Photo: pxhere.com
Photo: pxhere.com

Single Minded: Conference Report

The atmosphere was full of hope and excitement for a large (but often overlooked) part of the Christian church at the inaugural Single Minded Conference.

The Saturday event had sold out within a month—almost 400 people. Another 200 had attended a Friday night event the day before; while over 500 people joined via livestream.

Almost a quarter of those present were married—a wonderful sign that many now understand that singleness isn’t just an issue for single people.

Almost a quarter of those present were married—a wonderful sign that many now understand that singleness isn’t just an issue for single people.

The day opened with a video highlighting the under-representation of singles in the church as compared to broader society. It warned that an environment that is unwelcoming to unmarried people must limit the church’s ability to effectively evangelise and serve what is an enormous part of mainstream society.

Sam Allberry’s talks set the tone for the day, looking at singleness through the lens of Scripture. Countering the all-too-common idea that single people are incomplete, Sam pointed out that Jesus (the most perfect man to ever live!) was single. He also reminded us that marriage will one day be replaced with our marriage to Christ in heaven.

Sam’s second talk, covering four myths about singleness, challenged the assumption that singleness needs to be a lonely experience. His refreshing examination of what intimacy and family really mean challenged us to cultivate richer family relationships with one another rather than seeking just one person in which to put all our emotional hopes and dreams.

Alongside the talks, electives dealt with issues such as contentment, sexuality, friendship and same-sex attraction. Others discussed how to serve as a single and how married people can better serve those who are single.

At the start and the end of the day, panellists from a variety of life-experiences provided different reference points from which everyone could understand the issues of singleness. An unmarried woman spoke of her battle with childlessness; a single mother described what it was like to go through a divorce and to find herself single again.

For some singles, it was a day of hard reflection; a time to begin examining aspects of their lives that had long been overshadowed by the all-consuming hope for a romantic relationship. Yet there was also great encouragement. It was especially encouraging to hear a minister on the panel make a renewed commitment to better understand the needs of his single parishioners.

For some singles, it was a day of hard reflection; a time to begin examining aspects of their lives that had long been overshadowed by the all-consuming hope for a romantic relationship.

But there were challenges for all Christians. We were all encouraged to take friendships more seriously: to see them as vital and foundational, and to invest in them accordingly. Men were especially urged to resist our present cultural confusion of intimacy and sexuality and to build loving, godly, intimate relationships with one another.

So, what next? While details of future events and initiatives are currently being worked on, the overwhelming support for this event indicates that this is the beginning of a new movement within Christian circles. We need it—not only to be better equipped to serve singles in our churches, but to unlock the enormous potential of the singles in our churches for God’s glory.

If this excites you too, and you would like to be a part of the next chapter, then please join the Single Minded Community mailing list at http://singlemindedconference.com and let’s see just what God can do.

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