened at a church service about how “church people” lose sight of how we are all terribly broken.

I started attending Flatirons when I was married. Since my husband refused to attend with me, I ended up hanging out with more single people.  I was living in this fantasy land where Good Christians didn’t consistently participate in sinful behaviors, so I was stunned when this lovely single friend of mine showed up obviously pregnant.  I wasn’t mean to her, but I’m sure my disappointment and shock was visible in my face and awkward reception.  I never saw her again after that.  Until this morning.

After I was divorced and began dating, my single friends became far more honest with me.  I was shocked to find that among Christian singles, sexual intimacy was extremely common, even in the earliest stages of relationships.  Trying to navigate the dating scene with all of the pain and self-doubt I brought with me from my failed marriage, I felt like the only person who held the standard of abstinence. I received a strong, sometimes overt message from singles of both genders: if I didn’t “put out”, it would be assumed that I had some sort of sexual dysfunction. This pushed my most vulnerable buttons. It made me very anxious I wouldn’t be wanted by a confident, capable, loving man.  I eventually caved in to the implied pressure, and always with tremendous regret. I’m not saying that I was manipulated or forced—in several relationships, I chose to sin.

Only I never got pregnant.

The first time I crossed into the sexual “no-fly-zone”, I remembered my friend and how I had judged her.  I wanted to apologize, but I had no way of contacting her. Besides my sin, I was also ashamed of my arrogance.  I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her to bear that difficult situation! Instead of keeping her secret and maintaining the image of a Perfect Christian, she chose to walk in integrity and didn’t have an abortion. I found out last week that she was working for a Christian organization at the time and lost her job over the pregnancy.

This morning I was serving at church so I had the opportunity to participate in service twice.  We did an amazing exercise which allowed everyone to confess regrets anonymously.  I wept when I saw how many people were just like me—broken, vulnerable, and desperately in need of a Savior.  Just before the second service began, I noticed that my old friend had entered and was sitting right next to me.  I apologized for judging her twelve years ago.  She was so gracious, and shared a little more with me about those difficult times.  I felt like even more of a heel for being so sanctimonious.

We are all broken.  We all have moments or years or decades we’d love to erase.  Jesus knows them all and has forgiveness for them all—every single sin we’ve committed.  If we want true freedom in this life, it will come through honestly sharing these frailties with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  When someone shares with us, we need to be incredibly aware of how terrifying it is to be vulnerable.  We need to meet each other with love, compassion and forgiveness, as Christ as shown us by example.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus, is available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!  

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Loving Someone Who Can’t Love You Back

My first marriage was rough.  Not to bash my ex-husband, but he had specific mental diagnoses that made him miserable.  This caused him to concoct crazy ideas about my intentions. He would then come up with defensive plays to thwart my imaginary “evil plan”.  The result was that I had a husband who mistrusted everything I did and was completely unable to receive the love I had for him.

In the last 3 years of our 13-year marriage, I really came to see how this my marriage was an outstanding example of God’s relationship with so many of us humans.  He loves us completely and only wants the very best for us. Yet due to our brokenness, we are often overwhelmed with the burden of our own shame (justified and unjustified) and are unable to receive His love for us.

My marriage was exhausting.  No matter how hard I tried to express my love for him, he was suspicious.  Every kind gesture was brutally criticized in order to devalue it. Nothing I did was worthy of praise, and I never did enough to satisfy his appetite.  I know other people like this. No matter how God blesses them, they can always find the down side. They will tell me how they wished it had been better.  They can never seem to fully enjoy the blessings God gives them. They are often reluctant to admit it, but they are chronically dissatisfied with life in general.

My marriage was like living in a war zone– always waiting for the next verbal assault.

The result of this attitude in my (now ex-) husband was that I stopped wanting to do nice things for him.  Why bother? He’donly twist it around and punish me for it.  I never felt safe in the relationship.  I knew from experience that he was waiting for an opportunity to “get even” with me for something I never did.  I quit trying, and spent my energy protecting myself from him.  Eventually, my discovery of his affairs gave me the moral foundation I needed to divorce him.

The Bible is clear that God gets tired of this attitude in His people, too.  The whole book of Exodus shows the story of a magnificent God who proves over and over again His passionate love and fierce protection of His people in miraculous ways. Yet days after His deliverance, they come whining to Him that they are tired of the way He has provided for them.  Over and over again they actually beg for Moses to take them back to Egypt, because they claim the predictable abuse of slavery was better for them than freedom with God.

This past October, after nearly 9 years of singleness, I remarried.  My husband, Jim, is Horn Wedding October 18, 2014 (107)nothing like my ex-husband.  He truly understands what love is and what love does.  He continually pours his love out for me and is incredibly grateful whenever I do even the smallest thing for him.  He loves me in my imperfection and never thinks the worst of me when I make a mistake.  With Jim, I feel really safe in the relationship because I know that I know that I know that he has only the best intentions for me.  I know that he would throw himself in front of a moving train before he would do anything that would cause me pain or harm. With Jim, I have what the Bible calls REST.

Do you have rest in your relationship with God? Do you believe—I mean REALLY BELIEVE—that He is there to protect you and to provide for you in all situations?  It’s easy to say that you do. I mean I’ve done that in the past, too. “Sure, yeah Lord. I trust You. Blah, blah, blah. But hey, I can’t waste any more time praying because I’ve got a disaster looming and I NEED TO GO TAKE CARE OF IT.” As long as I feel that I need to control situations in my life, I’m not really trusting God and I’m not really entering His rest. I am cheating myself.  I am depriving myself of a closer walk with God and the peace which results.

