One out of every four kids in your church is part
of a single-parent family. Whether it is by death or divorce, it's
a sad but growing statistic. With that in mind, how well does your
ministry meet the needs of these children, as well as their
David Purvis, a single father of four, created the Facebook page
"Single Parent and Serving Him," a place that
serves up advice and inspiration. So far, the group has over 4,600
"likes," and has served as a virtual water cooler for single
parents to share stories and fellowship. I talked to David
about his site and to get his take on how churches handle single
parent families. Here is what he had to say.
* * *
David Jennings (DJ) - Tell us a little
about yourself and why you wanted to create the "Single Parent and
Serving Him" Facebook page.
David Purvis (DP) - Seeing as how I was
raised in an orphanage, I was lacking a lot of what most kids have:
an example of how their parents did what they did. So when I was
divorced (my youngest was five months old), I relied on my heavenly
father to guide me as to how to know what to do and when with my
three boys and one daughter. Parenting doesn't come with a handbook
and single parenting doesn't, either, so if I can help someone else
to help someone on the learning curve, that's what I want to
DJ - How can children's ministers do a
better job when it comes to working with children and their single
parents? What should they do differently, and is there anything
they shouldn't do?
DP - Single parent children need
everything that every other kid needs: love, attention, structure,
and affirmation. More times than not, children of a single parent
have a bit more responsibility than children from a two-parent
family. They also tend to have trust issues, (whether) from being
hurt by a parent or from the situation. The kids, as well as the
parents, need to be told and shown that God doesn't hate divorced
people or children, he hates divorce.
(What ministers can do is) tend to the kids' needs and
communicate with the parent if there are issues or areas of concern
that they can have a one-on-one about. Affirm, affirm, and affirm
some more that they are not a less of a person just because they
don't have two parents at home.
DJ - How important is it for the church
to step up in the area of single-parent ministry?
DP - I think this is a very good question. I am
very happy and active in my church and we don't have anything for
single parents…I think it's a VERY huge void that needs to be
filled. I honestly think that most churches deal primarily with
couples' counseling and helping with marital issues, but drop the
ball if all that fails. [I think it's] due to the simple fact that
divorce is seen as a taboo situation, and most people are afraid
that they might "catch it" if they get too close. The church is a
hospital for the wounded children of God - married, single,
divorced, widowed - it doesn't matter. Four very important
words: hurt people, hurt people. And on the flip side: healed
people, heal people. Our love for Christ is only as real as
our love for our neighbor.
(You can find out more about David Purvis by visiting twitter.com/thatsmyjesus.)
* * *
The make-up of today's modern family is changing constantly, and
we have more tips on how to
help kids handle divorce, how to set up a single-parent ministry,
and how to meet the needs of alternate-weekend kids.
Have some tips of your own? Are you a single-parent? Let us know
your thoughts! Share with us in the comment section below.