Honey! I am not coming home…..

Henry’s wife changed her mind about their divorce…..

 

The heartbreaking moment when you discover that the person who you chose is unchoosing you…..Wow! Nothing compares. “I don’t love your anymore” or “I love you but I don’t like you” to “we just don’t have anything in common. Yes, I’ve been there. Heard it all. Felt the air leave my deflated body. Felt unwanted. Abandoned. Begged for another chance. Felt relieved when we decided to think about it for a few days. Devastated when the postponement ended. Begged friends for answers or advice.  Drank whiskey. Listened to bad country music, ie: He Stopped Loving Her Today…thought about suicide (and had a “conservative” c of c preacher admit that he might do the same if he had to “stay alone”. People told me time heals all…. it does– and — doesn’t. People said I would “find another”. Thankfully not another but someone else. Some days were truly awful. Some were dull. Some were numbness. Much disbelief.

What about church? 90% of active church members quit attending church after a divorce. Many denominations do not allow a divorced person to participate in communion services. Church members do treat you differently after a divorce. Some with pity, some with contempt. Most simply do not know what to do with you so they leave you alone. Counseling helps….but it is a slow tedious recovery. God is faithful but the feeling of failing him is so great. Guilt and disappointment in others drags you down.

You can live through it! My divorce gave me purpose. I understand the pain and disappointment. I understand being a single parent. And I understand the opportunity God gives us to start over.

What can I do for a single person at church? After all, I’m married. 

    

     I cannot swim with a great white and Ocean Ramsey for you. Sorry. If I do this it will be for me….just saying.

     I’ve been married 18 years (this time). Was a single parent for five years. Was married before, then divorced. Became a Christian kinda in the middle. Have some stories to tell. And some to keep to myself. Very few singles attend church regularly (about 15%).  So, what to do to help those who are seeking God, community and eternal security.

Church offers sermons and Bible school. Great stuff! Vital! Life changing! What else can one do?

Let’s look at SINGLE PARENTS! Single Parents come in different forms. You have single mom, never married, no support. Single dad, never married, no support. Single mom, divorced, no support. Single dad, divorced, no support. You have single mom/dad with a supportive ex. You have young single parent by death (the ultimate no support). Single parents of all sizes and shapes, ages and backgrounds. One child or many. Here is the point! It is difficult for two parents to raise children. Tag team. Transportation. Role models, etc.

You have the young and never married. College and young professionals -AND- (many) non- professionals. Not a one size fits all. Academics have certain expectations while the partiers have another. Many have to work. Many are not committed to school or hobbies much less a relationship. Companionship, including sex, is easy to come by so marriage can wait. Of course, for the Christian single this is difficult. You know what is right or wrong but your hormones do not.

You have the divorced with older kids and those whose kids are already out of the nest. At this age there is more responsibility with careers and many are “set in there ways”. Usually there is less room for error and one doesn’t tolerate as much silliness.  Many of this category have already seen efforts at singles ministry and are skeptical. And busy….

You have the lifetime singles. Many are not as socially adept or skilled at relationships. Some are content and others resigned. Many have given up waiting on marriage or never really wanted it anyway.

And we have the heartbreak of older widowhood. People are married for their whole life and then lose it. Much grief and loneliness.

What is the solution? It varies. It could be a friendly invitation to church or a ride to lunch. Remember: church attendance is not the solution for many. Some might appreciate someone dropping lunch by their work. Others appreciate a nice card or a phone call or text. Some enjoy a big luncheon with entertainment but others prefer very small group get together.  Some will go to the Skillet concert or visit Beauvoir. Others might go with a friend to a chamber concert or a wine tasting. The solution: care. Let others know you care. God can do the rest. Do not sell him short. Expect much! There are 70,000 single parents within a ninety minute drive of Pensacola. 52% of the population are single. Divorce is devastating. Let’s make a difference!

 

About Single Parenting…

Something this last week made me dwell on the plight of single parenting. With Carol incapacitated with knee replacement surgery, I have been doing double duty (at least) around the house. Many tasks we share on a daily basis but here are a few of the things that have been totally thrust on me this week; meal planning, going to the grocery, cleaning up cat excrement, vacuuming, making meals, washing dishes, washing and folding clothes, along with all my normal activities. Please, I am not looking for empathy, it just made me reflect on the life of single parents…that is what they face every day. Perhaps, all of us need to show more care in their regard and reach out in love to relieve some of their burdens at times. Just thinking… (borrowed from Mike O’ Neal)

“Do WE Baptize Too Soon” —- The Saga of April the Giraffe”

    

     “Now I hope everybody shuts up and forgets that Giraffe” — anonymous quote.

