1 Peter 1: 22-25 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
I love this verse...to love each other deeply from the heart...this is a love that goes beyond the normal actions, the normal courtesies, the normal expected behavior. This is a love that would live and die for another person. A love that puts others first. A love that comes from a relationship with Christ first because we are born again. A relationship that has grown. A relationship that has experienced God's unconditional love for us. And out of that love, a love for others.
So I have some questions:
1. Do you know the Lord as your Savior?
2. If you have accepted the Lord into your heart, what growth have you seen in your life as a result? How is your life bearing fruit? How are you serving and caring for others? How have you changed within yourself? Are you less angry, less selfish, less controlling? Are you trusting and giving God more? Do others know you love God by how you have loved them?
www.TheSinglesNetwork.org and www.FromHisHands.com
Last summer, after being gone (traveling in ministry) for about 6 years, I moved back to my home in Garner, NC. I wasn't completely sure what the Lord had in store. The fall was very busy with my tour. In the middle of this great harvest of ministry I would lose my beloved father to Alzheimer's. 2009 would end with joy not only for the lives God used me to minister too but knowing my dad was with the Lord, healed and restored.
Upon moving back I had to make some decisions of where to go to church again, what friends and neighbors to call, what places to eat at and shop. I had to find a way to reconnect. Even though, I of all people can connect easily to anyone, its staying connected that is more of a challenge.
I decided to start back at my home church. I knew it wasn't that big. I had heard that the singles program dissolved many years back. I knew their idea of a contemporary service was six choir members coming out front and taking their robes off. lol. That the greeting ministry needed some updating not to mention other ministries.
Well, I jumped in the best I could without any real commitment. I wanted to just wait and see what God wanted me to do. I quickly joined the greeters. I also rejoined Sunday school. Sunday after Sunday, I would greet. I especially enjoy giving out stickers to the kids again (although most of the ones i remember are all grown now). As each week past I started to notice something, I had reconnected. Kids were looking forward to seeing me to get their sticker and adults were waiting to hear me sing as they walked in, others would give me a sense of peace, knowing they were where God wanted them to be. I would meet new folks, direct them to Sunday school or place beside someone in the pew who would talk to them. Then this past Sunday, I was asked to do a skit off the cuff. Wow, its like the old days. Then last night, I went to a leaders meeting to discuss greeter training for the church. Yes, my church may have some areas of struggle, but the heart is there in the lives of the people there.
The more you get involved, the more you connect. The more you connect, the more you belong. And when you belong, you stay, you serve, you tithe, you commit to do the Lords work, forever.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Kris Swiatocho, Director
2664 Timber Drive, Suite 307, Garner, NC 27529
The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come to give life to its fullest. John 10:10
I recently wrote an article for Crosswalk called Jesus, Single Like Me: Friendships That Don't Lead to Marriage.
Like most of the articles I write, I get email from those who have read it. Most of the emails are supporting what I have to say, thanking me or praying for my ministry, etc. But last week I had something different sent to me. A young man, 19 or so years old had read my article and proceeded to share with me some of his struggles. He had just recently started going to college. He asked me, how in the world could he be friends with women when there are so many around him. He also shared how he had started to date one of them and she did not believe in God. He was struggling with dating her knowing this. He had basically built the relationship on the physical first before any type of foundation of friendship. A focus on seeking Christ first had been thrown out of the picture until now, until his email.
I first thanked him for his honesty and transparency. It took a lot of courage to stop the relationship he was in. The Holy Spirit had been convicting him that things were not right. However, he wasn't sure what the next step was. He also wasn't sure how in the world do you build friendships with women and not have it go the wrong way. Well between my article and my comments back to him, as with all things, its starts with prayer, seeking Christ first with what He wants, practicing boundaries, protecting the other person/guarding their heart, and living the example because they are watching us, they are listening.
You see, when you are a believer and people know it, they are watching everything we say and do. They are watching to see if we fall. They are watching to see how we handle stress, our money, our attitude, our time, etc. So whether its in our friendship and ultimately who we date, to those we work with, to those who live next doors to even other believers, what we do or say could have an eternal affect on others.
Would you do me a favor and pray for this young man. God knows his name. He needs us to intercede for him to make the right choices, to deal with all those temptations that are around him, to keep Christ first and to find a group of other guys to hold him accountable.
