Does everyone in your church fit it?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Gina B, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    It seems that in church there's a place for children, a place for older adults, a place for teens, a place for singles, and a place for married couples.
    Where does a divorced person fit in at your church, or do they? Do you have any type of program that specifically deals with issues pertaining to divorced people's lives?
    Gina
     
  2. Refreshed

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    We have several divorced people that attend services. It is my opinion that if the word is being taught thoroughly, everyone will get fed as the need to be.

    Jason :D
     
  3. Aaron

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    Ditto Jason.
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    Our church tries not to segregate divorced persons or singles from the rest of the congregation in Sunday School. We have a two Singles departments (loosely divided according to age) and then three mixed classes that include people from all ages, backgrounds and marital situations. We also have the more traditional couples classes for adults.

    We encourage all persons to find a Sunday School class where they feel they belong and we leave them alone.

    [ January 09, 2003, 09:15 PM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  5. BLESSEDx3

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    We have a very small church but we have mens, womens,teens, and now thank the Lord, we have 3 youth classes. My 2 little ones are no longer the only ones in the class. So anyone who fits in those groups is welcome,and to me ones maritial status is between them and God.

    jen
     
  6. donnA

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    Our classes and ministries aren't seperated into marrieds, singles, and divorced. I don't think there is a need for it, and adult is an adult.

    [ January 09, 2003, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: kate B...007 ]
     
  7. SaggyWoman

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    Well, hmm.

    Divorced people fit into the life of our church where they choose to fit in. One lady is a teacher. One is a youth parent. One is in the choir.

    Those are the ones who haven't remarried. We have many more who have remarried and are in all variety of places of service.

    Same with singles who are never married. So are marrieds.
     
  8. Gina B

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    I'm thinking more along the lines of SS classes Saggy. It seems that a divorced person isn't going to quite fit into a singles class that usually emphasizes purity, preparation for marriage, etc., or a marrieds class that usually emphasizes dealing with and loving your spouse, settling issues together, etc..
    I was just wondering what other options some churches might have, or if they don't have these separated classes at all.
    The one I'm attending was talking about adding a class for divorced people. It's big enough that there's a number of people who might benefit from it, and there does seem to be a need to address things that go on spiritually after a divorce.
    Gina
     
  9. SaggyWoman

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    Sunday school? Well, let us see where the singles go.

    Of course we have the young singles class.

    Then we have some singles sitting in our "couples" classes, though many have spouses who are no shows.

    Then we have same sex classes.

    And, of course, many work in SS.

    If I went to SS, I don't know where I would go, though, because as a never married middle aged single, I don't feel like I fit in anywhere.

    So I just work it.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    We have a program for single moms, most of whom are divorced. We have special fellowships 3 times a year + our annual car care clinic.

    As far as the normal functions of the church, the pre-married/post-married are treated the same as anyone else. No stigma, scarlet A, or special segregated classes. :rolleyes:
     
  11. Wisdom Seeker

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    Gina, we have many different places that a divorced person could get help with issues that effect them. Ladies classes, Men's classes, College and Career classes, the adult department. We've got way too many classes if you want my opinion...the couples department alone has 12.

    If there isn't a place where you feel you are fitting in... maybe you could send a letter. Maybe others are also feeling like their particular issues are not being met.
     
  12. Baptist Believer

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    Certainly divorced persons are not usually opposed to purity and preparation for marriage. (Remember, persons who have experienced divorce are not necessarily immoral!) They may not fit in well with naïve ideas about marriage that are sometimes bandied about in singles groups as “divorce-proofing your marriage” and such, but I know that many persons who have experienced divorce do fit well into Singles classes. Of course, they are not for everyone, so there needs to be alternatives.

    Persons who have experienced divorce may likely get quite a bit out of a married couples class where healthy marriages are on display. Unfortunately lots of married classes don’t like divorced people in them because of the fear (usually false) that the divorced person is looking to start some sort of immoral relationship with a married person.

    As I mentioned, our church divides Sunday School classes all sorts of ways and has three different mixed age, gender and marital status classes for anyone who doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else. We had a so-called “Sunday School expert” come to our church a few years ago to give us advice on our Sunday School and he said we were doing everything “wrong” since we didn’t enforce classes by age, grade and marital status. (We also have two different Sunday School curriculums in our church – and some who structure their own curriculum by studying a book of the Bible at a time.) We cheerfully ignored him since everyone seems to be happy, learning and growing without the restrictive structure.

    Let me urge you NOT to start a divorced Sunday School class. If you want healing for divorced people, they need to be with others who are not facing that situation. I suggest instead that you start a divorce recovery group that meets every quarter for about six to nine weeks. Certainly the church needs to be there to provide assistance, but they also need to get recently divorced people out into the mainstream of life again.

    A few years ago some well-intentioned people started a divorce recovery group that did not have an endpoint to it and people who were grieving the loss of a marriage had a hard time moving out of that time of grief and getting their lives together again because new, more recently divorced people kept coming into the group and taking the focus of the group back to the initial stages of grief, anger and loss. Finally the Minister of Singles realized what was going on and restructured the group so that it had a definite structure and end. The group moves from the initial stages of grief, anger and loss through practical legal and financial matters, to child care, family life and church life issues, to a place where they are urged to join a “regular” Sunday School class.
     
  13. Madelyn Hope

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    I think the church should offer ministry to those who are divorced. Depending on the individual congregation and church members, this ministry might vary from small group meetings, Sunday school classes, or just one member reaching out to another.

    While it is admirable and desirable for the church to have ministries which focus on distinct populations within the church (singles, young parents, seniors, etc.), I believe that it also important that steps be taken to develop relationships that span these groups. As a single living away from my home church, it has meant a lot to me to have become friends with several of the more "mature" ladies of the church.

