How do you get Conference/Union Leaders to see the need?
#1
I have been actively involved with Singles Ministries since 1991 when it was a self-supporting ministry known as Adventist Singles Ministries. I started out in a local state chapter as secretary and then eventually became president of that state chapter at which time I also started working with the local Union singles leadership in planning events and keeping things going. At the time that Adventist Singles Ministries went bankrupt I was the Director of Southwestern Union ASM which became Southwestern Union Singles. For 8-9 years now I have worked as Director of Southwestern Union Singles, ministering to the needs of singles thoughout the five states for which I am responsible and championing the needs of singles to the church leadership. We were beginning to think that we were finally being recognized and accepted and then just this week I was told "you are not the leader for Single Adult Ministries in the Southwestern Union". Seems the Family Ministries Director is very possessive of that and doesn't want it out of his control yet, the only thing he ever does for singles is include them in the Ministries Convention every other year but, he plans numerous events for married couples. So, Southwestern Union Singles Ministries has once again become an Independent Ministry within the Adventist Church because there is a great need and someone has to be out there reaching out to our singles.

Just this month the Family Ministries Director wrote an article which is published in the Southwestern Union Record about Church Ministries (I know he perhaps did not intend it to sound the way it came across but, it came across negative none the less)...below is an excerpt from that article....

"The church is a microcosm of society. What we see occurring in the world also occurs in the church--the Adventist Church. Divorce, single parent homes, domestic violence, abuse, incest -- these negative elements exist in relationships within the church, preventing members from experiencing the full joy and blessings the church offers. Therefore the church must provide support and assist its members in addressing relationship issues and recreating healthy relationships."

I am neither divorced or have a single parent home but, I take exception to those two being included with domestic abuse and incest.

Now [b]to my question...How do we get our Conference and Union leaders to REALLY see the need for a ministry to Singles by Singles?[/b]Within the Southwestern Union there is the Texas Conference, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference, Oklahoma Conference, Texico Conference, and Southwest Regional Conference (all black) and then there is the Southwestern Union. Of the 5 conferences and 1 Union there is only 1 conference, the Southwest Regional Conference that has Singles Ministries Leaders. Where do we start? What can we do? What will it take to wake them up to the need? Why isn't there a Singles Ministries Department just like there is a Women's Ministries Department?

I can say a very positive thing is that my local church sees the need to minister to singles and has a somewhat active singles ministry....what a blessing!!!
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#2
LoriH, it is so good to hear from you and I'm so sorry for what happened in your Union. That is not right but, let me tell you my story. I too began working in Single Adult Ministries in 1991 in our Conference and in 1993-94 I became president. From 1989 to 1993 I also served as Director for Sabbath School and Children's Ministries but was cut in 1993 because of the conference financial situation. Another director and myself were cut because we were the last directors hired. It was shortly after this that our conference began giving Singles Ministries a budget. Before I came on board the Ministry had been raising funds for a building on our campgrounds at Hope and then found out the Municipal District would not allow another building on the campgrounds so we purchased a tent which the Conference stores and looks after for us. In 1997 while working as administrative secretary for the president of the conference I would take a week off to get our Thanksgiving Retreat ready but still do that work at the office. When the president saw this he couldn't figure out why I would do such a thing because as he said, Singles is a part of the Adventist Church just like any other ministry. So, the Management Committee voted to give me back my time and agreed that it was a ministry of the Conference. Since that time I have once again become a director and Single Adult Ministries is a department and is one of my assignments.

It seems that some do see the need for the Ministry and I am hoping that the NAD will get the message soon because 51% of the membership is not exactly something that can be ignored. We also now have a very good communicator as the NAD ASAM Coordinator. Barbara will be doing all she can to help us grow.

Will you be coming to the NAD ASAM Convention in Phoenix in 10 days? It would be very nice to meet you Lori and we could discuss things more there. So glad you shared this with us.
Make it Happen! Smile
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#3
Darlene, it has been helpful for you to work in the conference office, here in the South I find conference/union officials very clickish and possessive of their funds. Not being in that group you don't have the constant contact with the conference/union officials and as the old saying goes...out of sight, out of mind!

Will you be coming to the NAD ASAM Convention in Phoenix in 10 days? Actually, no I didn't know anything about it...as far as I know it hasn't been publised in this Union. And secondly if I went I would have to pay for it myself as none of the Conference/Union will help sponsore someone to go (I personally can't afford to pay for travel, convention fee, lodging and miss the time at work to attend). Now, there may be someone from Regional going as that is the only Conference in this Union that supports Singles Ministries.

