Daily Archives: August 12, 2012

Opinion: Why your single moms ministry won’t grow

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By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

The Life of a Single Mom Ministriesexists so that no single mom walks alone, regardless of race, socio-economic status, or story. Our passion is to see single mothers connected to the house of God, thriving and flourishing to live the life He intended. One way we do that is by helping churches establish long-term, healthy single moms support groups or ministries.
I consider it an honor and privilege to work beside some of largest churches and nonprofits in the world. In doing so, I have found some things that may hinder your single moms’ ministry from growing and I wanted to share them with you (and hope we have your permission to be brutally honest):
  1. Ministering only to single moms within your church will prohibit your ministry from growing. Sixty-seven percent of single moms are outside your church walls, so be sure to welcome in the community.
  2. Failing to provide a free meal and free childcare will hinder growth within your ministry. Single moms are busy and often do not have the time or money to provide childcare themselves for a Bible study. In addition, providing a meal is a great way to bless the moms and their children. (Read the book, The Church and the Single Mom by Jennifer Maggio, for ways to provide this at little to no cost.)
  3. Your meetings drone on and on. We suggest meetings to last only 90 mintues. Single moms are busy and need to be able to plan their schedule for themselves and their children.
  4. You are trying to integrate a single mom’s group on a Wednesday night or Sunday morning service. Weekday meetings are extremely hard for single parents who are juggling full-time jobs, soccer practice, second jobs, homework, and night classes. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights are, by far, the best nights for single moms to get out. (No homework for kids, no night-time classes, no work the next day, etc).
  5. You are afraid to change. I once heard a dynamic speaker say, “When women’s ministries turn into women’s miseries, it is time for a change.” The same is true for single moms ministries. Your church may have been doing the same thing for single moms, the same way, for 15 years. It may be time to shake it up a bit. Have some fun. Have some giggles. Give your ministry a face lift.
  6. You need to plan an “event” to get the single moms in your church and community excited. There is no better way to attract some new faces (and regain some old ones) than to have a single moms’ conference, night of beauty, night of worship, game night, or something similar.
  7. Your leadership isn’t diversified. In order to reach all single moms from all backgrounds and stories, it is important that the key leaders and volunteers within the ministry are diversified. For example, if you have exclusively 40-something divorcees in leadership positions, do not be surprised if teen moms aren’t interested. We all want to know that someone understands our story. And when a new single mom walks into your ministry, she wants to see someone in the room who looks like her. It is a simple, but true statement.
  8. The ministry leader for your single moms ministry needs equipping. Maybe she’s tired and needs some more volunteers. Maybe she was never properly trained on how to lead women. Maybe there is a wonderful teacher waiting to “bud”, but she hasn’t found her voice yet and needs some encouragement on how to do that. Or … .maybe the wrong leader is leading within the ministry. Maybe her time has drawn to a close and God is moving her into a new season of life. This last fact cannot be determined without great prayer, but it is crucial in the survival and thriving of your single moms’ ministry. Sometimes as ministry leaders who are desperate for workers (the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few…), we don’t diligently seek God about who the right person is for the job. Consequently, we have some misplaced leaders within single moms’ ministries who really need to be replaced. When done properly, this is beautiful for all involved, as it frees the current leader to fulfill the role God called her to, and it allows the new leader to also fulfill her role.
Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parent issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who travels the country sharing her own riveting story. She has been featured on countless radio and television programs, and founded The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, to equip the body of Christ on how to best meet the needs of single parent families. For more information on running an effective single moms ministry, please visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
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Pew devotional: ‘Living by faith and not by sight’

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By Elise LaVan
Special to Inside The Pew

As said in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “We live by faith, not by sight” (NIV). Having faith through the good times and bad is the key to living life to its fullest. When life starts to get hard, you push through it, and come out strong. Keeping your faith alive and strong makes you see more to life when everything is going well. And then when things start getting hard, because of your normally strong faith, it will be easier to make it through the rough patch.

God is always there for you to turn to when things don’t go your way. God wants us to, and teaches us to trust in Him always, no matter what. Even though people aren’t always there for you and sometimes can let you down, God won’t. God never gives up on anyone and helps you through everything. If you want God to help you, you need to let Him. You need to let Him into your heart, life, and soul.

Your relationship with God will depend largely on your view of Him. When someone says, “Why me,” God has gotten His way. He wants to get your attention, and clearly He has if you acknowledge the problem. You know the problem is there and now how you deal with the problem is all up to you.

Elise LaVan, a junior at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Ill., is just a normal teenager finding her place in the world, exploring, and having a great time doing it. The best thing in the world to Elise is being happy and laughing all the time. To contact Elise, email her at pewnews@aol.com.

Gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas’ strength is in Lord

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By Aimee Herd
Special to ASSIST News Service

LONDON, UK (ANS) — One of the favorites for Team USA this Olympics has been 16-year-old Gabrielle Douglas, who helped her team garner gold in women’s gymnastics. She also competed in the All-Around competition, along with teammate Aly Raisman, and Gabrielle took gold once again.

Setting Gabrielle – affectionately called “Gabby” by her teammates and fans – apart is her willingness to share with the press, Facebook and Twitter friends, about what gives her strength, courage and peace in the midst of the fierce contest of skill: her faith, and relationship with the Lord.

Upon learning that she and her fellow USA gymnasts had won gold, she posted on Facebook, “We are the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medalists!!! We are all so happy right now. It’s a dream come true! Gotta give God the Glory! Thank you everyone for praying for me! It means so much to me! Now I have to prepare for the All-Around competition! I am so excited! Gabby.”

In an Us Weekly interview, Gabby said, “Right before a competition I pray and listen to music.” And when she was asked by the press how she focuses and stays calm when surrounded by the immense pressure of the Olympic competition, the teen replied that she meditates on Bible scripture.

In evidence of that, on the morning of the all-around competition, Gabby tweeted, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me.”

A video posted on Crosswalk describes the journey Gabby and her family has taken on her road to the Olympics, including the difficult decision by her mother Natalie – a single mom– to allow her youngest daughter at 14 to move halfway across the country to train.

Despite the cultural differences, Gabby found a second home with her host family in Des Moines, Iowa, and the move for intense training paid off.

Watch the moving video here.