8 Ways to Reach Single Adults through Your Church

Pam and I were older when we married, so we both spent many years as a single adult. Consequently, we’re sensitive to reaching single adults through our churches. Perhaps one of these suggestions will help you as you reach this group in your community:

  1. Know the demographics of your ministry area. If you don’t know the general number of single adults in your community, you need to check the demographics. You can’t reach people you don’t know are there.
  2. Recognize differences among singles. An 18-year old unmarried single is different than a 30-year old divorcee – who’s also different from a 65-year old widower. All are technically “single,” but their life stages and needs are different. An unfocused single adult ministry won’t likely reach all of them.
  3. Affirm the goodness of singleness. Jesus was single. Paul was likely single. In fact, the apostle recognized the value of singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. While the call to singleness is likely for the few, the Scriptures nevertheless affirm this calling. Too few church leaders, though, help us recognize the same.
  4. Be careful not to promote only “couples” as the right pattern for living. For example, a “Couples 1” small group signals that single adults may not be welcome, even if that’s not the case. Likewise, if “family” in your church means only couples with children, you might miss a number of people in your congregation.
  5. Teach on biblical marriage. Everyone—including single adults—needs to hear the biblical perspective of marriage. I appreciate Tim Keller’s words here: “single people cannot live their lives well as singles without a balanced, informed view of marriage. If they do not have that, they will either over-desire or under-desire marriage, and either of those ways of thinking will distort their lives.”[i]
  6. Use single adult role models in sermon and teaching illustrations. Consider Lottie Moon, the missionary. Or John Stott the pastor. Or Corrie Ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame. Or faithful, godly singles you’ve known. You affirm singleness when you tell these stories.
  7. Enlist singles to serve in leadership positions in your church. They have much to offer. Allow them to use their giftedness and maximize their availability to serve the Lord as leaders. Your congregation will be stronger because you did so.
  8. Strengthen your ministry to college students. I’ve already noted the danger of pigeonholing singles into one stage of life, but I emphasize this group for one reason: many churches neglect this group. Reach out to your congregation’s collegians wherever they attend school. If there’s a university near your church, seek ways to be an influence of that campus.

If you’re a single adult, what would you add? If your church is reaching singles, how are you doing it?


[i]Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (pp. 219-220). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


  • mark says:

    First, please stop treating us as second- or third-class Christians. Evangelicals still see us as problems and lesser people. Most everything, e.g. sermons, small groups, pastoral care, face time with the leadership, etc. in churches is directed to married people with children. Widows are ok as are couples with grown children.

    Second, why is there a fear of letting the clergy be around the single people? When I was still in Evangelicalism, there seemed to be a concerted effort by the leadership to have the pastor/minister as far from the single people as possible.

  • SMS says:

    The pastor at the church I attend tries but because I’m a single women I smile alot and sometimes I think they get the wrong idea. I understand marriage is a big part and I don’t want to blame everyone because we all have a part in the Body of Christ. I’m an only child 45 years old single I dont want to upset the church because unity is important. So I ask God how can I help the family of believers. Pray, encourage them. But some of them dont even open the doors at the home. I understand boundaries maybe not clean or maybe something happened in their past. I have a heart that cares too much. But that is how God created me. But sometimes it is hard being single in the church. The devil tries to say hey they don’t love you, look they are ignoring you. I.just have to say they have families and families with kids understand each other. So I just ask God help me not be sad.

  • Jillian says:

    There is no way to get connected in the mornings anymore since most churches do not have a form of Sunday school anymore. I am not going to just hear I sermon. I can do that at home. And I rarely see people from my small groups at church. Even with volunteering, things stay very shallow.

  • John Nixdorf says:

    “Strengthen your ministry to college students”

    Maybe also strengthen your ministry to young people pursuing a trade or otherwise not going to college. Most frequent requests on my church’s e-message board are for plumbers and mechanics, not sociology and music majors.

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