Presently I'm formulating some plans to revive Southwestern Union Singles Ministries (an independent ministry) and have some activities, outreach and training for singles. I have a real burden for singles and if the conferences/union aren't going to do anything about it I will.
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#4
Good for you LoriH. I'm very glad that you are willing to make it work in your Union. It would be very good to have you with us at the NAD ASAM but, I do understand the problem with money, time, etc. I'm sorry that your Union does not support the Ministry like they should. I think they need a dose of statistics and then when realize that 50-51% of adults in church are now single maybe they will see the need for Singles Ministries. By the time they realize it it too late. Perhaps Jesus will already have come.

Yes, it is fortunate that I work at the conference office though our conference has always been supportive of the ministry. I'm not sure what it is that makes the difference between Conferences and Unions.

LoriH I admire you for keeping on even when things get tough. Maybe you can borrow my motto "Make It Happen." ;D
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#5
LoriH. I'm sorry that things are so difficult for you at this time. Could it be that it is only the Family Ministries Director who does not understand the need for Single Adult Ministries? Could the other directors and administrators see the need for the ministry and not realize the problems you are facing? I know that at the North American Division ASAM comes under the Family Ministries Director, Willie Oliver, though he has appointed Barbara Babcock as Coordiantor. I think he realizes that he can't do it all on his own since his focus also seems to be on Marriage and the family. It's sad that our church focuses so much on the "ideal family" and minimizes the other areas. It's also sad that we focus on the "gift of marriage" and minimize the 'gift of singleness" which Jesus talks about in Matthew 19 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 7.

Would you be able to put together a proposal with goals and plans and then ask your Union Administrators if you can present it to them and invite the Family Ministries Director to be present? I don't mean a negative proposal but a positive one that shows the need for a Single Adult Ministry. Just maybe if they see that you have a well thoughtout plan they will give a positive response.
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#6
How have things worked out in your Conference/Union? Have there been any further developments? I know the person you refer to will be helping with the upcoming 2007 Orlando, Florida, Single Adult Ministries Event. Will you be helping too?
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#7
This may sound simplistic...

Get a crowd
Get them Marching
Leadership will then get in front and let everyone know they support it...
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#8
had a crowd,
had them marching,
and leadership could have cared less!!!
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#9
Darlene,

I have not been asked to be of any assistance at the 2007 event and I highly doubt that I will be asked! The response I had from this individual regarding Singles Ministries came across as very territorial so, like I said it is doubtful. I will be staring some waves around here in the very near future....I have taken the Power Point presentation you sent and created one quite similiar for the Southwestern Union and I am going to start at one of the local conference offices and ask to come to one of their meetings to educate on the need for Singles Ministries. Once I have confirmed their support I will be taking this presentation to local churches and presenting the information there, educating on the reason/need for such a ministry.

I am real excited about this and thinking of looking at a nearby spiritual retreat as a future site for a Singles Weekend retreat. Will let you know how things progress...
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#10
Good for you LoriH. Education is very needed in our church and by going to a conference and local churches is where it all begins. For our conference I decided to do the same because if something comes from the groundroots level those higher up will usually listen. If it comes from the top down there are those who will not accept it as readily. So, I think you are making a good move. And I think that what Stan says is kind of similar to what I just said.
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#11
The Adventist Single Adult Ministries Coordinator in my new Conference resigned and suggested my name as a replacement. Our Conference really does not understand the need to the single adult....but, hopefully what I have shared with some of them will help them to see what is needed.

We have a volunteer coordiantor in another ministry in our conference who works at the Conference Office. This person has not been wise in their use of Conference dollars and has created a difficult position because they do not want anyone else from the Office taking this type of position because it does not seem fair to other coordiantors who do not work at the office.... So, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully they will change their thinking.
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#12
One day, hopefully the policy in our conference will change. We have a new president who is supportive of ASAM and just maybe.......in the meantime I have worked with my church pastor and started a ASAM in our church. The past three events we have had have been ones for the whole conference. Our current ASAM Volunteer Coordiantor asked that we make them available to all singles. So.....just maybe.......
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#13
Great.  I would love to hear from you this. Alpinestars Leather Jacket Topcelebsjackets
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#14
Well I moved to another conference since I wrote what is above.....I become the ASAM Director in this newer place and worked at it for 7 years but, now I'm retired and they were looking for someone to replace mew but, have not found anyone.  SAD, because ASAM hasn't been working here for 2 years now.  So, if there is anyone in this Conference who could do ASAM please let me know and we'll work on getting it going.  I know our Administrators want it because they said so.......
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