Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wanted: Thriving singles group at church

A reader shares her dilemma:

I live near Ballantyne and am looking for a church close by with lots of singles. It seems to be a big problem around here. Carmel Baptist has lost many members; I went there for a long time. Calvary Church doesn't have a strong singles group, Church At Charlotte is in the process of building one, and the singles group at Forest Hill Church dissipated.

Can you ask the community for suggestions? Many singles feel without a home.


What say you, Relaters? Do you have any church suggestions for her?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I lived in the Charlotte area for 8 years and experienced the same issue. However, the problem acutally lies within the churches themselves, in that they do not minister to the needs of single people. Their ministries focus totally on families. However, that is not limited to just the Charlotte area, but throughout all churches. My experiences with singles church groups have been that they were taught mostly by married people who can no longer relate to the spiritual needs of a single person, which are far different because single people do not have the support system of a family.

Anonymous said...

WOW thank you I'm very glad this issue has been brought up. I live in South Charlotte and have been looking for the past 3 years for a solid church group for single adults in the area and it's very difficult to find. I also used to go to the singles at Carmel Baptist and it was a meat market environment and too much back-biting gossipy drama. Hickory Grove Baptist has a singles department but they recently got new leadership over the adults and now it's fizzling out--not as vibrant as it used to be. The majority of churches don't even list a Single Adult ministry on their website. They have ministries for toddlers, high school, married, pre-teens, college-bound, and Seniors, but nothing for career single adults. Sorry I wish I knew the answer or could be of more help. I think if the Christian singles started speaking up more and writing letters maybe the church will sit up and take notice and create a place for the singles?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! I've attended several different parishes since I moved to Charlotte years ago and invaribly leave discouraged because it was clear the ministry focused solely on nuturing the relationsihps with families. They tend to forget career single adults in their mid-20's to mid-30's often become part of couple who then starts a family.

Anonymous said...

CharlotteONE is a citywide singles ministry

www.charlotteone.org

I totally agree that South Charlotte definitely needs a church that has a singles ministry as part of its program.

Instead it seems like local churches just want to "refer" singles to CharlotteONE and not have their own program at the church.

Show some respect for the singles who are choosing to spend their time in church - instead of hooking up and random sexual encounters, which society tells us is the "normal" single person's lifestyle.

Fellowship among like-minded people would be nice.

Churches - SUPPORT IT!!

Alison said...

I've been in the Charlotte/Lake Norman area for the past ten years and as a single adult who is a follow of Christ, I've had the opportunity to experience a variety of "singles groups" that are both church & non-church affiliated.

I invite you all to come to First Baptist Church of Charlotte where we do have a vibrant, growing program for single adults of all ages. For example, we're gathering this Saturday at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte to have a great time, grow in our relationships with one another and create a sense of community.

Our program is called the Generations Ministry and our staff is awesome. Jay, Nathan, Brandon & Ashley do a fantastic job and I encourage you all to come this Sunday to Bible study at 9am and an awesome, rocking, contemporary service at 10:15. You can check out the website at ypandc.com.

Hope to see you there this week!

Alison

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of these comments. We have repeatedly tried to start up a singles group at our church in the Lake Norman area, but it always seems to fizzle. The focus always seems to be on families, marriages, etc.

To comment on CharlotteONE, my single friend and I were very excited when that started up a few years back. We went SEVERAL times, she even served as a greeter, but we were amazed at how "clique-y" it was. People came with their group of friends and hung out together. They weren't really that friendly to us. My friend said on the nights she went and "greeted" she would purposely go over to people to try to strike up conversations (even other girls, just to be friendly!) and they would ignore her! So, our enthusiasm with that quickly dissolved. I met someone in grad school soon after, and she is still single. :( It almost seems like faith works AGAINST you when you're trying to find the right person.

Being single down here is VERY frustrating because sooo many people are married (and they tend to marry young) and have kids. Ministries somehow tend to overlook the few and farbetween singles. It's a shame, because so many singles are hitting the bars and night club scene for a "hook up," it'd be nice for there to be an alternative for Christians.

Rob said...

The comment about Hickory Grove's Singles Ministry "fizzling out," is not based on fact. This Ministry is thriving at both North and Main Campus! Contact Brian Boyles at Main or Jimmy Smith at North. Check out www.depthsingles.com

Anonymous said...

When it comes to being single in Charlotte, church is literally no-man's (or no-woman's) land. I've lived here and in the surrounding area all my life, and the only really good single ministry I can recall is one from a now-defunct church in Raleigh, back during my college days. It was a small group, but a good one. For us, it was less about trying to find Mr. Right or Miss Right and more about just having people to commune with. There was none of that pressure to try to "find someone", which I think is a big problem.

