Singles Socialize in Northeast Ohio

by Kirk Rattray

Proverbs 4:11 promises that the Lord will "guide you in the way of wisdom, and lead you along the right path." Frank Morrow tells everyone that the Lord guided him, and now he is leading others along that right path. Morrow is the founder of The Christian Single Social Life ministry ,(CSSL) which celebrates its second anniversary this month. This non-denominational, city-wide ministry offers area singles a place of fellowship, accountability
and spiritual encouragement.

Originally from this area, Morrow moved to Toledo, graduated from OSU and then returned to Cleveland about four years ago. While searching for a home church, a quest that took one and one half years, he researched or visited "easily twenty five churches" before settling in at Cornerstone Chapel in Medina. During his search he discovered that most churches have two-hundred members or less, and "a good solid ninety percent of them had no singles group at all." Burdened by these findings and quickened by the call of God, he cautiously and reverently sought the Lord for six months about launching a city wide singles ministry. Then he went to his pastor.

His meeting with his senior pastor, Jeff Kolodziej, confirmed the Lord's will for his life. Unfolding his vision, Morrow laughs now because "I didn't even hardly get the words out of my mouth" before Pastor Jeff heartily agreed, responding with the question "don't you know that's how I got started in ministry?" Additionally, Pastor Jeff agreed with every point Morrow presented about the establishment and government of the Christian Single Social Life ministry. "It was check, check, check, right down my list. Basically, he read my list to me."

Next, Frank had to figure a way to broadcast his fledgling ministry. Phone calls, church visits, flyers, or radio airtime were prohibitive, for various reasons. He needed to reach a city-wide audience for his vision, realizing that "what you have is little pockets of Christian singles spread out all over the city." He turned to Connection Magazine, Northeastern Ohio's award-winning premier Christian publication. After starting out with eleven people the group has now grown to over seventy five individuals. CCSL now accommodates two age groups - college age to 30+, or 40+ and up.

It is important to understand that CSSL, Morrow gently explains, "is not a Bible study; we're not a worship service or a church service" although those things are important, he maintains. CSSL is "mainly about the fellowship." Single people "need Christian friends to hang out with that will encourage them in the Lord." Social events are held twice monthly, on weekends. Events are varied as whitewater rafting trips, visits to veterans hospitals, listening to the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom or traditional ministry outreaches. On August 8th a picnic and a concert with the band Know Peace will be held at the Strongsville Chalet in the Metroparks. Frank is excited about this event because singles who don't know the Lord are also invited.

However, CSSL is not just about fun and games. Morrow has been involved with many churches in his life, and has a political science degree. Two things he knows - churches and people. In the last two years, he has talked to "hundreds" of singles, and a disturbing trend was uncovered. The enemy fires bullets of loneliness, isolation and discouragement at Godly singles, trying to lure them back into the world. It is shocking how many singles live for God during the week, but "on Friday nights they're down in the Flats." Frank warns singles against seeking the wrong types of relationships and becoming "unequally yoked." He also warns pastors to address this topic in their churches, because "what pastors aren't realizing is that it (singles issues) ends up on their desk." Furthermore, if pastors refuse to acknowledge the needs of singles, "they are going to go somewhere else."

Morrow remains optimistic that while "singles in the world have nothing," Christian singles "have resources. They have the Holy Spirit, pastors, church leadership, a support system, and that makes the church invaluable." CSSL augments this support system by providing fellowship opportunities on weekends, then pointing people to church on Sundays. Interestingly, theological interpretations do not divide a group this diverse, because "we focus in on what unifies us - Jesus Christ died on the cross, raised from the dead, bore our sins, bore our sicknesses. He rose from the dead on the third day, and the basic Gospel message that Jesus is Lord."

Although he can cite numerous studies or polls that show that the church is failing to meet the needs of its single members, Frank Morrow instead prefers to meet those needs, and it truly is exciting to see what God is doing through CSSL. Lonely people are pulled out of the world, singles find solid churches and backsliders are restored. Some people have even met and since married. CSSL even ministers to single parents, a "hot button issue" among churches today.

The philosophy of CSSL is simple. In accordance with Proverbs 3:6, the goal is to teach singles "how to acknowledge God in their social life, in their recreation, in their rest." To find out more about this ministry, call Frank Morrow at (440) 877-0810 or look up on the web. You will find an ally there, because "that's what Christian Single Social Life is all about - to help singles maintain the correct path."

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