Testimonial by Singles Pastor Zane Reavis
Pray for a Mate is a prayer group ministry designed to help single adults pray for their future spouses by first praying for themselves, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in their own lives that could be preventing them from getting married. Pray for a Mate can also be a prayer group for intercession for others who want to be married including friends, children, grandchildren, etc. Got to the website at www.PrayforaMate.com for more information on how this power once a month prayer group could impact not only you personally but the lives of your single adults, your church and community.
Recently, after completing a one year commitment at a host church in Raleigh, NC, the leaders decided to move it to another church that had a growing singles ministry. Below is a testimony of the new co-leader, Pastor Zane Reavis.
Pray for a Mate Testimony by Zane Kevin Reavis
A few years ago I finally come to the point in my life where I am complete in Christ and do not “need “someone else. It would be nice to have someone but I never feel alone. I sense His presence 24/7.
When I was asked to help lead PFAM I was not expecting the impact it would have on me even from its first meeting.
During the first meeting we had to explore the question: “So, you are not married at this point in your life...why?” I found many reasons, but mostly, I found that it was due to a cycle, that I had developed in the past, of dating and falling in love with “fixer-uppers” who would eventually be unfaithful to me.
I was glad to find that I have overcome that and began to see the early warning signs and to stay away from those relationships.
God has also shown me since then that I am not ready for marriage yet. There are still some things that he needs to work on in me. (Now, I’ll speak directly because I know God is speaking here.)
As a Singles Pastor, I’ve observed that most singles are looking for someone who has qualities you yourselves do not even possess.
You want a Godly spouse to “complete you” (something only God can do) but you carry too many issues that would make for an unhappy struggling marriage.
Repeating your own cycle from your past.
1. You need to be healed first.
2. Then, you can get to the place where God is all you need.
3. Then, God will bring your God-chosen spouse to you. The perfect fit. Two people totally in love with Jesus first and trusting God “in totality”. The recipe for a happy fulfilling marriage. (Remember, you may be waiting because God is not done working on your future spouse.) Pray trusting and “expecting” God’s working it all out.
4. While you wait, work on being “marriage material.”
Psalm 119:105 States “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Pray for a Mate Is a great place to allow HIS word to heal you and show you the path you should walk. Let the light of HIS word do its work and it’s correcting in you. That light will eventually shine on someone standing in that path that he is brought to you, Just like the first meeting of Adam and Eve.
TOP 5 REASONS TO JOIN PRAY FOR A MATE
1. To affirm whether you are called to be married or not.
2. To allow the Holy Spirit to reveal what needs to change or be adjusted in your life so that you have the greatest success at marriage or remarriage.
3. To heal from the past, confront your fears and concerns of the present and future.
4. To learn more about yourself and the Lord’s best for you versus your best.
5. To build an accountable group of friends all on the same journey.
Dealing with Dysfunctionals in your Ministry
Presented by: Pastor Sam McLamb, Biltmore Baptist Church, Asheville, NC, excerpt from Boundaries by Henry Cloud, additional editing by Kris Swiatocho
Dysfunction: What kind of singles? NOT JUST….
BUT: mainly, those who are not aware of their past emotional pain issues and who are stuck. Those who not only have baggage but also those whose past unresolved issues tend to “interfere” (or is this who God has called us to minister to? Those who are emotionally demand and draining AND who are not able to get the help they need.
Things our Single Group CAN do to help
Things the Singles Group CANNOT do to help
We Don't Have Any Singles???
Often I hear this from pastors. The reason is that most churches either do not understand what is considered a single adult or simply do not believe they are called to reach them. I mean, for 2000 years the church has been led by a married man with the average age of 40 with 2 kids. While yes, marriage is important….I love that most of our pastors are married, however, to ignore this huge other demographic is crazy.
Over half of the US is now single. So how can we quickly reveal this to our churches? Please know, the goal of this experiment isn’t to say our pastors aren’t working hard to minister or that our church is bad. It’s simply to show that there are many people in your church who are not married, in various aspects of singleness. And while some singles are happy where they are in your church, most of them would love a community geared towards them, where they are..whether young adult single, single again, widowed, never-married but wanting to be married, single parent, etc. A community that would bring others living life where they are living life. A community that could reach so many more for your church.