     “Such a big build up and now it’s over” — anonymous quote.

     ” I wonder if we baptize too soon. We get them wet and they sit around and don’t grow. Or they don’t come to church” — anonymous paraphrase.

     Matthew 28:19  GO to the world….MAKE disciples…BAPTIZE them…TEACH them…. (paraphrased)

     My first experience with “urgent”  baptism went like this. My new BEST friend exclaimed, “You aren’t going to the right church! You are lost! A satellite could fall on your head! You have to get baptized NOW!” He was all over it! Invited to youth group. During and after football practice. Between classes at school. So, I studied what he wanted me to. Read a tract. And was baptized! Sadly, he soon moved on to another sinner. No more interest. No more friendship. No mentoring. No discipleship. No encouragement.

     April the giraffe won’t know but the fact remains. She is old news. Soon forgotten. No more cameras. No more intense interest….

     No. We don’t baptize enough or too soon. We DON’T go to the world enough. We DON’T make disciples. We DON’T encourage, disciple, mentor or nurture enough.

     What is the solution?

     GO! Get out of your comfortable box and spend time with other believers outside of the church building. GO to a cookout, a service project or a sporting event. GO on a mission trip and make forever friends with people around the world! GO on a business trip and learn how it is done in Topeka! GO need door and talk to your neighbor.

     MAKE DISCIPLES! Tell others what Jesus has done for us. Yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. Teach and mentor. Share time in a multigenerational relationship. Be a big brother of sort to a teen or a younger coworker. Encourage a senior. Serve the community happily and let God shine through your efforts.

     BAPTIZE! Believe it or not, if others see your commitment, they will ask questions. Hearts will change. Many have asked me over the years, “should I be baptized?” I answer, ” I believe so. Would you like to read about why?” Let them take the initiative. When they  proclaim, “why wait?” Baptize them. Simple. YOU baptize them.

     TEACH! If you don’t want people who sit around and don’t work or are uncommitted, you have to TEACH a better choice. Think about laundry and your kids. If you don’t allow them the opportunity, they will never do the laundry. TEACH them to use the washing machine.

     Great growth can occur through a community event. Lessons are learned while cooking, sharing a meal or cleaning up! Memories are made, commitment is strengthened and nobody is left out of forgotten.

Ideal or Idol: Avoiding the Family Cult in Church

Ideal or Idol: Avoiding the Family Cult in Church

ideal familyWhen I was a preacher, I got more requests to speak on family than any other subject. I always dreaded it. I’m no family expert and feel my weaknesses keenly. As a preacher’ son I grew up resenting the pressure to be the model family. It felt like living in the church’s private zoo. It is also painful for people in tough family situations to hear messages about what family should be like. Who wants to hurt people?

Primarily, I struggled because the Bible just doesn’t say that much about family–at least not the issues people seem to want most. This is especially true with regard to the family counseling questions most people ask today.

There is general model of family laid out in scripture (though not as clearly as we assume). Marriage is pictured as a man and woman committed to each other for life, bearing and raising children together. Sex is reserved for this special marital bond. Marriage is the primary relationship–not parent child. In marriage a couple is one flesh. Parents are encouraged to do two primary things for their children. 1) discipline them—though no technique is recommended beyond a symbolic “rod,” and 2) provide spiritual training–teach them to know the Lord. We are commanded to honor our father and mother. There are a few instructions about submitting to one another in love. Beyond this, there is no detailed manual for family life in scripture. Also, the Bible presents family from different cultures and it is difficult to untangle enduring principles from temporary cultural expressions (e.g. polygamy).

