RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–While the Blue Ridge Mountains are known for their spectacular views and beautiful scenery, few people get to experience that majesty from the gondola of a hot air balloon high in the air.
Single adults from around the country, however, had that opportunity when they gathered in a clearing above the softball fields at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center on the first evening of the Single’s Memorial Day Adventure Weekend.
Horseback riding and whitewater rafting were among the other adventures featured during a conference that gave single adults from diverse backgrounds and situations a chance to fellowship with one another while receiving affirmation that a marriage certificate isn’t a prerequisite for being used in God’s Kingdom.
“It’s nice to have something just for singles,” said Margaret McMahan, an attendee from First Baptist Church in Fort Walton, Fla. “A lot of times they get neglected.”
Conference coordinator Alan Corry said working with single adults means helping them understand that God has a purpose for their lives. “My job is to help equip and prepare [singles] for ministry,” he said. “I want them to be whole and complete as themselves.”
New friendships were formed as attendees braved a high ropes course, risked the rapids and hiked mountain trails.
The idea of a weekend of fellowship with other singles enticed Tila Edwards to accompany others from First Baptist Church in Dexter, Mo., to the conference.
“It’s encouraging just seeing that there are other singles out there,” Edwards said while waiting for a horseback ride. The conference offered a “spiritual energy boost,” she said, and a “recharge of the battery.”
As a single mom of two young daughters, Edwards said she has a heart for the single mother ministry her church has begun. While the conference provided her with literature and insight for use in the ministry, it also gave her an opportunity to spend time with single individuals from a variety of backgrounds — not just single parents.
“The never-marrieds bring variety and insight,” Edwards said. “There are so many different needs, and [getting together] makes you remember theirs.”
The different singles’ groups can all benefit from a healthy ministry that is more than a “glorified youth group” or “meat market,” Corry noted.
“Singles ministry is to introduce them to Jesus Christ and help them see that God has a purpose for them as a single adult,” he said.
During evening general sessions, single adult ministers Mark Lindsay, John Horn and Tim White helped conference-goers understand what living courageously, confidently and constructively means.
“God has given us a spirit of power,” Lindsay said during his “Confident Living” lesson. “It requires walking in confidence of what God is doing and what God has done and what God has called us to do.”
Jamie Jones said she came to the conference as a recently baptized Christian hoping to better understand what God was calling her to do. Through speaking with other attendees and hearing the lessons each night, she felt fairly confident in her spiritual gift of teaching.
“I think it’s my job to reach out to other people,” said Jones, who currently works as an insurance agent, but originally attended college for a teaching degree. “This [conference] is a really good thing to help me further where I’m going.”
For more information about other singles or LifeWay conference center events, visit LifeWay.com.