For 31 years Saturday Night Alive, a local Christian singles ministry, has focused not on finding the "perfect" mate, but rather providing the basic human need of friendship.
Darcie Decker, a long-time Rapid City resident and director of community outreach at Youth and Family Services, has been a member since the group first started with Bible studies, meeting in her apartment.
“This group is an important part of my life,” said Decker, who is now part of the group’s leadership team and enjoys hosting themed dinners at her house.
“I have married couple friends who say, 'We want to be single. You guys look like you have so much fun,'” Decker said with a grin.
The group meets twice a month on Satudays with one meeting focusing on Bible study or other life studies, and the other meeting consisting of a fun activity. “This ministry is about encouraging one another spirituality,” Decker said.
She described the singles group as multidenominational with their members attending a variety of different churches. “We’re not a church, but our members will help each other find a home church,” she added.
Although the name is similar to a well-known television show, Decker said with a laugh, it came about because they were meeting on Saturday nights, and “we’re awake and alive in Christ.”
The group’s goal isn’t about finding a spouse; their mission statement reads: "Singles building relationships with God and others."
“God made us with the desire to have relationships — to have friendships,” Decker said. “We all want to be loved, to be social, and to be accepted.”
She hopes her group is welcoming to singles, knowing that loneliness can be a difficult. “Our group is about developing healthy relationships. We have life skills meetings about how to communicate, our relationship with God, the differences between men and women. And about not focusing solely on finding someone, but to be accepting of our singleness.”
Their Saturday social activities have included hiking, broomball, a coffee house event in which host where they bring live entertainment to a small local eatery, and dinners together.
“Valentine’s Day for the single person can be the toughest time because it makes them feel alone,” Decker said. This year the group is hosting a Valentine’s Progressive dinner to make the holiday fun and social.
Decker said it's important not to forget singles when planning activities and sending out invitations to events. “Singles can feel awkward at church with so much focus on bringing in families. Be welcoming so they’re not feeling alone. At the workplace, invite them over for dinner.”
For more information on Saturday Night Alive, contact Decker at 209-6677.