Labor Day Singles and Leaders Retreat, the Best Yet!
This year's retreat was above and beyond our expectations. Not only did our numbers increase but lives changed. We had more connections, more recommitments, more fun, more training, more inspiration, etc. We had singles and leaders from churches from over 22 states plus Wales/UK. Click here to see some of our picts and/or join our facebook page to see more.
Kris Swiatocho: Single Mom University Instructor
State of Singleness/Church
What Singles Need From Church (Interview with Kris Swiatocho) by Jay Mayo of Right to Real Love Christian Radio
• Part 1: http://righttoreallove.com/what-singles-need-from-church-part1/
• Part 2: http://righttoreallove.com/what-singles-need-from-church-part2/
• Part 3: http://righttoreallove.com/what-singles-need-from-church-part3/
• Part 4: http://righttoreallove.com/what-singles-need-from-church-part4/
Jesus, Single Like Me/UK Radio Interview
The Overlooked Gift of the Spirit by Kris Swiatocho (published by Charisma Mag)
The Singles Network is expanding:
The head of a North Carolina-based organization that aids ministries for singles has said that too many churches consider the unmarried to be "invisible."
Kris Swiatocho, director of The Singles Network Ministries, told The Christian Post that "for most churches single adults are invisible. Mainly because most pastors, secretaries, deacons/elders are married with children. When they are in the pulpit they typically preach and identify with those that are like themselves."
"I have actually spoken with churches who are not sure they have any singles there mainly because they view singleness has a particular age-range vs. someone who isn't married from 18 to the grave."
Swiatocho also told CP that there are multiple factors leading to this state of invisibility, including competition from other ministries, a lack of funds, "high turnover" for members, and a lack of demand from many congregations.
"We need more pastors trained to minister to single adults but we need more churches to want single adult pastors that will create the jobs for them when they do graduate," said Swiatocho.
The sentiment of concern over outreach to singles by churches in the United States was echoed by Nathan Keeler, pastor of a young adult congregation overseen by McLean Bible Church in Virginia.
Keeler, who oversees a youth-centered outreach called "Citywide", told CP that churches have "a major need within the church to reach young adults and singles."
"We do not have enough pastors and staffs that are engaging the culture, giving opportunities for young adults and singles to have a voice and responsibility within the church and putting resources toward this effort," said Keeler.
"Three places I have seen the church do a good job at reaching singles is college campus ministry, young church plants with young pastors and some mega-churches."
Keeler also talked about McLean Bible's Citywide, which was launched last October via an outreach strategy wherein it "intentionally meets outside of the church in popular young adult venues."
"Citywide's desire is to gather young adults across Metro DC and call them to use their life to the glory of God," added Keeler.
"We have about 600-700 young adults who have come to our quarterly Citywide events but our reach to young adults at MBC as a whole is between 2000. This is definitely the beginning of new movement and we are early in to this new paradigm of ministry."
Some involved in singles ministry have seen improvements in American churches' overall efforts to minister to the unmarried.
Georgina Agyekum of the multisite Maryland-based First Baptist Church of Glenarden, noted that her church's singles ministry was about 20 years old and included about 300 to 400 singles in its ranks.
"I believe the church is starting to do a better job reaching out to singles because of the realization that healthy singles lead to healthier marriages, families and communities," said Agyekum. "Singles in general contribute significantly to the church body as a whole in service and even financially when taught how to lead positive and fulfilling lives in Christ."
To build a strong singles ministry, Agyekum told CP that churches should look at "how to develop relatable programming that will meet singles where they are and guide them to where they desire to be as it aligns with the word of God."
"When starting a singles ministry churches should first consider the needs of the particular demographic of their unique singles population," said Agyekum. "What are the life stages of the given population? For instance, are they young adults matriculating into the working world searching for their identity? Are they middle aged divorcees or retirees? Do they fall somewhere in between?"
Agyekum advised that congregations looking to create a singles ministry "should also align with other successful ministries in order to glean from their best practices."
