One thing that all of the major religions have in common is a call to care for widows and orphans. Imagine for a moment that those ancient text were to be rewritten today. Would the language be expanded to include the single parent families? Certainly the spirit of the call to care for widows and orphans should include caring for the divorced and children struggling with abandonment. Churches and faith-based organizations representing all beliefs and denominations are called be a place of... support and encouragement for parents doing it all solo. If your church or organization is looking for creative ways to host single parent ministries, consider these options:
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DivorceCare is ministry of Church Initiative, a faith-based organization based in Wake Forest, North Carolina. DivorceCare provides training for church leaders and lay leaders, along with materials, to help you lead an effective, ongoing care group for divorcing and divorced individuals in your community. For many single parents, participating in a DivorceCare class is a non-threatening way to become acquainted with a faith community. At the same time, it's a powerful tool for meeting the... emotional and spiritual needs of single moms and dads in your area. DivorceCare's parent organization also provides materials to help churches and community organizations offer one-time-only events around the holidays, which can be especially difficult for single parent families. If you're thinking of offering a DivorceCare class and you're not sure how many people would come, consider hosting a holiday event for starters.
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If you're looking for ways to reach out to children and families, consider hosting a DivorceCare 4 Kids class. DivorceCare 4 Kids is a unique, supportive ministry for children going through the effects of divorce. What's unique about this single parent ministry is that in addition to meeting the needs of hurting children, DivorceCare 4 Kids helps to integrate single parents into the larger church family. In many instances, the adult leaders of DivorceCare 4 Kids classes are parents who... themselves once participated in DivorceCare.
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Host a Small Group Bible Study for Single Parents
Invite single moms and dads to a Bible study written to specifically address their unique needs. Visit your local Christian bookstore for suggestions, or take advantage of some online Bible studies for single parents offered by Christianity Today. Leaders can purchase one master copy for $5.95 and have permission to photocopy up to 1,000 copies for participants — so it's quite affordable! Examples include:
- Balancing the Empty Checkbook - A single-session Bible Study on financial management... for single parents
- Dual Parenting - A single-session Bible Study on how to co-parent effectively with your ex
- The Myth of the Perfect Parent - A single-session Bible Study that helps parents dispel the myths that tear us down
- Find more studies at Christianity Today's online store
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Host a Single Parents' Day Out
Ready to provide something practical the single parents in your area really need? Consider offering free babysitting one day a week, or even one day a month, so that single moms and dads can take a break, run errands, or get together with a supportive friend. Many churches that offer this service incorporate adult volunteers with baby sitters from the church youth group. Consider offering volunteer-hour certificates for high school students who require volunteer work as a graduation requirement,... too.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Explore Additional Single Parent Ministry Options
There are many compassionate and effective ways to meet the needs of single parent families in your area. Consider the following programs as you explore additional single parent ministries: