ESTABLISHING A DIVORCE CARE PROGRAM AT YOUR CHURCH
We offer consulting to churches that recognize they have a need to help those suffering through separation and divorce, but find themselves with few resources. We can assist you in structuring a program suited to your church and, if necessary, bring our team to do it with you. Your single parents are in need of love and support - we can help. It is essential that the church leadership be supportive of a ministry to the divorced, separated, and those who are raising children though they were never married.
ESTABLISHING A LEADERSHIP TEAM
Recruiting the right people is key. Wisdom, warmth, and the gift of love are the traits you are looking to offer your single parents and your people experiencing divorce and separation. Additional traits are being skilled at maintaining boundaries and having discernment regarding how to provide appropriate support. We can help you identify and train the right leaders for your church's divorce care program. There are few pains in this life that hurt as much as the rejection your single parents are feeling right now, so finding and training the right team of leaders to care for this vulnerable population is essential.
CREATING A PROGRAM STRUCTURE
Every church will vary in how much time and how many resources can be given to this ministry. You may want to create a weekly ministry or offer a helpful series once a quarter. We can guide you as to what is most supportive for your single parents.
The teaching comes through an excellent video series and is coupled with small group discussions following the lessons. These discussions are helpful in identifying and training small group leaders. In general, we recommend allocating a two-hour meeting. This provides time for fellowship, following the video and discussion.
Everyone is welcome to attend and every tool we have at our disposal shall be available. Everyone will be treated with respect and dignity. They will be loved and valued as God would love and value them and we will teach them to go forward with peace and joy.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES
The group must be taught that they are there for healing and to gain knowledge that will help them make good choices that will serve them well in the future. They will be strongly encouraged not to date or become romantically involved until they have healed, which is always a long term process.
The groups must be safe in every sense of the word. There is no room for mean-spiritedness, inappropriate language, sexual harassment, or humiliation. Anything that the group does is alcohol and drug free.
We are first and foremost a Christ-centered ministry, teaching Christian principals and Christian morality. Teaching wisdom from scripture is what we do.
If a person proves themselves to be an unsafe person they will be removed from the group. If they still wish to helped, that must be accomplished away from the group.
HOW TO KEEP A PROGRAM GOING
There are reasons why single parents groups fail to thrive. We will help your program to avoid the pitfalls. There must be practical help as well as wisdom and spiritual direction. We will help you identify community support such as food banks and living assistance. The leadership of the church must occasionally visit and voice love compassion and support for the attendees.
Under-funding a program in its curriculum and leadership severely weakens it. However, we know that it can be done reasonably and in many cases the single parents can pay their own way.
A NOTE FROM GARY
Recently, a single parent mother came to me and, at first, seemed reluctant to speak. She had two very young children, a boy and a girl. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-two. She explained to me that she had just shared to her pastor that she was being beaten by her husband and that he was having an affair with a woman that he said was better meeting his needs. She asked her pastor for counsel. Without hesitation he told her he didn’t know what she should do, but he knew there was really no room at his church for people like her and she needed to leave.
She was told she would be welcome at our church and so she was. She has found a new church-home. I am sure that most church leaders would want to help her, but these are the things they don't teach in seminary. We invite you to let us show you what to say, what to do, and how to help.