Contributed By Mary Chan
The Singles Advocates is an initiative by CHC’s Singles Committee to lend a hand to those who need a little bit of help when it comes to dating. As the name suggests, the SA is a core group of people made up of married couples and individuals with a heart to help singles through inter-zone networking, professional match-making and post match-making follow-up activities.
Explained Jeremy Choy, who is heading the Singles Committee, “From our past experiences, we’ve realized that one of the best ways to serve the singles in our church is through match-making.” He added, “There are, however, skills required and protocol to be observed in match-making and engaging singles in a more professional, yet personal manner.”
Despite a heavy morning downpour, a group of 31 SAs, hand-picked by their respective zone pastors and zone supervisors, turned up excited and ready to draw from the experience of the trainers on practical skills for profiling and match-making, as well as to gain relevant knowledge, skills and preferred attributes to provide matching services to the singles in CHC.
The training was conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Chong, a husband and wife team of trainers from a training consultation firm, Tree Within LLP.
The trainers warmed up the class by engaging the SAs in a practical ice-breaker that is commonly executed at singles events. Each participant was given a list of basic yet essential criteria and was tasked to find another participant in the class who matched the criteria. For example, one of the questions required the participant to find someone of the opposite gender in the room who shared the same hobby or interest. The objective of this ice-breaker was to create an environment for the participants to get to know one another in a fun and non-intimidating manner. This practical ice-breaker taught the SAs how a simple game can be used to encourage interaction at singles events.
In the first half of the training, the duo focused on the background and history of the dating scene in Singapore. An interesting fact—there is an equal ratio among single males and females (1:1) nationwide, although the scale is a little skewed toward more single females in churches (1:2). It is also found that the average age of couples walking down the aisle is slowly increasing. Although there is a 17.5 percent increase in marriages from 2004 to 2009, the percentage of divorce has increased as well.
According to the couple, dating agencies see a rising trend of younger males and females (between 24 to 26 years old) approaching third-party agencies to set them up for dates. It is common to find singles spending longer hours at work, resulting in a smaller social circle. As a result, singles are turning to dating agencies to help them find that “perfect” match.
Other common barriers that prevent singles from getting attached are poor dating and social skills. Often, many singles are not aware of these barriers or they are not able to overcome them.
Matching For Martial Bliss
In the second half of the training, the trainers taught on the different concepts of love, relationship and attraction, critical factors of compatibility, and practices to observe in match-making. Their tongue-in-cheek style of training coupled with “real-life” examples created a fun and engaging environment for the SAs.
Throughout the training, they brought up different dating and match-making scenarios related to the topics in the training module and had the SAs interact in small groups to discuss how to tackle those issues. These small discussion sessions helped the SAs to learn how to manage awkward situations and avoid causing undue embarrassment to the singles.
The SAs learned that prior to the actual act of match-making, pre-screening interviews and counseling are very important, as it allows them to assess the suitability of singles—whether they are ready for a relationship. They also help the singles to crystalize their preferences of the potential partner they are looking for. As part of the pre-screening interviews, SAs will help the singles set and manage their expectations and identify the key values that cannot be compromised.
The responsibility of an SA does not stop at getting singles out on their first date. Part of the responsibility of an SA is to help singles move toward marriage.
The group of SAs met again the following Saturday to receive practical training on how to effectively match-make singles. Following this two-day training course, the Singles Committee aims to engage the singles in the church at a deeper level through intentional match-making that will progress to small group events, and eventually successful relationships that lead to marriage.
Need the help of a Singles Advocate? Email the Singles Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Singles Committee
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The Singles Committee was formed in 2008 to better serve the needs of the singles in City Harvest Church through the organization of education and enrichment events. This is done with the purpose of helping singles fulfil their aspiration of finding a suitable life partner.
About Tic Tac Toe
Tic Tac Toe, the brain child of Tan Ye Peng, deputy senior pastor of CHC, and Jeremy Choy, assistant pastor of CHC, was started in 2006 and now functions as the activity/events arm of the Singles Committee. TTT has seen a total of more than 1,600 singles at various events and seminars such as the TTT Launch Event (2006), Movie Night Out (2007), Masquerade Party (2008), the Relationship & Romance Conference (2009) and Happy Hour (2009). To date more than 15 couples are happily married and the committee is seeing more couples tying the knot.
What some of the Singles Advocates have to say …
“The Singles Advocates is a good initiative as my wife and I recognize that there is a genuine need for the singles in City Harvest Church. As a couple, we have a burden to help the singles. One of the key challenges at this point is that the Singles Advocates are yet to be fully equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge on how to effectively match-make the singles. This training is very timely as it empowers the Singles Advocate with the necessary skill set and knowledge. We are hopeful that we will be able to serve more singles in the coming months following the completion of this training.”
Mario Singh, 34
CEO FX1 Academy
“This is my first experience as a Singles Advocate, and I am excited to be able to play an instrumental role in helping the singles in City Harvest Church. The training is very effective for me as it equips me with the knowledge and skills to help the singles.”
Chiang Wen Kai, 28
“There are many friends around me who are still single and they have bemoaned the lack of suitable men or women around. There are definitely men and women out there who are just right for someone, but the lack of opportunity prevents them from getting to know one another. I do feel a sense of being on a ‘mission’ as a Singles Advocate, to help men and women find the Mr. and Ms. Right of their dreams.”
Allen Yu, 33