Party of One: Getting to Know You

I’d been widowed for a some time before I got my eyes off myself.  It was only then when I actually saw other single women sitting in the pews of my church. Our total membership roster was not that large, maybe 150; but I was ashamed at how little I knew about these women who worshipped alone each Sunday.

That thought was still on my mind and heart when the Women’s Ministries Director asked me if I could fill in for her and lead the women’s meeting the next month. I knew what my theme would be: Getting to Know You.

Here’s what I did.

First, I created a questionnaire with 15 generic questions that could be answered by a person of any age. You can create your own questions or use my list below:

  1. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
  2. What, if anything, are you afraid of?
  3. What is or was your favorite subject in school?
  4. Have you ever been in love?
  5. What’s your middle name?
  6. What was the grossest thing you ever ate?
  7. What do you believe is the most important quality in a friend?
  8. What did you want to be, as a child, when you grew up?
  9. What are your hobbies?
  10. What chore do you dislike doing most?
  11. What cause or charity are you most passionate about?
  12. Have you ever won a prize for an achievement?
  13. What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted to do?
  14. Where is the most exciting place you have visited or would like to visit?
  15. What kind of books do you enjoy reading best? (You can give examples such as romance, humor, action, comic, fantasy, non-fiction, war stories, westerns, etc.)

Then, since we only had about a dozen women that qualified, I contacted them by phone to discuss their participation. First, completing the questionnaire was key.  And I strongly suggested that they respond in a way that would not reveal their identity too easily. I asked them to complete it and return it to me a few days prior to the women’s fellowship.

Next, I asked them to participate in the program by using what skills and gifts the Lord had given them. Between them all, they offered to greet, decorate the hall and tables, arrange flowers, bring refreshments, clean up, pray, give a brief devotional, sing and play the piano.

Through my phone conversations with these women, I realized that not only did we not know them well, we didn’t know their families–at all. While each week, the singles had a chance to meet those who attended as families, the families were not afforded the same opportunity. I asked them to bring in pictures of their families which we would set up on a separate table.

It blessed me more than I can say in words when I saw all the pictures displayed that night and heard the women explaining who each loved one was. I knew this one little thing meant so much to them.

I acted as emcee and introduced all the single women who had completed questionnaires. The ladies in the audience were given a sheet with numbered blank lines which corresponded to the number of questions I asked. When I read a mix of questions and answers from the questionnaires, the audience guessed which woman had given the answer.

At the end, the person with the most correct answers won. (You can offer a prize if you want, but I didn’t and we still had fun.)

When I saw the faces of those women we chose to honor, I knew this idea had been divinely inspired. It was a privilege to witness God setting the lonely in families that night.

Variations of the Theme:

  1. Turnabout is Fair Play:  Have the married women complete the questionnaire and have the single women guess.
  2. Seniors vs. Teenagers: Give the questionnaires to both teens and seniors. Have the emcee mix up the questionnaires and have everyone try to guess who’s who. Watch how people in the different generations connect when they discover common      interests.
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2 Responses to Party of One: Getting to Know You

  1. Love your questionnaire – what a great idea! I imagine answering and listening to the responses was fun and a highly effective icebreaker too, but what I especially appreciate about your article, Clarice, is that you looked up and around and saw other people with a similar problem. For many years in many places, I have heard church peoples complain about a lack of friendliness, but they themselves do not smile or initiate a greeting. Or people get hurt feelings when no one remembers a special occasion, yet it doesn’t occur to them that other people have special occasions that go unacknowledged too. I’m so sorry for your loss but so grateful for your loving, other-centered spirit in lifting the weight of losses other people feel. God bless.

  2. The event above happened over 12 years ago. That’s when God gave me a heart for those who may have slipped through the cracks between couples and families. In Ocotber of 2011, I began the Party of One: A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone. The main purpose is simple–to fellowship and share a meal with others. We meet three times a month at various venues and rotate days so more have the opporunity to join us. Watching God “set the lonely in families” has been a blessing!

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