Do you—deep down inside—fear that God doesn’t really have your best interest at heart? If so, why do you think that?  If not, why do you behave as though you do?

When we are in a loving relationship with God, we trust Him to be our protector and provider. We do the things that will please Him, just as we would for our spouse. We don’t do these things to manipulate or control, but out of the sheer pleasure of expressing love to our beloved. We trust Him, because we know His love for us is perfect. Unlike a friend or spouse, He will never ever let us down.  He will never “get it wrong.” It may take us a while to see the blessing, and He may lead us through some experiences which are unbelievably difficult. But when we truly believe that He loves us with an inexhaustible and perfect love, we will find true, deep, and satisfying peace.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!

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Why I Support Singles Ministry and You Should, Too

Church as most of us know it isn’t much like it was 100 years ago.  Medium-sized churches which used to dominate America are now drying up. Tiny start-up churches and mega-churches have taken over. I hear people whine about this reality, but it’s a result of changing demographics: the Christian divorce rate is equivalent to the secular rate of about 49%. Churches are no longer rooted in the stability of married couples who live in one place for 20+ years. At least half of those attending the larger churches are single. The majority of those are single parents. It’s a statistical reality that single people as a group are more transient than married people with families.

In the 80’s, church leadership saw the growing population of singles and took a stab at offering singles ministry.  It would start with a great success, but over time, people in the group paired up and left. Those remaining would often create a very unhealthy dynamic.  New people entering the group were often very damaged from past relationships and not seeking Divorce Recovery or therapy.  Sometimes people with predatory intentions would cruise the group looking for an injured gazelle on the rebound. Cliques might abound and jealousy and competition often caused drama.  The decree came down from on high: Singles Ministry Didn’t Work.

People connect much better in circles than in rows. Should we make it a little easier for singles find the right circle?

Here’s the paradox: Most Christian thought leaders agree that spiritual community is crucial to individual growth. As Andy Stanley puts it, “People do better in circles than in rows.”  This is where church leaders miss the boat. Most of the people who make policy decisions in the church have never been single as an adult.  They got married in Bible College, and have been married for 20+ years.  They have no idea how difficult it is for single people to go from a service of over 500 people on the weekend to joining a small group of less than 30.

Have you ever gone to a business networking event solo or to a wedding or where you didn’t know anyone but the bride and groom? If not, I implore you to try this once: Get all dressed up, walk in by yourself, and try to make

Even if these are't the looks you get when you walk into a never-before experienced social group, it's the fear most of us have.

Even if these are’t the looks you get when you walk into a never-before experienced social group, it’s the fear most of us have.

conversation with total strangers. No fair if you’re the pastor officiating.  See how comfortable and fun that is for you. The next time you go to such an event with your spouse, you will have far greater appreciation for what a comfort it is to have him or her by your side. It’s a whole different experience.  I’m an extrovert, and I hate going to those types of events by myself, even though I know I’m going to run into people I know and meet new people I will enjoy.  How much worse is this for introverts?

 

Those who are growing in their faith are far more likely to:

  • be satisfied with their church experience
  • attend services consistently
  • have a more positive attitude in general
  • volunteer regularly
  • contribute financially with intentionality

So shouldn’t we want our congregations to grow in their spiritual development?

  • This happens best with small group participation
  • Most people have a difficult time going from a service of >500 to a group of <30.
  • (+/-) 50% of people in the church are single (if this is not true in your church, you should ask yourself WHY since this is true of the US population)
  • Most people agree that it’s harder to attend a small group for the first time by yourself

Therefore, it is in the best interest of the church to offer some sort of transitional group to help this large demographic move from shallow weekend attendance to deeper small group connection.  But since experience has shown that the average healthy lifespan for a 52-week a year singles ministry is about 2-3 years, we need to try something different.

  • Recruit small group leaders in the singles community
  • Build community among the leaders
  • Allow leaders to choose small group focus (Sermon study notes, Bible study, book study, etc.)
  • Create short-burst events at the church (i.e. “Three _____days in the month of _______”)
  • Promote these events at weekend services (this is crucial!)
  • Have small group leaders facilitate event
  • Use part of the time at events to help attendees experiment with different small groups
  • Repeat this system at least once a year

A system like this would create healthy small groups and help recruit new members every year.  It would make the single people in the congregation feel validated instead of marginalized. Once the small group is formed, it wouldn’t have to be classified “for singles only”. This way people would feel comfortable staying after they found a love-interest.

To recap, about 50% of the US population is single. Single people often complain that the church sees them as a source of volunteer power (“since they have so much more time on their hands”), but refuse to acknowledge their unique difficulties in connecting in a deeper way at church.

Year-round singles ministry is fraught with difficulties including a limited lifespan, but having short-burst events (3-4 consecutive weeks once or twice a year) is a system that could work indefinitely. This consumes minimal church resources, while sending the message to singles that they are valued.

Healthy churches foster spiritually development in their congregation. Small groups are the answer, but singles often need a bridge event that can help them find a small group that works for them.  The compassionate and wise solution is to offer such an event to singles on at least an annual basis.

If you are in support of this type of singles ministry, please share this essay with your church leaders.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus, is available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!  

 

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