Note: Rob Stevens writes for BuffaloChristian.com. This is an opinion piece; an essay. He is not the leader of any Singles movement, so please don’t contact him about this idea; rather, leave your comment(s) on this article, where you can meet like-minded people who may want to take Rob’s idea and bring it to fruition.
Single Christians in Western New York do not have ample opportunities to gather together for fellowship and service.
The sad reality is that too many walls presently exist between most churches that are very parochial in their thinking:
Protestant vs. Catholic, denominational differences, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist or Wesleyan
Unreasonable fears that… “our members may be lost to other churches.”
We can’t or shouldn’t attend other church sponsored singles’ events…or even advertise them.
We must be in control and it must be just about our own church so we get all the credit we’re due.
I think there should be a Christian Singles of WNY group that’s organized as part of a para-church organization, loosely connecting members of many churches together to hold get-togethers for Christian singles.
For each singles gathering, a range of workshops might be offered to select from that may be facilitated by pastors and ministry leaders from many different churches OR… DVD seminar presentations by nationally prominent speakers OR… panel discussion groups that are uniquely centered around the concerns and issues that many singles face today:
- parenting strategies for single moms and dads
- dating the Christian way in today’s modern world…creating friendships/relationships that last
- financial planning in the single world, investment advice, consumer savings ideas
- cooking a week’s worth of dinners for one (on a budget)
- saying “no!” without being disagreeable
- dealing with loneliness, depression or grief
- getting back into the dating world after a long absence/overcoming shyness
- what to talk about (and not to) on the first date
- how to date on a budget/local things to do for free
- tips on starting a co-ed interest group for biking, hiking, movie nights and charity causes
Intergenerational mentoring would be a huge part of these gatherings, as the young might help seniors with understanding Facebook and the more seasoned singles could offer wisdom on challenges they’ve overcome in their life experiences.
We need to re-direct our focus away from tweaking what we have now in church singles ministry. Most churches do not even offer it, or there is great misunderstanding about the singles community and our unique needs– singles operate in a very different world from those who are married.
Single Christians have a lot to contribute and many of us have been gifted with highly developed and valued skills to share. All we need is the proper forum to shine God’s love.
Here are some ideas that could help Single Christians flourish in Western New York:
- Gathering 1000 Christian Singles at Samuels Grand Manor or Adam’s Mark Hotel for a night of praise, worship and fellowship.
- Organizing a Single Parents Festival, with children’s activities offered and expert parenting advice.
- Bringing together a huge missions team of singles to lend assistance to a region following a natural disaster.
- Making available 1000 Chiavetta’s chicken dinners for a Christian Singles Mingle Picnic at a local Town Park…naturally children will be invited…with a charity fund raising goal.
- Selling 5000 advance purchase tickets for a Christian Singles Conference at the Buffalo Convention Center with vendor booths to offer information and assistance for the singles community with prizes and give-a-ways…and “get acquainted/networking opportunities.”
By tying this all into social networking sites like ChristianSingleMingle.com or E-Harmony.com, there is a pool of WNY singles numbering in the thousands that can be reached. And all of this is so needed. Singles are hungry to connect with other Christians to help strengthen their faith and to meet “the right match.” And even if non-Christians come to these large regional events, think of the field to harvest when they do!
Finally, there is no intent by this effort to interfere, compete with, or replace any singles ministry offered by any church in Western New York; this is another option and opportunity to gather larger numbers of singles together for the good of the region.
Like any vision, the idea for Christian Singles of WNY needs to build slowly. Initially it could be just two churches hosting meetings on the 1st and 3rd Friday nights of each month…then build from there and work to draw in others. Eventually, multiple churches would become involved in promoting these gatherings, held at multiple venues, and with teams of speakers that could be put together to speak on topics of interest to singles.
Interestingly, this vision can also apply to Christian Men of WNY and Women and Youth and Senior Citizens, yes? Who better, however, than the Singles Community to lead and help make this regional plan work? After all…Christ himself was single!