This life can be so hard. I remember my college days (well most of them) and I can't image that its only gotten worse. The devil is on our campuses waiting to pounce. Join me in prayer for our young folks.
Kris Swiatocho, Director
2664 Timber Drive, Suite 307, Garner, NC 27529
The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come to give life to its fullest. John 10:10
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole
body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.Recently I did a word search on Bible Gateway on the word "whole." I was amazed that the Bible has 408 places it uses the word. Now I realize its used in ways that are not "Spiritual" but at the same time, it make me think of that word. What does it mean to be whole?A friend of a friend recently wrote this book, "1 is a Whole Number." Emphasizing that as singles, we are whole, not incomplete because we do not have a spouse.
But what does this mean that we are whole? There are plenty of days I do not feel whole. Between the stress of life in my work and family to meeting the demands of what is expected to trying to eat right, get enough sleep and exercise, how are you supposed to feel whole. Every day you are working so hard to just keep up with what is needed so you can end your day complete, whole, right?Then God reminded me, yes, as a person on this sinful earth we are never complete
because our bodies are broken. But as a believer, a follower of Christ, his death on the cross made us whole in HIM. Because are whole in Him, we are complete. So stop working at trying to be whole, perfect and complete in your flesh, in your work, in your family and trust in the wholeness of His Spirit living in you for those who have trusted the Lord.
This past Sunday I was at my mom's church..Wake Chapel in Fuquay-Varina, NC. It was "Youth Sunday." As a result, the youth pastor got up and shared about his youth program including a recent trip to a camp in the mountains with 60 or so anxious teens as well as a mission trip with World Changers to the shore of New Jersey.
One by one various teens got up and shared their testimonies. One young lady said that before she went on these trips, she really didn't know what was in her Bible. She was raised in church but for some reason, had never really spent much time reading and understanding the Bible. She challenged us to read John 3:16 and to learn what it means to us.
Another young man got up and shared how important it is to share your faith. He asked us why we didn't want to share ours? What were we afraid of? He also challenge us to take a risk and share why you follow Jesus today..why you love him..how has he made a difference in your life, etc.
Finally the pastor got back up and reminded us that as Christians, we need to stay adaptable and flexible in all ways and things. He said the one thing he learned on this trip with these young people was you have to allow the Lord to move him, shape him, change him, and redirect him. If you do not bend to His ways, if you do not allow flexibility in your direction, if you do not adapt to the changes He makes in your life, then you will never grow, never learn and never draw closer to God.
So are you flexible like a bendy straw? Adaptable? Start today and ask God what you need to change in your life? Maybe its your attitude, your submissiveness, how you spend your money, your time, or your energy. Maybe it's how you care and love others, especially those who have hurt you.
On a personal note, for years I was not very bendable...I was in a nut shell a control freak. I liked to control so I could determine the outcome. I wanted to guarantee the outcome so I could guarantee how I would feel. I didn't want to be disappointed. I didn't want to be rejected. I didn't want to hurt. Well, as you all know, we can't control everything. And the attempt to control can sometimes disconnect us from God and others. Following Jesus is simply living of life of Him controlling, not me. As I have grown in my walk, experienced what it is to submit to His authority, I have become more and more flexible. Now do I still prefer to drive? Ummm, yes. Do I still prefer some restaurants over others? Certain music on the radio on a long trip? Do I still have strong opinions? Yes, but I pray every day that what I want is what God wants. It's a journey folks...It's a journey.
Dear Kris, I am a leader of our small singles' group for people over 40 in our church. Singles from other churches in our community are a part of our group as well. I'm struggling to keep people interested and participating in our activities so I'm seeking wisdom and guidance. I found your website through and I'm so excited to find this resource. Thank you! Need Ideas in CA
Hi “Need Ideas in CA,” so glad to hear from you. I am also glad God has called you to lead this ministry. You will find a ton of great resources on my website to help start, grow and maintain your site. So let me ask you some questions that might help me better to help you.1. What is the age range of your group?
Trying to reach all ages of singles is too large of a focus, trying being specific to the age you and your leadership team is.2. How many leaders do you have, how many men, ages?
We know statistically that leadership teams made up of mainly women (and men who are not really leaders) will only grow other women. If you group has the appearances of being run only by a woman and there are no strong male leaders, your ministry will have a hard time being successful. I encourage you to stop where you are and pray for God to bring you some men to help lead. You might even have to bring a married man into your ministry for a season to help reach and grow other men. 3. Are your leaders invested, do they know what is expected of them, do they have a job description of what they are to be doing and how to train others under them; are they recruiting other leaders as well?
