Myth's of Single Adults
I have been single my entire adult life. Because I am single, I have had a front row experience of how churches are reaching and growing singles adults. As a result, I have found that most churches simply did not know much about us nor how to reach us. After several years of serving on various singles ministry leadership teams as well as starting my own, God called me to help others do the same. Specifically, to help reach the church, the pastors and staff; to educate and provide resources so that ALL churches would know how to reach singles.
Republished from a series of articles on Pastors.com
Let’s clear up two myths about single adults….
MYTH #1: WE HAVE MORE TIME
Single adults have the same amount of time as anybody else. However, singles never married* have the most flexible use of their time and money but are typically the least reached in the church. Singles that have been married and/or parenting kids at home, have the least flexible use of their time and money but typically have the most needs in the church.
Today a lot of churches have started to reach out to young singles from 18-30 through college and young adult ministry. Single parent ministry is doing much better as well since so many churches have included them under “family ministry” program. Singles 45 and up are being reached through divorce and grief recovery ministries (Note: Divorce and death affect adults of all ages but in the church, we primarily see folks over 40 who come for help with divorce recovery and or a death of a spouse). So, what is missing? It’s the in between age. It’s the 30 to 45ish and sometimes even over 45 that has never been married. Not only are they the least reached in the church but also, they are least used when they are reach. *Statistically, never marrieds from 18 to the grave are the largest demographics among all singles, but again, we are the least number in the church.
So church, what an opportunity to reach out to this amazing group of never marrieds or for some, “always single.” We may not have more time than you pastors that are married but we do have more flexibility with our time and money. We can be used in ways no one else in your church can. We can come in earlier, stay longer, go on mission trips, and serve in last minute needs. We can also make quick decisions regarding the use of our income. From personal experience, if you reach out to a never married, they will be more consistent with their serving and giving, more than any other demographic. So, start today, look at your church stats, and find those never marrieds.
MYTH #2: WE ARE LESS COMMITTED
You know, for year’s single adults have had a bad rap for being less committed. This is such a joke to me. Why? Well, if you serve in church long enough you realize there are a ton of marrieds who are also not committed. Tons of wives that show up without husbands and vice versa. Tons of parents serving without their children showing up. It’s not a singles problem but a people problem.
I think the problem is that because singles are alone, when they may not show up for a commitment of some kind, you automatically assume they aren’t committed. However, when a married person shows up without their spouse who also committed to something, you think in your mind, they have both showed up because one of them did. When in fact, it’s the same problem. Somebody didn’t show up for a commitment. So, the real issue is getting God’s people to follow-through with what they committed too.
I know for myself, when my church valued my opinion, involved me in the leadership of the church, called me by name, took the time to get to know me, treated me like an adult, etc. I was committed. In fact, my home church had leadership positions of 3 years at a time. I was on several of these over the years. I never thought twice about making the decision to serve this long. Sure, as a single I could get married and quit but you know what, marrieds have things happen in their lives that cause them to quit as well. Like singles, our parents get sick, jobs change, children need extra attention, etc. Simply, life changes.
So next time, you think…singles have more time, or they are less committed, realize we are just like you. We have the same clock, the same needs to be included and valued. Maybe to get singles to be more committed, you need to be more committed to them and set the example. So, start today figuring out how you, as a pastor, as a leader can reach more single adults. Value their time, value their insight, and value their contribution. If you do, you will be amazed of how they can serve in your church. You will just be amazed.
Psalm 37:4-6 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and KrisSwiatochoMinistries.org. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of five books including her newest, Walk the Line Bible Study.
Navigate Leadership Retreat
Each year we piggy-back our annual singles retreat over Labor Day weekend with our leaders retreat, Navigate. This year we had over 60 leaders and pastors from around the country gather to learn, connect and grow. We have table top discussions from experts on aa variety of topics such as single parent ministry, leadership development including team building, socials for singles, relationships, counseling, discipleship, para-ministry, social media strategies plus so much more. We also have testimonials by Pastor Jay George, Pastor Freddy Johnson and myself, Kris Swiatocho. We also have group projects, worship and prayer. This year's theme was EPIC: Empowered People Imitating Christ. For more info, go to www.NavigateRetreat.com or www.LaborDaySingles.org
Kris Swiatocho and the Singles Network Ministry that you operate. Our singles group at my local church is flourishing and I give much credit to you.
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.