What do single Christians say about church

Over 3,000 single Christians shared their views on their experiences of church, covering eight key areas. While many singles felt accepted by their church, others reported feeling ‘inadequate or ignored’ and more than a third claimed they were treated differently to married couples.

 

Do singles feel part of their churches?

Single Christians generally feel accepted and embraced by their churches and not restricted in their ability to lead. But, at the same time, they are often isolated and lonely, particular where churches are focused on families.

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When are churches good places for single Christians?

Churches that do not differentiate between people based on their marital status are good places to be for single adults. The survey also revealed specific attributes and aspects of church life that enable singles to play a full and active part.

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What can church leaders do and be?

Single Christians identified 12 top actions that church leaders could take to help them. They also told us whether church leaders had discussed singleness with them and what they preached about marriage.

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Gender imbalance in church                               

The church needs more single men. That was the overwhelming response to the question about the gender imbalance among congregations. The lack of male single Christians was attributed to factors such as lack of role models and feminisation of the church and worship.

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What are the differences between men and women in church?

Men and women have contrary views about being single and these differences are strongly linked to age. Overall women cope with singleness better than men and the two genders look in different places to find potential partners and are likely to attend different types of church.

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Gender differences by age

From type of church attended and church leaders' advice on relationships, to feelings about marriage and the impact of singleness on faith, our survey revealed some interesting findings on  the  views of men and women and how they differed depending on age.

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Differences by denominations

Fewer than 5 in 10 Anglicans would never marry a non-Christian, compared to 7 in 10 of those attending charismatic and evangelical churches.  Anglicans also think it is less important than worshippers from other denominations to avoid sex before marriage.

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Types of church and how they differed

Did you know that single worshippers attending evangelical churches were the most unhappy with their status, compared to other types? This was one of the more surprising findings in our survey. Some of the other differences are to be expected, for example attitudes to sex and marrying outside the faith. 

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About the research

The ‘Singleness in the UK Church’ survey was conducted in 2012 by the online dating website Christian Connection.  Data files are available for download.

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