Reaching Single Adults: An Essential Guide for Ministry, by Dennis Franck. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007.
Dennis Franck has made history in single adult ministries in the Assemblies of God. In 1979, when Franck started his first full-time ministry position — as Single Adults pastor at First Assembly in Billings, Montana — he was one of five known paid single adult pastors in the Assemblies of God in the United States. He discovered great need within the single adult community — and the group in Billings soon attracted 125 singles, hailing from 27 church backgrounds, to its Sunday morning meetings. Not bad for a church of 400 people.
Today, Franck serves as National Director of Single Adult Ministries for the Assemblies of God, a position he has held since 2000. He is a frequent speaker at single adult conferences, retreats and leadership training in the Assemblies of God and in other denominations. Pastors and ministry leaders now have access to Franck’s research and hard-won ministry lessons in his new book, Reaching Single Adults. This book is significant for several reasons. Not only is it the first book on this subject to be published in the United States in eight years, it is the first known ministry/leadership book about ministry to single adults published by an Assemblies of God author.
Harold Ivan Smith, a pioneer in ministry to single adults, commends Franck for offering “solid, seasoned guidance on how to reach America’s greatest mission field. Only a leader long in this field could have written such a resource for effective ministry.” Indeed, Franck’s passion for working across denominational lines — whether in local ministry or as a national leader — has resulted in the book’s broad-based appeal and acceptance.
Most pastors have a vague apprehension about how to approach ministry to this segment of society, explains Franck. Single adults are often overlooked in churches and poorly understood by ministry leaders. Single adults are defined as those approximately age 30 and above; those younger than 30 generally are included in young adult ministries rather than single adult ministries. Single adult ministries include at least four categories: age-based groups, divorce recovery groups, single parent families groups, and groups for widows. Reaching Single Adults provides justifications for ministry to each of these groups, as well as tested ministry methods for implementation in the local church.
The Assemblies of God has been a leader in ministry to single adults. The national Single Adult Ministries department grew out of a national committee, sponsored by the national Sunday School department. The ten single adult ministry leaders who served on the committee organized training conferences every couple of years during the 1980s and 1990s, but a lack of resources limited their impact. When the Single Adult Ministries department was formed in 2000, Franck accepted the call to serve as its first leader. Today, approximately 2,000 Assemblies of God congregations sponsor at least one type of single adult ministry.
Franck and his wife, Jill, have dedicated their lives to working with single adults. After leaving Billings in 1983, they served at Glad Tidings, Omaha, Nebraska (1983-87), Bethel Church, San Jose, California (1987-94), Central Assembly, Boise, Idaho (1994-95), and Valley Christian Center, Dublin, California (1995-2000). He states, “Our hearts have always been with single adults, because we have noticed them and listened to their stories, hopes and desires. God used single adults around us to show us the need.” Now, with Reaching Single Adults, Franck is sharing this need with the broader Church.
Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers
Paperback, 223 pages. $14.99 retail. Order from: Gospel Publishing House