Project Documents

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Curtis Fox

Second Advisor

Calvin Thomsen

Third Advisor

Hyveth Williams

Abstract

Problem. The most rapid growing family type in the United States is the single parent family. It is the dominant family type in the African-American community. According to the United States Bureau of the Census (2010), 69% of all Black children are born to single mothers. Single mother families are at a dramatically greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality (National Center for Health Statistics, 1993). These findings are alarming and present great challenges for African-American single mother families. In an attempt to address this crisis, the church, as an agent of change, is in a position to develop effective coping skills that will enhance the well-being of African-American single mother families. This project presents a program to aid the church in accomplishing this goal.

Method. This study used quantitative and qualitative data to explore the life experiences of single mother families. A questionnaire was utilized to collect pertinent information that guided the researcher in determining the specific content to be included in the coping skills seminar for single mothers. A syllabus was developed outlining eight presentations in the following areas: (a) finance, (b) education, (c) parenting, (d) communication, (e) physical self-care, (f) psychological self-care, (g) emotional self-care, and (h) spiritual self-care. The seminar was conducted in a group setting with 15 participants and one facilitator. The findings were reported in statistical data, illustrated tables, and charts.

Results. African-American single mother families of the Antelope Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church were positively impacted by the coping skills seminar. The overall well-being of the single mothers improved in specific and tangible ways after applying the many coping skills acquired during the seminar. The local church congregation was affected in more than one way as it experienced an increase in the well-being and spiritual growth of the single mother families. A new ministry for single mother families is in the process of being developed and will be implemented in the local church.

Conclusions. Single mother families are an integral part of society. The challenges they face are astronomical. The solution for improving the single mother paradigm is three-fold. First, we need to be intentional about improving the quality of life for single mothers. This can be achieved by providing increased financial opportunities and making college education attainable. Secondly, we need to equip single mothers with life-skills that will improve parent-child relationship, employ positive discipline, and enhance communication. Finally, single mothers are encouraged to make self-care a top priority in their lives which is essential to the well-being of the entire family. It is essential that federal and state agencies, businesses, colleges, and churches become proactive in providing assistance that will empower single mother families. Churches have the added responsibility to function as an extended family to single mothers by providing support, healing, relevant resources, and modeling compassion as commanded by the head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

Subject Area

African American single mothers, Church work with single parents, Single mothers--United States

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