There's an interesting stat from a recent Barna report entitled, Who is Active in “Group” Expressions of Faith? Whether similar figures apply to NZ, I don't know, but it's a possibility.
• Religious activities are typically missing single adults, especially those who have never been married. Just less than half of Americans are unmarried. [see below] However, the Barna study found that two-thirds of those who attend church, participate in a small group and attend Sunday school are married.
Further, 69 percent of church volunteers are married.
Fewer than one-fifth of single adults who have never been married are involved in "group" faith experiences, with worship and volunteering the least likely to attract them.
Those participating in house churches, however, reflect a 50-50 split of married and unmarried.
The NZ Stats relating to marital status from the 2006 Census are as follows:
- 34.1 percent of people aged 15 years and over living in New Zealand have never married
- 48.6 percent are married,
- 17.4 percent are separated, divorced or widowed
The other important stat in this are is that:
- 27.2 percent of people aged 15 years and over in New Zealand who have never been married live with a partner.
To make it a little easier to grasp:
If 34 people out of a hundred have never been married, 9 will be living in a relationship, and 25 will be 'officially' single. Add these 25 to the 17 or so who are separated, divorced or widowed, and you have 42 people in a hundred who are effectively single.
Please tell me if I've got my maths wrong! :)
How do we find ways of encouraging single adults into the church scene without making them feel uncomfortable because of all the married people around them?