Any ministry within the church can be a place where people are served or a place where people become servants. Decide what you want your group's primary focus to be. We chose to focus on becoming servants, which lends itself to healing the brokenhearted and wounded souls.

It's also important every member knows they make up the ministry and are important to its success. So, upon meeting new members, I ask them to write down their interests, desires, and needs. We use these responses to plan activities, events, and outings. This helped the ministry to become our ministry. Everyone now has vested interest in the goals of the group.

Stay in contact with your group. Call your visitors to help them feel welcomed. E-mail newsletters are the most effective way of communicating with your regular attenders. Keep them informed of what's going on.

Let everyone be involved in the ministry. When people take part, they feel like they belong. Don't allow the 80/20 rule (80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people), which occurs in most church ministries.

Bring in married teachers to lead Bible or book studies. They bring a healthy perspective and balance to our lives. Involve singles of all ages. Don't break out and form groups by age. This fosters division.

Keep the church staff aware of the singles ministry happenings so they're in the know and are equipped to answer inquiries about the singles ministry.

Get involved in other areas of the church and encourage other singles to do the same. This keeps everyone balanced and growing and spiritually healthy.

Don't form a singles Sunday school class. For singles to grow and belong, they must involve and enfold themselves with the whole body of believers.

Keep the ministry visible. Make sure singles events are consistently in the church's newsletter, calendar, and bulletin because 70-year-old Millie is looking for a way to get her 26-year-old grandson to church.

Find ways to serve the body or the community as a group. Outreach-oriented work is a must.

Remember special events in the members' lives—birthdays, graduations, job promotions, etc. Celebrate each other!

Most importantly, remember to have fun. Don't take things too seriously. You will flounder and make mistakes, but it's the journey that matters. There are no perfect people, singles ministries, or churches. Keep everything you do and say centered in Christ.

My recommendations:

1. Pray for God to reveal his call for your ministry.

2. Look around at the people God has put in your life.

3. I was in a non-denominational Bible study and had an opportunity to visit several church singles ministries with friends. Don't be afraid to do that!

p>4. Invite quality people to join the team. Explain the vision. Make it OK for them to say "no." Relish those who say "yes."

5. Be sure the basic vision is written down and everyone stays on board. It's easy for people to get on a different agenda. Keep the vision alive.

6. Listen to others' advice, but weigh it against the vision God gave you.

7. Develop an "inner circle" of your primary team. Expand to a larger team. Delegate, and allow people to use their strengths. Also know their weaknesses. Don't use someone who is weak in graphic arts to do your flyers and program—that's what others will judge your organization on.

8. Always train an apprentice. God called me to step down from leadership after the first year. But the apprentice kept it going a second year.

9. You can't thank the volunteers and leadership team enough!

10. Pray, pray, pray. Look for God's answers and report them to the team.

11. Allow God to tell you when to step away from a leadership role.