A Deeper Look at Single Parents
At Table for One Ministries we are passionate about reaching singles of all ages and backgrounds. In this series of blogs we are looking at the “profile” of each type of single adult. While these are not all encompassing, they are meant to help singles and those who lead singles understand each type of single adult better or in a different light. We WELCOME feedback and additions to these profiles as we grow our ministry!
Characteristics of this Group
In 2011, thirty-six percent of new mothers entered motherhood without a spouse. Ten million single mothers and 1.7 million single fathers make up single parents in America. It is not new that single parents are on the rise, but the number of single fathers has increased significantly over the past decade and continues to grow. Single parents come from divorced, widowed, and unmarried situations. The majority of single parents arise from having children out of wedlock; however, that can never be assumed with the wide range of reasons leading to being a single parent. Single parents may share time with a paternal parent which creates situations where planning ahead for weeks is required, often by mandate of the court.
Ministry Needs in this Group
Single parents need to know there is a place for them in the local church. Often pictures of mom, dad, and the kids are everywhere in church and neglect the broken families of single parents. Single parents come in many ways, but those having children outside of wedlock and at a young age have a wide variety of needs. Many needs are financial but often neglected is the young parent’s need for a support network. Not having a spouse around to change a dirty diaper is hard enough, but doing it before age 20 is a reality in our communities, and the church needs a place to connect those single parents.
Communication Strategies for this Group
Time is of the essence for single parents. Communicating with them needs to be effective to maximize their limited time. Avenues where childcare is available become extremely important as these may be the only times where they can get a moment away from the kids. The mode of communication is not important, but communicating whether their kids are welcome or not at events is important. Singles ministry events need to specify childcare availability or not and whether the event will be kid-friendly. Doing so will help communicate to single parents where they can be involved.
Strategy for Reaching this Group
Single parents are not just young mothers with kids and no money. A strategy to reach single parents, both male and female, needs to be in place so that any single parent can find a way into the church. Single parents also may be dealing with the loss of a spouse or divorce. Both may require a program to help reach out and connect them to the singles ministry. Single parents may choose to join a singles group or a married adult group depending on their age and if they want to be with other families. Either way is fine, but preferably they will be able to find a connecting place within a singles ministry.
What do you think?
Do you agree with this profile of single adults who are single parents? What resources or information would you add?