Get Over the Numbers

Reaching Young and Single Adults in the Smaller Church

Single adult and young adult ministry continues to be a hot topic. Books that identify the characteristics of the previous three generations continue to educate pastors, teachers, church workers, and even parents. A common theme in these books, however, is: Pastors, the church is in trouble if it does not reach and disciple young adults. A question these books often leave unanswered is, “How?”

We see or hear of successful single and/or young adult ministries in larger churches. While serving as district young adult representative I facilitated workshops to help churches launch their single adult/young adult ministries. When I opened the floor for questions, one of the most common questions leaders asked was: “How can we target single adult/young adult ministry when we are a smaller church? Can we keep the attention and interests of single adults/young adults with little or no budget?”

The answer is yes. I share both from my experience and research. My goal in this article is to provide a plan to implement a new or improve an existing single adult/young adult program in the smaller church.

What are the needs of single adults and young adults? The answer is one word —relationships. Look at some activities single and young adults engage in on an average day (excluding social events):

  • E-mail. Always good to hear from old friends as well as new ones.
  • Facebook. People to relate to in one form or another.
  • Phone calls and text messages. Several conversations that stretch over the entire day.
  • Chat room. No shortage of interesting people.

Singles likely come to your church by way of relationships: friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, family, or coworker. This is our starting point.

Click here to read the rest of this article and obtain a downloadable PDF of the summer 2009 issue of Enrichment journal.