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We Have Everything We Need to Support Single Moms

Church, when you draw near to a single mother and her children, you’ll begin to understand just what the enemy has tried to rob them of. Hope. Family. Belonging. Faith. Purpose. Peace, Love. Dignity.

Dear Church,

The gavel fell on the reversal of Roe v. Wade less than a few months ago, and the victory parade continues for those of us who would consider ourselves pro-life. Exclamations of triumph fill our sanctuaries as well as social media. They declare that “this is just the beginning.”

And as eyes turn towards the would-be single mothers that will be affected by the ramifications of this ruling, our church and communities perceive the ministry opportunities that are before us.

But Beloved Church, I’d be remiss if I did not offer some clarification: the work is NOT just beginning. The work of caring for vulnerable women and children has always been here. Sadly, it’s largely gone unnoticed and neglected.

As a woman involved with a single parents ministry, I often grieve with other single mothers who have been dismissed or abused by “church people.” While there are wonderful parachurch ministries and churches who have been diligent in their support of single mothers, by and large, our churches have established the practice of ostracizing, outcasting, and ignoring the very women we now seek to serve – some of whom have bravely and deliberately entered into single motherhood because they chose not to have an abortion.

I probably should mention this isn’t secondhand chatter – I’m a single mom too, and I’ve experienced this disregard myself. I’ve been treated like tabloid fodder, with relative strangers prying into the details of my personal life to uncover if I had “biblical grounds” for my divorce.

Beloved, this should not be. Jesus didn’t teach us to qualify who we are called to.

A New Way to Look at Single Mother’s Ministry

Though I’m a single mom now, I’m not entirely outside of the problem either. Before becoming a single mom, I was a lot less Jesus and a lot more Pharisee, looking down on women who in my myopic view hadn’t done life quite right. I cared little for the circumstances of those that didn’t concern me, and even less for the ones I assumed had put themselves there.

But in His kindness, God changed that. And with this reversal of Roe v. Wade, I’m praying He’s doing the same thing for His Church.

How to Support Single Moms

As we turn our eyes more intently towards serving single mothers, questions arise as to what single moms need and how to support them. To this point, I’ve generally seen two approaches to single mother’s ministry in our churches:

The first approach is the one-time event: diaper drives. Career fairs. Valentine’s Day Dinners. Mother’s Day Makeovers.

All of these are wonderful – and needed. But one-time events can be difficult for some women to get to, and too embarrassing for others. For those who do attend and do enjoy them, still they return home to a mountain of needs and challenges that these types of events just can’t address.

The second approach is the single mom specific group. Though a single mothers’ ministry is a fantastic addition to a local church’s offerings and can provide some sense of belonging and emotional support, here’s what often happens when we start approaching ministry to a specific community: we get siloed. Separated.

When we single out the single moms, we create a group of people who all have need, but no means to meet them for one another. The unintended affect then becomes further isolation from the church community as a whole.

I’m not saying that single mom specific groups are not of value – they are. But breaking off into segmented groups should not be the primary way we approach supporting single moms and is not the way the Church first began communing back in the book of Acts.

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What Single Moms Really Need

Our churches are meant to be places where those with means intermingle with those with needs. Acts 2:45 says, “and they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (ESV).

What if instead we reimagined our approach to serving single mothers through the consideration of Psalm 68:6 which says, “God sets the lonely in families” (NIV).

What single mothers and their children need are families. For one reason or another, many single mothers cannot rely on the involvement of their families of origin, whether because the situation is inadequate, unavailable, or unhealthy. But God has ordained His family, the Body of Christ, as the source of belonging and care for those in need of it.

For single parents like me, this is a beautiful promise. But for the Church at large, this is an imperative.

A call.

Our Calling to Support Single Moms

Stepping into this calling is not as difficult as you may imagine – our local churches are actually set up for this very thing already. Does your church have a small group/ community group/ life group/ core group set up?

Whatever you call it, these smaller groups of congregants provide opportunities for church members of diverse ages and stages to meet regularly and do life together. These smaller groups of believers are reminiscent of the home churches that originated back in the days of the early Church and are an essential unit of spiritual family.

And it’s in spiritual family like this where God re-established me in the aftermath of divorce. Just before my marriage ended, we relocated on the other side of the country. When things fell apart, I had no community to speak of and I found myself isolated and alone. For six months, I attended church weekly without meeting a soul.

For my part of it, I was too ashamed and afraid to advocate for myself – but wounded sheep seldom do. Week in and week out, no one took even a moment to notice me or get to know me. The weight of being ignored added to the heft of my already crushing circumstances.

Personal Story of Single Mom Support

I cried out to God, asking Him to help me find “my people.” In the most miraculous way, shortly thereafter He carried my children and I to a new church community, one I probably would have never even chosen myself. Immediately, my children and I were placed into a new small group that would quickly become the adoptive family we all desperately needed.

It started with meeting our physical needs. Four years later, the members of my small group often still invite my kids and I over for dinner. Save me a seat in service when I come alone. Change my oil. Help me with yard maintenance. Offer tutoring. Do hair and nails with my daughters and “man things” with my son. They’ve even sent babysitters and meals when I had Covid and helped me move into a house. By the grace of God, I discovered friends who I absolutely consider family.

Through my spiritual family, I’ve also been mentored and discipled by other previously divorced women – not through a coordinated effort but over a casual cup of coffee. They knew how to listen to me and affirm me. With the support of these women, I learned how to let God heal my broken heart.

And let me tell you, therapy can be a helpful tool, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to what God can do in the context of healthy community. Where my children and I had previously felt rejected, we finally felt received. This is what single mothers and their children really need.

Learning to See

Here’s the caveat to all of this: many single mothers do not like asking for help or exposing themselves in a group setting. In my wounded state, I was prone to self-isolation and could not bear the potential rejection of putting myself out there. And though I knew I needed people, I still had to be invited into community over and over again.

Most single moms have been involved in a relationship or relationships that have been unsafe, often parental and/or romantic. Receiving from others has been a doorway to danger, and the way most of us deal with it is either denying we have needs or avoiding people altogether.

That means if we as the Church want to reach into the lives of single moms, we need to be the ones to notice them and reach out to them – to see them. Is it any wonder that Hagar, the first single mom of the Bible, is known for referring to Yahweh as “The God Who Sees Me”?

But seeing requires we give up more than our money or a weekend – it means investing our lives. Seeing means really asking about her, instead of assuming she’s okay. Genuinely befriending her instead of “fixing” her. Including her instead of isolating into our comfortable corners of the world. Extending compassion instead of criticism (trust me, she’s had plenty of that already, and often from herself).

Final Thoughts on Supporting Single Moms

This work is messy. Complicated. Nuanced. Awkward. And if you’re doing it right it will break your heart. But that is how redemption works. It’s not clean and easy, and it won’t be done at a distance – just ask Jesus.

Church, when you draw near to a single mother and her children, you’ll begin to understand just what the enemy has tried to rob them of. Hope. Family. Belonging. Faith. Purpose. Peace, Love. Dignity.


This is truly what it means to be pro-life. And I pray we’ll all join together in it.

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