- Develop a "para-parenting" ministry -- a big brother/big sister
program for single parents' children.
- Have a single parent tell his or her story during the worship
service to help raise awareness.
- Remember single parents at holidays and birthdays -- these days
can be killers for single parents.
- Ask, "How does our church communicate what a family is?"
Sometimes the message communicated is very subtle -- "This is how a
family should be." This alienates single parents and gives them a
burden of guilt.
- Be aware of how family finances and visitation schedules impact
single parent families' involvement in your church. Help them find
ways to stay connected.
-- Janice Thatcher
AN OUTSTANDING OUTREACH
Ray and Lynn Roberts started "Heart Healers" at Emmanuel Faith
Community Church, in Escondido, California, to minister to single
parents and their children. Heart Healers is a 12-week course for
single parents that deals with issues such as fear, shame, guilt,
In addition, their church has a worship service every Wednesday
night specifically for single parents and their children. The
pastor delivers a topical message on issues single parent families
Extra getaways for parents and children help families arrive at
forgiveness and healing. Ray plans outdoor trips-white-water
rafting, hiking, snow skiing, and campouts.
"If you get parents and kids into that kind of environment,
their problems fade away for a short time," Ray says.
An annual trip to Ensenada, Mexico, gives single-parent families
a chance to experience another culture and visit an orphanage. The
group goes down with a twofold purpose: to help out at the
orphanage and to love the kids they're taking.
Ray says when children of divorce see the kids at the orphanage,
they realize some kids don't have anything. It makes them
appreciate what they have and helps create a bond with other people
who are going through hard times as well. It helps them realize
that "I'm not the only one hurting."
Excerpted from Children's Ministry Magazine. Don't miss
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