On Saturday, March 1, 2014, Redeemer held a sold-out S1NGLES Conference. Over 900 attended, with an additional 900 watching on Livestream. There have also been over 30,000 views online in less than a week. The goal of the conference was to pastorally address the majority of our church and share personal stories and theological reflections on the topic of singleness.
The focus of the conference was to address one’s internal belief in God, which, in turn, would ground single persons’ external choices in life. Internally, the hope is to believe in the goodness and sufficiency of Christ in singleness; externally attendees were challenged to use singleness as a means to glorify God and to love others. And only through deep community do the internal belief and the external choices come together in vital personal nourishment, as well as service and ministry.
The talks given by the speakers revolved around this 2-fold focus. The event began with a video created by Jordan Tanksley who had interviewed men and women on their current status as singles. Most hoped to be in a relationship and they shared the highs and lows of being single.
Brent Bounds, Director of Family Ministries, sponsored this event and he sent out a Survey Monkey to the registrants about singleness and dating. Most of the participants had never been married, and while some were dating seriously, others were separated and a few were divorced. Sixty-eight percent of the participants said they had engaged in sexual activities that they felt were inappropriate. Additional comments were made in the survey. One person wrote, “Sometimes I doubt His goodness in my life when I begin to compare what I don’t have with my peers who are married and already have children.” And yet another wrote, “I know God’s character is constant, but I struggle to trust who God is when I feel He has failed me in this area.”
Jordan Tanksley’s talk, “What You Didn’t Know About Being Single,” surveyed how this S1NGLES conference came into being. She interviewed over a 100 participants on their views of being single and the reality of their worldview and the world’s view on romantic relationships and singleness. Jessica Hong’s talk, “Expectations vs. Reality” discussed the disparity between how she thought her life would turn out and the reality of what it was.
Wesley Hill, author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, spoke on Christian celibacy and friendship in the single life. Janice Worth, entrepreneur and President of Anushka Inc, gave a powerful testimony as a single mother. Kathy Keller gave a pastoral talk discussing the benefits and suffering that come with being a Christian single and reminding them that God’s grace is sufficient for each day. Tim Keller reinforced Kathy’s talk giving a theology of singleness based on 1 Corinthians 7. Lastly, Bethany Jenkins closed out the event with a history of the term “single” and how it became to be used today and ended on a personal testimony where she reminded herself and the audience “she was betrothed in faith, though single by sight.” You can access the talks here: www.redeemer.com/single.