A few nights ago I received a phone call from a friend. Mandy, a 21-year-old single mom of a 20-month old daughter and an 8-month old son, breathed heavily into the phone, "Can you come get me?" I drove 10 miles west of town before I spotted the lights of the highway patrol parked behind Mandy's $75 car that was angrily spewing fluid into the air. We moved the hungry, tired babies into my car and left the patrolman to slap a bright orange sticker on her window. As we turned back towards home, Mandy tearfully said, "I didn't know who else to call." Her attempt to go visit her mom, 60 miles out of town, had failed. She now had no car, very little money, a boyfriend in prison, and only a hint of hope. Mandy called me because she knows I care. Over the past two years, my family and my small group have embraced Mandy and her children, sharing the practical love of God in various ways. Diapers, food, rides to work, babysitting, books, haircuts, a listening ear, and unconditional love directed her heart to make the phone call to me that night. She knows I care and she knows I have a faith in a loving God.
This month, encourage your small group to begin a relationship with a single mom. If no one in your group knows a single mom, ask the secretary at your church or a local organization for teen moms or abused women. Prepare your small group for this long-term outreach by emphasizing the practical needs of a single parent: babysitting, money, food, car repair, yard maintenance, household products, clothes, diapers, and especially time and a listening ear. Evaluate the resources of your small group then match the individuals with the single mom's needs. Initially, you will need to build trust with the mom. Help meet her needs with no strings attached. When asked why you are doing what you are doing, simply respond that you are sharing the practical love of God. Over time, the mom will desire to know more about the God you serve, but be patient. Mandy has never stepped foot in a church. Now, after two years, she has finally agreed to come with me and my family this coming Sunday.