I attended an event today. It was advertised as a meeting for mature singles and was organised by a church.

I go for events even though I’m introverted. They’re a good way to meet people outside my circle. Hopefully, I can learn something new as well. 

The aim of this particular event was to provide a forum for single, separated, widowed, divorced and complicated people to talk about the issues they are dealing with, and to network with one other. I appreciated this. I believe we underestimate the insight and comfort that shared experiences provide. It helps to know you’re not alone.

During the event, someone made a statement that got me thinking. She wondered why people weren’t expressing themselves freely and were being overly religious. However, the positioning of the event from the get-go created that. The hearts of the organisers were in a very good place. But, I find that those who work in the religious sector, find it difficult to think outside of a religious mindset. They plan things from the premise of, “We need to save people from themselves and we must not offend the Holy Spirit.” As if such a thing were possible or the Holy Ghost needs help:).

When you brand an event with the nomenclature, “Mature Singles”, you immediately put off those who do not want to appear obvious or desperate. Calling it a mixer or networking event would suffice. But that does not seem to satisfy religious sensibilities. In addition, while people need answers to burning questions, we need to minimise the impression that they need their Pastors’ endorsement or permission to live their lives. Pastors possess a store of wisdom, yes, but the emphasis should be on people reasoning through issues themselves. They should be encouraged to develop personal relationships with God and to seek to understand his word for themselves. Christians make more decisions when they’re alone than when they are in church, so independent thinking is critical. Having a Pastor answer all the questions at a Singles’ event, instead of fostering interactive discussions may not be a good idea.

At a Singles’ event, I think emphasis should be placed on people connecting and not just meeting. Beyond going around a room to say, “Hi” to people whose names you will soon forget, there needs to be structured interactions. There should be a shared database of people who attend (this should be opt-in), so when people leave, they can continue the conversation. An event app can help or a Facebook Group.

Churches often plan lovely initiatives but, those activities could be so much more.

Christians make more decisions when they're alone than when they are in church, so independent thinking is critical to living a full life. Click To Tweet