Thursday, December 11, 2008
SMORE for Single Mothers Blog Tour
Today I am so excited to host a blog tour with Gail Showalter of SMORE Ministries. This topic is very near and dear to my heart because the ministry that Gail is involved in is for single mothers. I was a single mother for nearly ten years. It was not what I wanted for my life or my son. I did not think when I married my first husband that I would become a single mother nearly 13 years after our marriage. It was painful and the journey through my single parenthood was only victorious through my relationship with Christ. Please read this interview with Gail and leave your comments either if you have experienced single parenthood or if you have a sibling or child that is a single mother currently. I will be giving away one of her booklets.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion for single mothers. In the United States, alone, there are over ten million mothers raising children alone. Over one third of them live in poverty. After years of being on my own as a mother of three, I came to realize how little is done in our communities and churches for this group of children with absent fathers and women with no husbands. The vast majority does not attend church, but our neighborhoods are filled with single moms.
I’ve created and implemented, along with an eleven member board, a detailed plan for encouraging, inspiring, and blessing single mothers. If you have ever wondered what you could do to make a difference for even one of the moms, this is the answer. It is easy, inexpensive, and exceedingly worthwhile.
1. You have established a ministry plan for single mothers. What motivated you to do this?A. For sixteen years I was a divorced mother with three children. I was fortunate to have family support and yet the disappointment, emotional pain, and daily difficulties were devastating. I’m happily remarried now for twelve years and my passion for the over the ten million single mothers remain strong.
2. Why do you think a ministry plan is needed?A. Single mothers have a difficult time day-in, day-out. I think churches want to provide supportive programs for them, but –though there are some successful ministries—much still needs to be done to minister to single moms. Often what you see on the outside doesn’t reveal the heartache and fear she is experiencing on the inside. Church leader I’ve spoken with have expressed genuine interest in implementing this plan.
3. What do you call the ministry?A. SMORE for Women. SMORE is an acronym for Spiritual Ministry Offering ReTREATs and Encouragement. Our program assists churches in providing Saturday reTREATs in a home or intimate church environment.
4. What is the ultimate goal of SMORE for Women?A. Our mission is to inspire and encourage women, especially single mothers, to discover and develop their abilities and inner strengths. Ultimately I hope to see churches across the country implement these programs. And in the process develop ongoing programs and activities for single mothers in their communities.
5. How do you convey this information to church leaders who want to provide a program for single moms?A. The plan is laid out in detail in print in a guidebook titled Encouraging Single Moms to Grow Their Strengths and with forms on CD’s. I serve as a facilitator when a church implements their first reTREAT.
6. Tell us why you prefer that the reTREATs be in homes?A. Homes provide an intimate, friendly, and non-intimidating environment. Homes also have the amenities for several of the pampering areas. A reTREAT can also take place in a church or other facility.
7. What do you mean by pampering areas?
A. At each reTREAT each mom is treated in several areas. Depending on the home she may use a hot tub or swimming pool. She will receive a brief massage, and even have a quiet private prayer time.
8. Is there any charge or fee to the church for you as a facilitator?A. I am available as a facilitator via long distance conference calls. For as long as I can I only ask for a love offering which helps sustain my expenses. If I must travel a long distance I ask for travel expenses. AND if a reTREAT date is on the 2009 calendar by January I will facilitate (via long distance) free of charge. The guidebooks are $20 and each of the Seed Packet booklets for the moms is $10.
9. What are the costs of implementing a reTREAT?
A. There is a nominal budget. It is similar to hosting a dinner party. Usually the volunteer hostesses contribute food. Church members donate gifts and invitations can be printed on a home computer, ordered, or printed at church. The ministry is a collaborative endeavor. Our reTREATs are very small with only six to twelve guests.
10. Are all reTREATs the same?A. No. We have eight themes for encouraging moms to discover her inner strengths.
• Personality Predicaments
• Money Matters
• Bonding and Boundaries
• Job Jump Starts
• Dating Do’s
• Nutrition and Manners Matter
• Family Fun
• Grieving a Loss.
11. Where can we go for more information about the SMORE for Women ministry? A. We have a web site which is www.smoreforwomen.org and a blog which is www.seeinguthrough.wordpress.com.
A Retreat can be hosted by a small group of compassionate women. The guidebook, Encouraging Single Mothers to Grow Their Strengths, includes step-by-step guidance for planning and hosting a reTREAT. Once you’ve experienced one Saturday reTREAT filled with joy you will want to plan another and another. In the process you will get acquainted with some remarkable women and you might inspire them as they see Christ in you. Please visit SMORE for Women at www.smoreforwomen.org.