How Can Churches Reach Single Parent Families?

Alex Crain
Alex Crain
2014 28 May

“Three out of ten families with children today [in the United States] are headed by a single parent. That makes this group one of the largest population segments in the nation.” This statistic was highlighted recently by Thom Rainer to help churches become more aware of the mission field they’re called to reach.

Single parents are often overwhelmed with the demands of life and raising children. Linda Jacobs with describes the frazzled life they lead, but they, like every good parent, want to…

·         raise healthy kids.

·         they want their kids to attend church and become spiritually healthy.

·         they appreciate all the church does but many times they simply forget to bring their child to the Fall Festival or the Christmas party.

Churches with an atmosphere geared mainly toward intact families can be off-putting to single parent families. How can church leaders begin to think about reaching and ministering to this growing population group? Rainer suggests starting with five questions to consider:

1.     Do the leaders in your church have an awareness of this large population group? Just an awareness of the issue can prompt action.

2.     Does your church have specific ministries designed for this population segment? A corollary question is: Are those ministries effective?

3.     What would your church need to do differently to reach this group? I specifically refer to current ministries and programs.

4.     Are there any attitudes that would discourage single parents from feeling welcome at your church? Some of you readers may give us some good insights there.

5.     Have you attempted to connect with single parents in your church to get clarity about this group? They would certainly be the best persons to help our churches prayerfully and strategically think about this issue.

What do you think? Share something that your church already does if you know of a specific ministry or outreach effort to single parents.

Alex Crain is the editor for