There are many single parents in our world today. How do we, the church, help those parents to raise their kids? The parents are often extremely busy already, and can struggle at times to raise their kids themselves. The church can do two things: help the parent and help the children. How does the church do that?
1. To help the parent, the church needs to be as supporting as possible. The parent will likely need help raising the kids spiritually. To help, the church can equip the parent to succeed as the spiritual leader and mentor. Resources for the single parents, such as age-appropriate family devotionals (you can find some here, here, and here), Christian parenting books (general, for parents with boys or girls, and even the strong-willed child) and other resources can be invaluable to them. Second, support groups can give needed encouragement for single parents. Does your church have a single parent’s ministry? If it doesn’t, you should start one. The family pastor will usually be the most equipped to lead this ministry. If you aren’t sure how to start one, check out the single parent’s ministry at Saddleback Church for some ideas. Third, give the parents a break! Have a time set apart that the parents can drop their kids off at church and go relax. This is a great opportunity for the grandparents in your congregation to serve others in the church.
2. The children of the single parents can be raised and instructed in the Christian faith in the children’s ministry at your church! The children need to grow spiritually. The children’s ministry can come alongside single parents and do their part by teaching the children Biblical values and beliefs, and giving them the opportunities to grow in their faith through the examples of other Christian men and women. While the church should be cautious to not take the responsibility for the children away from the single parents, the church can be an invaluable part of the children’s upbringing.
Looking for additional resources? Check out Focus on the Family’s website here for more useful information on spiritual growth for children. It is one of the best websites available to help parents raise their kids spiritually. Hopefully, the tools provided in this article will be useful to you as you help single parents in your church and in your community.