Ministry can often be a lonely road. Pastors are quitting in droves and many are avoiding ministry all together. Ministry often leads to long days and few thanks. It often leads to more criticism than accolades. If you are currently leading a Single Moms Ministry in your church, it is likely you will face challenges at some point or another. The road gets hard as you face criticism or burnout, and the sting is compounded if you feel unsupported by your church.
In 2007, our founder, Jennifer Maggio, started a single moms’ ministry in her local church. It grew rather quickly from 3 single moms to several dozen. She had such a passion to minister to single moms that hosted the event in her home, paid for the meals, and coordinated volunteer childcare with friends and family. Throughout the course of time, there were challenges that arose, including her feeling unsupported by the church. Yes, they had given her the blessing to start the ministry, but it seemed that they weren’t helping with much of the process, including food provision, childcare needs, or even advertising the ministry on the church website or print materials. In fact, it often seemed that “every other ministry” was getting their time in the spotlight on Sundays, but not single moms’ ministry. The following are tips that will help you navigate a tough season, when you feel unsupported.
Whether you are currently in single moms’ ministry or you are patiently waiting on your pastor’s approval to start a single moms’ program, these tips will help you:
- Always honor your leadership. God has placed them in authority for a reason. Even when you feel unsupported, it is important that you honor their position as the shepherd of the flock. God will honor your pure heart. Your words should honor your leadership at all times, both in front of others and behind closed doors with close friends and family. Otherwise a bitter root can grow that will expand and you will never be supported! Don’t be a rebel that decides to do your own thing. There’s protection in staying rooted in a local church. There’s much to be learned.
- Pray for it more than you talk about it. As with any other obstacle in our lives, we should pray without ceasing. The problem with most of us is that we’d rather talk about it than pray about it. Petition the Lord with your concerns. Ask Him for wisdom and guidance on how to navigate the season.
- Be patient. Let’s face it. Pastors are busy. They are being pulled in many directions for meetings, counseling, and teaching. Sometimes, it just takes time to gain the trust of your pastors, to gain their attention regarding the needs of single moms’ ministry, or to gain their support in advertising and expanding the work. The bigger the ministry grows, the harder it will be to ignore. Additionally, if you are waiting patiently on a yes from your pastor and he hasn’t given than to you yet, be patient. if God truly called you to it, He’ll open the door in his perfect timing. Work on yourself in the meantime. Grow in the Word. Grow in maturity. Grow in prayer life. These things will sustain you over the long haul, when you do get your yes!
- Stay faithful. Change doesn’t happen overnight. You keep plowing the land. Keep inviting new single moms. Keep teaching the few that show up each meeting. Keep studying and praying. Don’t grow weary in doing what God has called you to do. Even if the ministry never grows beyond a few moms, it has meant something to those precious single moms!
- Serve another vision. We can get so passion about our own calling (single moms’ ministry) that it’s hard to see why others aren’t just as passionate. Maybe your pastor has called the church to be more active in volunteerism in the community or maybe he feels led to expand the college or youth ministry this year. Support his vision and plan for the church. God will bring about change and support to the single moms’ ministry in his timing.
- Meet with your pastoral team regularly. Whether you are accountable to the executive pastor, woman’s or ministry pastors, or another leadership member, be sure you communicate with them often. Let them know the wins the ministry is seeing. Engage them in dialogue on ideas they may have about the ministry. Tell them the challenges you face and the concerns you have about receiving their support. We know that we are called to take our problem to our brother in hopes of resolution. Don’t get bitter. Make the ministry better.
For encouraging tips on how to start, grow, or maintain a single moms’ ministry in your church, visit our Ministry Leader’s Help page often.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com