Mentor Father Lance Pearcey, Woodland Park, CO (left), Field Buddy Jonny (Center) Single Mom Veronica (right).
Single moms are one of the largest and fastest growing groups in our country, calculated at more than 13 million. The term “single mom” encompasses a wide variety of meanings. It can refer to a widow whose husband has died, to a divorced woman or to an unwed mother. Statistically more than fifty percent are classified as low-income and come from generations of single moms with no hope of breaking the cycle.
Single mothers are scared, overwhelmed with the task of parenting alone. While the government provides programs to put food in the mouths of her hungry children, they have no way to care for her emotional needs. Where does she go for friendship and networking? How does she achieve financial success? Does she know the resources that are available to her, other than government assistance?
The local church has largely neglected the single mom, to the point where 85% do not attend church. Some churches occasionally perform home repair or provide toys at Christmas, but stop short of fully investing in their lives.
Jennifer Maggio of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge Louisiana notes, “It seems that many churches fear what others may perceive about a single moms ministry. We know that God meant for marriage to be forever (Malachi 2:16, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:8). We also know that our God commands sexual purity (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Corinthians 6:13, Galatians 5:19). Does ministering to single moms mean that we, as the church, condone unwed pregnancy or divorce? Of course not – no more than drug rehabilitation programs support drug use. If we don’t reach out to them, who will? For many, the only counseling they receive is from the local government-ran health unit, where they simply receive a pat on the back and a safe-sex discussion. Are you okay with these precious moms receiving a condom or should we be giving them Christ? How can they make it without Christ filling them and renewing them daily? How do they not simply give up?
As Christians, we have been commissioned with several tasks by our Heavenly Father. Psalms 146:9 says ‘He cares for the widows and orphans.’ Luke 14:13 calls us to ‘invite the poor.’1 Timothy 5:3 advises us to “take care of the widow.” The widow, oftentimes, is the single mom. The poor are the single moms.”
What of the fatherless children growing up in these broken families? The vast majority of single moms struggle with both her own personal life and the well-being of her children and their future prospects. Children of single mothers suffer on an imaginable scale: they have more emotional problems, experience more stress, are more likely to grow up poor, they have lower educational achievements and experience more behavioral problems than children who grow up with married parents. Depression, suicide, drug abuse, jail and psychiatric medications are all more common in populations of children raised by single mothers.
The children of single mothers are already wounded so deeply by the lack of a father. Fatherless boys ache for a man to call his own, lying awake at night in bed, longing for the Daddy he sees on TV, in books, in the lives of the other kids at school. Fathers in the Field works to give these families hope, by equipping churches to place a Mentor Father in the life of the boy to guide them and help them heal from this terrible wound.
Additionally the local church stands in the gap for the single mother, caring for her needs as they would the needs of the widow. Churches who invest in the needs of fatherless boys see daily the brokenness of a single mother family and find the compassion to reach meaningfully into her life. Maybe she needs childcare so she can get her GED or College degree, that she might get a better job and reduce the stress on the family. Maybe it is help making a budget and learning to better manage the money she has. Or it could be the church willing to form a new bible study around her work schedule that she might learn more about our Heavenly Father.
Left to right: Mentor Father Harry Hughes, Thermopolis WY, Field Buddy Scotty, mom Lucinda, Church Champion Josh Lynch.
Caring deeply for the fatherless means caring deeply for their whole family, which is why Fathers in the Field helps equip the entire church to minister to fatherless boys. From the Mentor Father who is mattering greatly in the life of a fatherless boy to the women’s group that comes alongside the single mother and carries her burdens with her.
What about your church? Is your local church caring deeply for single mothers and their fatherless children or callously turning them away with platitudes? Now is the time to help them care for single moms as if they were widows and helping them find hope and healing in the Gospel.
Contact us today to help get your church started.