    As with all things, striking a balance between special and general groups should be the goal!

    Edited to add that it can be frustrating when the church thinks that the only thing that singles should focus on is "purity" and "preparing for marriage." Yes, those issues are important but my Christian life won't magically begin when (and if) I marry. Not every single ladies' Bible study has to focus on "Lady in Waiting" (good book but after being in half a dozen classes that studied it I think I got the point).

    [ January 10, 2003, 05:55 PM: Message edited by: Madelyn Hope ]
     
  14. dianetavegia

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    We did have a Sunday School class for newly divorced who are coping with the loss... however, the teacher just remarried and isn't teaching it anymore so those (few) ladies went back into the age appropriate ladies classes.

    We have a number of mentally challenged adults who attend our church. We even have a Sunday School class that fits their needs without pointing out it is 'special' for them. A number of people who are not comfortable in the usual classes were approached about helping with this class and it has done quite well.

    Now.. our church has over 920 members so we minister to many different type families and groups... and tomorrow is our first Sunday with a class for the Hispanic community. That's saying a lot in little bitty Villa Rica!
     
  15. Angie Miller

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    Truthfully our church does not have a specific Ministy for divorced people. There really aren't any. With the exception of our Minister. :eek: Him and his X wife both attended St. Louis Christian College and were married. She left him for someone else and for a time he left the Ministry, but has been back in it for some years now. When we were voting for him to take the place of our Minister who left he "lost the vote" due to that but later he was in. [​IMG] He is an awesome man of God and I have no problem with the divorce. HE DID NOT INITIATE IT!
    ANYWAY back to the point, there is not much offered for the Singles either and we have lost a few due to this. one being a very close friend. [​IMG] Sad
    Love in Christ, Angie

    [ January 12, 2003, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Angie Miller ]
     
  16. Gina B

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    Baptist Believer, thanks for your thoughts.
    The way things are set up now, you don't HAVE to be in a specific class, if you don't want to be in with singles, go to the marrieds, or go to pastors class. But there is that general separation, and we DID talk about the possible need for some type type of different one available for people who might need that extra support for what they're going through.
    But I think I agree with you. A support group type thing might be a better idea for a number of reasons. There's enough separation of the groups already.
    Gina
     
  17. Helen

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    Really insteresting responses, and thank you for bringing this up, Gina. The father of my six children left us in 1991 for another woman and the divorce was final a year later. I felt like a paper cup someone had used, crumpled up, and thrown away. I cried myself to sleep, sometimes almost hysterically, every night for about a year. 20 years of marriage, where everything had been 'we' and 'us' was suddenly gone and I was alone and struggling to come to terms with whether I was even worthwhile as a person at all.

    So while I can see the problems BaptistBeliever ran into in their church, I can also see the total need for a special time of ministry to the recently divorced. Not a class per se, as they do need to be integrated, or re-integrated, back into the church family as who they are now, but at least a year of constant concern by a stable group of people in the church who can walk them through the terror and trauma of feeling like a throw-away person. Because that is truly what we feel like.

    A divorced parent who has the children cannot possibly be as active in church life as when married. The burdens on that one parent are now multiplied and both emotional and physical exhaustion a constant. For nine years I raised my family alone -- during my forties. And now, looking back, I barely remember that time. I would wake up at five thirty on the run and be unconscious before I was even horizontal around eleven at night. They were hard, hard years.

    During the early years of the divorce, here is some of what we got from the nearby Baptist church as well as some others that we tried:

    "If you had been a better wife, your husband would not have left you." (from a number of Christians who had never known us when we were married)

    "If you claim the promises of God, he will come back." (from a minister)

    "You need to learn to serve. You do not help enough around the church." (this in a letter I got from a church elder)

    "I'll pray for you." (would you believe I have almost come to be allergic to those words? They so often mean that the person is brushing the 'prayee' off and doesn't want to be concerned.)

    Two couples, on the other hand, held on to me tight for a number of years. Here is some of what I got from them:

    "God knows. He KNOWS and understands what you are going through. And He loves you. More than you know. Now, bring the kids and come to dinner tomorrow night."

    "What happened to you was cruddy. There is no other word for it. You are a good mom and you were a good wife -- but no matter how perfect you could ever have tried to be, you could not change what was in his heart to do. It is not your fault. Sure you can look back and see mistakes; we all can. But that part is over now and God has a life for you to live day by day with His hand to hold. He will not leave you ever."

    My friends who were so wonderful held my hand and pointed me ahead. There was nothing to be done about the past. They let me talk about it, because I had to, but always I was encouraged to move on one more step. Just one. Just today.

    They kept me looking up, not back, by the end of every conversation. Gently, but firmly, getting me back to life and living.

    They were the hardest years of my life. I don't know if I could have made it without those two couples alongside so constantly.

    Other divorced people only encouraged me to wallow in self-pity. So I'm not sure a group of divorced people is really good for each other except, perhaps, in sharing ideas of how to manage this or that problem. That is always a help.

    But friends? Something more inside me would have died without the two couples who held on tight and whom God used to help me to learn to live again.
     
  18. Thankful

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    I don't know because I don't think that we segregate people according to married or not, but I understand that a divorced person could feel left out if there are the other groups. A divorced woman over 65 is considered same as a widow in our church.

    Our Sunday school classes are divided by sex and age, except the couples class.
     
  19. Pete

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    Yes, the doors at our Church are of a suitable size that even I can fit....

    Sorry... :rolleyes:

    I'm in one of those moods...Still ;)

    Pete
     
  20. Gina B

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    ROFL! Thanks, I just made an emotionally draining post on another board and needed that big time! [​IMG]
    For a practical joke it would be funny to somehow make the entrance door much smaller without it looking like someone did and film people's reactions! :D
    Gina
     

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