Boundless: “We’re an award-winning ministry for Christian young adults who want to grow up, own their faith, date with purpose and prepare for marriage and family. We know that life is a journey, and some of your most important adventures are happening right now. It’s easy to get lost along the way, so we’d like to travel the road with you, and like a trusted friend or mentor, help you navigate the years ahead with biblical wisdom and intention…If you want a quick look into what makes Boundless “tick,” this is a great place to get started. You’ll see some of Boundless’ most popular content on faith, adulthood and relationships. Consider this a big-picture overview of Boundless – a “trip itinerary” of sorts.”
Table For One: “…Table for One Ministries exist to build community for single adults through discipleship. Our goal is to see single adults come to Christ, follow Him, and build communities that accept single adults. While marriage may be in the plan for some singles, the fact is that while you are single your mission should not be marriage. Your mission is to grow your relationship with God and go on mission for Him! …”
Guess which one speaks to me? Table For One.
Here’s why Boundless losses me: I’ve been single for a long time and few things bother me more than the idea that I should do nothing but focus on the family that I will one day have and prepare to be married, prepare to be a wife, prepare to be a mother until such time as these plans become reality. Ask your parental units and they would tell you that no amount of preparation, even the most carefully laid plans were sufficient for the task. (Their ministry is specifically targeted to young single adults – past the age of ‘young’ single Christians don’t count.)
What key words jump out at me? “Grow up” – it implies that single individuals are not grown for choosing to be married to the ministry, that is, if they are allowed to have a ministry. “own their faith” I like the sound of that – it’s appealing in the use of slang of ‘to master’ ‘excel proficiently’ but it reduces faith to a posession and posessions can be stolen and lost. “purpose” and “intention” These words sort of lose me because they’re so flexible. To have purpose, to be with purpose, the purpose of, depending on it’s use it can mean so many things. I’m thinking in this sense it’s more like “the purpose of dating is marriage – do not date people you will not marry.” Intention is just one of those words that lends to marriage-type discussions; i.e. “What are your intentions?” It has also been a buzz-word, intentional prayer, intentional ministry – mostly meaning mental focus and determination. The overall journey metaphor feels like Milo at Great Expectations in the Phantom Tollbooth – they’re trying to hurry us along to the next stage in life because they just can’t let us stay where we are at.
Table for One does acknowledge that there is a slight possibility that marriage isn’t in the hand of cards that we have been dealt. In that light, the focus on discipleship and growing our relationship with God and serving Him. “accept” is a key word that jumps out at me. It’s as refreshing as a cold glass of water on a really hot day to hear that somebody out there gets it – they serve me where I am at – and that is why they speak to me. (They get bonus points for extending their ministry to divorced individuals, widows, single parents, and a few others – recognizing that they have needs that differ from my own and they are people that still need to be ministered to.)
Sadly, my church doesn’t have a singles ministry, so I can’t brag about where my church gets it right or complain about their faults. What about your church – do you serve singles where they are at? Do you hurry them along to the next stage in life?