At noon on Memorial Day, I attended a picnic at Chester Frost Park for singles who attend the Singles ministry at my church. There were some 80 persons present and lots of delicious food.
Some attendees had never married; some were widows and widowers; some were in the Sunday School class I teach. None seemed to be emotionally shattered, but all seemed to be convinced that one is a whole number.
One man asked me to contrast the singles I worked with in the '70s with the ones to whom I relate today. My answer was, "The singles I know today seem more spiritually oriented. In the '70s, they seemed more interested in fun and social activities."
As I talked with him, I thought of Jim Smoke, who was the first full-time pastor of a singles ministry I had met. Jim was founding Pastor of Singles ministry at Garden Grove Church in California. Later he developed an excellent leadership program for workers with singles.
"A balanced Singles ministry," he said, "includes Biblical input, social fellowship, and small groups for growth.
"Churches that want these ministries to stay healthy and grow should legitimize them by realizing that they are birthing a ministry that requires time, planning and money. They must also have a staff person - volunteer or paid - who will be accountable. This person should love singles and should have a vision of what God can do in the ministry. Then, the new ministry must be given exposure and acceptance in the life of the church."
In the leadership conference I attended, I learned that Jim Smoke is one of the creators of the National Association of Workers with Singles. "Singles need to feel accepted, forgiven and need an opportunity to grow," he said. "Churches should provide still times, safe places and special friends.
"Whether we are single or married, we need to remember that one is a whole number, and Jesus is our spiritual mentor and model for this."
Contact Nell Mohney at firstname.lastname@example.org.