Single Mothers in the Church

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I’ve been contemplating over the June 30th Women’s Ministry Council meeting, and some of the words shared by our guest speaker Willow Sanders.  One particular nugget that really stands out was her guidance that we need not be focused on why a woman is a single mother but instead we need to focused on how we can love her and serve her well.

These words brought to mind an article from several years ago, about how we view babies born out of wedlock in the church.  Too often we have viewed the sin as “having a baby before marriage” vs. “having sex before marriage”.  In other words, we tie the child in with the sin because it was a result of that relationship.  This has caused women and teens to feel guilt and shame over an unexpected pregnancy. 

What does the Word say about babies and children?  The Word tells us that babies are a blessing, a gift, an inheritance.  In fact, I can’t think of a single piece of scripture that every identifies a baby as sinful.  The article went on to encourage people to stop viewing these babies as a consequence of sin and instead flip the narrative to viewing them as a blessing inspite of sin.  Imagine if we embraced these pregnancies and babies as blessings?  How many girls would never even walk into the abortion clinic?  How many struggling mothers would walk through the church doors to seek help and guidance?  If they did not fear having to face judgement, shame, and ridicule … how many more women and children could the church reach and serve?

To our single mothers, the circumstances of how you became a single mother are between you and God.  I am sorry for any occasion where you have been made to feel less than by the church.  I am sorry for any occasion where you felt your child was bearing the weight of judgement and criticism.  I am praying for you, your family, and that the Lord will be a light in your darkness, a provider when you need provision, and that you can put your heart into the Father’s hands.  I pray that the church would open our eyes to the blessings that these children are, and the embrace the courage it takes to make the decision to choose life when the world is telling you that there is an easier way.  I pray that we do not let you walk alone. I ask for your forgiveness.  Help us learn how to serve you better.

To our churches, I ask you to be honest with yourselves in how you have viewed and served the single mothers in your church.  Take inventory of how you serve these families currently, and ask the Lord to show you how we can do a better job.  Encourage your women’s ministries to make provisions and concessions to ensure your single mothers can be included in activities.  Encourage your men’s ministries to share their gifts and talents for cars, home repairs, and sports with these families.  Encourage your small groups leaders to find ways to provide childcare.  Encourage your finance committees to create funds to help single parents with Bible Study curriculum, expenses for youth trips, and whatever other church related activities they and their children are a part of.   Pray that the Lord opens up new avenues to serve in your community beyond your church walls.

All the Single Brothers

Our SingleBrothers

With all of our talk recently about single women and single mothers, the Women’s Ministry Council would like to take a moment to acknowledge our single brothers and single fathers. 

So much of what has been said about our single women translates to our single men and fathers.  He may not need a woman to go with him to a mechanic shop to haggle over car repairs, but you know what he may need?

He may need a woman that is willing to come over and talk about puberty with his daughter, or take her shopping for her first bra.  He may need a woman who is not interested in being his girlfriend or wife, but rather a positive influence on his daughter and a steady confidant in her life as he navigates the complexities of relationships.  He may need someone to come and teach him how to shop with coupons and meal plan.  He too may want a group of single peers to go about life with, learning with one another, without the pressures of a singles group with the goal of fostering couples.

He may be a recent widower, who had a wife who did everything for him and now he is lost without her.  Who will iron his shirts just the way he likes them?  Who will he buy flowers for, just because?  He may have dreamed about being a father and grandfather but that dream eluded him, perhaps he has no where to go on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas morning.  

As the women in the church, we can come alongside and serve our single brothers and fathers in a loving way.  We can volunteer in order to provide childcare during the men’s ministry breakfast.  We can invite the widower into our home during the holidays.  We can foster a relationship with an older man who wants to love on our children like a grandpap.  We can be a woman who is present for his daughter in ways that he doesn’t feel equipped, we can teach them how to braid hair and paint little finger tips.

When you think of the singles in your church, don’t forget the men.

Our research has shown that the churches with the strongest Women’s Ministries also have a thriving Men’s Ministry.  Let’s be a helpmeet to the Men’s Ministries by serving their single men and fathers well.

Why Women’s Ministry?


Years ago, when sharing about our upcoming Women’s Ministry plans with another church member… her husband said “I don’t even understand why we need a ministry just for women”.    He was not the first person to ask this question, women have asked this question.  So, why exactly do we need “Women’s Ministry” in the local church?

1.  Community – women thrive in community.  As we have become more technologically advanced, we have lost community.  We no longer need to go to the well daily for water, or the salon each week to get our hair set, we do it ourselves.  We don’t even shop like we used to, as we can have it delivered right to our front door.  There are so many things we once did collectively that we now do independently, we’ve lost community.

