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May 16, 2011

Two and a Half Men in Your Small Group

Are you trying (and succeeding) to reach single men through community?


First things first: this post doesn't have anything to do with Charlie Sheen or "winning" or anything like that. So don't worry. I just thought it was a clever title on the subject of single men in the context of small groups.

Having said that, do you have any single men in your small group? Better yet, are you trying to minister to single men through your small group?

I am putting the finishing touches on a new resourced called "Effective Small Groups for Men," and I came across some interesting ideas in an article written by Steve Grusendorf:

Assimilating single adult men into the life of a local church can be difficult. When a new family comes through the doors of most churches, the leaders work hard to get them connected; the same is true for single mothers. But there seems to be an initial distrust of many single men who enter our churches.

That's a shame. More than any other demographic, single men are in desperate need of community. In many ways the single adult male is more isolated than his peers. As men get older, more and more of their friends get married and begin having families. An unspoken stigma usually accompanies single men as they get older: the mark of being desperate. Single men find fewer and fewer people to which they can relate, often forcing them to live lonely, isolated lives.

Steve's conclusion is that "with some intentionality, co-ed small groups can be a great place for these men to find the community they long for."

And my first reaction to that is: "Yeah. That makes sense." My second reaction is: "But I don't have any single men in my small group. And I have never tried to attract any single men into my small group." So where does that leave me?

What about you?

posted by Sam O'Neal on May 16, 2011 10:45 AM

Related Tags: Men, Singles


I have a single man in my small group, in fact he is my co-leader. I saw exactly what you describe when my friend first came to our church, and in large part it continues now after six years! I suggest reaching out in friendship first and caring enough to ask questions about the single man's situation rather than speculating and assuming. Find a way to offer help if possible. My friend made the decision to join my small group after trust and relationship had been built.

I may have misunderstood, but is the title, "two and a half men" supposed to mean an single person (male or female)is half a person, or an unmarried man is not fully a man? I surely hope that is not your intent or thinking by using this title. Single people are whole individuals and fully mature, which is the best way to approach marriage, if that is what a person chooses.

@EveryDayK: Unfortunately, that is how I've often felt being a young, single man in church when I used to go. One particular phrase that many of those older than I who were married was that I was a young, single guy with no responsibilities. It was often employed when it came to tasks that others did not want to do or found inconvenient.
Many sermons tend to focus on Fatherhood/Motherhood and the marriage relationship while sermons geared toward single men are all about not being lustful, as if married people don't lust.
It would be great if churches would realize that the "freedom" that single men possess is often accompanied by loneliness that can be greatly enhanced when at church and that we don't often leave because we're flaky or unreliable, but because we don't feel that we truly belong there or have a sense of our purpose within the church.

You folks are making some excellent points -- important points for the church. Jamar, do you feel that small groups help the reality you described, or do they fall into the same stereotypes as the weekend services?

And no, the title of this post is just my attempt to mirror something catchy from pop culture that introduces "men" as the subject of the post.

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