Things you might not know about the single mamas in your church



Our guest blogger today is Jenny Funderburke. Jenny is a Children’s Minister in Bradenton, FL. She is raising three little girls. She understands single mamas as you will read in her post below. She nails it about the single mamas and the lack of attention in churches. Thanks Jenny for sharing your blog with our readers.

As I’ve walked through my “new normal”, I have become increasingly burdened by the lack of conversation in children’s ministry world about the situations so many of our families are in.  We don’t talk much about single parents in the church.  That could be a whole new blog post, but the reality is we just don’t.  Over the past year, our church has tried to be more intentional, specifically in the area of ministering to single moms.  I have learned so much from spending time with and sharing stories with other ladies who are walking similar paths as mine.  The greatest thing I have learned is that we as the Church (big, universal church, not just mine) and we as a children’s ministry community must do better to understand and serve these families.

Here are just a few of the insights of what single mamas deal with that I have learned that I think may help you and your church as well…

  1.  Shame – Single moms have no reason to be ashamed of where they are in life, but there’s something about church… something about how most of us put on the happy church mask of “we’ve got it altogether” that is intimidating to the single mom.  Single mamas can’t even pretend that we have it altogether.  Even though they should not and no matter how they got to the situation they are currently in, many single moms carry some level of embarrassment that our family does not look like it is “supposed to”.  Sometimes the church can add to that with inconsiderate or judgmental statements from church members.  But often it is simply a shame that single moms just feel and put on themselves.
  1.  They are tired.  Most single moms are working and raising littles.  Many of them have the weight of every decision, every homework assignment, every ball practice, every field trip permission slip, every attempt at healthy meals, every dentist appointment, every discipline issue, etc…. on our shoulders and that doesn’t even include their own career and personal lives.  They do a large majority of this alone and it is exhausting.
  1.  They are fighting lonely.  Everyone needs community, but especially single mamas.  Marriage has some level of built-in community.  Someone who you at least share space with and who you can talk to about anything, anytime.  The greatest thing your church can do for single moms is to create a space for them to connect with each other and with others within the church.
  1.  Holidays are hard. All of them.  Even the kinda dumb ones.  Because holidays are meant to be shared and as much as we love sharing them with our littles, moms miss having an adult to share them with.  I was very surprised to learn how hard Mother’s Day was.  I expected Father’s Day to be worse, but not so much.  Lots of times single moms just don’t show up to church on holidays because it is just easier that way.
  1.  Single moms want to be involved, but need much grace.  They might be late.  Sometimes they may seem inconsistent because they have to stay home with sick kids or have to be mama first.  This does not mean they are less committed.  It just means they are doing everything that they can do.
  1.  They want the very, very best for their kids.  I would guess that the number one anxiety for single moms is worrying if their kids will be ok.  Single moms see the gaps in their kid’s lives and stress much about how they can’t fill all of them alone. Single moms need churches to step in and help through mentorships or even just friendships.
  1.  Sometimes single parents feel overlooked in the church. We just don’t talk about single parents.  We in the church, of course, want to set the high example of Biblical marriage.  Sometimes I think we are afraid that we will seem to be advocating divorce if we address single parents.  This is so not the case.  We are simply recognizing the reality of many people in our church body.  Look for ways to just acknowledge that the single parents in your church exist, whether through a mention in a sermon or a prayer time or whatever.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive.  What do you see as needs of single moms or dads in your church or children’s ministry?

You can read more of Jenny’s thoughts and blog posts at



20 thoughts on “Things you might not know about the single mamas in your church

  1. The grace is a big one. I have not only lost my relationship with my spouse, my children with a secure family, but friends who “don’t want their kids around that.” My kids and I did not choose what happened to us. Compounded rejection. Survival everyday is huge and when rejection from people who say they are your friend and then hold that shame over a single parents as if they are a different person who now has a deadly disease that is contagious- packs on the “heavy” pounds. The one thing that is amazing in all of it, is the way The Lord wooz us. “My yoke is light.” He carries our burdens, when we remember to ask. We have not, because we ask not. Yes, I agree singles, especially single moms have been forgotten and all these things are true and they hurt very deeply. God takes us in our rawness and tenderly draws us to him. King David encouraged himself in The Lord. We can do likewise. We become closer to him because we get a glimpse of what he endured. Rejection, loneliness, hate, loss… We are walking along with Him on that Calvary road. While he holds our cross. There is sooo much hurt and so much joy and acceptance all at the same time. I would not change any of the things he has done for me. “Whatever is good, whatever is just, whatever is lovely whatever is commendable. Think on these things.”

    Blessings to the other single mamas and all you are enduring with The Lord.

    • Yes Rachel all that you said is true. What an incredible God who can take our hurts and use it for His glory. Thanks for sharing an amazing testimony.

    • Ha! Rachel, the heavy pounds-that’s exactly what it is, it’s a weight that people don’t know is there. It’s not just a state of life, a stage we’re going through. There is a physical connection to us.

      • Absolutely Kathy. I love how you said it’s not just a state of life or a stage that we’re going through. Thanks for this thought provoking comment.

  2. The stories I could tell–being invited over to a nice Christian family’s home for dinner, but only because the husband was out of town. Asking about women’s Bible studies and being told they were all on Tuesday mornings–when I had to work. Being told how much God hates divorce and always feeling on the defensive because I am divorced. It was a big turnoff for me and the church.

    • Don’t give up on God’s family. I tell single parents all the time, “They don’t know what they don’t know!” and I believe that. And thank goodness they haven’t had to go through what so many of us have.

  3. Single moms in church. Hmmm…the church I attended as a youth and teenager shunned me as an unwed mother in my early 20s. My situation didn’t matter. And even this article shows an assumption that single moms are divorced. I would love to be with my child in church, but I don’t need or want the church teaching her that I am less of a parent bc I am unwed. Members of the church are still, all too often, the ones to cast the first stone.

    • Thanks for sharing Brianna. I realize that not all single moms are divorced but the lady that wrote this post was divorced. It is her story. You have a story to tell too. If you are not in a church that loves you, then find a church that will.

  4. This is a great article and single moms do need the support and recognition. What about single dads? I have been a widower for 11 years raising 3 kids. We are a ‘non-group’ that nobody wants to recognize. To add to that, I’m fighting cancer, alone.

    • Dean, single dads are a “non-group’ in many churches. There are more and more men raising children alone. I always praise the Lord when I have a committed single dad in my group. You must be a very dedicated dad. I”m sorry about your cancer and have prayed for you today.

    • And many widows will have young children. I’ve had several widows and widowers in my single parent group. Thank you for your comment

  5. I’d say my hardest thing, is not fitting in. Especially in the Sunday school groups. You have the married, the college age, then you have the singles, but all of them are forty plus, and when your still in your twenties with very littles, you don’t fit in there either. Your supposed to build a support group in church, but they don’t have anywhere that you actually fit in

    • Yes, I felt that also Jenni when I was a single mom. Raised my kids alone and that’s why I work tirelessly today to educate our Christian world about single parents. Don’t give up. I know it’s hard.

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