What Single Parents Need: How the Church Can Help
By Dr. Linda Hardin
Here are some common needs of single parents and suggestions on how a church might assist in meeting these needs.
- Time for adult conversation. The church can meet this need by periodically providing opportunities for single adult parents to interact with other adults. This may be small groups that meet at the church or other locations. Remember to offer child care.
- Role models. The children of single-parent families need to see how caring, Christian families interact. They need to observe godly husbands and wives relating to each other. Consider how your church can offer opportunities for these families and their children to interact with some two-parent families in your church.
- Financial assistance. Many single-parent families experience major financial adjustments as the result of death or divorce. I recall one friend sharing how someone left groceries on her doorstep. She didn’t know who was responsible; she only knew that due to someone’s generosity and concern she was able to use designated food money to pay bills.
- Time alone. Parenting was designed to be a two-member job; many single parents find themselves exhausted and stressed from shouldering all the responsibilities. The church and friends can help meet this need by providing the singe parent some respite time.
- Encouragement for the journey. Single parents need to know they are doing a good job. They need to hear positive comments about their children’s involvement in church activities. They also need to hear from other single parents who are further into the journey. To provide for these needs, churches can offer classes for solo parenting, financial planning, skill development, and other related issues.
- Scholarships for their children. Participating in church activities can often stretch a family’s budget. Consider how this affects a single-parent family with only one income. Churches can encourage Children’s Ministries and NYI to offer scholarships for children from single-parent homes to attend camps, participate in missions and trips, and attend retreats.
Someone once said, “People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.” Meetings the needs of single parents will show how much your congregation cares. Meeting these needs will demonstrate Christian love in action.