Perhaps this is why most marriage and family material promoted in churches today comes from the social sciences rather than scripture. Proponents seek to align their teaching with scripture, but most of it does not originate there. Much of it is helpful and we can use it to strengthen our families. That’s great. But the purpose of this material is not advancing the Kingdom of God and often has little to do with being disciples. In our understandable anxiety about family, we can easily over-emphasizing family in church and get our families out of place. If that happens, it will not be good for our families or for the church.

church20family1A good friend of mine, who has a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy, commented a few years ago that we have a near family cult in church. There is a  vast supply of family material through Christian bookstores, radio, and TV. There are countless family seminars. We’ve seen an explosion of counseling programs and ministers who are trained as therapists. Some churches build their whole visions around strengthening family. “Traditional family values” is now synonymous with the gospel for many. It is almost as if the primary purpose of the church is to serve family.

In light of the obsession with family, the Bible has some startling things to say.

“’Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’” (Mark 10:29-31)

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’” (Luke 14:25-27)

“’Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.’” (Matt. 10:34-47)

What kind of traditional family values is this? Have we forgotten that the gospel is about the reign of God and this surpasses the goal of family harmony–as important as that is? I sometimes wonder if we shifted focus because we lost confidence in our mission of making disciples or the power of the gospel to restore humanity. Perhaps we just noticed the need for help with family in our individualistic culture and adjusted our message to fit our market. That is not wrong per se, but it’s dangerous.

As a child, I heard preachers warn about putting family above church. The family should served God together, but God came before secular family events. Now we see the reverse. In the name of strong family, we skip church events for family. Perhaps this is a good change. Perhaps not. But we better think through it carefully and not just do it in a knee jerk fashion. The old sermons were right. Family can become an idol we serve more than Jesus

In addition, when we focus too much on family, we can leave the impression that only people from ideal families can be faithful Christians. This makes divorced people, singles, and people with family problems feel like outsiders. It can leave the impression that good Christian families have no real problems. That is not true now and never has been true.

We forget that even the heroic Bible characters had family problems:

  • Adam and Eve threw each other under the bus in the garden.
  • Cain killed Able.
  • Noah got drunk.
  • Ham saw Noah drunk, disgraced him and then Ham’s family was cursed to be slaves to his brothers.
  • Abraham and Sarah conspired to gain God’s blessing through bigamy, which created no end of conflict between Sarah and Hagar and later Ishmael and Isaac.
  • Abraham’s love for Isaac was so great it rivaled his love of God to the degree that God called him to sacrifice Isaac to force Abraham to decide whom he loved most.
  • Isaac and Rebecca showed favoritism to opposing sons which destroyed their family.
  • Jacob deceived Isaac and stole Esau’s blessing.
  • Esau threatened to kill Jacob, who had to run and was alienated from his family for two decades.
  • After running from his brother, Jacob had endless conflict with his uncle Laban who tricked him into marrying his two daughters who competed all through their lives.
  • Jacob’s oldest son, Reuben, raped his step-mother.
  • Simeon and Levi deceived and massacred a village after the rape of their sister Dinah.
  • Judah had incest with his daughter-in-law Tamar and fathered his own grandchild.
  • Joseph was kidnaped and sold into slavery by his brothers because Jacob perpetuated the favoritism of his parents.
  • Moses and Zipporah had such an ugly conflict over the circumcision of Gershom that it nearly got Moses killed.
  • Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were so corrupted they were killed by God while leading worship.
  • Gideon’s son Abimelech killed his seventy brothers in an ill-fated attempt to become king himself.
  • Samson married the pagan Delilah, who betrayed him and left him blinded, imprisoned, and dying in a murder-suicide designed to redeem himself.
  • Eli’s sons were so evil God took the priesthood away from his family and had his sons killed.
  • Samuel watched Eli’s family closely and yet his sons turned out just as corrupt.
  • David, the “man after God’s own heart,”had endless family problems highlighted by his adultery with Bathsheba and conspiracy to execute her first husband, who happened to be in his secret service detail.
  • Prince Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. In revenge Prince Absalom killed Amnon and was banished by David.
  • Absalom mounted a coup to depose David which lead to a civil war and Absolum’s death.
  • Prince Adonijah tried to take the thrown from Solomon and ended up being killed by his regent brother.
  • Solomon had 1000 wives who lead his heart away from God.

I could go on and on, but you get it. Even Jesus himself had his family troubles. See Mark 3:20-21, 31-35. His family thought he lost his marbles, showed up with the thorazine and a straight jacket to get him some help, but couldn’t get to him. Then he denied knowing who they were.