Churches are missing a wonderful opportunity to minister to a group of people who would really relish and cherish it. I've been married now for 8 years--and I didn't meet my wife in church and we don't have children--but I've not forgotten for a minute what it is like to be single. It can be a fun and exciting time in life, and I encourage everyone to enjoy every minute of it. But sometimes that loneliness for human connection can be unbearable. That's what rends my heart.

To the original poster of the question, and to every single person reading this, you're in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Singles may want to check out Mecklenburg Community Church. They have small groups specifically for singles - use the following link or call them directly: http://www.mecklenburg.org/Information.asp?TopicID=195

For those looking for singles groups that are more of a mix of spiritual and social, try looking at the small groups within the church of your choice. This may be an alternative which tends to be less "cliqueish."

Susie said...

I am not from the area but I visited Charlotte recently and really like the area. I am currently in transition and will be moving here soon. I am looking for a Word teaching ministry that can feed my soul. Once that is order everything else will fall into place. Seek ye first the kingdom of God...

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is a missed opportunity for the churches of the Charlotte area.

I am recently divorced. Being single again is not exciting or fun. It is lonely and scary.

My uptown church is great, but I look around every Sunday and ask "where are the people like me?"

Adrian DeVore said...

I participated in a singles group at my former church and it was a time waster. For those who want to seek a singles group, you have to extend yourself beyond the church doors. I've lived here eight years as a single person and found it difficult (at times) to meet someone with whom I would want to take a chance with. Charlotte is far more geared toward families.Singles need not apply.

Anonymous said...

The last singles group I was a part of fizzled out because so many of those paticipating began hooking up and getting married. We had a gifted, dynamic leader, and we all learned and grew so much under his guidance, and then he got married and was no longer interested in being a part of the singles ministry. So I guess it was successful, in a way.

Keep pressing on, believers. Faith has a way of being rewarded.

Anonymous said...

Ive lived here all my life and haven't found a church I felt I belonged to once I became a teenager and young adult. They are way to click-ish as a teen and beyond I believe. Im now heading towards that 30 mark and have given up trying to find a church with a good singles group for me to go to, which is horrible to say, but I have searched and searched. You just dont find churches around that cater to young adults going thru starting their careers and their life.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the depthsingles sight like someone suggested and found a car care and clothes closet as the upcoming events.
What exactly does 'thriving' mean?

Anonymous said...

As I have experienced, there is no "perfect" church or parachurch ministry for singles. I've lived in Charlotte now for 6 years and I've watched so many singles ministries in churches "die" within a couple of years. Most are "cheesy" and not worth the time to come. However, CharlotteONE Uptown has been an answered prayer for myself and many of my friends. It's really large, which can seem a little impersonal, but afterwards everyone goes to Rock Bottom for food and I've met some really great friends. In my opinion, it's the best "non-perfect" ministry for singles in our city.

Anonymous said...

Having recently finished up my third decade of life, I have been a part of several singles ministries in college and since. In the five years that I have lived in Charlotte, I have been fortunate to find a home at Carmel Baptist. It is true that the faces at Carmel have changed over the years, but what strikes me as slightly ironic is that the stated evidence of a failing singles program at Carmel (“Carmel has lost many members”) actually seems to be rooted in the singles culture of our day.

As we all know firsthand, the singles and young adults in Charlotte are very transient. Just reading the comments that were already posted when I began writing supports the fact that singles wander between churches looking for something. What is it that you are looking for? Have you settled down in any one church long enough to accurately assess the presence or lack of real community? Have you made the effort to look past the facades that other singles put up during their own search for authentic relationships? Have you taken the time to invest in building a community in a local church?

Having volunteered in many different capacities in singles groups over the years I can say that it can be a difficult endeavor! Singles are notoriously transient and non-committal (and dare I say, selfish?) making it difficult to keep a leadership structure in place in most singles groups. So many are looking for a real community and yet so few are willing to put down roots in a church body and be the stimulus for just such a community. Why do we expect “the church,” meaning other people, to serve us and to provide singles ministries for us to join? Why must churches (meaning church leadership?) “cater to young adults” when most young adults do not commit to a body? We are the church - make it happen.

My suggestion to the wandering singles of Charlotte: find a church home that is teaching the Word of God, put down roots, and then be the church. Find those like you in your church, even if it’s only three people, and become a community. Your commitment will draw others to you. As someone else suggested, it is in our small groups that we will find authentic relationships. And let’s not forget that we can interact with others in the church. Yes, part of going to a singles group at church is finding someone to permanently “do life with,” but in the meantime, we can be a part of a much larger family instead of limiting ourselves to the land of the ring-less. Besides, you never know what church member might have a son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend that they might be willing to set you up with. Let them know you’re looking - it can’t hurt.

