The Singles Ministry in our fellowship saw some exciting developments in 2014. The Singles Service Team feels humbled and deeply honored to be serving the singles ministry worldwide at such an exciting time as this. 

The Singles Service Team experienced change of personnel this year. Elias and Rachel Deleault graciously accepted our invitation to represent the Northwest US family of churches replacing Jay and Carol Kelly. Our North American team now numbers 30 members and has already begun our expansion plans for 2015 with the goal of being an identified, international team.

The Current Service Team:

Wade & Debbie Cook, chairs —  Denver
Howard Martin — Canada
Wilner Cornely — Caribbean (honorary)
Sam & Diana Manning — Caribbean
Chad & Marilyn Winchell — No. Virginia
Matt & Deanna Newburg — Florida/La.
Elias and Rachel Deleault — Northwest
Bill & Kristen Moulden — Midwest
Larry & Kim Reed — New England
Mark & Lin Ottenweller — Southeast
Floyd & Tamara Grossett — Southwest
Angela Williams — Southwest
Marshall & Shawn Mead — Southwest
Adam & Bethany Smith — Texas

Our functioning team sub-committees are:

T.I.P. of the Spear! (Mark and Lin Ottenweller)

It is noted that there is only one single person on the Singles Service Team. The committee was concerned that the singles themselves would not be adequately represented in discussions and decisions made. Therefore it was suggested we create a singles sub-committee to operate as a “think-tank” of sorts to both identify and rectify current issues facing the singles ministry. That group is what we named the TIP group. Tip stands for :

T. – Think I. – Inspire    P.- Propose

The  SST thought it very important that we are hearing from singles in their own voice.  If we are to authentically service the singles ministry worldwide, we need to be kept aware of  the real time issues facing the singles ministries. We all understand that it is frightfully easy to become a ceiling over the singles and not remain a service agent to them.

Additionally, the SST expressed a desire to raise up single leaders, especially amongst the brothers. To that end, this subcommittee would represent their regional families of churches and are tasked to call, email and visit their local church ministries asking singles what are the real time issues on their minds. This sub-committee would collect that information and come up with solutions to the problems they encounter.  They have had regular conference calls and a comprehensive report of their progress thus far will be made available upon request.

2014  International Singles Conference (Wade and Debbie Cook)

God blessed us tremendously as 2,295 brothers and sisters from around the globe gathered in Denver for a life changing time of fellowship and inspiration which is still being felt in our ministries worldwide. The totality of the good news is more than can be shared here but the following represent some highlights.

God blessed us tremendously as 2,295 brothers and sisters from around the globe gathered in Denver for a life changing time of fellowship and inspiration which is still being felt in our ministries worldwide. The totality of the good news is more than can be shared here but the following represent some highlights.

  • THE MATURE SINGLES in our fellowship decided to host a 50 and over reception which we hoped would draw 25 to 50 folks. The room was literally bursting at the seams as 168 turned up to attend! This spawned awareness that we have an ever growing (and no less vibrant!!) mature singles ministry demographic that needs better representation. This reception, along with some great feed back during our round table discussions prompted the Singles Service Team to ask Sheridan and Debbie Wright if they would launch a sub-committee to represent and address the needs of this newly recognized demographic. We expect to be hearing some very exciting things coming out of this group in the future.
  • DT HEART & SOUL (DTHS): It’s been a great year for DT Heart and Soul. Immediately following the conference, DTHS realized a membership of 671 (506 women, 165 men, 3.07 ratio) which was a 250% increase over their pre-conference membership numbers. They rolled out a Russian-language version of in December of 2014 from which we expect to see great things. To date they are proud to have played a part in 20 marriages, 2 engagements, 10 dating couples, and 2 newborn babies!!!  Despite the fact that membership numbers have slipped to 383 members, we remain undaunted and committed to working collaboratively with the fine team at DTHS in finding ways to help them achieve the critical mass of DTHS users we all have been praying for. There are several initiatives in the works that we hope will help us see sustained enthusiasm and growth in the increased connections made within the singles ministries worldwide.
  • HOPE CONTRIBUTION FOR THE POOR: The singles ministry loves HOPE worldwide! We remain fully committed to supporting the tremendous work HOPEww is doing worldwide. HOPEww had a strong presence at the conference which is one of several reasons why we smashed our goal of $15,000 with a gift of $33k giving by all the participants. We want to thank the Denver Church of Christ, Colorado Springs Christian Church and Fort Collins Christian Church for not only hosting the conference, but generously contributing to that collection as well. Special thanks to Jonathan Hoggard of Disciples Today who was immensely helpful in initiating a new online fundraising tool we used throughout the conference. This is a new tool we see being implemented in many areas of our ministry moving forward.

