Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Northwest Indiana

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The church can be a great place for ZPUNSL WHYLU[Z [V Ă„UK [OL YLSH[PVUHS network and support system they desperately need for success. Churches can directly meet the needs of single parents in a variety of ways:

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Solid support systems are a critical component to the success of single mothers and fathers and their children.

Mike Herz, a support system was absolutely critical to his success as a single parent. Mike’s son, Ike, is also MVY[\UH[L [V OH]L H WVZP[P]L THSL PUÅ\ence in his life. Unfortunately, many children of single parents in Lake County do not have the support of a positive male role model to encourage their development,34 and many single parents simply lack a solid support structure to assist them with life’s ups and downs. ;TPa]X]V c^ ;^eT >da BX]V[T ?PaT]cb Healthy families, whether headed by parents who are single or married, LUYPJO V\Y JVTT\UP[PLZ ZPNUPÄJHU[S` The local church has an incredible opportunity to cultivate the well-being of single-parent families and positively impact our cities. ! } BX]V[T ?PaT]cX]V

D]STabcP]S 6^Szb 7TPac U^a BX]V[T ?PaT]cb P]S CWTXa 2WX[SaT] God is a defender of the fatherless and VMMLYZ PUĂ„UP[L SV]L MVY WLVWSL LUK\YPUN life’s struggles. The sustaining hope for single parents is the fatherhood of God.35 The Bible is full of promises for the burdened, the orphan, and the widow. The psalmist describes God as a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,â€? and one who “places the lonely in families.â€?36 The principle of God’s support for HSS ZPUNSL WHYLU[Z PZ Ă„S[LYLK [OYV\NO these promises.37 In a metaphorical yet genuine way, God is the perfect husband of the single parent and the loving father of the fatherless.38

parents as people loved by God. Too often, as churches rightfully uphold the value of two-parent families, they unintentionally exclude or disparage unmarried parents.41 >UUTa P ;^eX]V 2^]bXbcT]c Bd__^ac BhbcT\ Churches must recognize that single parents face unique challenges and need relational support to help them succeed. Many churches provide VUL [PTL Ă„UHUJPHS HZZPZ[HUJL [V ZPUNSL parents in a pinch, but offering a longterm, consistent relational approach could prove invaluable for lasting success. In one Salt & Light research interview, Mia, a single mother of six, indicated that what she needs most is to be discipled and mentored by other spiritually mature women. In her opinion, other single mothers in our community need guidance regarding marriage, motherhood, femininity, and God.42

God’s heart beats with compassion for children of single parents and those who are going it alone.39 He cares deeply for the lonely and provides in the church a tremendous family large LUV\NO MVY L]LY`VUL [V Ä[ PU 40

6UL PTHNPUH[P]L L_HTWSL VM LZ[HIlishing a unique support system is an “adopt-a-family� program. Teri Worten Brooks suggests that stable, married families could “bless a single [-parent] family with much-needed support, encouragement, and accountability.�43

Churches ought to work hard at lovPUN Z\WWVY[PUN HUK HMĂ„YTPUN ZPUNSL

Think of the difference such a program could make in the lives of single par-