divorce

5 Ways to be Intentional in Ministry to Children of Divorce

Issues Kids Deal With / Leadership //

1.  Be mentally prepared for for those times when children whose parents are starting the divorce process show up in one of your groups. Tell yourself in advance that when you learn a child’s parents have separated that you take a deep breath; be in the moment and you pray over the child quietly.

You also need to keep shock from registering on your face. This is especially true if the child is one of your regular attendees and their parents have just separated. It means not having pity on them but empathizing with them.

2.  Have a purpose and be determined to allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of you – what you say and how you approach the child of divorce. This means you need to pray in advance for the Lord to send the children in your community to you.

3.  Have a resolve to reach out and help the child feel accepted and loved. Many children of divorce will tell you they are embarrassed when their friends find out their parents are separated or divorced. They will also tell you they don’t feel accepted at church because of the divorce.

While this might not always be true, it is their perception because the divorce overwhelms all of their thoughts and takes over their world. In their mind, everything becomes measured by the word “divorce.” You will hear them refer to, “before the divorce” and “after the divorce.”

4.  Be more understanding when a child acts out or hides over in the corner or just doesn’t want to participate. Be deliberate in actions, words and deeds.

You may have to think about what’s going on in the child’s life. For instance, on a Sunday morning, Sunday evening or a Wednesday evening they may have just come from the other parents home and they would really rather be at home, sitting on the couch snuggled up next to mom. It means you reach out and give them a hug, a touch on the arm or you hold their hand during prayer.

5. Stop, think and react like Jesus did when the children came to Him.

The closest I can come to being Jesus like is to pray. Praying is part of being in the moment and being intentional. When one of those whirlwind non compliant kids has shown up in my groups I’ve stopped and prayed. I’ve even laid my hand on the child as I’ve prayed silently. Talk about being in the moment and intentional, that does it for me every time. It can tend to change my heart toward that kid and when my heart is changed many times the kid can sense it. It’s like a softening that comes over him or her.

 

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About the Author

Linda has been a children’s ministry director, developed DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids, dc4k.org), operated a therapeutic child care, and has extensive experience at successfully accommodating challenging behaviors. She currently serves as the DC4K Ambassador and Professional blogger at http://blog.dc4k.org.