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Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.
It is estimated that 67% of single parents in the United States do not actively attend church anywhere (The Church and the Single Mom, Carepoint, 2011). In our research with The Life of a Single Mom Ministries we have found several reasons for this. Here are a few:
Many single parents fear they will be judged. Whether unplanned pregnancy or divorce led them to become single parents, there is a fear that they will not be accepted by the congregation.
Some single moms carry shame from past mistakes that may have resulted in their current situation. They fear they have somehow failed their children and forever scarred them. They cannot forgive themselves.
They do not feel that they belong. The typical family that we all grew up watching on television consisted of Dad, Mom, white picket fence, and 3 happy children, right? Many churches are made up of similar families. Therefore, single parents do not feel there is a place for them.
There is no Sunday School Class, Connect Group, Cell Group, (or whatever else your church may call its small group connection) for single moms.As is the case with all of us, we want to be with people who understand our journey. Support groups provide that environment.
Unplanned pregnancy, oftentimes, is categorized by the church as a more significant sin that perhaps lying, cheating, stealing, or any of the other sins that God detests. This, in turn, leads the church to believe any type of support for the single mother may in some way be promoting a “loose sexual lifestyle.”
Thank God that many of the churches around the country that have recognized the need to reach out to single parents in their communities. Many have understood the importance of the church being “inclusive” not exclusive. Many have seen that Jesus did not come to save just the finely-dressed folks that are perceptionally sin-free (however disillusioned this perception may be), but rather came so that all may have life and have it abundantly.