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ministry to single parents

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In today’s culture, single-parent families are the modern-day
equivalent of “the widow and orphan” who are repeatedly mentioned
in Scripture. If you’ve ever considered ministering specifically to
this group of people, let these words from the Bible spur you on in
practical ways.

Welcoming Atmosphere-While describing true
worship, God reminds his people that he ensures justice for the
widow and orphan. The inference is that Israel should do the same
(Deuteronomy 10:13). Do a “sniff test” around
your ministry and church. Ensure that you and your team welcome
single parents and their children with open arms.

Inclusive Programming-God commands that the widow
and orphan not be excluded from a sacred worship festival (Deuteronomy 16:9). Do your programs cater to
“typical” families, thus excluding single-parent families?
Intentionally program for families of diverse makeup, and never
offer a program that excludes single parents and their
children.

Food for Tough Times-God commands farmers not to
harvest all their crops, so the widows and orphans could pick their
own food and survive (Deuteronomy 24:19-21).

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Single parents and their children may find themselves in
situations where a balanced meal is difficult to come by. Create a
list of volunteers willing and able to provide a meal on short
notice for families in need.

Benevolence Fund-God ordained a special offering
for widows and orphans every three years (Deuteronomy 26:8). God again connects the care
of single parents and their children with worship. Your church can
take a special monthly offering to care for families experiencing
financial burdens.

Support Through Ministry-Ezekiel relays God’s
lengthy complaint against Israel (Ezekiel 22). Not caring for the widow and the
orphan is on their list of injustices. Ezekiel’s indictment is
echoed by Jeremiah and Malachi. Single-parent families may suffer
silently. Intentionally reach out to them with encouragement and
emotional support, and be prepared to point them to professionals
who can help them through tough issues.

Free Child Care Night-When Job’s friends saw his
suffering and wrongly assumed that he’d committed unrighteousness,
they accused him of neglecting the widow and the orphan. Job made
the case for his righteousness by recounting his track record of
caring for the single mother and her children. Job and his three
unworthy friends all recognized how strongly God values the care of
the widow and orphan and how central it is to worship (Job 31). Single parents wear too many hats and
have limited opportunities to get refreshed. Consider a monthly
ministry of providing screened child care volunteers to provide a
few hours of child care for these parents.

Oil-Change Ministry-God sums up the connection
between worship and the care of single parents and their children
with these words: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God
the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress
and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27). Willowcreek Community Church
provides a monthly program that provides oil changes and light
vehicle maintenance for single moms and others who can’t afford to
go to a mechanic.

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