Please be sure to download my free guide on how to start a singles ministry, as it will go into greater detail with the answer to this question. Most singles groups/ministries I have found have leadership teams that are really a bunch of folks who come together and help to do whatever is needed to get something done. But without structure, training, people know what their job is and what is expected, how long to serve and how to train others, the ministry quickly falls apart. You wouldn’t want someone operating on you with that structure then why would you want your ministry too? Our leadership teams need to be with people God has called to lead. They need training, encouragement, prayer, and follow-up. How you pour into them should be how they pour into others to build their teams for the area of leadership they are serving. Does this mean I might not serve in more than one area or help, no. It simply means we know exactly what is expected of my roll and how to achieve it. It also allows me to teach others so the ministry continues even if my part doesn’t.4. How often does your leadership meet to be trained, pray about the ministry and its direction?
Another critical area I see happening is not only the lack of a leadership structure but also the lack of prayer for the ministry itself. How would you know what direction to go, ideas for growth, and ideas for reaching out if you are not praying as a group. Start to day to meet weekly even if it’s before your Sunday school, church or Bible study (and even if its with 2 or 3 at the start) and pray.5. Does your singles group have a Bible study as a part of its gathering or is it mainly social?
So many ministries are social based and to be honest, they won’t last. You cannot build a ministry on socials; they need to be building on the foundation of the Lord, His word, and His truth. So many singles groups are activity focused and often times the leaders get worn out. Remember, people are people. They are fleshly. They often come for themselves, not thinking of the Lord.
So this is my ratio: I meet weekly for Bible study of some kind that includes prayer and a leadership meeting (or have on an alternative night, maybe after Wednesday night church gatherings if you have one). I meet purposely for one Sunday lunch (knowing that most singles will go out all four Sunday’s for lunch) so that those outside my ministry can come including those from others churches. I have one social a month (or as I like to say "strategic fellowship"...a gathering where your leaders are position to look for new folks, network, oversee who is coming in and their agenda, encourage, pray and most importantly gather information to follow up, to involve and disciple). I have found that singles will meet, connect and have their own socials on their own. Socials I do not have to plan. Also, it encourages singles to be involved in the rest of the church, which is the ultimate goal of all singles ministry. If our ministry has activity after activity then when do singles have time to do or go anywhere else? So, again, 1 lunch, 1 social, weekly bible study/training...and I promise, they will hear about the other events going on within your church and outside your church, they will naturally make friends and go to the movies, go on a retreat, go on a missions trip, etc.
Note: With this formula I also encourage singles ministries to plan mission trips, retreats or even a conference based on how large and healthy they are. Remember too that there may be other churches doing things that you can be apart of without having to create it yourself.6. Do you have the support of your churche(s)
? It’s important with ministry that we have the support of our pastors and church/leadership team. It’s hard enough to lead singles but without their support, it can quickly kill a ministry before it starts. For more information, go to my basics
page and my leadership articles
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the MetroConference.net
Single Pastors Conference in Colorado Springs, CO at the gorgeous retreat center of the Navigators, Glen Eyrie.
We had 18 pastors plus some of their teams and families from all over the US. We talked, we were encouraged, we traded information, ideas and resources. We heard from the Bill Norman, president of NavPress on the latest resources and curriculum available, Lisa Anderson, Director/Writer with Boundless Online Magazine by Focus on the Family..a resource for young adults about dating, marriage and family, an awesome presentation for LOGO"s Bible Software and finally a sermon by Jim Downing, the oldest living Navigator, a para-ministry whose focus since the start has been discipleship.
If you have not been part of Metro
, then be sure to put it on your calendar for next year, June 29-July 3rd, Tampa, FL. If it's a bit too far or want something you can bring your WHOLE team too, try the NavigateRetreat.com
in Eastern, NC.
Note: One of my favorite things about Metro is the huge list of ideas that folks brought to the table. Here is one below:
E=essential (pray for those God puts on your heart)
X=Christ (find tangible ways to serve those like Christ did)
I=Intentional (engage them in intentional conversation about life, hope, dreams, etc.)
