Gaining Pastoral Support for New Single Mom Ministries
Okay, you finally have it – your purpose in life, that thing God has called you to do on this earth! You are beyond excited. You cannot wait to start this new single moms’ ministry, outreach, group, or Sunday School class at your Church for single moms. You cannot wait to bring the masses to the Lord through your efforts. You schedule your meeting with the necessary “higher-ups” of the Church, be it the pastor, assistant pastor, women’s ministry team, or volunteer coordinator. Now, what should you present at the meeting?
First, we highly recommend reading The Church and the Single Mom book. Many churches do not have single moms’ ministries because they don’t know there is a need. When setting up a meeting with your pastoral team, be sure you have prepared national statistics on single parenthood, Biblical references to God’s love for these precious families, and letters from single mothers on why they don’t go to Church. It’s important that pastors understand that nationally 2 out of 3 single mothers don’t attend Church, so while there may not be single moms currently in the Church, they are certainly in the community, and a single moms’ ministry is a great way to reach them. Take the time to share your story and what has made you so passionate about the journey of ministering to single mothers. Once you’ve shared your story, the statistics, and Biblical references on why you believe this is the heart of God, then share the How. The Church and the Single Mom book has an entire chapter on the logistics of starting a single mom’s ministry, suggestions on the frequency of meetings, when & where to meet, and much more. You, having taken the time to be prepared, is going to go a long way with the pastors.
What Happens If the Pastor Says Yes: The next steps are in regard to the logistical plans that include meeting day and time, location, frequency of meeting, volunteer team, childcare needs, meal preparations, teaching curriculum, and the overall structure of how the meetings will go. The Life of a Single Mom Ministries has removed all the guess-work from starting this meeting. We provide a Comprehensive Single Moms’ Ministry Kit that includes a teaching DVD from our founder, customizable CD for flyers & print materials, Best Practices, books for your volunteer team to read, a 200-page workbook of things to consider before you launch, and a handy carrying tote to keep your materials together. This is where we recommend starting. Arm yourself with the tools necessary to get the job done! Additionally, this kit details all the tips our founder used a decade ago that grew her local single moms’ support group from 3 single mothers to several hundred single mothers, one of the largest single mom’s groups in the nation! Trust us; you want this kit!
Next, you’ll need to consider teaching materials (and we have a host of different Bible studies, too!), a launch date, fundraising, volunteer training, and whether or not you want to have a large single moms’ event for kick-off.
What Happens If the Pastor Says No: You’ve cast your vision, shared your ideas, and waited for the shared excitement, cheers, and handclaps. And then it happens. Silence. Blank stares. A “let-us-think-about-it” response. What do you mean ‘let me think about it’?! I mean, God has spoken. You think to yourself, as you quietly leave the meeting frustrated, hurt, and confused. As time passes (and silence persists), you may even get a little angry. How dare they not want to reach the poor, the single mom, the disabled, the grieving (whatever your people group may be)!
Our Founder, Jennifer Maggio, was once in your shoes. Once she finally embraced the calling and had the courage to sit down with pastors, she was so disappointed not to see them quite as excited as she was. Weeks passed. Months passed. A year passed. Time made her all the more angry. Single moms are struggling, Lord. Why don’t they get it? she often prayed. It was during this prayer time that the Lord spoke to her heart, “Because you get it!” It was at that moment that God reminded her that his timing was perfect and to be a graceful and patient “waiter.” Today, we are so happy to report that she did launch that single moms’ program, and it is because of its success that The Life of a Single Mom Ministries exists!
No doubt about it. The wait is challenging, but here are a few tips to help you navigate gaining support gracefully and patiently.
– Your passion is God-given. Because you’ve walked through the journey of single parenthood or you have someone in your life that has, God has moved you with compassion to minister to others in similar situations. Doors will eventually open. Just watch and see how God moves mountains for those He loves. You don’t have to constantly talk about it, wrestle with the idea, or even fret that it will one day happen. Just trust that God loves single mothers and wants them ministered to, so He will open the door in His perfect timing. Part of how you handle that timing with being mature and respectful in the waiting will be critical to if and when you are the one that leads it.
– Pastors are busy. They are stretched in hundreds of directions with needs and demands and appointments. It is almost impossible for most pastors to keep up with the demands on their schedules. (And many passionately sojourn for Christ and get very little thanks and much criticism). His first thought, when you present the idea, could very well be all the logistical challenges such as who will run it, where will the finances come from, is this really a need, will I have to oversee this? Give him time to marinate on your new idea. Give him time to pray and solicit God’s direction. Give him time to even process the request. (It’s probably the 30th meeting he had this week).
– Pray for your leaders. Don’t get angry, bitter, or frustrated. Pray and wait. Wait and pray. Don’t kill your witness by being an anxious, pushy “waiter.” You will feel much better about a “no” or “not now” response from your pastoral team, if you can pray with a pure heart for things they are facing in their personal lives, for God’s favor, and for their eyes to be opened. Ask them how you can serve them. What are things that are needing to be done in the Church? Consider doing those. This will exhibit to the pastoral team that you are a willing servant who is also submitted and respectful to their authority.
– Educate your pastoral team on the statistics that affect your particular people group, but do so lovingly and respectfully. Many churches do not have single moms’ ministries because they don’t know there is a need. When setting up a meeting with your pastoral team, be sure you are prepared. This is why we highly recommend reading The Church and the Single Mom book first. It is full of national statistics on single parenthood, Biblical references to God’s love for these precious families, and letters from single mothers on why they don’t go to Church. It’s important that pastors understand that nationally 2 out of 3 single mothers don’t attend Church, so while there may not be single moms currently in the Church, they are certainly in the community, and a single moms’ ministry is a great way to reach them.
– “Not now” does not mean “no.” Again, it sometimes takes time. Be patient. Recognize that there is much to be learned in the wait. Focus on what God wants to do in your heart and life to prepare you for this season. Are there areas you need to grow? Do you need to understand more of the Bible? Do you need to forgive someone who has hurt you? Do you need to work on not getting offended so easily? Take this time to work on you.
– Consider that you may not be the right leader. This is the absolute hardest one to consider because God has birthed a passion in you. But the truth is, sometimes the passion is just for the presentation of the idea and for you to help with single moms’ ministry, but not always for you to be the primary leader. Is God calling you to find the right leader? Is He calling you to be the assistant leader or a faithful volunteer to serve the primary leader? Maybe it simply isn’t your season to lead. Do you love single moms’ enough to help get a single mom’s ministry going without leading?
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness, her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence, and sustaining today's marriages, Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues. Her passion is contagious, and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe. Today, Jennifer works to ensure that no single mom walks alone as the founder of the national profit, The Life of a Single Mom. For more information and resources, visit the website HERE.