You almost get the impression that faith is hard on families.

family-conflictHere is the neglected reality: there is not one ideal family in the Bible. All had major problems and conflicts. The same is true today. There are no perfect husbands, wives, parents, or families. If the heroic people of the Bible had family trouble, yet God used them, maybe our families don’t have to be perfect for God to use us.

This is no excuse for not working hard to have best families possible. But it is also no reason to despair because our families struggle. It is no reason to bail out on a difficult marriage or be bitter toward our parents because they didn’t get everything right.

Faith in Jesus doesn’t produce cookie-cutter perfect families, but it does give us strength to endure the most difficult family situations with honor and love. God’s grace touches our family failures like all others and he can work even in the most difficult family situations.

When we focus too much attention on some illusive ideal family and make family the focus of church, we may create as many problems as we solve. Romanticizing family creates unrealistic expectations. Talking about ideal marriages may increase marital dissatisfaction. It can set people up for disappointment as it presents some air-brushed Disneyesque happily-ever-after expectation that is destined to crash. We expect marriage to be a lifelong honeymoon filled with total intimacy, unabated romance, and sexual fireworks. We expect our spouse to be everything to us: best friend, passionate lover, co-parent, financial provider, etc. We expect an intimate relationships with every child. We expect our family to make us happy and meet all our needs. We buy the myth that 50-100 years ago families didn’t have the problems of today.

Family sociologist William Goode has written,

“Like most stereotypes, that of the classical family of Western nostalgia lead us astray. When we penetrate the confusing mists of recent history, we find few examples of this “classical” family….True enough, divorce was rare, but we have no evidence that families were generally happy. Indeed, we find, as in so many other pictures of the glowing past, that each past generation of people writes of a period still more remote, their grandparents’ generation, when things were really much better.”

I fear we’ve overly romanticized families of the past. The good old days weren’t so good, we just kept family problems quiet. Today’s family problems were caused by yesterday’s family problems. While Hollywood unjustly bashes traditional family, we do no one a favor if we deny past weaknesses and uncritically defend “traditional” family.

For most of human history, (e.g., in Bible times) people did not expect as much from marriage and family as we do today. The quest for intimacy in family began in 19th century. Before then, there was little privacy for sex and little time for leisure family time. Marriages were arranged by parents to promote faith, social standing, and financial security, not romance. Children were seen as financial assets. They helped with the family work on the farm or family trade.

anorexia1206lindsay-lohan (1)Just as fashion models contribute to anorexia, the idealization of family can lead to dissatisfaction based on exaggerated expectations. Some parents drive children away by expecting unreasonable closeness. Other people keep getting remarried looking for their “soul mate” who will be everything they “need” to be happy.  Some studies indicate born again Christians divorce slightly more than non-believers. Why? Partly because in church we create unrealistic expectations. We are so committed to some ideal view of family we’ll rip up existing families and create enormous pain in order to have some ideal, only to find problems repeat in the next manifestation.

The problem not that we don’t believe in marriage. Rather, the problem is that we believe in fantasy marriage. It is time we stopped swapping partners and keeping problems and keep partners and swap problems.

I fear many Christians expect their family to provide for them what only God can provide: security, significance, wholeness, meaning, and joy. God can work through our families to bring much good to us. When family is good, it is an incredible joy. But that is not a steady state for any of us. All of our families are flawed tools, even in God’s hands. If we look to our family as our source of security or meaning, we won’t be able to bear the truth about how flawed we are. It will undercut our ability to really love our families. Instead we will be angry and resentful they aren’t better people or more useful for our happiness or fulfillment. Only when we can accept the brokenness of our family can we love them without being bitter they aren’t more perfect and turn our hopes into oppressive demands.

I think about my Bouchelle grandparents marriage and wonder if they had a good marriage. It all depends on how you evaluate marriage. If you asked them, they would say they did. They were together for over 58 years and took care of each other to death. They raised three godly children who all had Christian homes. They loved each other deeply the best they knew how. Yet, by any measure, their marriage had huge problems. They did not meet each other’s emotional needs. I’m not sure my granddad knew women had emotional needs. My grandmother had deep family of origin issues my granddad couldn’t understand. They didn’t always make each other happy. They argued a lot—mostly about the thermostat—but about everything else too. Many times my granddad confided in me toward the end, “She’s killing me.” She was, in fact.

