Online dating service Christian Connection has spent the last few months surveying thousands of single Christians on their experiences in the church. Survey respondents reported difficulties in finding other single Christians in their church and turning to online dating as "a last resort".

Responses included:

"There's such a pitiful lack of forums for meeting up with other single Christians."

"Married with 2.4 kids" was the norm in their church."

"Women buzz around eligible men in church like bees around a honey pot."

"Have seen some women getting very competitive over guys - have had friends who have fallen out with other female friends over it."

"I can also see how this must be really intimidating for a guy to go to church because he's likely to be pounced on."

In addition, the survey revealed many single Christians feel "socially anxious" because of the pressure to be married. 67.4% said being married was the "expected and accepted lifestyle in the church".

This very real problem is all down to the fact that most denominations make it very clear that they value families and children far more than they value single people and the elderly, even though the single and the elderly do far more work in our churches than mums and dads with young children. In the Church of England the worship of the family has almost replaced the Christian religion (see messy church etc). On the noticeboards outside our parish churches we announce "family services." A single person reading that, or a childless couple, or a same gender couple, are going to come to the conclusion that they are not welcome and then we moan that young adults are not joining the church. I think every job description I have ever seen for a parish priest has emphasised that the new incumbent must concentrate mostly on reaching out to families. It is such a waste of resources as families are usually too busy on a Sunday and in the evenings to commit to regular church attendance. Whilst if we put our efforts into getting single people to attend we would end up with a far more vital and interesting church with lots of groups and meetings. Jesus taught that everyone was part of the family not just families. We really should follow his instructions if we want to be the people he envisioned us to be.



  1. In the US, an astonishing number of parents make sure their kids learn, early on, that playing sports on Sunday is far more important than showing up for worship. On one hand, this helps to explain why churches work so hard to reach this demographic cluster; on the other, it proves we’ve basically failed.

    Old people, though, are the staff of life. For that matter, in the right parish, so are young adults. You can build a community around them in a way that you really can’t with mid-life parent and their teens.

  2. In the Methodist I went to the services labelled family service were once a month ones where there was no Sunday school and the service was more child related.

    It seems nowadays that many parents now ferry their children to football matches and dance exams on a Sunday.

  3. Honestly, and opening myself to all manner of hatefulness, if you’re married and a parent, doesn’t that mean that that is the center of your universe? It doesn’t follow inevitably that singles are always centered on God first, but it seems that married couples with children are necessarily precluded from putting God and community at the center of things. Of course they emphasize kids’ sports or family outings or get togethers – that’s their focus, not the ecclesial community.