An easy experiment you can do in your Church to show how many people are “not married”—(single) and how little resources there are to reach them by way of those leading or ministering to them. This should be done on a Sunday morning to all services (due to some churches services vary in demographic focuses). This takes less than 5 minutes to do.
1. Ask for all those that are not married over 18 stand up. Have everyone look around. Then have them sit down.
2. Now ask that everyone else stand up over 18. Then ask these questions:
-If you have a parent who is not married, sit down.
-If you have a child who is not married, sit down.
-If you have a grandchild or great grandchild who is not married sit down.
-If you have a cousin who is not married, a niece, a nephew, an aunt, uncle, sit down.
-If you have a neighbor who is not married sit down, someone you work with, sit down.
By this time, everyone should be sitting down. Although I have had 2 situations where people were still standing but it was due to not being able to hear what I was asking. In one case I simply went down to the person, introduce myself, told them I was single and they now knew me and to sit down. Lol.
Then say, if you are in singles ministry of some kind, lead divorce care, griefshare, young singles, college, single parents, etc. stand up. There should only be a handful. Then say...
See, everyone is effected by singleness. We need to have more support for this area of ministry. If you are a married adult, you could mentor, offer childcare to a single mom or dad, host a singles gathering in your home, etc. You could be a prayer warrior for those wanting to be married. What you are YOU going to do to make a difference. Because unless you die when your spouse dies, you too will be single too.
Start today to make a difference.
Optional endings: use this as a platform too..
-Start a singles or young adult single ministry
-Promote a singles lunch or other gathering to reach them
-Include this in a “Single Sunday” with a sermon towards singles, singles ushering/greeting, single testimonies, etc.
-Start divorce recovery or other specific single adult focused ministry
-Start a www.prayforamate.com group
-Train leaders to lead singles
-Say thank you to those who are serving in singleness
-Raise support to send single adults to a retreat, training, mission trip, etc.
For more information on how your church could do a better job in reaching this huge demographic, give Kris a call at 919.434.3611 or Kris@thesinglesnetwork.org.
Pray for a Mate™
About Pray for a Mate™...In my 25 years of ministering to single adults, I have found one major thing common to 99.9% of them—the desire to be married or married again. From conferences to retreats, articles and interviews, the subject continuously comes up.
I hear questions like:
“Do you think I am meant to be married?”
“Is there such a thing as ‘the one’?”
“Why hasn’t God brought me the man/woman of my dreams?”
As with all of these questions, I can only send them to the one source who knows the answers and that is Jesus Christ. But saying this doesn’t always communicate to an action or a direction.
Okay, so you go to the Lord but then what? Well, they would say they have gone to the Lord but what I found was they would gripe, cry and fuss at Him. Few were serious in their purpose when it came to praying. Few were serious when it came to listening and as a result, changing.
THE CHURCH AND SINGLENESS
For the last two decades, I and many of my fellow ministers to singles have seen the decline of the church’s efforts to minister to single adults. While the singles population is now over 52 percent in the United States, with most being never-marrieds, churches are not making the effort to the reach us. The focus more than ever seems to be on the family.
But what churches don’t understand is the family starts with two single adults. If the church would spend time reaching singles, helping them in their identity in Christ, in their personal growth and developing healthy friendships, as well as by offering Bible studies and counseling for marriage, then the greater success of our future marriages and families will be.
We can’t keep hiding behind youth programs and a pro-family focus and hope healthy marriages will just happen. The church needs to help single adults meet each other in a healthy way, directing them toward godly friendships and teaching them the principles of courtship and marriage preparation. Otherwise, they will find other ways to find a spouse, often outside the church and, possibly, with someone who isn’t a believer.
Although not all single adults will get married, many due to their own fears and issues, I do believe in marriage and I believe God still brings people together. With that in mind, I have been praying for a solution to bring singles ministry back into the church.