I wish you all the best of luck in your search for authentic relationships and a church family. You are not alone - do not give up. The Enemy loves to tell the lie that we are isolated in this search and it simply is not true. Please don’t let your “tour of churches” leave you on your own. You have much to offer to the church. If you ask God for guidance, He will bring you to the right church family and show you where you can plug in. Why wouldn’t He want to answer an earnest prayer for a church home? “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to CharlotteONE, but I keep hearing good things about it. I hear they are meeting in Uptown now which sounds appealing.

I just looked at their website and it looks pretty cool.

www.charlotteone.org

Anonymous said...

I went to Carmel Baptist steadily for 5 years and found it very difficult to get plugged in because everything revolved around children and the marrieds. I also had to go outside the church doors to find volunteer work. My heart was into helping the needy and poor and orphaned and widowed and I couldn't find any volunteer opportunities like that at Carmel (they mostly needed volunteers for the nursury on Sunday mornings) but I did find plenty through Hands on Charlotte.

Also, during my Carmel Baptist days, I did join a weeknight bible study outside of Sunday morning church and met people that way. I still do the weeknight bible studies to this day and it has been a real blessing. That was the only way I got to know people at Carmel.

Also, another poster asked a good question: Please define "thriving" when referring to the singles ministry at the Hickory Grove main campus?

I have heard that CharlotteONE was a great event to attend, although I have never been. Hmmmm, maybe we all should go check out check out First Baptist of Charlotte???? :-)

Anonymous said...

I just went to CharlotteONE's website and guess what? They are doing a series of talks this summer called, "Anonymous: Being Known In A Big City." Hmmmm. Here is the opening line:

"Thousands of young adults and singles flock to the Queen City each year only to find themselves feeling disconnected and forgotten."

Sounds familiar.

I hate driving in Uptown though.

Anonymous said...

My friend just forwarded me this link. Sound like CharlotteONE is the best bet right now. I think they are having a service this Tuesday, June 17th in Uptown. I think we are going to go check it out.

DShell said...

check out SingleSource at Concord First Assembly. concordfa.com It is in Concord with a lot of things going on.

Amy said...

I have been involved in the singles ministry at Hickory Grove Baptist Church Main and North for seven years. I have seen many single men and women come and go, not only because they met their future spouse, but, because they changed jobs and relocated or they found another church where they believed themselves to be a better fit with that particular church body. Or, sadly enough, they have stopped pursuing corporate worship all together. It happens to the best of "thriving" singles ministries.

I was blessed to meet my now-husband while attending the main campus six years ago. We served alongside one another in various ministries, getting to know the other until finally we began dating and then, we got married. That was four years ago. We began serving at north campus in the singles ministry because we both had such a heart for singles. My husband has since been ordained and is now the pastor to Single Adults at Hickory Grove Main Campus.

We do understand the issues that singles experience and not just singles who have not ever been married, but singles in all seasons of their life.

The Car Care and Clothes Closet that a previous blogger referred to is a free service held once a month on a Saturday and is specifically designed for single moms who need basic things done to their vehicle but cannot afford it. The adjacent clothes closet is designed for them to peruse for any clothing needs they might have for themselves and/or their children while they are waiting. I know this may not seem applicable to a young single with no children but, it's a ministry that is definitely meeting the needs of a lot of struggling single moms and on a side note, it's open to any single mom/single woman in the Charlotte area. You do not have to be a member of Hickory Grove to take advantage of this opportunity.

Another thriving area of the singles ministry at Hickory Grove Main and North campuses is devoted to singles, who because of divorce, are "single again." And branching off of that ministry is a ministry designed for their chidlren who can be just as much affected by divorce as the parents themselves.

This past Easter, our church began a contemporary service at 11AM on Sunday mornings. We describe it as "timeless theology, modern worship." You should come. You might like it.

All this to say, I hope you come and visit the Hickory Grove singles ministry. That is to say, if you haven't already visited us since you posted this question some time ago. And please, introduce yourself to me or to Brian. However, I will not tell you that we're perfect because there is no such thing as a perfect singles ministry, one in which every need that a single has is catered to. A good singles ministry, big or small, will always point you to Christ regardless of your marital status.

Anonymous said...

My friend and I went to CharlotteONE this month! LOVED IT! Not your typical "singles" worship service. Very cool atmosphere in Uptown. Great folks. Speaker was one of the best I've heard in a while. Band was great.

We are going again in July.

Electro said...

Wouldn't the perfect singles group theoretically lose ALL OF IT'S MEMBERS? Singles groups are born to die... that's just the way it is. People go, look for a possible mate, and either find it and try/suceed/fail, or don't and likely leave.

Also, Charlotte has a low population of singles.