church and ministry
The Church and the Single Mom
By Jennifer Maggio
She walks in the church and cautiously looks around with her four-year-old daughter in tow. She hesitantly makes her way to the back of the church and sits quietly, thumbing through her Bible, avoiding eye contact at all costs. She has contemplated this day for months. She wonders if she should be here. Does she really belong? A warm, friendly woman sits beside her and begins to make conversation with the four-year-old. The young mom is certain that woman notices her empty ring finger and hangs her head in shame.
The single mom is one of the fastest-growing sects of our population, so why have we, the church, ignored them for so long? There are more than 13 million across the United States. For many of these single moms, they come from generations of single moms with no hope of how to break this cycle. Recent studies support at least fifty percent are classified as low-income. Currently, seventy-eight percent of our prison population came from a single parent home. Almost fifty percent of the single parent homes have some form of abuse.
Is it any wonder that twenty-two percent of all pregnancies today end in abortion?! Potential single mothers are fearful that they simply cannot parent alone. They are scared – overwhelmed with the idea. Where are the resources for single moms? Where can they go? Sure, there are government programs to put food in the mouths of her hungry children, but what about her emotional state? Where does she go for friendship and networking? How does she achieve financial success? Does she know the resources that are available to her, other than government assistance?
For far too long the church has ran from the single mom. Don't believe me? Some studies suggest as many as 67% of single moms currently do not attend church – many citing fear of being judged as key. Of course, we offer them food when they are hungry. We may occasionally perform a home repair or provide toys at Christmas. But do we stop there? Dare we open a Sunday school class exclusively for single moms? A Bible study? Or even a full-scale ministry?
It seems that many churches fear what others may perceive about a single moms ministry. We know that God meant for marriage to be forever (Malachi 2:16, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:8). We also know that our God commands sexual purity ( 1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Corinthians 6:13, Galatians 5:19). Does ministering to single moms mean that we, as the church, condone unwed pregnancy or divorce? Of course not – no more than drug rehabilitation programs support drug use.
If we don't reach out to them, who will? For many, the only counseling they receive is from the local government-ran health unit, where they simply receive a pat on the back and a safe-sex discussion. Are you okay with these precious moms receiving a condom or should be be giving them Christ? How can they make it without Christ filling them and renewing them daily? How do they not simply give up?
As Christians, we have been commissioned with several tasks by our Heavenly Father. Psalms 146:9 says “He cares for the widows and orphans.” Luke 14:13 calls us to “invite the poor.” 1 Timothy 5:3 advises us to “take care of the widow.” The widow, oftentimes, is the single mom. The orphans are left by a single mom. The poor are the single moms.
As a former, unwed, teen mom, I can tell you that fifteen years ago when I began the journey, there was nothing for single moms at the local church. I was ashamed and fell away from church attendance. For almost seven years, I hung my head in shame.
Whether they are unwed or divorced, many single moms need parenting advice, financial instruction, emotional support via networking, and Spiritual growth opportunities. Let us find these women in our communities, both the churched and the unchurched. Let us minister to them at their point of need. Let's begin the single moms groups. Praise God for the cutting-edge churches across the country who have already embraced the concept! Has yours?
Learn more at www.thelifeofasinglemom.com
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Jennifer Maggio spent seven years parenting alone. She went from a homeless, abused, teen mom to a successful executive in Corporate America. Her burning desire to see single moms live out their dreams led to her eventually leaving her corporate job and working full-time with single mothers. Jennifer currently works with the single moms ministry of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they are dedicated to the all-around improvement of the single mom. She also travels the country sharing her testimony of God's redemptive power and love.
Learn more at Jennifer's website: www.jennifermaggio.com
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