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August 05, 2011

Comments

Ryn

That's a great idea! I may try something similar in my church.

Wendy

When I was at Uni I enjoyed our church's "Dinners of 8" where a pool of people who were interested were divided into groups of eight (different every time) for dinner. The host told you approximately what to bring for the dinner (eg. dinner rolls), which made it much easier on everyone. This wasn't a 'married people hosting single people' affair, so a little bit different.

In some ways what you've proposed above feels a little patronising. As a single person I made an effort to invited married friends and families over to my house. It affirmed the fact that I was an adult too. It is too easy to assume that single people need to be pitied, like they are not quite "grown up" yet. Maybe if the emphasis was taken off single and married-ness, the rumours about matchmaking would disappear!

Kelsie

I'm a college student in Birmingham, AL - is there any way I could have information about this ministry if it gets started there? It sounds great!!

Niki

I have to agree with Wendy's last paragraph. The idea sounds great but the emphasis should be taken off marital status and should just focus on christians simply meeting other christians.

Jody

Thanks for posting this! We do something similar at my church, mixing a few 'mature' (read 50's and up) couples, younger couples, and singles of various ages.

The goal is to get to know people outside of church, yet having a focus of growing in the LORD. It has been the single best way for me to meet folks on a more-than-surface level. And as Wendy said above, we have no rumours of matchmaking this way. ;)

Michelle

I appreciate the intent of this ministry, and affirm the great value of mixing generations and non-peer groups in occasions of Christian fellowship. I agree with Wendy's comment above. As a single woman in her 40s who loves to cook, it seems the privilege of being the host according to this plan would be denied me on the basis that I'm not married. That seems strange and unnecessary. Another idea from my experience is that sometimes a lightly organized potluck will be less of a burden on one person or family and may encourage involvement from people who have the space, but feel like the burden of the whole meal is overwhelming either in terms of time or cost.

becky

I was a part of this rotating dinner club and it was one of the greatest blessing to my life. I was encouraged to expand my circle, enveloped with loving examples of marriages that work (although differently) and glorify the Lord, and I still feel more at ease talking to the people I met over these dinners. Thank you and hopefully someday I'll be able to host others in my home more easily thanks to your loving example!

EMSoliDeoGloria

What a great idea. I love it! When I was a single @CLC and for many more years at another SGM church, I would have loved to have been part of something like this.

Now, as a young married, I would love to encourage this at my church to minister to singles. I like Wendy's idea too and it was the first modification I thought of - including someone other than singles and sharing the work load a little bit...

Tracy Atcheson

What a wonderful approach to hospitality. I have to share a testimony about the kindness of one couple at CHBC. I was in DC on business, pulled out the phone book and selected Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I took a cab to church for Bible study and church and was planning to catch a cab back afterward. After an wonderful Bible study and church service, I went in the office to call a cab. This young couple saw my distress at not being able to get anyone on the phone and offered to take me back to the hotel. They were so kind and sensitive to this visitor. I will visit there again when in town. I don't even have their names to say a proper thank you. Thank you for employing hopitality outside of just the dinners.

Bethany

Wow, very timely post! I was just discussing this with one of the administrators at my church. As I individually set out to pursue mentorship and more contact with couples/families in the church, I found there was much desire on both sides for the marrieds and singles to connect, but no established venue to do so. Random self-introductions on Sunday mornings do tend to be a bit awkward!

So I passed this along, and perhaps we can pursue something along these lines as a church. Thank you!

Diane

I hope this wouldn't be seen as a patronizing way to organize these dinners.

As a new mother, I can say that it serves a family greatly to be able to host the meal in their own home. From being able to have a meal in an environment that is set up for kids, to not having to transport your children and all their gear, to being able to get kids to bed on time and still enjoy your guests for a few more hours-- it actually serves families to have these events in their homes. And when the single people bring most of the food, it especially ministers to a family.

As important as I think it is for singles to practice hospitality, I noticed from my single days that actually inviting myself to bring a meal over to a family's home was sometimes the best way to serve and care for them.

Anon

As a 30-something single woman, I was tremendously hurt by how often I was overlooked in the church. The vast majority of people in my age group are married and it seems (in the churches I spent years of commitment to) the married couples just want to hang out with their spouses and other married couples. I can't tell you the pain of standing in a group of couples after church while they exclude you from plans they are making. Yes, there is more to the story that is here and yes, I invited women (both single and married) in the church to do things soooooo many times. But I was still felt like the outcast of the church so...I left. I don't even know where on stand in my faith anymore b/c relationships in the church have been that. bad.

Moral of the story: Please realize that there are people on the outskirts of church who desperately need to be embraced. And, if someone invites you for coffee/dinner/anything that would be fun for you, find the time to go. That person's fragile faith could depend on it. Be the one who's different.

Ann

It does feel patronizing, and I wouldn't go to something like this. I am single because I believe God has called me to serve Him that way, and I have hosted numerous couples and families from church in my home over the past few years. I am as capable a hostess as any "wife", and no more in need of "ministry" than any other Christian is. I love the idea of Christians getting together, and of including single people - far too often we are left out just because we're either forgotten or it seems to awkward to invite one person. But don't treat it as if the single people are "less" and needing ministry from the married people.

Liz Ward

I think this is a wonderful idea. I belong to a church in a university town and we have a high proportion of single people in their 20s. I was wondering if the computer programme used to randomly generate groups was available to other churches.

Duncan

I'm sorry if this came across as patronizing to some of you. The main reason the hosts were married couples is that those were the people we were in contact with who seemed to have the greatest challenges reaching out to younger members. There is no reason a host couldn't be single (though my hospitality skills were quite limited as a single guy), and in future versions of this we may well have hosts that are single. The main idea is to find hosts who are maybe a little older, more experienced, and looking to reach out to younger members. We focused on singles as the guests because our church has a large number of young singles, many of whom are new to the church, and we felt like this was the group who could benefit the most from something like this (based in part on my own experience as I outlined in the blog post). Of course, not every single member of the church participated, which was fine. But we were glad that so many did participate and seemed to have a good experience.

In terms of the computer program, I am working on a simple web-based application that should be up and running soon. The new system will bring greater automation and more flexibility to the entire process. After we pilot it at CHBC, we might have something we could share with other churches if there was interest.

emmanuel

As I individually set out to pursue mentorship and more contact with couples/families in the church, I found there was much desire on both sides for the marrieds and singles to connect, but no established venue to do so.

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