History of the Upstate Christian Singles
The Upstate Christian Singles initially began with a vision in February 2002 for a one-time dance to bring singles together for Valentine’s Day. The first event was held at Scuffletown USA in Simpsonville, SC. Several hundred singles from many local churches attended the event. The dance turned into a huge success. The night of the event, there was a tornado watch in affect, and yet there was still such a huge crowd to brave the weather! The staff at Scuffletown had rarely seen the parking lot so full. Some folks parked in the owner’s front yard. What they saw from that first night were hundreds of Christian singles that were plugged into small singles groups. They loved their home church but wanted to meet other singles. How strong is that desire, even today?
As the ministry continued to grow, they moved to other locations like the Hilton, the “Expo Center” and the Roe Caberet downtown. Late in 2004, Tal Groce was asked to pray about getting involved and taking over the leadership of the ministry. On December of 2004, Tal helped with their New Year’s Eve event and took over the ministry in 2005. After the first year with all our events held downtown at the Roe Caberet we saw that the challenge of parking, the small size of the room and the fact that it was downtown was preventing many singles from attending. We began to look for a new location. Tal talked with John Roy from Pelham Road Baptist Church. He and the leaders of the church agreed to let us use the Activity Center for our New Year’s Eve event. On December 31, 2005, we had our first event at Pelham Road Baptist Church Activity Center. It was an overwhelming success. We have been using their facilities ever since.
With the events growing in numbers, singles began to share more of their stories with Tal. We felt we were meeting a need bringing them together in a clean, Christian environment, but there was something more we could be doing. We put together a ministry team that met regularly to plan events, develop ideas and discuss ways to minister to our group. We talked about the need for more than just a dance. We started what we call the “Ministry Moment.” The original idea was to introduce ministries and ministry opportunities to the singles, to encourage them and possibly get them involved. We would take 10 to 15 minutes in the middle of our dance to allow someone to share about a particular ministry and its needs. We began to also use this time to share an encouraging message. Through this we have seen a number of our singles make decisions for our Lord.
We have expanded our ministry into Speed Dating events, Karaoke, cookouts, movie nights, dinners out on the town and other activities to bring singles together. We purchased Karaoke and DJ equipment, giving us the freedom to conduct our own events without the expense of hiring a DJ at every event. One of the best things to come out of the Upstate Christian Singles is the desire of many of our singles to take the steps to grow spiritually. We started a Bible Study in 2007. We have a solid group of singles who really want to learn God’s word and grow spiritually. We meet every Sunday evening for Bible study.
The Upstate Christian Singles motto is "instead of looking for Mr. or Miss Right, we want to focus on becoming Mr. and Miss Right through our relationship with Jesus Christ". We have seen many decisions for the Lord, many singles creating strong Christian friendships as well as many singles meeting and moving on to significant relationships, including marriage. We have singles coming from all around the Upstate of South Carolina and North Carolina. Our singles come from Asheville, Shelby, Charlotte and other areas of North Carolina and from, Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, Rock Hill and Columbia, Charleston, Hilton Head in South Carolina some will travel from various areas of Georgia as well.
Personal Note from Tal:
I truly believe that God is working in this ministry and we are making a difference in the singles community. We are expanding our ministry to Upstate Christian Ministries, which will encompass Upstate Christian Singles, as well as a ministry to younger singles and couples alike.
I am excited to see where the Lord is going to take us next.