It was a cold Sunday in January 1979 when I walked out of the sanctuary following our church's second morning worship service. I was aware that the woman ahead of me had just been through a devastating and unwanted divorce. So I moved ahead, put an arm gently around her shoulder and asked, "How are you today?" Her response stunned me.
"Nell, I feel like a gray person in this church."
Feeling the church had given her great support, I asked, "What do you mean?"
She explained, "Everything in this church is about family. Wednesday nights, for example, are called 'family nights,' and our annual picnic is called 'family picnic.' Now that my children are married and live out of town and my husband is gone, I feel as if I don't belong."
I walked straight from the sanctuary into my husband's office, where he was taking off his robe.
"We have to start a singles ministry," I blurted out.
"What's that?" he asked.
"I don't know, but we have to start one."
I chose 12 people to work with me. I figured if that number was right for Jesus, it should be good enough for me.
After several months of planning, the committee announced the date of the first meeting, and we were overwhelmed by the response. It was an idea whose time had come.
This past Sunday, 35 years later, we celebrated "Singles Sunday." Among those returning were Byron Trauger, the first Positive Christian Singles president and now a Nashville attorney, and his wife, Aleta, a federal judge. Byron thanked our congregation for being willing to take a risk and reach out to others who, at the time, seemed a little different.
He challenged us and other Christian congregations to continue to reach out to others of all ages and interests and to follow the "carpenter of Nazareth" who, after all, was the most famous single in history.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at email@example.com.