Posted date: 4 Mar 2014
Shortage of single men in church
Engage launch a new website highlighting the problem single Christian women face with few available Christian guys.
There’s a difficult choice for more than two million women in UK churches as they decide whether to date men outside the church due to a shortage of men in the pews.
The number of women exceeds men by two-to-one in the UK church according to recent surveys, so leading Christian organisations are now pooling their diverse expertise and have launched a new resource website to help church leaders and Christians in general to actually tackle the issues.
“This imbalance has serious consequences for the whole church,” said The Rev Canon Dr Adrian Chatfield, co-chair of ENGAGE, the network of those organisations.
“Men need more effective evangelism and discipleship. Over 2 million Christian women face choosing between being single and childless or marrying a non-Christian. Only 11% of our grandchildren will have two Christian parents if things don’t change, with spiritual fatherlessness having a massive impact”, he added.
ENGAGE is unique because it brings together the expertise of leading organisations to positively address the causes of the situation. They include Christian Vision for Men which supports men’s evangelism and discipleship; Christian Connection – a Christian dating website; Relationship Central (Holy Trinity Brompton) who globally provide resources for marriage and parenting; Romance Academy which works with teenagers; the Evangelical Alliance – the UK’s largest and oldest representative of thousands of churches and hundreds of organisations; and the Simeon Centre for Prayer and the Spiritual Life, based at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
Their vision is “To make singleness or marriage a genuine choice for all Christian women and men, though a church which is gender-balanced and teaches about healthy Christian singleness, dating and marriage”.
The network has launched a website through which the complex interacting issues are explored and help can be found. The information ranges from practical dating advice to strategic church solutions.
“This is a crisis which must engage the active attention of everyone from the pulpit to the pew. Our research shows that there is real anxiety among people in church over their inability to find a life partner, which is a huge challenge to every church leader. Churches should actively include men and women of all ages and stages, so that single people naturally meet, and then find marriage partners if they want to”, said Jackie Elton, founder and Chief Executive of Christian Connection.
The ENGAGE site provides resources for Christian leaders and others on addressing the gender imbalance, supporting young people, singleness, dating and relationships, marriage and the wider view of relationships in society.