"Finally churches should identify strong stakeholders that will champion and promote the ministry," continued Agyekum.
While believing that not every church needed a singles ministry, Swiatocho of The Singles Network Ministries told CP that congregations need to reach out and give singles participation in church life.
"I believe with my whole heart it really comes down to Spiritual warfare….we are in a battle. What better way to destroy the family then to destroy the single?" said Swiatocho.
"If we keep the single from church, from a Bible study, from friends then they stay home or seek relationships in the wrong places with the wrong people and the horrible sinful cycle goes on."
The Daddy Gap, New Book Featuring Prologue by Kris Swiatocho
Upon hearing the news that his father has gone to jail, a six-year-old boy poses the question of this generation:
“Who’s going to take my Dad’s place?”
Click here for more info and how to order.
When I Became a Man featuring recommendation by The Singles Network Ministries
When I Became A Man, the men’s Bible study guide, written by James Daughtry and published by Abidan, is featured as the book of the month on The Singles Network Ministries. The director, Kris Swiatocho, and the staff consider When I Became A Man to be a "great resource" for men’s ministry.
Kindle additional now available
LOL: Living Out Love Labor Day Weekend Retreat Amazing Success
Beside the amazing connections, new friendships, way fun excursions to various locations off and on campus, laughs from Bean and Bailey comedy team, worship with NorthPoint Church and Pastor Jay George plus my teaching with Pastor Freddy Johnson, we actually witness miracles of healings, restorations and new directions. There are actually more than I can list. The Holy Spirit was everywhere. Our prayer team spent hours praying over every chair, door knob and space we occupied. By Sunday afternoon, our prayer rooms were filled with folks hungry for God's voice, his direction, his healing. Thanks to sooo many people who not only helped lead, teach and plan but also served in various areas from registration such as Missy Honeycutt to greeters to table leaders to prayer warriors, vendors and communion leaders. Please see our web page for next years information at www.labordaysingles.org. Also, see our facebook page here for up to date information including testimonials that folks have shared and pictures. "One person shared with me...God has told me to burn for him...it starts with His flame in me..."
Navigate, 2014 Leaders Retreat a Success!
We have over 40 leaders from several states attend this years Navigate Pastors/Leaders retreat in Black Mountain, NC. What an honor to hear their stories, share their struggles and success in leading singles adults. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we encouraged. One of the pastors shared that they needed this retreat so much. Where else can you get the support, ideas, and solutions to singles ministry. We want to thank Jill Monaco from Single Matters Magazine and Dennis Franck, National Director of the Assemblies of God plus Pastor Freddy Johson, Northpoint Church, Columbia, SC and Pastor Jay George, North Monroe Baptst, Monroe, LA and Sher Isaacs, Singles Director, Vineyard Church, Columbus, OH for their help, support, teaching. Join us next year. www.NavigateRetreat.com
Lifeway: HomeLife Published
No Regular Joe by Kris Swiatocho
Recently Lifeway contacted me to republish an article for their June Issue of HomeLife magazine, honoring "Fathers of all kinds." I had written about my step-dad who loved me and treated me like his own child…just like Joseph treated Jesus. What was bitter sweet about the article is that I wrote it when my dad was still alive. What a treasure to read it again, thanking God for such a wonderful earthy father as well as my Spiritual one. Click here to read complete article.
Zaccheus Men's Home Named After Title Character from article written by Kris Swiatocho
Transtional housing for men coming out of faith based in prison programs. For more info, see their newsletter or click here.
The Singles Network Ministries has a huge international audience. Regularly we hear from people all over the world. One area in particular are those who speak Spanish.
I am so proud to announce that some of the resources on this website will now be in Spanish courtesy of a wonderful woman named Sol Tesconi. We are also working with developing Portuguese and Russian materials. See our tool section for some articles in spanish as well as articles by Kris Swiatocho.
