5. Seek out a mentor. All of this is best done with help and guidance. As I spoke with Steve, it became clear that many of the men at his church were coming to him directly, and asking him to mentor them. It made me wonder: "Do the women come to you too?"
"Yes," he said, "and I'll advise them as best I can, but since I'm not a woman, I don't always feel like I'm the best person for them to talk to. I'm constantly wishing there were older, wiser females on staff that could come speak into their lives. The Christian church is a 'male pastor' driven culture, and that's one thing we need to work on. We need to have more women in leadership that can mentor other women."
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Speaking of things the church can work on, Steve also mentioned that the church, in general, is aware of the many unmarried people in their late 20s to early 40s and is working on ways to engage them that aren't based so heavily on life stages. "Most people who have grown up in the church have been shuffled from children's ministry, to middle-school ministry, to high-school ministry, to college ministry. Everything is based around life stages, and we're in the process of moving away from that model, and into one that focuses on the larger story of what God is doing in their lives." How to Give & Receive Dating/Relationship Advice to a Friend
One way churches are attempting this is by gathering people based on their occupations or missionary goals. "Ultimately," Steve says, "when it comes to that 27-40 demographic, the church needs to ask, 'What do we hope for them? What do we hope for the future of the church?'"
Steve also has one idea that I'm quite excited about, and in many ways, it's downright revolutionary: "Next year, when our church hosts a marriage conference, I'm hoping to put together a dating conference, as well."
And all the single people said, "Amen."
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After years of hearing about Marriage Panels and Marriage Classes and Marriage Mentoring, it's refreshing to think that there could be something offered for the rest of us who need just as much guidance, but in a different way. If all goes according to plan for this dating conference, let's hope Steve finds a large enough venue, as I'm willing to bet that all the singles in Southern California will be coming out for it in droves.