Statistically, we are seeing that people are reporting feeling alone or lonely to the point that it causes depression on very high levels.  We got to work, we come home, we shuffle to activity after activity, hundreds of social media friends… and yet we feel alone.  Often.  Women’s Ministry gives women an opportunity to connect at deeper levels, and on a regular basis.  It gives them something to look forward to on their crazy calendar.  Some of my greatest friendships came from a woman who sat next to me at a brunch table.  Some of the moments where God brought me just what I needed to hear, came in a random conversation at a brunch table.  I’d have never had that opportunity on a Sunday morning after service, or cinched up in my secure small group.

2.  History – some women enter the church with history.  That history can include abuse from men in their lives.  It can make women very untrusting of male leadership.  Having a Women’s Ministry with a leadership team, gives her a safe place to land.  This abuse could have been at the hands of a father, spouse, employer, and even sadly in at the hands of church leaders.  Recently, I have had the opportunity to listen to women who were once part of churches that we recognize as cults.  Their stories are illuminating as to why they are hesitant to enter a church again, and distrusting of male leadership.  What statistics have taught us about domestic abuse and rape, we would be foolish to think these women are not sitting in the pews with us each week.

This is why it is also important to invest in the women who are part of the leadership team with quality training.  A Women’s Ministry Leader and her team can not just be someone who raises a hand and is left to their own devices.  We need to equip these leaders just like we do our other leaders and Pastors.  Conferences, workshops, books, etc. that will add to their knowledge base couple with wisdom and gifts of leadership will create amazing women who are leading well in the church.

3.  Understanding – women think differently than man.  There is a reason that books like Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus exist.  There is a reason we need Bible study materials like Marriage on the Rock and Love & Respect exist.  These materials are designed to help us better understand one another.  It is for this reason, understanding, that women are prone to go to the Pastor’s wife verses the Pastor with certain issues.  But, quite often, the Pastor’s wife is not a paid staff member… she may even hold down a full time job outside the home.  Her time is equally valuable as the Pastor, and should be protected.  Why put the weight of 60-70% of the body on one woman?  When we can build a team of women to support her?

As for teaching, can women sit under and understand male teachers? Absolutely.   However, a female leader is going to better relate to her & thus are better equipped emotionally and relationally to teach her.  Titus 2:3-5 compels the older women to teach the younger women.  It isn’t just about teaching her Scripture through weekly Small Group Bible Studies, but also every day life.  How to be a better wife or mother.  How to navigate singleness.  This is where Women’s Ministry comes in, as a community of women teaching and guiding one another.

In July we are going to finish out our series on Serving our Single Sisters.  In August, watch for our new series on “The Bible Defense for Women’s Ministry” to begin.

Starting a Single Moms Ministry

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Statistics support that we have a large number of single mothers in our churches.  Whether single by circumstance or choice, they need the support of a church family that rallies around them… and a community of others single mothers too.  Sometimes, it helps to talk to someone who isn’t just there to help or offer advice, but who understand what you are going through because they have or are currently walking that path too.

Currently, we do not have a writer for the Women’s Ministry Council site that is a single mother.  We dare not pretend to know all of the answers.  While we begin looking for a person to contribute their unique voice on a regular basis, here are some resources you can start looking through.

Single Moms Ministry Start Up Guide

Do’s and Don’ts of Ministering to Single Mothers

Single Parent Ministry Ideas

Starting a Single Mom Ministry

Presenting the Idea of a Single Mom Ministry

5 Ways Your Church Can Serve Single Moms




Recap of Training Event: Single Sisters

Blue Wood

On Saturday, June 30, the Women’s Ministry Council held a quarterly training event related to the topic of serving our single sisters.  Our guest speaker, Willow Sanders or Protect the Heart, shared with us her experience as a single mother and single woman in the church.  Her three point approach to addressing this need in the church & has also been supplemented with additional information that may be beneficial.


In order to address a concern or a problem, we must first see it for what it is… within our community and within the church. 

  • Over 50% of the US population are single.  There are more single people, than married.
  • Of these singles, 53% of them are women.
  • Only 23% of single women attend church regularly.
  • 1 in 2 babies are born outside of marriage.
  • There are 15 million single moms in the US alone.
  • 67% of single parents are not actively attending church.
  • Less than 1% of all Christian Churches have formalized single mom programs or outreach.

What Do You See?   Do you notice single women or mothers in your church?  Do you notice when your single women or mothers are not there? 

Scripturally, we have missed the mark on serving our single women and mothers.  James 1:27 is clear that the fatherless are close to the Father’s heart and should be close to ours.  The Bible never directly speaks about “single women” needing assistance but it does address widows over 80 times, fatherless over 100.  This means that the care of God’s people is important.

We do not need to be concerned with why a woman or mother is single in order to serve her.  Remember, this is about acts of service and not about what you think she deserves or what you think she can do on her own.  Do not assume that our single women and mothers have people to help and support them, or that they do not need help because they can do it for themselves.

