According to a Pew Research study on motherhood in America, 41% of babies born in 2008 were to single mothers (up from 28% in 1990).
How is the church, and specifically those of us who minister to women, going to help these moms?
First, we need to realize single moms are a growing demographic. Even if you haven’t seen it in your church, it’s happening in your community. For the purposes of this article, we can also include the growing numbers of “spiritually single” moms (women who bring their children to church without their husbands) and women whose husbands are deployed.
Second, take a look at your Sunday morning activities. Is there a Sunday school class or small group specifically for women? Some women may not feel comfortable in a couples class. The average church size in America is less than 100 people, so I know some churches are limited in what they can offer. Even if your church can’t offer a class specifically for women, making sure everyone is welcome in every class will help single women feel comfortable. Also, are there greeters at the doors who can help moms get their children to their classes? Since my husband is a pastor, I have to get my kids where they need to go on Sunday mornings. It can be hard to chase two little ones (usually going opposite directions!) and carry the diaper bag and my church purse. Train your greeters to be aware of the extra challenges single moms face on Sunday mornings and encourage them to offer to help.
Third, look at what you do during the week. Offer childcare as often as possible. It’s easy to think that if you have a ladies activity on a Saturday afternoon, dad will just keep the kids so mom can come. But that isn’t always true. It takes extra work for the organizers to find childcare, but if our goal is to minister to women, the women need to be able to attend! Go the extra mile and make sure all the women can attend if they want by offering childcare.
The church needs to be able to meet the needs of the 41% of new moms who are single as well as the growing number of “spiritually single” and “seasonally single” moms in our church and community.
What ministries and programs to help single moms have worked in your church?