|Ten Ways Churches Can Reach Out To Single Parent Families
Here are ten ideas and ways churches can make the single parent families welcome and included.
Eight Things Churches Can Do To Support Single Moms
By Teri Worten
1) Provide a ministry solely for single parents. Single moms are more often than not the minority in congregations and can feel isolated in a church of singles (without children) and married couples. However, fellowships that are designed specifically for them will build confident and encouragement.
2) Develop programs for single parent families. At times young boys don't have a positive male influence in their lives. Churches could be the ideal venues for mentoring programs for these young people. Ideally, healthy, balanced married men would be excellent candidates for such a ministry. It's imperative for children of single parents to be exposed to men who are taking care of their families.
Also, a home maintenance program could be of wonderful benefit to single mothers. Most mothers become overwhelmed in dealing with the day-to-day struggles of raising their children. A lawn cutting or house painting service for single moms could be an enormous blessing.
3) Scholarships and continuing education funds could be just the boost some moms need to be able to return to school and thereby provide a better lifestyle for their children. At times [although well-intentioned] a cash gift could be equivalent to giving a fish to a man that would be better served by learning to fish himself.
4) Create a Adopt-a-family program. Married couples that are secure could bless a single mom family with much needed support, encouragement and accountability.
Family dinners, cookouts and picnics are excellent fellowship ideas. Just as it is important for the children of single mom families to witness two parent families, it is equally critical for single moms to be exposed to as many healthy, functioning marriages as possible. This, like any ministry, should be rooted in wisdom.
5) Benevolent Funds exclusively for single parents. Education needs aside, single mothers are the sole source of income for their families and are especially vulnerable to financial setbacks. A church fund/loan program to get them back on their feet could be just the ticket for keeping moms independent of negative sources of income.
6) Single family events. Church sponsored events just for single parents would serve to be
validating supportive and lots of fun for them. For instance, group events to local amusement parks or trips to the park would be such a ball for families!
Speaking of moms...they need time out too. Church events for single moms to rest and relax can keep a single moms refresh and energized!
7) Churches could partner with a local temp agencies or employment organizations to receive area job listings for single moms (and even others) in the congregation. These announcements can easily be made part of the announcements or posted on a special area in the church or website.
Most churches have so many untapped resources in the congregation. Perhaps there is a church member that could offer a job training class or interview assistance for single moms looking for employment.
8) Pastor should pray for messages that would minister to single moms. I can recall numerous times that I, as a single mom, felt invisible to my pastoral leadership. I'm not sure if churches are fearful of the subject of the divorce just to judgment to approach it, but it has to change.
After enduring the pain and shame of my divorce, the pastor of a church I visited gave a sermon about the woman from Samaria. He went on to explain that although she was divorced and had made some bad decisions, Jesus STILL used her to lead an entire village to salvation! It was incomprehensible that Jesus could use someone so wounded, but that's just like Him to bring healing and restoration! I joined that church shortly thereafter and am still there!
Divorce and single-parenting is infrequently mentioned from time to time in either a judgmental condemning way or with a sympathetic tone. However, divorce/separation is a real issue and requires a specific healing. We need our shepherds to guide us toward that healing and toward our Healer.
About the Author
Ms. Worten's interest also includes writing, public speaking and internet inspiration ministries. She has been featured on various Kansas City television shows, radio shows and featured in several of Kansas City's major and ethnic publications. Her hobbies include attending her church and creating and facilitating, fun, interactive workshops for women's groups. Visit her on the web at http://www.gottabemegirl.com or http://www.teriworten.com!