Single mothers may have a difficult time making their needs known because they feel they are unending and do not want to be a burden.  Single women also don’t want to burden others with their needs.  In addition, there needs may be so overwhelming they don’t even know where to begin to ask for help.  If we want to understand how to bless them, we need to be connected with them in relations and have a heart willing to help.


As a community, and ministry leaders, we can be apart of fixing this issue.  If you are reading this, I assure you, you have single women in your church and community, you have single mothers too.  (And, there are also single men and fathers too!)  How do we start?

  • Build a relationship with your church/community/ministry leaders around this issue.  Break down the cons and focus on the benefits to the health of the entire Body by addressing it.
  • Understand that there is a difference between including them in your ministry or community events, and having a separate meeting or ministry to address their unique set of needs.
  • Gather others who have a heart for growth and guidance in this area.  
  • Always have childcare for events, free if at all possible.  Don’t forget that single parents will have great difficulty in attending weekly Bible studies and small groups without a childcare option.
  • Offer to babysit for free, and do it often.  This is a great option for teens to learn about serving.
  • Teach them by doing life with them.  Go grocery shopping and teach the single mom how to stretch her dollar, help her create a budget, meal plan strategies, etc.
  • If she is a single and pregnant & lacking support, go with her to doctors appointments and advocate for her (especially if she is young).
  • Gift her girl time.  Watch her kids so that she can connect with her friends, or become that friend who takes her out for coffee.  Go to the beach, invite her over (and her kids), go window shopping, etc.
  • Research Support Groups – Embrace Grace, Embrace Life, and Embrace Dads
  • Help her around the house.  A single, working, mother may need help tackling laundry or dishes that have piled up.  A single woman may need help with little projects around the house that she lacks the tools/know how for.  Bring your husband with you, and have him knock out some little projects while you are helping her catch up on chores.
  • Buy an oil change for her.  Host a car maintenance/home repair day through your church on a monthly basis.  Have a team of knowledgeable men (or women) that can go with her to the mechanic or help her negotiate home repairs.  Single women and mothers worry they can be taken advantage of.
  • Send her a gift or card with encouraging Scriptures attached to serve as a VISIBLE reminder that God (and you, the church) SEE her, think of her, and care about her.
  • Single moms can become overwhelmed with house care.  Clean her house, hire a service, or help her clean and organize her home.
  • Surprise her with a midday lunch while at work or at school.  Little gestures like this can be life breathing.
  • Gift her gas or grocery gift cards.  You never know when she’s going to need that extra few dollars to get through the week.
  • Cook her a meal for no reason, or if you know she’s going through a rough patch set up a meal train.
  • Start up a run, walk, jog, bike, exercise group that includes the children.
  • Buy or send flowers, for no reason.
  • Offer tutoring or homework help for her kids, or if she is still a student… help her.
  • Listen to her goals and dreams, and help her make a plan to pursue them.
  • Pray WITH her and FOR her.


John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy; I {Christ} have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

What a better trifecta of doom than to take potential restoration and steal hope, kill opportunity, and destroy new legacy.   As leaders, as churches, we can be the second part of that scripture.  We can help these women so that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.  We know that focusing our efforts will not solve every problem associated with being a single woman or mother, but it is a start.  The more we get to know these women, their needs, then the more we can come up with solutions.

Some things to keep in mind about singleness…

  • Singleness is not inherently lonely.  Funneled and guided in the right direction, it can create more time to invest in ministry or meaningful relationships.  However, that does not mean she will not experience seasons of loneliness.  This is why it is important to be connected to her relationally not just in service.
  • Singles do not need to be “fixed”.  It is not a downcast position in life.  Encourage them to put their faith in God’s timing, when they need the encouragement.  However, do not deliver false promises.

A famous quote attributed to Mr. Rogers was something that came from his mother.  She told him that in times of trouble, trial, or crisis to:  “Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.”

You, my precious sisters, ARE those people. 

Remember, to expand your view of WHO these single women are.  Click on the links below to view/print two hand outs from this event.  Share them with your ministry/church leaders.  Pray about who can join your Women’s Ministry Team with a heart for single women and mothers.

Serving Single Sisters

Serving Single Mothers

Serving Our Single Sisters

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On Saturday, June 30th, we had a lovely turn out for our summer free training event on Serving Our Single Sisters.  Ladies, we have so much growing to do in this area.  

We distributed two handouts at the event, which have been included below.  They have also been added to our Downloads & Printables page.  If you haven’t downloaded the July Leadership Calendar, you’ll find it there as well.



Look for additional articles on Thursday and Saturday of this week as we close out our focus on Serving Our Single Sisters.

For our USA readers, Happy 4th of July

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