52 SUNDAYS: What If I'm A Single Parent?

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This year we're challenging our members and regular attenders to attend a church service every week in 2014. You can read more about the 52 SUNDAYS challenge here. This article is part of a series of articles about 52 SUNDAYS.

What if I'm a single parent?

We've already talked about the challenges of Sundays and young children, but what about the double-whammy? You're the single parent of a young child or children.

This scenario concerns us as church leaders. If you're single with young children, please know we care about you. We are striving to create a culture that serves you and honors you in your role as a parent. We want you to feel more than welcome on Sundays, we want you to feel like we are your family. Because we are.

You are not alone.

I'd imagine a single parent can feel pretty alone on Sundays, even if they've been attending the same church for years. Every conversation gets interrupted, you have twice the work of a two-parent household, and when you finally get a free moment to have an adult conversation you still have to ask "Which group do I fit into? Where do I belong?"

I don't want to trivialize your situation. Like I said, you are a priority and I am sympathetic. I wish I fix it...and I don't even know what the "fix" would be. So let me just say that you do fit in. More than we know.

You belong with your church and where you don't "fit in", please tell us. It's our bad. We'll adjust.

We can help.

One of the great strengths of a church that promotes strong community life is that we do more than attend events together. We actually know each other.

So if you're a single parent, it's safe to assume we know you're a single parent. And we won't be surprised when you ask us to help. I wish I could say we'll always be proactive, but parenting is intense and nobody feels the pressure like you. We're pretty clueless.

I know you'd probably rather do it all on your own, but don't. You can't. And we want to help. You'd be surprised how helpful we can be if you ask.

Don't be embarrassed.

My bet is this is the hardest part. I know there are many routes to becoming a single parent. Some of them are honorable or have nothing to do with anything you've done. While other routes are heartbreaking.

It frightens me to think about how many times you face the same question. "Where is your husband/wife?"

If the answer to that question leaves you feeling vulnerable or ashamed, I'm so sorry. Really truly sorry. I'd like to say we'll stop asking but that's probably unrealistic. It's a fair question. However, my prayer is that our questions lead to deeper fellowship...and our fellowship leads to comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

If there is anywhere a single parent can go to find comfort and encouragement and acceptance, may it be church on Sundays.