Over the Labor Day weekend some 180 adults from across the North American Division (including two from Australia) sailed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Bahamas on the Adventist Single Adult Ministries cruise themed Plugged In.
NAD ASAM directors Pamela and Claudio Consuegra planned the cruise to provide an opportunity for single adults to find spiritual renewal, meet people with whom to develop new relationships, and to do activities together, says Pamela.
“Sabbaths can be lonely if you go to church alone, sit in a pew alone and go home alone for Sabbath dinner,” she says. “A sense of loneliness or isolation is one of the top issues of singles in the church,” she adds.
Many churches are not single-friendly places, with many well-intentioned church members who don’t know how to reach out to single adults, says Frank Bondurant, a vice president at the Columbia Union Conference and the union’s director of Adventist Single Adult Ministries. “Some members think their role is ‘match making’ when really it would be more helpful just to invite singles over for a meal, or family social activity.”
Renee’ Mobley, director for Family Ministries for the South Central Conference in the Southern Union, added that non-single members should ask singles what their needs are, then plan activities for and with them.
Malela Rozier, a member of the First church in Dublin, Georgia, attended the cruise in hopes of meeting and mingling with other singles during the worships and other activities. “We have a lot of single people in the church and I feel as though if we can come together with activities, we can support each other.”
During a workshop, Claudio encouraged attendees to get involved in ministry at their local churches. “The cruise is a wonderful thing, but if you depend only on an annual cruise or convention, it isn’t enough,” he said, and added that there needs to be an ongoing ministry on a regular basis—once a week or month.
During his worship talks, Mike Tucker, speaker/director for Faith for Today Television, encouraged attendees to not wait for the church to create ministries and connections for them and to get plugged into a true source of fulfillment—Jesus Christ.
“You make connections by choosing to be of service to others, rather than saying why isn’t the church doing this for me?” said Tucker.
V. Michelle Bernard is digital media manager for the Columbia Union Conference in Maryland.