At nineteen years old, our founder, Jennifer Maggio, was a homeless, severely abused, teen mom pregnant with her second child. She eventually found myself living in the projects using food stamps and welfare simply to make ends meet. It wasn’t the life she had dreamed of or hoped for. Her mother had been killed many years earlier and her dad used alcohol to mask the pain of her death. She suffered years of sexual assault, as a child. She went through malnourishment, abandonment, poverty, and physical and emotional abuse. Yet, here she was, a mother. A single mother. She would be potentially raising her children alone for the next two decades. And sadly, this lifelong church girl was certain she belonged anywhere but the local church.
There are approximately 15 million single moms in the United States. And with divorce rates at approximately 50% and 1 in every 2 babies being born outside marriage, these numbers are expected to rise. 67% of today’s single parents are not actively attending a local church. Yet, less than 1% of all Christian churches have any type of formalized single mother’s program and outreach plan.
Even as you read, many of you may be thinking of single moms that are thriving in your church. You may be thinking of “Angela” who had a rough divorce, but has now bounced back and is thriving in the church with her two precious kiddos, serving on a regular basis, and attending a regular Bible study. But for every Angela in your church, there are two other single mothers in your community convinced they don’t belong there. Many cite fear of judgment and rejection as reasons why they don’t have a home church. Further we know that Satan is a master manipulator who will isolate single mothers and convince them they don’t belong in our churches. Whatever the reason that keeps them from coming, we must begin to explore ways to teach them how much they are loved and how welcomed they are in our local churches.
You may have a Singles’ Ministry or Divorce Recovery Program. Maybe your church does an annual Single Moms’ Oil Change or Mother’s Day Banquet. All of those things are beautiful starts to an effective single parent program. But we must go beyond that! (See Why Your One Time Single Moms’ Event isn’t Enough). Singles Ministries tend to be an older crowd. They are often co-ed and single mothers may not be ready to mingle in a co-ed environment yet. If it is an older crowd attending the singles ministry, you may lose your 20s and 30s single mothers. We’re huge proponents of divorce recovery programs, but what happens after the 10 weeks end? What about the moms who were never married? Banquets and events are great ways to serve single mothers and reach new moms, but be certain that you have a formalized Bible study, Connect Group, or Single Moms’ Ministry to plug them into for long-term discipleship and fellowship. Singles Ministries, Single Moms’ Ministries, Divorce Programs, and Single Dads’ programs can all co-exist in a church. Let’s not over-complicate things. Single Moms’ Ministries are simply single moms’ Bible studies, connect groups, or Sunday school classes. For more on how to start a single moms’ ministry, visit HERE.
So, what’s your God-given passion? Poverty? Abuse? Crime? Homelessness? Human trafficking? Orphans? You name the passion and I’ll quote you the statistic that ties them directly or indirectly back to single parent homes – moms and kids that are precious to our King.
Father, let us never see these families as merely a statistic or a number. May we never paint them all with the same brush. Let us be a living vessel for James 1:27. Give us creative, fresh, new ideas on reaching the unreached. Amen.
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.