Pastors Encourage Single Adults & Journey Road
As the number of single adults in the United States continues to grow, so does the need for ministry to single adults in churches. And, the new school year can be especially tumultuous for children in foster care, Union Baptist Church Senior Pastor Jacob Smith learned as the church prayed about the viability of a foster care ministry.
As the number of single adults in the United States continues to grow, so does the need for ministry to single adults in churches.
According to a 2020 profile of single Americans by Pew Research Center, nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) U.S. adults ages 30-49 are single – not married, living with a partner or in a committed romantic relationship. And the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data on America’s Families and Living Arrangements reveals many of these have never been married. More than 2 in 5 (43 percent) U.S. adults ages 30-34 have never been married, which means that adults in the U.S. are waiting longer to get married. In fact, the median age at first marriage has been on the rise since the mid 1900s. In 2021, the estimated median age to marry for the first time was 30.4 for men and 28.6 for women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
An increase in the number of single adults, and particularly single adults over the age of 30, brings with it a need for increased intentionality toward single adults in churches. A study from Lifeway Research asked Protestant pastors how their churches specifically minister to single adults ages 30 and older. Most pastors encourage these single adults to serve in leadership (92 percent) and volunteer (91 percent) roles. Some offer small group Bible studies and classes specifically for them (45 percent) or plan social events for them (43 percent). Fewer than 1 in 3 (30 percent) offer large group Bible teaching times specifically for them. Another 5 percent of pastors say they do not specifically minister to single adults in any of these ways, and 2 percent say they minister in other ways.
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The new school year can be especially tumultuous for children in foster care, Union Baptist Church Senior Pastor Jacob Smith learned as the church prayed about the viability of a foster care ministry.
Seeing God affirm the ministry, Smith contacted Journey Road, a new non-profit, nondenominational foster care ministry in Pickton, Texas, to learn current needs. The new school year is a prime time to reach out.
Each backpacks contains school supplies, toiletries, a full set of towels, a set of twin sheets, a Bible and information on Union Baptist Church with online access to the Gospel.
Rachel Draper, who founded Journey Road in 2019 with her husband, learned the needs foster care parents and children after she and her husband became foster parents five years ago. A shortage of foster families, support services and resources are prevalent, said Draper, who is actively recruiting churches to help.
There were about 407,500 children in foster care in the U.S. in 2020, about 217,000 of whom entered the system that year, according to Kids Count data from the Annie M. Casey Foundation). About 8 in 10 children in foster care in 2020 were placed with families and relatives, as opposed to group homes, the foundation reported.