“Our singles ministry is not a place for singles to find a date; we are not a meat market!”
This is just one of the many comments I hear when I talk to church leaders about starting or growing their young adult/singles ministry. They often see those involved as a group obsessed with finding a mate, even to the point of leaving God out of it.
Unfortunately, what I see is a lack of a developed leadership structure. There is little support—or even understanding—of what a single adult ministry is about. They do little to guide young adults/single adults in relationship building so they can get married God's way. The result, often, is a singles ministry without leadership, without support and without the Bible studies and programming necessary to learn about and move toward healthy relationships.
And that’s how we end up with a “meat market,” and church leaders afraid to grow a singles ministry because people might only be there to find a date.
My answer to them is always the same:
“So, where do you want us to find a mate? In a bar, at a club, online, or wandering the aisles at Wal-Mart?”
Now, perhaps it can happen at any of those places, especially the latter. Many years ago, Wal-Mart had a program in Germany where singles could put a red bow on their grocery cart on a Friday night, communicating their availability to other singles. Of course, as with any two-minute meeting with someone of the opposite sex, you would have no idea who this person really is or if they are being truthful.
Yes, dating is a risk. But while I believe God can bring you a mate in any situation, I would prefer to take my chances at church.
Please know, one of the greatest decisions any of us will make—second only to our salvation—is who we are going to marry. If it’s that important, why isn’t it more important to the church? Why isn’t the church not only leading us in this area but offering singles ministries to draw us in, Bible studies to educate us in our relationships, counseling for those hurting, and healing programs such as divorce and grief recovery? Why isn’t the church on the front line of helping us meet the right person while we are becoming the right person? Why isn’t the church in control of this hugely important area of our lives? And when the church does have a single adult ministry, why are we telling folks it is not a place to find a mate?
Okay, I get it. You want your single adult miistry to be focused on drawing people to God and your attendees to get healthy and whole. You want to see singles who seek ways to serve others. Well, so do I! I want all of those things not only for singles but for everyone.
But what happens once someone gets healthy and whole and starts to serve? Are you saying they must leave the singles ministry then? Because heaven forbid they continue to build good friendships that could lead to a healthy, romantic relationship resulting in a strong, godly marriage!
You probably know where I’m going here. We need young adults and singles ministries in our churches. My own research plus over 25 years of leading singles ministries tells me 99.9 percent of single adults want to get married. What are you going to do about that? How can you help single adults not only find a mate but become healthy enough to marry one?
For many years, I’ve asked God for ways to show churches how to develop a single and young adult ministry and, once they have, to reach more people through it. It’s not a matter of resources but of spiritual warfare. We are not praying enough or in the right way. We need to pray in a way that not only leads to results but that changes people’s lives.
With this in mind, God has led me to a new type of prayer group. This program can show churches how to reach young, single adults and help them grow in the Lord.
It’s called Pray for a Mate. While there may be a tiny percentage of singles who would say, “No, I’m good. I don’t want to be married again,” or “I’ve had two bad marriages; I don’t think I have what it takes to have a good one,” or even “God has called me to singleness,” most singles want to be married.
The hurdles they face include fear, a shortage of necessary skills, a past they need to deal with, low self-esteem, debt, children, emotional baggage, a lack of support or they simply have no idea what they’re doing. They need their church, including married adults and other singles, to educate, support, give advice and offer prayer. They also need a place where others are doing the same thing—praying and giving this incredibly important decision to God.
Once they are healed, restored and working through their issues, they can build healthy friendships that could potentially turn into a romantic relationship leading to marriage. In this way, they find a spouse who has heard their prayers, knows some of their mess and who was part of the journey, even praying with them for healing. Wow … wouldn’t that be a great spouse?
So, what’s the next step? Go to www.PrayforaMate.com and find out what this incredible prayer group is about and how it may fit your congregation. Whether you’re a church of 25 or one of 10,000, a group of grandmothers and parents interceding for your kids/grandkids, a gathering of teenagers praying for their future mate, or a meeting of single adults—young or otherwise, this resource will facilitate future marriages and possibly even lead to church growth.
And don’t we all want that?
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. 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 four books.
Image courtesy: Pexels.com
Publication date: April 4, 2017