I recently wrote about my experience using the Great Beginnings study designed to help start new small groups (Howerton, 2005). It was a good tool for helping our group get to know each other and to begin to share our lives. We grew closer as a group and at the end of the 6 weeks we decided to disband as a group. What? The whole point of Great Beginnings was to help us grow as a group so why did we not continue?
I’ve been thinking about the experience and have come to the unscientific conclusion that it is because we were a group of single adults. Our ages ranged from the 40’s to 60’s with widows, divorced, and never married singles represented. Some of the core values of relationships are the same as with our married friends, but there are some real differences. Here are my top five reasons of why single adult small groups are difficult to start:
- Single adults are busy. People think singles have a lot of free time, but they are a single income family and there is no division of the work at home. If they have children they are the parent. They must carve out special time to invest in relationships that takes them away from managing their lives.
- They are already involved in other groups. Since single adults must look outside the home for relationships most have already connected with other groups. Some are involved with work friends or community groups. A church small group is competing with established groups for their singles attention.
- They do not trust the church. The over 30 single adults are often the most neglected group in the church. Most churches do not know what to do with maturing singles so they become the invisible members.
- They are active in church activities. Single adults are frequently the best volunteers in the church. They are looking for a place to connect since there is no singles ministry. If they are already committed to a church program they may not feel a need for a single adult small group.
- They do not know what it means to live an Acts 2 lifestyle. Many single adults do not understand the biblical meaning of community. They do not know what they are missing so they do not seek it out. It is important for the church to show single adults why Christian community is more than a group of friends meeting every week.
Next week I will post on single adult women and how our women’s ministries can better minister to them and engage them in Kingdom service.
For more information on Great Beginnings go to: http://www.lifeway.com/Product/great-beginnings-your-first-small-group-study-P001274669
Howerton, R. (2005). Great beginnings: Your first small group study. Nashville, TN: Lifeway Christian Resources.