A Singular Mission Field

There are more single people in America than ever—and they need the church as much as ever.
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Single people are "the most unchurched population in America and therefore one of the greatest mission fields in the world," says Rich Hurst, director of strategic adult ministry resources for Cook Communications and a 20-year veteran of singles ministry.

Hurst spoke to CT while hosting Cook's ninth annual Single Adult Ministry (SAM) convention in March. Nearly 700 men and women traveled to Denver for the event, giving a glimpse into the current state of singles ministries in the United States.

Single people are one of the fastest-growing groups in America, Hurst says. A Rutgers University National Marriage Project report found that the nation's marriage rate has dropped by 43 percent in the last 40 years. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that single adults and single parents continue to be the fastest-growing household types in America. Since 1980 single mothers have increased 42 percent, single fathers have increased 99 percent, and people living alone have increased 36 percent compared to married-couple households, which only increased 9 percent during the same period.

With such growth and diversity in the singles population, churches are finding that they have to be strategic.

"Single adult ministry is becoming more specific," said Angela Hamm, singles minister at First Baptist Church of Lewisville, Texas. "The groups are becoming more broad—Gen Xers, single parents, elderly—and you have to break it down more to meet needs."

Ministry to single people in their 20s must be different from ministry to single people in their 50s, she added: "The only thing they have in common is their singleness."

To address the varying needs of singles in the church, the SAM conference offers more than 80 workshops and 15 special seminars. Hurst ...

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