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Churches can minister to singles creatively on Valentine’s Daycomment (0)

February 7, 2008

By Cheryl Sloan Wray

With its mushy cards, sentimental gifts and fancy date nights, Valentine’s Day can be a struggle sometimes for a Christian who is single, divorced or widowed.

With creativity, however, those who minister to singles say that it can be a joyous holiday.
“For those happily involved in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be a very special time,” said Bryan Martin, single adult minister at Southside Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Baptist Association. “However, for those ... suffering from a broken relationship or those who don’t have someone, it can be very heart-wrenching. The flood of dreams (of what might be) or memories (of what once was) can leave one feeling very isolated and depressed.”

The answer at many churches is to offer fun, creative activities to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Martin said he heard of one church that held an annual dinner during which the single men cooked for and served the single women and he once had the single men in a group buy roses for the single women.
Tim Simpson, minister to college and young singles at First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, in Tuscaloosa Baptist Association, suggested activities such as a progressive dinner or scavenger hunt as some fun ways to enjoy the holiday.

Simpson said he doesn’t see a lot of disappointment on Valentine’s Day as long as friends without romantic relationships stick together. Martin added that there also might be opportunities to actively and purposefully reach out to individuals who are having an especially hard time.

“Some people might like the support of a few close friends with a meal or a game night,” he said. “But please also remember that some people might prefer a quiet time at home on that night. It is important that we always remember the Bible’s admonition in Philippians 2:3 to ‘consider others better than yourselves.’”
Some groups use the time to reach out and show love to people outside their peer group by becoming involved in a volunteer project on that day. “This allows the members to focus their energy into something that positively ministers to others,” Martin noted.

After all, the thing to remember is that Valentine’s Day is about love — the love we receive from Christ and the love we can give to others — according to Fern Horst, a member of the board of directors for Purposeful Singleness (a nondenominational ministry for Christian singles).

“It is true that there is something wonderful about romantic love, but as hard as it may be to believe, agape love is the better of the two and is not limited to those who are ‘in’ love,” Horst said. “I challenge myself and all Christians to spend Valentine’s Day celebrating agape love. It is a love with which God loves us completely and with which we find so much fulfillment in giving to others.”

Martin reiterated the idea of using Valentine’s Day as a chance to show Christlike love to others. “Pray for those around you, and ask God to show you how to reach out to others,” he said. “And do this not just at Valentine’s but every day.”
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