After I tragically lost my husband in my early twenties, God called me to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, when I was in my late forties. During my educational pursuit, I was approached to teach a Sunday school class for single mothers at First Baptist Dallas where I attend church. When asked to teach the class, I was initially unaware that the start date of the class would be the anniversary of my husband’s death. But as I sat in the informational meeting and learned the start date, I fought back tears as I pondered my heavenly Father’s faithfulness to my children and me. At that moment, I knew God would use everything He had brought me through to help others.
Single moms are one of the largest contemporary mission fields in the world. So, how can we, as the church, minister to single moms? We can minister to them by pointing them to the Savior’s love and unchanging truth, through means of prayer, encouragement, discipleship, and fellowship. By meeting single moms where they are (in their pain and their fears—and for some, in their redirected journeys), the church has an amazing opportunity not only to walk alongside single moms and their children but also to impact their lives for eternity. But where do we start?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” –2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)
Ministering through prayer and encouragement
Families within the church body can adopt single moms and their children through prayer and encouragement.
Prayer: One of the greatest ways to invest in the life of a single mom and her children is through prayer commitments from families within the local church. As a young single mom, I remember asking countless people to pray for my two children, and they did. Knowing I had individuals who not only were praying for my family, but individuals I could also go to for special requests, meant so much to me as a young mom.
Encouragement: Families can encourage single moms through random acts of kindness, such as inviting them and their children to their homes for a special lunch, sending notes through the mail to reassure them, or offering to watch their kids for a couple of hours. In addition, ladies within the church body can give their time by calling to let them know they are not alone or just by listening to a single mom who needs to talk.
Note: Pay close attention to holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day since these periods may be especially difficult for single moms.
Ministering through means of discipleship
Starting a small group discipleship where older women pour into the lives of single moms is by far one of the top ways to minister. During this period, three to five women are placed in a group where they go through a Bible study together as well as engage in life together. The group prays for one another and holds each other accountable.
Ministering through fellowship
Another way to minister to single moms is to encourage them to attend women’s ministry events, fellowships, and more importantly, Bible studies. Set aside a few times a year for single moms’ fellowships—a time when single moms can get together for special outings such as movie nights and dinner. Make sure to provide childcare. Additionally, set aside special outings for single moms and their kids.
Ministering through life skills
Churches have a wonderful opportunity to offer life-skill training for single moms: money management, parenting tips, workforce training, and so forth. This outreach can be a great evangelistic tool, ministering to single moms inside, as well as outside, the church.
Additional ways for churches to minister to single moms
1. Once a year, before school starts, offer a backpack drive to help with kids’ school supplies.
2. If you are a beautician in the church, prayerfully consider offering your services to cut a single mom’s hair, as well as her children’s (whether it is on special occasions or even for a year).
3. Through the men’s ministry, two ideas that would help single moms tremendously are: (A) to offer monthly or bimonthly oil changes (free) for the moms and (B) to organize a group of men to help with home repairs a few times a year.
4. Families could adopt a single mom and her family during Christmas, providing gifts and financial support.
5. Set up a basic food pantry for moms needing extra help.
6. Churches can send single moms and their children on mini-weekend vacations once a year.
7. Churches can set up a special fund to help single moms who need financial help.
8. Set up a scholarship fund to help single moms in their educational pursuits.
As a church, let us strive to do more than just recognize the need to minister to single mothers. In his book, The Christian Counselor’s Manual, Jay Adams states, “It is one thing to stand by (support) as another suffers and struggles, assuring him that you care; it is quite another to roll up your sleeves and pitch in alongside of him.”1 Single moms need to know they are not alone in their journeys. May we rise to the call, roll up our sleeves, and reach as many single mothers as we can with the love of Jesus.
For more information on starting a single moms’ ministry at your church or ways you can best minister to single moms, contact Strong and Courageous Ministry, a ministry for single mothers that the Lord called me to develop.
Dr. O’Shea Lowery is a mother of two and Nana of six. She is a passionate speaker and writer, imparting God’s truth and lessons, which He has entrusted to her, to women’s groups, church classrooms, and through women’s Bible studies, poems, podcasts, and blogs. O’Shea is a regular podcaster for LEAD Magazine, a Christian leadership magazine reaching over a million believers.
Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College, her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and her doctorate in Family Ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a member of FBC Dallas, in Dallas, Texas. She recently wrote a Bible study titled: My Life as a Single Mom.
1. Jay Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1974).