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Singles ministry: A ‘meat market’ or true fellowship?comment (0)

September 25, 2003

By Lauren Brooks

Steve Killough said he definitely believes a singles ministry offers a great means to meet a spouse. After all, it’s how he met his wife, Lydia.
Killough, minister to singles at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills, was involved in this church’s singles ministry for almost a decade before he met and married his wife.
“There’s no formula for finding someone,” he said. “A group of us hung out together before Bible study and went on retreats and other outings. Over time I saw the one the Lord had for me.”
Killough said he definitely thinks church is one of the best places for Christian singles to meet other Christian singles.
“The singles ministry shouldn’t be too Victorian and not allow dating among members,” he said. “But you don’t want to get to become a meat market either.”
Richard Tucker, pastor to singles and families at Huffman Baptist Church in Birmingham, said church offers a much-needed way for Christian singles to connect.
“We all know there aren’t many places for Christian singles to meet other Christian singles,” Tucker said. “Church does provide a better scene for people to meet than other places, like bars.”
However, Tucker cautioned against people attending church just to find a mate.
“I don’t want to judge a person’s reasons for coming to church,” he said. “But if your sole purpose is to meet someone you probably won’t find what you’re looking for.”
Tucker said the two biggest ways his ministry helps singles meet other singles are the recreation night held the first Saturday of each month and the divorce care support group his church sponsors. Tucker attributes some of the success of the singles ministry to a sign that hangs prominently outside the church.
“It says ‘Single Adults are Loved at this Church,’” he said. “This sign has generated many calls and visitors to church. It’s become a landmark. We’ve had several couples who have met here at church and gotten married.”
In this computer age, some singles are turning to the Internet as another way to meet other Christian singles.
EHarmony.com, an online dating service, advertises its services on Birmingham’s WDJC radio station.
Although the service is not Christian per se, it matches all types of people from all religions.
Applicants complete a lengthy questionnaire about themselves and for a fee the service eliminates other applicants based on compatibility.
While Tucker isn’t sure what he thinks about an online dating service as a means for Christian singles to meet, he acknowledges that the Lord matches people in all sorts of ways.
“A couple from our church met through the want ads in the newspaper,” he said. “It’s definitely one of my favorite success stories.”
The couple did not want to be interviewed but shared thoughts.
“I was looking for Ms. Right and wasn’t finding anyone in our singles group at church,” said J.H. “I placed an ad in the Birmingham News and she responded to it.”
J.H. and his wife, L.H., have been married for nearly two years.
“If you sit home and think God is going to bring someone to your front door, it probably won’t happen,” J.H. said. “I don’t see anything wrong with meeting someone through alternate means, but with caution.”
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