There are many other highlights. For a complete report, please visit the Disciples Today Singles Page (where you can listen to all the lessons, download videos and check out some of the other successes of our time together. We remain on schedule for our future ISCs to be:

  • 2016 – St. Louis
  • 2018 – Jamaica

Communications Sub-Committee (Adam and Bethany Smith)

Communication has traditionally been this committee’s greatest bogie and we have been going after this issue with vigor. Each of the Service Team members has assembled a list of single leaders in their US geographic regions and has had conference calls with them. As communicated above, we have begun the task of cinching up our international geographic regions.  Adam and Bethany Smith are the Disciples Today Singles editors and are tasked with finding fresh and consistent material to put on the website. They are doing a great job!! If you haven’t done so yet, please like us on Facebook to stay further connected!!!!

Demographics Sub-Committee (Floyd and Tamara Grossett)

Another of our primary 20/20 goals was to gather and maintain accurate information on the size and scope of our ministry. We have begun our comprehensive data collection for 2015 and will have an accurate report available by summer of 2015.

2015 Regional Leadership Retreats and S.U.R.G.E. (Chad and Mara Winchell)

Chad and Mara are spearheading SURGE (Singles United Representing God EVERYWHERE!) This program gives singles an opportunity to visit smaller foreign churches to encourage and strengthen them. Our aim is to rejuvenate the foreign church in its mission of saving their nations!  Coupled with HOPE worldwide, we are creating opportunities for singles to serve with either a humanitarian or missionary focus. We believe these two ministries are inextricably linked, complimentary to each other’s success, yet different enough in scope to warrant separate attention.

Men’s Ministry Task Force – Marshall and Shawn Mead/Angela Williams

Intensified implementation of visionary and strategic programs related to reaching, converting and retaining more single men worldwide. This is a long and nuanced conversation, but it is a high priority for the Singles Service Team.

Stay tuned for updates on the following efforts:  

  1. International expansion plans are underway so we can accurately be titled an international singles service team.
  2. In an effort to capitalize and extend the anticipated momentum of the conference, we are working to organize training weekends in each of the geographic regions of North America. The overall goals of the weekend are for each person to leave:
    • Inspired with vision for what God can do in their life and ministry
    • With more connections formed with other leaders
    • Equipped to lead more effectively
  3. A Bridge program that can more formally and effectively transition young teen and college graduates into singles ministry. The idea of moving into the singles ministry is currently met with mixed reviews and our aim is to communicate what a wonderful chapter of life this next phase can bring.
  4. HOPE Single Corps – HOPE worldwide Singles Corps affords participants an unparalleled opportunity to better understand the world’s current conditions while growing in their faith. HSC volunteers will return home with a heightened sense of purpose and a broader perspective of the world, but most importantly a better understanding of Jesus’ character and qualities. The SST is fully behind the mission of HOPE Single Corps and has been in recent communication with Nadine Templer investigating ways to support robust marketing aimed at opening up future service opportunities.

Special effort will be made to have the worldwide singles partners fly in for that weekend to connect and build connections that will be the basis of future regional connections. At the time of this publishing, The SE family of churches and the Rocky Mountain Region have hosted very successful retreats and the complete schedule of the remaining North American Leadership retreat weekends is available on the DToday Singles Page.

We are looking forward to our 2015 service team meetings will be in conjunction with the Florida Discipleship Conference. We plan to convene for two days of meetings July 1-3 in Orlando, Florida and will have a comprehensive report available of that time together to be published in August of 2015.

As always, we appreciate your continued support and prayers.

Grace and Peace,

Wade and Debbie Cook