With almost 15 million single parents in the country today, many churches are beginning to focus on the need to minister to single parents more effectively. The Life of a Single Mom Ministries is elated to be part of that journey. We receive tons of questions about how to minister to the needs of single parents in a more effective, creative, long-term way. We believe one of those ways is through a single moms support group. It provides long-term discipleship, beyond simply an outreach, event, or meal.
For those who have not started a single moms support group in your church, here are a few things you may want to know. For those who have started a group and are frustrated with the lack of growth or possible issues within the group, read on. We’ll try to help you with those questions, too.
– Recognize that not every single mom is a “churched” divorced single mom. Less than 1% of the 300,000 Christian churches in the country have single parent support groups. The few that do often focus on the single moms that are already in their church. This is a big problem, in light of the fact that only 33% of single moms attend church. In order to grow your support group, you must focus on reaching those outside your church.
– Teach relevant material. In my work with helping to grow single parent groups, one of the first things we do is change the teaching material. Many of the groups are teaching deep Bible studies on the book of Ruth, the Proverbs 31 woman, etc. While these are excellent teaching tools for the future, focusing on deep Bible study, when a single mom’s life is potentially falling apart (financially, emotionally, and with her parenting skills) is not a timely message.
– Meet at a time that is convenient for the single mom. Friday nights, Saturday nights, or Sunday afternoons tend to work best. Moms who are parenting school-age children have homework to contend with. Wednesday nights tend to be most convenient for the church, as childcare workers are already available, but this is probably not the best time for the mothers. And if you want to begin to reach outside the walls of the church to bring in mothers who aren’t yet connected, offering a more convenient meeting time is critical. In addition, a full work-week tends to make a single mom’s support group a daunting task, not a welcomed break……but if you meet on a weekend, she is more relaxed and open to receive new friendships and experiences.
The first step in launching a single parent program is gaining support from your local church or community leadership team. We recommend starting with the The Church and the Single Mom book for use in your presentation. It will help you develop a formal presentation, as it is full of statistics and stories of single mothers’ church experiences, and steps on how to get started, as well as Frequently Asked Questions.
Having trouble gaining support from your pastor or church leadership? Here are some helpful hints:
Here are some of our most popular articles for ministry leaders & facilitators:
- Planning a Single Moms Event
- Training Volunteers in Single Moms Ministry
- Avoiding Single Mom Ministry Burnout
- Positioning Your Single Moms Ministry for Growth
- Why One-Time Single Parent Events Aren’t Enough
- Debunking Single Parent Ministry Myths
- Single Moms Ministry – The Tough Questions Answered
- When Your Pastor Says No or Wait
Download our Free PDF on How To Start Your Support Group.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that is one of the nation’s largest single-mom centric organizations. We focus on equipping churches and communities on how to reach single mothers, establish ministry plans, and grow existing single moms’ programs. We provide curriculum, training, host events, and offer a wide array of single mom products and services to ensure that no single mom walks alone. Currently, we are serving 72,000+ single mothers each year. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.