The Life of a Single Mom Ministries exists so that no single mom walks alone, regardless of race, socio-economic status, or story. Our passion is to see single mothers connected to the house of God, thriving and flourishing to live the life He intended. One way we do that is by helping churches establish long-term, healthy single moms support groups or ministries. We are always honored and privileged to walk a church leader through best practices to start or grow a single moms’ ministry. We know how frustrating it can be to start a new program of any kind and have people not attend, but especially a single moms’ ministry, when we know there is so much need!
Serving almost 100,000 single mothers each year and having worked with hundreds of churches of a variety of sizes and denominations, we’ve learned a few things about how to grow single moms’ ministries and we want to share those with you here. Allow us to share some of the most frequently-seen challenges that churches are facing when it comes to growth and how you can avoid allowing your single moms ministry to grow stagnant. Here are some of the biggest reasons we see single moms’ ministries fail to grow:
1). Ministering only to single moms within your church will prohibit your ministry from growing. 67% of single moms are outside your church walls, so be sure to welcome in the community. Be sure that you are exploring all the places single mothers are frequenting, beyond your church walls. We want to find the single moms who are not yet here and give them a warm and welcoming place. For 50 places to find single moms, visit HERE.
2). Failing to provide a free meal and free childcare will hinder growth within your ministry. Single moms are busy and often do not have the time or money to provide childcare themselves for a Bible study. In addition, providing a meal is a great way to bless the moms & their children. We often saying having a single moms ministry without providing childcare is kinda like having a potluck and not having food. It just doesn’t work! We’ve created some low-cost and no-cost ways to host both childcare and a meal at every single moms’ meetings to bless them and meet a practical need. The truth is that lack of childcare prevents many women from attending many events, especially single moms.
3). Your meetings drone on and on. Eek, did we just say that? It’s true. Single moms are exhausted. They are juggling many hats. Sometimes, particularly, if they are new or don’t know anyone, a meeting that went 45 minutes past time will be the very thing they will use as a reason to not come back. We suggest meetings to last only 1.5 hours. Single moms are busy and need to be able to plan their schedule for themselves and their children. People come back to places that honor their time. Start and end on time. (Hint: You can always end on time, but invite those who would like to stay to do so. But this will allow those who are on a tighter schedule to leave at the expected time. Also, this does not discount that there may be a night when the Holy Spirit is really ministering to a need and group runs long. That is completely fine. But in general, start and end on time).
4). You are trying to integrate single moms’ group on a Wednesday night or Sunday morning service. Weekday meetings are extremely hard for single parents who are juggling full-time jobs, soccer practice, second jobs, homework, and night classes. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights are, by far, the best nights for single moms to get out. (No homework for kids, no night-time classes, no work the next day, etc). More than a decade ago
5). You are afraid to change. This one can be tough to hear, but it’s true. Sometimes, we get stuck in a rut of doing things “the way we’ve always done them”. We get comfortable with our comfort zone. We have to be okay with exploring the God-given creativity we have to foster ways that can attract new single moms. Don’t get us wrong. The Good News of Jesus Christ never changes. The truth of His Word is uncompromising, but changing our outreach methods is necessary, as technology and communities evolve. It may be time to shake it up a bit. Have some fun. Have some giggles. Give your ministry a face lift.
6). You need to plan an “event” to get the single moms in your church and community excited. There is no better way to attract some new faces (and regain some old ones) than to have a single moms’ conference, night of beauty, night of worship, game night, or something similar. For whatever reason, women get fired up about an event and they gather their girlfriend. Planning an event is a great way to forge excitement throughout your single mom’s ministry and even have a “relaunch” of sorts. For more information on how to plan an effective single moms’ event, check out this info HERE.
7). Your leadership isn’t diversified. In order to reach all single moms from all backgrounds and stories, it is important that the key leaders and volunteers within the ministry are diversified. For example, if you have exclusively 40-something divorcees in leadership positions, do not be surprised if teen moms aren’t interested. We all want to know that someone understands our story. And when a new single mom walks into your ministry, she wants to see someone in the room who looks like her. It is a simple, but true statement.
8). The ministry leader for your single moms’ ministry needs equipping. Maybe she’s tired and needs some more volunteers. Maybe she was never properly trained on how to lead women. Maybe there is a wonderful teacher waiting to “bud”, but she hasn’t found her voice yet and needs some encouragement on how to do that. Or…..maybe the wrong leader is leading within the ministry. Maybe her time has drawn to a close and God is moving her into a new season of life.This last fact cannot be determined without great prayer, but it is crucial in the survival and thriving of your single moms ministry.Sometimes as ministry leaders who are desperate for workers (the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few…), we don’t diligently seek God about who the right person is for the job. Consequently, we have some misplaced leaders within single moms’ ministries who really need to be replaced. When done properly, this is beautiful for all involved, as it frees the current leader to fulfill the role God called her to, and it allows the new leader to also fulfill her role.
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