"I don't belong here." That was the first thought that entered my mind when I walked into the room labeled, "singles."
I had recently relocated and was interested in building relationships in my new church home. On that particular Sunday morning, I was greeted in the church entrance and asked what kind of class I would like to attend. After a short discussion, the greeter led me to a small classroom upstairs.
To be honest, I felt like I had been dropped off in the "lost and found" box for Christians. Other than being single, "What else could I possibly have in common with these people?" I thought.
You see, the term, "single" has multiple meanings. It can refer to a 26-year old graduate student who has never been married, a 43-year old divorcee and mother of three, or a 74-year old widower, or a million different other combinations!
I sat down and waited for the lesson to begin. My mind was filled with curiosity as I scanned the room. "I wonder what his story is?" "What brought her to this class?"
The lesson was great. But what was even better was the discussion. It was during that time that I learned a valuable lesson: No matter how we all ended up single, we all had similar needs that only Christ can fulfill.
Over the course of several months, the unthinkable happened: I fell in love with my singles class! There is just something about sharing common struggles and needs that brings people together.
In the midst of that time, my perspective of what a singles ministry should look like has changed. It's not about age categories and marital status classifications. It's about a common need for grace—God's grace.
Perhaps no other group of people in the church are as "in touch" with their need for Christ as singles. Why? Because God created marriage to teach us about Christ's love for us (Ephesians 5:25). When someone is missing a marriage relationship, it touches a nerve that heightens the awareness of our need for Christ.
For that reason, if I were starting a singles ministry from scratch (or revising an existing one), I don't think I would worry so much about making the meetings "cool" or "trendy."
It wouldn't bother me if multiple age groups wanted to attend. And I wouldn't cringe at the thought of mixing divorcee's, widowers, and never-marrieds.
Instead, I think I would focus on something more vital that every single person desires: an atmosphere of grace. That's the kind of place where everyone belongs!
Scott Attebery is executive director of DiscipleGuide Church Resources, a department of the Baptist Missionary Association of America. You can read his blog at ScottAttebery.com.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
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