When Your Pastor Says No or Wait on Single Moms’ Ministry
God has brought you through the fire of hardship and oppression and possibly even single parenting. You’ve come out on the other side and are so excited about where you’ve been, all you’ve learned, and how your relationship with God has grown. The excitement births a passion to minister to single mothers. The excitement swells, as you envision the dozens, then hundreds, of single moms you can help in your community. You’ve set up a meeting with your pastoral leadership team and are filled with anticipation on what they’ll say and when you can get started. (For tips on presenting to your pastor and preparing for that meeting, visit HERE.)
The meeting doesn’t go quite like you planned. The pastors or leadership person doesn’t say “yes” immediately. In fact, they say, “no” . Maybe they cite budget concerns or the lack of need in your church or time restraints. Or maybe you don’t get a “no” at all, but simply a “wait”. Nothing can be more frustrating! I mean, you feel you’ve heard from God. You already know how hard it is to navigate as a single mom. You’ve been there, done that, and have a passion for it. And now….you have to wait?! It can seem like a death sentence to an excited potential single moms’ ministry leader!
The exact same thing happened to our founder, Jennifer Maggio, more than a decade ago, when she wanted to start a single moms’ ministry in her local church. At the time, she was frustrated. She didn’t get a “no”. I got a “wait”, but it just as well had been a no, because the wait seemed like forever. But do you know what the great thing is today? She learned much during that waiting period that equipped all of us to do what we do here are The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and for such a time as this — teaching you how to be patient in the wait!
Consider the following:
- God will do what He says. If God spoke to you about leading other single mothers, then he will open that door, in his perfect timing. No one, and I do mean, NO ONE, can thwart the plan of God. Be encouraged by that truth. Know that in the right timing a single mom’s program will start in your community, whether you are leading it or not, whether it starts in your timing or not, and whether it starts at your church, or not, which leads me to my next point.
- You may not be the one who should lead the single moms’ ministry. This one is hard to say and maybe even harder for you to hear. Maybe God has laid this on your heart, but he’s wanting you to start it with someone else who can lead it or maybe you aren’t ready to lead. Maybe there are some things you are learning. Or maybe he is raising up a new leader who will be just the right person. Maybe your pastor’s “no” was more about your journey than “no” to single moms. It doesn’t mean that one day you may not be ready to lead.
- Pray for your leadership team. The more you pray for the team, the more connected you feel to them. This allows your heart to continue to be pure towards them and no bitter root to grow against them.
- Not right now does not mean no. Sometimes, when we get a delay or a request to wait, we are impatient — very impatient. Who am I kidding?! Oftentimes, most of the time, we are impatient. Be patient while you wait. See what there is to learn. Research best practices for single mom’s ministries. Grow. Pray. That way, when the pastor says, “yes”, you’ll be ready.
- Do not be disrespectful of your leadership. Maybe someone didn’t approve a single mom’s support group right now. And maybe there really is a huge need in your church and community. Perhaps you are really upset about it. Do not gossip, back-bite, or in any way talk negatively about your church leadership. It doesn’t honor them, and frankly, it exhibits spiritual immaturity. Resolve to pray for them instead. Be submissive to their authority and wait patiently. God is growing you, too!
- Prepare for the single moms’ ministry. This is a time of growth for you. While you are waiting, you are growing. How can you grow? How can you stretch your faith? Do you need to forgive someone, receive healing from an old one, or grow in your knowledge of the Bible? Use this time of waiting to prepare for what God has in the upcoming season.
- Schedule a second meeting six months from now. Be sure you use our tips on the best ways to present the idea to your pastoral team located HERE. Ensure they know the need, and also be respectful. The second meeting can be one of you explaining some of the things you’ve done to work on yourself, as well as additional conversations you’ve had with single moms in the community, or simply just to let them know you are still interested.
- Serve in another ministry. What vision does your pastor have for the church? Is this a season where they are really focusing on the youth group and ministering to the college-aged in the community? Then, get on board. Serve someone else’s passion, faithfully and with a pure heart, and just watch how God begins to open doors for you. Your volunteerism in another ministry is also a great way to exhibit your faithfulness, sweet personality, and willingness to work hard to your pastoral team!
The Life of a Single Mom is a national organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that focuses on seeing no single mom walk alone. The organization serves more than 50,000 single mothers annually from around the United States and more than 2,000 in Greater Baton Rouge through their support group network, outreach event, educational classes, online communities, and more. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.