Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Lori Pace
Many churches are focusing on single parents, with almost 15 million of them in the United States today. Many people ask us how we can minister to single parents in a more creative, effective, and long-term manner. One way is to start a support group for single mothers. It offers long-term discipleship beyond just an outreach event or meal. Here are some things to consider if you have never started a single moms support group, or a single parent ministries in your church.
Start Your Own Single Parent Ministries
Recognize that not all single moms are “churched” divorced single mothers.
Many churches have support groups for single parents. Single moms are often the ones that focus on these groups. This is a problem because only 33% of single moms go to church. You must reach out to people outside of your church in order to grow your support network.
Single Parent Ministries Should Teach Relevant Material
One of my first actions in helping single-parent groups grow is to change their teaching material. Many groups offer deep Bible studies, such as the one on Ruth or the Proverbs 31 woman. These are great teaching tools, but focusing on Bible study when a single mother’s life is in danger (financially and emotionally) is not the best message.
Meet at a convenient time for single moms
It is best to meet on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday afternoons. Mothers of school-age children will have to deal with homework. While Wednesday nights are convenient for the church because childcare workers are available, this may not be the best time for mothers. It is important to offer a more convenient time to meet mothers if you are looking to expand your reach beyond the church walls. A full-time job can make it difficult for single mothers to find support groups. However, meeting on weekends will allow them to be more open to new friendships and experiences.
Before you can launch a single parent program
You should begin by securing support from your church or community leadership team. Find something to assist you in creating a formal presentation. It is filled with statistics and stories about single mothers’ church experiences.
Start a single parent ministries
It can be intimidating to present the idea of starting a single parent support group in your local church, especially if it is not something you do.
Ministers, leaders in the community, and pastors are often overwhelmed. They have to be able to take on many different tasks every day. Do your research about single moms in your community, the costs of the program, volunteer opportunities, and other information. It will save you time and let your leadership know how committed you are to a successful launch. Your pastoral team should be educated about the statistics that impact this group. However, it is important to do so with love and respect.
Make a plan to start a single parent ministries
What date will you set up the support group? Who will you turn to for support? Who will take care of childcare? Meals? What are you going to teach? What will you teach? Take a look at every aspect of the ministry to see what the details are.
Be hopeful, not accusator
Single moms with a strong desire to minister to single moms often speak of church leadership from a place that is judgmental or hurt rather than hope and encouragement. It is better to say “During my divorce, the church was vital to my healing.” There are many single moms who would benefit from having a place where they can connect.
Be aware of the cost for a single parent ministries
Are you able to lead a support group for single mothers in your church? Or do you have someone in mind? Are you looking for volunteers? It will cost the church resources and money.