T=Testimony (look for opportunity to organically share what God has done in your life)
Started and developed by Gary Jennings and Afshin Ziafat...EXIT strategy
This is me, Kris Swiatocho and Eppie. A very sweet lady I met at New Testament Church in London, England on my trip to the UK.I had just finished speaking and was in the fellowship hall having some refreshments. Eppie came to sit beside me and shared some of her story. She had been married for 20 years and now divorced for almost the same. She had raised a family. She proceeded to tell me that she had met a nice man and was engaged to be married. Something she never thought could happen at her age. She was very excited about the new step in her life. I smiled and gave her a big hug thinking this is what she wanted to tell me. But she had more to say.Eppie told me of how over the years she had been lonely, especially with her kids all grown. Then one day she decided to open her home to young single women who need a cheap place to stay, even if it was only temporary.
She recalled how she had so many different kinds of young ladies. Some were very independent and didn't need much from Eppie, while others missed their moms and were experiencing loneliness too. Some were in trouble and some were scared, some were busy in school and some worked two jobs. All in all, Eppie was able to not only share her home but her life in Christ to each of these young ladies. Eppie also told me of how she loves to visit shut-ins, specifically older single adults who others have forgotten. She takes them a meal, runs errands for them and/or just listens, offering prayer and encouragement. After Eppie shared all of this I said "Eppie, did you know you have had a singles ministry all this time." Eppie said, "wow, I guess I have Kris... I didnt' even realize it." You see folks, singles ministry doesn't have to be huge, with a big budget or big building. It starts with "one". Are you that one?
If you would like to be apart of helping to reach the UK for Christ, support Kris as she returns in September
Every year God gives me a new word or words to meditate and study. This past January he gave me "Idol" and "Worship." As I would work on both words, I realized that every time I turn from my idols I was in fact worshipping God. That worshipping God was about being obedient. It's not just about singing on Sunday morning or praying. It has more to do with the choices I make in my every day life. Upon further study I would find out the the original word was actually the word "worthship." That when you are worshipping God you are in actuality saying he is worthy. So the opposite is true too. When you are choosing your idols, when you are choosing not to obey you saying God is not worthy. God is not worth worshipping. Wow, this can really make you speechless. Well, that is what it did to me and continues too.
So now, as you go about your day, be thinking about how every choice you make in obedience to God you are in fact worshipping God. You are saying God is worth it. He is worth more than your own life. More than your own way. More than your own stuff. More than your own relationships. More than your own work, home, well, you fill in the blank.
God, please forgive me for not worshipping you in all things. For choosing to fill my belly, fill my eyes, fill my heart with things not of you. Help me to always choose you so that each time I do, I am worshipping you..because you are worth it.
On a regular basis I get asked by folks how I got started in ministry. How did I know when the timing was right to leave my secular work. How did I know what area to serve in. Well in my quiet time today I read a devotion by Joyce Meyer that I felt was a great encourager for folks who are starting to make those steps. See below:Step Out and Find Out
People often ask me how to find their place in ministry. Some spend many years waiting to hear a voice or to receive supernatural direction. I tell them to step out and find out.
Early in my journey with God, I wanted to serve Him. I felt He had placed a call on my life but I didn't know exactly what to do, so I tried different opportunities that were available.
A lot of them didn't work out for me, but I kept trying different ones until I found an area that fit me. I finally came alive inside when I had an opportunity to share the Word with people. I found joy in teaching, and it was obvious I was good at it. I knew then that I had found my place in ministry.
Sometimes the only way to discover God's will is to practice what I call "stepping out and finding out." If you have prayed about a situation and don't seem to know what you should do, take a step of faith. Don't be afraid of making a mistake. Step out and God will guide you.
For me personally, I had been leading in various areas of ministry for years. My heart has always been singles because I was single and knew the need to help churches reach out to us. But I also loved greeting, leadership, women, marketing, etc. But to keep things simple, I started with singles ministry, allowing the Lord to expand my territory later. With my focus being on singles while working my secular job, the Lord kept opening doors. Then there came a day to totally step out in faith, leaving my full-time secular job and doing full-time ministry.
What is cool about my secular work is that I have been able to continue to do it on a part--part-time basis as it is just one more thing I can offer churches — marketing/website/logo design. It's my tent making without affecting the work God has given me to do in ministry.
So what is your next step? Just start as Joyce says....and as one of my most favorite Bible studies often quoted, "see where God is and join Him"..