UK Radio and TV Specials
On a recent trip to the UK, Kris Swiatocho was interviewed by United Christian Broadcasters for a 3-part radio series in December. Also, TV Network Revelation also did an interview. Upcoming links to actual programs available soon.
Abidan Books Featured TSN
Lifeway's Annual Singles Retreat has transferred leadership to The Singles Network Ministries
I am in awe at the honor of taking over this most amazing retreat that I myself attended many time through the years, served on the leadership team, as well as taught. Lifeway has done a wonderful job all these years reaching singles. Singles look forward to the retreat each year to make new friends, network their ministries, hear from God and simply have fun and rest. I am so thankful to be able to take it over. We will be scaling things back a bit to take us to what we think the retreat is really about..connecting to God and each other. So check our webpage out for this years 2014 event. Thank you God for this amazing opportunity.
Kris Swiatocho, Joining Speakers Bureau of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries
Singles Ministry Training: Google Hangouts?
Recently I was able to meet with the leadership team of Res Life Church Singles Group in Grandville, MI. What a great time of hearing what God is doing in their ministry as well as helping to take them to the next level. Join me in prayer for this ministry. http://www.meetup.com/ResLife-Singles/
Radio Spot I did in the UK, 2016 for the "Something More Tour"
At a time when there are more single adults in America
than ever before, many Florida Baptist churches are among the congregations that have made the strategic decision to minimize their direct ministry to single adults. Instead, these churches are choosing to integrate singles into their broader adult ministries. The Witness has spent the past several weeks taking a look at the implications of this trend by talking to unmarried adults and the churches that are trying to serve them. Read More
New Ministry, The Singles Advantage
Regina Morales of The Singles Advantage shares how her ministry is reaching singles for Christ. In the introduction, she quotes Kris Swiatocho, The Singles Network Ministries.
Jesus, Single Like Me in the UK
Mutley Baptist Church in Plymouth, UK started Jesus, Single Like Me Bible study by Kris Swiatocho.
Singles in the Church by Holly Meade
Are they an invisible population?
When the U.S. government began tracking data in 1976, over 37 percent of the population age 16 and older was unmarried. As of 2014, more than 50 percent of Americans are single adults. In fact, there are 27 states where singles comprise more than half the population, according to data assembled by CityLab and the Martin Prosperity Institute. Unmarried adults range from 18 to 56 years and older and include never married, divorced, widowed and single parents.
Yet with this vast population, how effectively is the church ministering to them? Not so well, according to some.
Kris Swiatocho, director of The Singles Network Ministries, says, “For most churches single adults are invisible. Mainly because most pastors, secretaries, deacons/elders are married with children. When they are in the pulpit they typically preach and identify with those that are like themselves.”
Swiatocho believes there are multiple factors leading to this state of invisibility, including competition from other ministries, a lack of funds, “high turnover” for members and a lack of demand from many congregations. “We need more pastors trained to minister to single adults; but, we need more churches who want single adult pastors that will create the jobs for them when they do graduate,” he said.
Nathan Keeler, pastor of a young adult congregation at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, agrees. “We do not have enough pastors and staff that are engaging the culture, giving opportunities for young adults and singles to have a voice and responsibility within the church and putting resources toward this effort,” he says.
Rev. Craig A. Young serves as director of the singles ministry at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas. “I think singles ministry is one of the auxiliary needs in the church that is often overshadowed by other needs,” he says. “Whereas the ministry and support to singles is a recognized need, there are many other needs in the church as well with a limited amount of resources. Therefore, it is difficult for many churches to have a well-supported ministry to singles.”
“One of the challenges of having a singles ministry is you have four leaking tires,” says Tim Grosshans, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winter Garden, Florida. Grosshans was the singles pastor at First Baptist Church in Orlando for five years. “You’re always losing people. They constantly marry each other.”
While singles ministry may be lacking in some churches, it is crucial to examine the purpose of a singles ministry as well as the motives of individual unmarried adults.
