Over the 2017 Labor Day weekend, 180 adults from across the North American Division (NAD), and two singles from Australia, sailed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the Bahamas on the Adventist Single Adult Ministries (ASAM) 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 for singles in the church,” she adds.
Many churches are not single-friendly places, as many well-intentioned church members don’t know how to reach out to single adults, says Frank Bondurant, a vice president at the Columbia Union and the union’s director of ASAM. “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 if we can come together with activities, we can support each other.”
In 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. He said singles shouldn’t wait to get plugged into the 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.
Find out more about ASAM activities around the North American Division by following them on Facebook (link: https://www.facebook.com/ASAMNAD/); or on their website at http://www.adventistsingleadultministries.org/.
— V. Michelle Bernard is news, features, and online editor for the Columbia Union Visitor.