7 Ways to Reach Out to Families of Divorce

2

Blog 2.8fixedI don’t think anyone would
disagree with the fact that we should strive to help families
overcome obstacles. But, we should all be prepared in the event
that a separation does occur in one or more of our ministry’s
families. Divorce seems to touch all of us in some way. I’ve seen
church families who had children in my ministry go through a
divorce. And being a child of divorced parents myself, I know
personally some of the hardships these families face. But what do
you say? What steps do you take? Here are some tips and advice to
help you deal with divorce in your ministry.

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1. Ditch the Perfect Attendance
Prizes
-
It sounds like a good thing to
reward kids who come every week. But what’s the message we’re
sending to kids who only get to attend our church every other
weekend? Instead, check out

these prize-free ways
to encourage kids in
your ministry.

2. Support Young
Kids
- Helping small
children understand divorce can be tricky. Sesame Street recently
added tools on
their webpage to help
parents explain to their kids what is happening, as well as tips to
help kids feel loved and supported.

3. Bible-based Lessons
-
Susan Grover has created some simple but insightful
Sunday school lessons for kids to help them understand that God is
with them during their parents’ divorce. Lessons are available
for
preschool,
1st to
3rd grade
, and 4th to
6th grade
.

sunday school

Kids LOVE these Sunday School resources!
Check 'em out and see why so many children's ministries around the world are having success with Group's products!

4. Remember the Single
Parent
-
With family ministry, it’s important
to remember to reach out to the parents as well as the kids. We
have provided
some ideas to
get you started
reaching out to single parents.
One idea I never would have thought of would be organizing an
old-fashioned co-op where single parents (and other church members)
can exchange services without money. People with expertise in
sewing, bookkeeping, and mechanical work, to name just a few, can
participate.

5. Watch Your Words
-
In the article A House
Divided
, Lori Haynes Niles points out how some
wrongly believe that supporting single-parent families is approving
of divorce. “None of these attitudes could be further from the
truth,” says Niles. “The richness that comes to our churches
through the healing experienced in divorced families is a precious
gift of God and speaks volumes about the love of the reconciling
God we serve.” She adds that churches should be aware of the way
they portray families. Are the names of your church events
inclusive and welcoming to families of all kinds, or do they bar
some families from participating (for example, “Doughnuts with
Dad”)?

6. Be a Team Player
-
Brian Dykes shared with us some helpful
tips
to show children’s ministers how to reach out
to children of divorce. The two I feel are most important are
opening up a dialogue with each parent and speaking kindly about
both parents. Make sure both parents know you are there to help.
Keep them both informed about upcoming events and about their
child’s successes.

7. What To Say?
-
One of the first things that come to mind when we
learn a child in our ministry is dealing with divorce is, what
exactly should we say to the child? Linda Ranson Jacobs
wrote
an
amazing article
that you must check out. In it,
she shares “bridge builders” to help you connect with kids. She
explains that we don’t need to ask kids painful
questions. ”Refrain from asking probing questions about the
divorce,” says Linda, “Instead, say, ‘I’m sorry this is happening
to you. How can I help?’ and ‘I’m always here for you. I’m thinking
about you and praying for you.’”

***

Although I pray your ministry never has
to deal with divorce, we should all be prepared to show God’s grace
and help families share their burden. I recommend having a copy
of
Group’s Emergency Response Handbooklet:
Divorce
on hand to be ready to deal with these
situations. It will help you find powerful ways to share God’s love
and comfort with a hurting friend.

Share.

About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

2 Comments

  1. Helmut Egesa Wagabi on

    Let the affected children know that the Lord our God is loving and caring even if one parent becomes irresponsible. He will still provide for them even if it is through difficulties.

  2. Linda Ranson Jacobs on

    David, thanks for your kind words about the article I wrote a couple of years ago. What an honor to be mentioned.

    Blessings,
    Linda
    DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids)
    dc4k.org

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