Don't overlook singles - or they'll overlook you
February 22 2002 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

Don't overlook singles - or they'll overlook you | Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

Don't overlook singles - or they'll overlook you

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer

When it comes to overall demographics, most churches do not mirror their communities. Our congregations are typically made up of traditional families - husband, wife and their 2.3 kids. According to the 2000 census, this "traditional" family is no longer the "typical" family. Single adults - people once married or never married - are a major portion of our population.

The growth in single adults is not caused primarily by an increase in divorces but by more young adults delaying marriage. Today, almost three-fourths of American women ages 20-24 have never been married. Over the past 30 years, the number of 20-24 year old never-married women has doubled, with the proportion of never-married women ages 30-34 tripling. A similar trend can be found among young American males, with less than 50 percent of under-30 males married today as compared to more than 80 percent married three decades ago. If your young adult son or daughter (or grandson or granddaughter) is not married, they're in the majority.

This information makes it more and more important for congregations to integrate single adults into the whole life of the church. The key word here is "integrate." Single adults are not some type of special, protected category. Being single doesn't segregate you at work or where you live. Single adults today, especially young women, have found much greater acceptance and opportunities for advancement in the workplace while still struggling for similar recognition at church.

The question should always be: "Is this person the best individual to lead a particular ministry?" Marital status should never be an issue.

Ron Hill, minister of education at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, and one of the longest-tenured ministers to singles in the nation, sees most churches ignoring this fast-growing segment of our population. "Single adults want to be the church too," he said, "and the truth is they are, but a lot of churches don't let them be. If you're married, you're treated differently."

More and more single adults, adds Hill, are just passing the church by because they are not allowed to be a significant part of the church's life - like serving as heads of committees or as deacons.

N.C. Baptist churches are in a race to catch up with the booming population all around us. In the last 10 years, for example, our state grew by more than 20 percent while our church population grew by less than 2 percent. Much of our state's rapid growth is among single adults. Can the same be said for much of your church's growth?

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2/22/2002 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments
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