But at my granddad’s grave my grandmother wept over him and said, “Oh Pat, oh Pat, how will I ever live without you?!” She talked to him constantly in the nursing home in her final years. He was always with her in her mind. They fought but they never considered divorce. Murder? Sure. Divorce? Never. They loved each other the best way they knew how to the end. I want a better marriage than they had, but I also want my marriage to do what theirs did.

In the end, Christian faith is more about our relationship to God than to family. It does greatly affect how we treat other people–especially our family. But focusing on marriage and parenting skills is cosmetic. Those skills won’t offer much help to people who don’t have the enduring sacrificial love of God instilled in their character.  Focusing on being like Jesus will make us better spouses and parents because it effects us at the core. You want a good family? Focus on Jesus. Live out the ways of Jesus and you will learn how to love everyone, family included.

Family is important and we need to minister to families, but our primary commitment, love and emotional support must come from God. So, as we focus on family, let’s be careful we don’t make our ideal an idol. Ironically the best thing you can do for your family is not to put your family first, but to put Jesus first and put your family in its proper place

“HE has made everything beautiful in it’s time”…Ecclesiastes 3:11

Whether we are willing to accept it or not, we see divorce as a bruise and a blemish on the church, even on those who are not at fault. But, being divorced isn’t the only “failure” that makes Christians uncomfortable. Do not (and I emphasize, DO NOT!!!) allow your spouse to die at a young age either. As a matter of fact, don’t wait too long to get married either! Singleness makes Christians uncomfortable.

There is a conception that single people are always unhappy, are irresponsible, unreliable and are missing out on the fullness of life. Some get the sense that they are invisible. Many are seen as lacking, less than or not whole. Many church members dismiss the single and many forget their singleness as soon as they are married. Others are not invited to activities because they are not married.

I have heard many elders and ministers “joke” about the “singles, singles again (and again) and the singles FOR A REASON”. Many singles have been told that they don’t “deserve” to be married or that marriage must not be “meant for you”. Yet, the same leaders would marry again quickly if the circumstances were theirs.

Remember that all marriages do eventually end, even if death occurs. Many a single dad or mom at church is widowed. Many are divorced due to the actions of an unfaithful spouse. Many good couples meet in Christian colleges and divorce struggling with the real world. Some make responsible choices and do NOT marry the wrong person and yet are penalized and stigmatized as being not married “for a reason”.

Singles, remember that you always belong to Jesus Christ and are always loved. Your life can be very rich and fulfilling as a single. You are forced to let go of the temporary but allowed to embrace the eternal.

Leaders, you are missing out on fellowship with many kind, passionate, dedicated and loving individuals. Single “for a reason”? Always! Jesus was “single for a reason”. How about Paul? Timothy? When did David do his greatest work? Joseph? Single “for a reason”? Yes, single to glorify Jesus.

 

Why My Church Doesn’t Have a Singles Ministry

By Kris Swiatocho

Single WomanI 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 single’s 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 ministers and staff; to educate and provide resources so that ALL churches would know how to reach singles.

While there are several large churches that have a singles minister or director and are doing a great job in reaching and growing single adults, most churches do not. Most churches give various excuses such as:

We don’t have any single adults.
 Well this is because you either are not defining singles correctly or simply have not looked at your membership demographics (or the demographics of your area).  In most large cities in the US, single adults are out numbering the married’s. I know this might be a shock to you considering the churches numbers do not reflect this. This is because we are not doing what is needed to reach them.

Single adults range from the 18 year old that still lives at home to the 29 year old single parent who has never been married to the divorced dad with grown kids to the 58 never married now taking care of their mom to the 68 widower who lives alone. It’s not that you don’t have single adults in your church or community; it’s how to reach them. So where do you start? How do you find them? 1) Look at your existing membership/attendance rolls and see who is not married. Categorize by age, past marital status, if they have kids that live at home or grown, etc. 2) Contact your town/city and find out the demographics of those living within a 5 mile radius. Once you find out this information, it will help you in the direction of how to reach them. You may find out you have a lot of single mom’s or widows. Depending on what you have the most of could determine whom you try and reach and how to minister to them.

Please know I believe singles ministry is simply one way to bring singles into your church. The goal with all ministry is reach people for Christ, help grow them so they will in turn reach and grow others (single or married).

