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Ministering to Children of Divorce

Brian Dykes

When we help strengthen the parents, we also strengthen the child. As children see their parents thrive as singles, children will feel more secure. But don't stop there. Plan special ways to make your program a healing place for children.

Plan a children of divorce support group. This group can meet the same time as an adult group meets. Address emotional and practical issues in these sessions.

Work to create warm, inviting classrooms. Remove attendance posters so children don't feel bad about their absences. Mail any class projects, lessons, or student pages to the half-time students ahead of time. Also consider contacting the child's Sunday school teacher in the child's other church. Find out what they're studying and incorporate it into your lesson time. This will help the child feel important and will allow you to reinforce lessons for the child.

Drop curriculum that can't stand alone. If your curriculum is designed so that each week builds on the previous one, don't use it with half-time kids. They'll feel lost and left out. Use curriculum with lessons that can stand alone from week to week.

Inform kids of upcoming events. Try to schedule events to fit a part-timer by finding out when the child is likely to be present. Don't add to the child's anxiety or guilt if the child must miss an event. Instead of saying, "We'll miss you next week," say, "I hope you have a great time with your Mom next Sunday."

Ministering to part-time kids is challenging, but it's also rewarding. These children need your love, and their parents are hungry for healing. Help children feel less like pawns and more like valuable people in their new family structures and in the family of God.

Brian Dykes works with children at his church in Greenville, Michigan.

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