Approximately 45 percent of the adult congregation at Saddleback Church in California are unmarried. Jeremy Hsieh assists the pastor of Saddleback’s singles ministry. “Some people are professional singles. They go from event to event but never contribute or invest,” he says.
For example, Saddleback hosts quarterly six-week gatherings which invite singles to participate in Bible study as well as community events like movies, golf and games. Hsieh says that typically a group of 40 to 50 people attend the first gathering with about 15 percent tapering off each week. The last gathering usually includes about 20 people.
Saddleback integrates singles with married couples so they can witness healthy relationships and feel like an important part of the church community. Hsieh states segregating the unmarried also feeds the perspective they are there to just receive versus serving.
“I’m a 30-something single adult and I don’t think it is the church’s job is [sic] to contribute events. I think it’s to help me with my relationship with God,” says Hsieh. “Some see it so they would not be single anymore [sic]. Our purpose is to get them in a healthy community. The greatest need is to become a healthy Christian.”
Pastor Grosshans says singles are invisible by their own choice because they can proactively devote more time to serving the Lord and others.
Jesus said that not everyone can receive or accept serving God as a purpose for staying single. Remember to pray that churches across this nation provide the unmarried with opportunities to grow closer to God and to serve Him. Pray also that singles continually pursue God first with all their heart, soul and mind.
“We are alive for two reasons: to love God and to share His love with others. If you want to find someone focused on the Lord, just keep pursuing Jesus! The moment you take your eyes off Him, it becomes idol worship,” says Grosshans.
Holly Meade is a communications specialist, writer, speaker and teacher with a master’s degree in mass communication. She has extensive experience in creating and producing content for radio, television and the Internet.
Faith in Focus
New Video Series on How to Start a Singles Ministry (see more)
We're Growing: The Singles Network Ministries UK adds 2 new team members
Kris Swiatocho, Speaker/Entertainer for Klove Cruise, Jan 13-17th, 2015
Tarheel Traveler/Story: A Single Christian Women Story, Today/Then
I traveled to Yanceyville, NC to film a story for the Tar Heel Traveler, a wonderful TV show featuring stories about NC, its people, its food, its stories and its culture.
When I was a child I was given some old postcards written to a women (1907-1921) named Fannie Sue Wilson. At the time, like a lot of kids, I collected postcards. Many years had passed and I came across the cards, about 50 in total. I thought, what am I going to do with these cards. Hmmm, I know, I'm going to find the owner, well at least the family. Through various searches online and a few steps, I found a family member, a cousin named David Wilson. The journey would begin. Who was this woman? What was she like? Did we have something in common? I found out that Fannie Sue lived and worked as a school teacher in various towns in NC her whole life (b1891, d1983). She stayed single her entire life. She loved to teach kids. She was independent, had a great sense of humor and simply loved life. She also loved God, making sure that she was apart of the local congregations in each town. I found out that she was a lot like me, single, Christian and loved to teach. To see the show online, click here.
Kris Swiatocho, new featured writer for Journey Christian News.
The links below are either interviews or articles using quotes from Kris or her articles re-edited/published by other online magazines.
Radio Interview by Former Singles Pastor Greg Horn, Lexington, KY
I Kissed Kissing Goodbye [And Present Thoughts on the Matter] by Cultural War Reporters
Sprinkle of Jesus by Dana Chanel
How to Organize a Christian Singles Ministry by Lillian Downey, Demand Media
Understanding Our Times: Singles Network Ministries and Kris Swiatocho by Kevin Thompson
Single and Surviving (pdf)
by Danielle Caspar, Cary Magazine
Welcome to Smallville: Making the Most of Life in Churches and Towns Where Singles Are Scarce (pdf)
by Alison Hayhoe, Christian Single Magazine
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries: Joining Forces to Minister to Single Adults (pdf)
by Michelle Medlock Adams, Christian Single Magazine
Singles Standing Out Rather than Being Stood Up
by Cheryl Scanlan, The Raleigh World