Building your Singles Ministry/Personal Growth by Other Authors
Should You Start a Single Parent Ministry? By Joseph Northcut, Director of Church Ministries, SingleandParenting.org
Single parents represent a rapidly growing segment of our population. They need the help and hope you can provide through a single-parent ministry offered at your church. Here’s a simple worksheet to help you define and determine if God is calling you and your church to offer such a ministry. Take some time to evaluate the questions below. They will help you in the planning of your single-parent ministry.
WHY ARE YOU ENTERING THIS MINISTRY?
Why are you, personally, entering this ministry?
Why is your church undertaking a single-parent ministry?
What are the needs you are trying to address?
In what ways are these goals consistent with the overall objectives of your church?
What form will the group take (e.g., weekly meetings for 13 weeks, a weekend kickoff event followed by weekly groups)?
If you plan to meet weekly, how many 13-week cycles will you hold each year?
SUPPORT AND RESOURCES
Does your pastor support the formation of a single-parent ministry? Summarize the concerns and/or encouragement you have received from your pastor.
Do you have the support of your church board (elders, deacons, etc.)? Summarize their questions, concerns and encouragement.
If you have not yet obtained support of the pastor and church board, do you need to schedule a presentation of your plans and ideas to help secure such support? What questions do you envision they will ask?
What obstacles need to be overcome before launching your ministry?
Who will have primary oversight of your single-parent ministry?
If you are the person who will lead, what strengths do you have? What are your weaknesses?
Make a list of people who might be able to assist in leadership.
What funds are available in the church budget to support your ministry? Have you sought budget approval?
WHAT IS THE LONG-RANGE VISION FOR SINGLE-PARENT MINISTRY AT YOUR CHURCH?
Write a short description of the type of single-parent ministry you envision for your church five years from now.
What is your dream for the future of this ministry.
Wrestling?! by Single Parent Director, Holly Crain
As a single mom, no one expected me to serve yet that was the very thing I felt God was asking of me. I had such a deep yearning to give by serving others whether it was setting up chairs, greeting and handing out bulletins, or just sitting with someone so they wouldn't feel alone. But at the time, those around me were answering for me saying things like..."you don't have to help" or "we've got this". Oh, how I wanted to be useful and not just sit back and watch. I eventually found places to serve because I had such a strong sense that God was asking me to find that place.
I'm so glad that I didn't continue to sit back and watch others serve me because when I served, I was the one blessed. I didn't get overwhelmed or exhausted because God gave me the strength. I truly felt that He was filling me in a way that otherwise I would've been drained.
Through the years, I have so many wonderful memories of serving others but one of my true joys has been serving together with my friend Amber. Over the years as we've prepared for ministry events, our friendship grew. We've made so many crazy memories like getting into a HUGE balloons and ordering a camel for our Christmas event.
Behind the scenes our daughters loved to be with each other while their moms were hard at work. One night after a meeting, that went entirely too long, these two came out to greet us. "Is the meeting over?" they asked. We said, "Yes it is...run get your things, it's time to go." But on second look, we noticed that they were slightly disheveled. We asked them what they had been doing in there...and with a grin they shouted, "WRESTLING!" It was a sweet relationship that was formed because two moms wanted to serve the Lord. They too built great memories that we hope they one day pass down to their daughters.
So many times when Amber and I would get to the end of and event we would look just as disheveled as those two little girls were! We too would wrestle in prayer, take care of endless details and run the event. In the end, we would just smile and laugh at all we had gone through together because we knew it was worth every single hour spent...our hope and prayer was that He was glorified!
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
And yes, that's our two daughters in the picture above proudly representing "Team Pink" at our first family camp back in 2009. And if you've done the math...yes, we just took these two to college this year! Enjoy your little ones...and your adult children too!
If we have not met, I want you to know that I walked into this church 24 years ago with a 5 year old daughter and a 2 month old son in tow. This church embraced me but bigger than that the gospel and what God did in my life changed this ordinary girl forever! And I know He will do the same for you! He will! Enjoy church, the SPF ministry and this SPF newsletter. Allow yourself to get excited about what God has in store for you and your children.
Identity Theft and How You Can Prevent It! by Lisa Jackson
No, this is not an article about steps to take if your credit card information gets hacked or how to freeze your credit report so others can’t open new accounts in your name! This article is about a different kind of identity theft and how we can prevent it from happening! I recently attended the Labor Day Singles Retreat in North Carolina and the theme was: Mission Possible: The Power of One (Colossians 1:28: He is the One we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.). This was a remarkable weekend with Kris Swiatocho and many other singles ministry leaders, with God moving through new friendships, touching hearts and answering prayers! One of the sessions was about our identity and how Satan tries to rob us of our true identity in Christ, as a child of God.
Satan has many tricks in his bag and he knows which ones work most effectively with each of us! He is the master of deceit and disguise, so that we don’t oftentimes recognize his destructive ploys. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 (New International Version), we read, “And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” I have heard it said that he likes to use our spiritual gifts and callings against us; for example, if you have the gift of encouragement, he will try to discourage you, etc. With some of us, he uses our pasts to keep us from moving forward and stepping out to be all that God has planned for us to be. He constantly tries to remind us of things we did or said to hurt others and make us feel guilty and hopeless. I once heard something on Klove Christian Radio that aptly applies here: Satan knows our name but calls us by our sins, God knows our sins, but calls us by our name! This burden of guilt and shame that Satan tries to inflict can weigh us down so much that we become physically or emotionally sick. He sometimes uses doubt and insecurity to try to crush us, whispering in our ear that we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty/handsome enough to attract a mate, and the list could go on and on until we begin to believe him and journey through that valley of depression. This is not the way that God wants us to live, He doesn’t want to see us weighed down by ghosts from our past, by unforgiveness-either of others or of ourselves, or by overwhelming sadness and despair, but He wants us to live fully and with joy, clinging to His promises and His truth that never changes! Our real identity is in Christ and even though he may try, Satan can never rob us of that! We were bought with a price!
John 10:10 (Amplified Version) says: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have andenjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” In this version, the word, “and” is italicized and I believe it is written that way for emphasis--to have a full and complete life in Christ, to experience His joy and His peace! I like this version of this particular verse because it expands on how abundant our life can be -- full and overflowing! We obey and trust grows, the more we trust, the more secure we become in our identity in Him. Step out in faith and when Satan tries to discourage you, in that moment, turn that thought over to God! Take a few minutes and think silently to yourself how your life would be different if you started living as though you truly believed John 10:10!!! Being secure in who we are in Christ can mean the difference between living a life of despair and hopelessness and having the joy and peace to live abundantly, resting in our identity as a child of God!
Lisa enjoys studying and writing about Christ-centered dating relationships and marriages. She hopes to use her part time passion to encourage others in this journey. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org