Singles ministry in general takes a lot of work. You have to build a team of leaders, offer training, meet regularly, plan, pray, and do. Because of the work involved and due to so many pastors being fearful that members might “hook-up,” churches have stopped having a singles ministry.
Also, we are still seeing more women than men in church. As a result, most singles ministries are started by women. Unfortunately, groups led solely by women only grow other women. The team has to include men. Without this pairing of the sexes, your ministry will often fail. In addition, we are seeing a lot of singles ministries focused on social events rather than on teaching the Word of God.
Another problem comes when leaders who don’t find a team to share the responsibilities with gets burned out, resulting in a failed ministry.
So, what do we do? How do we bring a singles ministry back into the church and have it be successful? And how can we do it if we are limited in finding men to help? What about resources and support?
SOLUTION: Pray for a Mate™
While spending time in the United Kingdom doing ministry, I came upon a wonderful lady who shared with me something amazing. She had gone to her pastor and asked about doing a singles ministry at her church. Again, due to past experiences of what singles ministries could become, he said no. She then prayed and went back and asked if she could have a “prayer group for those who wanted to be married.” (Remember, 99.9 percent of all singles want to be married—maybe not this minute but eventually). She didn’t say anything about singles or ministry, but she did use two key words that most churches care about: marriage and prayer. They agreed and even offered her the space to meet.
She quickly gathered her team of friends—some married and some single—and they started meeting to pray, not sure what God would do. That small group turned into a larger one and before long they were meeting each month. From the start they only allowed women to come as they had enough men. They also created a structure that appealed mainly to serious prayer warriors.
The results were amazing. They saw lives changed, individuals found healing, some developed amazing friendships and others even got married. It’s now been over year and they are up to eighty men and eighty women. And it hit me—with a few slight changes, this could work in the U.S.
I realize not all singles would want to come to church to pray for a mate. Some might even get upset if this was the only activity their church offered singles. But if a church only has this, it’s still better than nothing. This program has the potential to lead to something. It’s certainly worth trying and making the investment. And the result? Healthier people who become healthier followers of Christ.
How to get started!
1. Go to our contact page and fill out the registration form.
3. Once we receive your registration, you will be given a password to access the other pages where you will learn how Pray for a Mate™ works including the structure and the prayer themes.
How Do We Get Healthy Men in our Churches/Ministries? by Kris Swiatocho
PRAY FOR THEM
You can host many fun events designed to reach men, but I have found the best method is something very simple—prayer. Prayer that you commit to each day involving every man and woman in your church and ministry. Prayer that is intentional and strategic. Prayer that waits and expects results. In my own ministry, we have almost as many men attend as we do women. Why? Because each of the leaders and volunteers commits to pray every day.
When men do arrive, we cannot settle for just being happy they are there! I work with my leaders to intentionally involve new arrivals in our activities and invest in their growth in Christ. The enemy has done much to confuse men about who they are in the Lord and their rolls in the church and home as designed by Him. Sometimes even well-meaning women can add to this identity issue.
Therefore, I believe it’s important to affirm positive behavior such as helping, serving, teaching, sharing, etc. I get men involved from the first day I meet them, often asking them to help me set up or clean up.
I have 3 levels of serving:
The process of growing men into leadership roles often begins with small steps, such as inviting them to share short testimonials, saying the announcements, or opening/closing the meeting in prayer. We have our guys walk the women to their cars and open doors. We also teach men how to lead a study or preach by first encouraging them to share their own stories.
We do this in 4 ways:
If his story is polished and he is able to share it in front of the group, we will have him share an extended testimonial. The goal is to get them serving and leading then duplicating—investing what they have learned in raising up others.
We teach duplication by going to dinner, coffee, sports, etc. Encourage men to invite their friends to events and host their own outreaches tailored to their interests. We teach duplication by mentoring. Leaders grow leaders. Challenge each leader to mentor one other guy and keep track of the progress.
This process never stops. And all of these steps work for engaging women and growing them into leadership roles as well.
OUTREACH IDEAS FOR MEN