In 30-plus years of ministering to single adults, I have found one major thing they all have in common. 99.9% of them—desire to be married or married again. The subject continuously comes up from conferences to retreats, articles, and interviews.
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: Jesus. But saying this doesn’t always communicate an action or a direction. Their following comment was that they had gone to God but that God wasn’t helping them. More than likely, they were whining and complaining to God versus asking God if maybe they were the problem. Very few seem to be serious about doing what it takes to become the right one to marry the right one. And few were at a place of contentment if they didn’t get married. The real issue wasn’t about why God hasn’t provided a spouse but about not wanting to be alone. This, of course, is a separate issue altogether.
So, how can we help the majority of those who are not married and desire marriage to get married? Let’s look at where things are in the Church first:
THE CHURCH AND SINGLENESS
For the last three decades, many of my fellow ministers have been to singles, and I have seen the decline of the Church’s efforts to minister to single adults. While the singles population is now over 54 percent in the United States, with most being never married, churches are not making the effort to reach us. More than ever, the focus seems to be on the traditional family. Even as single adults, we are a family; however, the Church doesn’t see it that way.
Traditional families start with two single adults. Suppose the Church would spend time reaching singles, helping them in their identity in Christ, personal growth, developing healthy friendships, and offering Bible studies such as “Intentional Relationship for Singles” and counseling for marriage. In that case, the greater success of our future marriages and traditional families will be. This also helps single parents who desire to be married again; however, their priority needs are on their children. When churches do not offer any ministry to singles, they will go outside the Church to find their friends and spouses, often becoming unequally yoked.
So, how can we help singles prepare for a marriage they desire? How can the Church start to help reach this huge group of people, preparing them for healthy friendships that lead to healthy dating and marriage? How can the Church also embrace singles who do not get married? By starting a “Pray for a Mate™” Prayer Group.
Note: The second greatest decision you will make is who you will marry, while the first is your salvation.
SOLUTION: Pray for a Mate™
While spending time in the United Kingdom doing ministry, I found a wonderful lady who shared something unique with me. She had asked her pastor about a singles ministry at her church. Again, due to his personal experiences of failed singles ministry, he said no because he didn’t build leaders. She then prayed and returned and asked if she could have a “prayer group for those who wanted to be married.” She didn’t say anything about singles or ministry, but she used two keywords: 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, unsure what God would do. That small group turned into a larger one; before long, they met each month. They also created a structure that appealed mainly to serious prayer warriors. They had different topics with scripture, allowing people to share how that topic was something they were struggling with in their own lives. For example, fears of failure, dealing with temptation, forgiving a former spouse or parent or themselves, anger management, dating again with kids, willingness to change, etc.
As the topics were being shared, they would pray in smaller groups, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal anything they needed to change or adjust. This allowed transparency and accountability with others. This led to change.
The results were terrific. They saw lives changed; individuals found healing, some developed amazing friendships, and others even married. Some realized they needed Bible study, counseling, or a program such as DivorceCare or Celebrate Recovery.
To learn more about how it works, from structure to ideas of how to lead a group, go to www.prayforamate.org and start your group today. Note: This group can be led by married grandparents praying for their grandkids, all women, all men, young adults, and so forth. It’s just prayer to work on yourself, allowing the Holy Spirit to make changes to prepare you for your future marriage.
Leaders That Last Curriculum
• Leaders that Last is 6 weeks, 6 topics Curriculum:
The first 3 weeks that are inward focus towards personal development and last 3 weeks that are outward focus towards building and unifying the team.
• Leaders that Last Curriculum includes:
A trainers guide with additional questions, icebreaker ideas, small group discussion, and weekly assignments, etc. plus participants outline.
• Leaders that Last Curriculum is a:
Microsoft word document so you can alter to fit your specific group whether young adult, single adult or single parent, divorced or widowed.
Week 1: Who You Are in Christ
Week 2: Affirming Your Calling as a Leader
Week 3: Spiritual Warfare
Week 4: Mentoring/Finding others with a Similar Calling
Week 5: Building the Team
Week 6: Caring for the Team.
Week 1: Who Am I?
Description: Everything starts and ends with a great team but a team starts with a great leader. A great leader should know who they are in Christ first in order to lead others. This leader also should have a personal, growing relationship with Christ. This lesson will focus on your identity, your personal growth in your faith, and your walk with the Lord.
Week 2: Who Ya Going to Call?
Description: Learning and affirming your calling to be a leader. Most maturing Christians are serving the Lord but often in the wrong area, this lesson will help you focus on the right area God is calling you into.
Week 3: The Devil Made Me Do It!
Description: This lesson focuses on how to recognize the enemy’s attacks on you, your team, and your ministry, and what to do when it does happen.
Week 4: Making Copies!
Description: This lesson focuses on the importance of recognizing potential leaders by starting with those who are voluntold versus volunteers.
Week 5: There’s No “I” in Team
Description: Everything falls and rises on leadership. Without a great team that is unified in the path to reach the goals God has put in place, leadership will fail. This lesson will focus on how to build a team that builds the ministry.
Week 6: Are You a Care Bear?
Description: This lesson focuses on how to keep our team, our leaders, and, ultimately, our ministry going and growing.
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638 Spartanburg Hwy Ste 70-113
Hendersonville, NC 28792 • 919.434.3611 Kris@TheSinglesNetwork.org
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