If we start one, I hear it will end up being a meat market. I love to always answer this question and say, “Yes, it sure will, they can meet Jesus.” Churches have a huge fear that their singles ministry will end up being focused only on finding a mate. My first thought is…”and where would you like us to find a mate…in a bar?” My second thought is…”who is leading your singles ministry?” Church as a whole can easily be a place to only be fed and healed from a physical standpoint. But didn’t Jesus use these ways to minister so he could get to the person’s heart? He would feed and heal the body so that he could later feed and heal the soul? So if your singles ministry is thriving and growing and people come to meet the opposite sex, then who cares? It’s up to you as a church, as a leader to get them connected to the whole body of Christ. It’s up to you to get to know and build a relationship with them. And if they do find their spouse at your church, why would that be so horrible? The key to all of this is a solid foundation, structure, communication, building leaders and so on. The same way it would be for any ministry in your church that may meet someone’s emotional and physical needs first.

I have no idea where to start. Well, guess what? You can start with my ministry, The Singles Network. I lead the largest single adult leadership ministry in the country. My website has a ton of great resources to help you get started and keep going. Beside myself there are a ton of other great teachers, speakers, authors and pastors who are ready to help you as well. You can also call me at 919.434.3611 for help or attend one of my leadership retreats/conferences geared toward ministers, staff and leaders. Staring a single adult ministry is easy, it’s keeping it going that is tough. Because single adults are always on the move (whether getting married, moving into other parts of the Church or simply moving), the ministry can start off strong and begin to waiver. You have to learn how to keep your ministry going by growing leaders, expecting turnover, and change. The results can be phenomenal if you do.

I need to just focus on the traditional families like mine. I know it so much easier to just focus on what you know versus what you don’t know. I understand completely. I have never been married nor have children, yet I continue to have them cross my path as I lead singles. The solution? You build a team, a staff, and/or hire director that does care and understands single adults.

We don’t have the resources. 
I realize hiring a director does cost money. However, training a lay leader to be under an existing pastor does not. Most single adults have a way to pay for the things they might need. I say this in all ministry, “just do less and allow the singles to do more.” So you aren’t able to underwrite a huge conference or retreat?  Well, do a one-day conference at another church. Well, you aren’t able to order those Bible studies you wanted for all the singles? Since when do we need the church to buy our Bible studies? Well, we can’t bring in that fabulous speaker named Kris Swiatocho. Well, you start with your own pastors and lay leadership to speak and build. Don’t ever let resources keep you from doing what God has called you to do. Please see my website for a list of speakers that might be local to your area.

I think its better to include singles in our overall ministry of the church and not separate them out.  More and more churches seem to be doing this not because they really believe it’s the best choice but because they don’t want to deal with or mess with reaching single adults. Singles ministry can be difficult and time consuming due to the various needs of singles. However, churches cannot ignore that all people have specific needs that cannot be ministered too with one method. This is why we have youth ministry, women’s, senior and so on. I also say, “Not all churches are called to have a singles ministry but all churches are called to minister to singles.” It’s not that you have to have this huge singles ministry with a pastor or director. It’s more about how you minister to singles that might have specific needs such as how to build relationships for friendship or marriage. Needs such as divorce recovery, being a single parent, finances, loneliness, etc. Single adult ministry isn’t separating singles out from the body but instead, helping them grow in their own walks that enhance the entire body of believers.
So what is the real issue? What it really comes down to are most pastors like you are men with traditional families. You have been married since your early twenties. You have no idea what is feels like to be single. As a result, you simply teach and move towards what you do know…others like yourself. Please know, I am not writing this to fuss at you, as I know being a pastor is hard. I simply want to educate you on the other half of our population that makes up our cities and towns. A population that is ready and willing to serve the Lord. A population that could use support, counsel and encouragement. A population that needs discipleship. A population, just like Jesus, the greatest single who ever lived, who can also do amazing things for the God if only given the chance.

I encourage you to start today, asking God if you have been reaching ALL for Christ. Asking God what you need to be doing to reach the single adults in your church and community. And please know, when you make the effort to pour into a single adult, you are impacting the family of the future.

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Kris Swiatocho

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 the author of three books: Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment, co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources; From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus’ Life; and the most recent, Jesus, Single Like Me with Study Questions. Kris is currently working on her fourth book: FAQ’s of Singles Ministry coming this fall 2012.