Why Our Church Should Have a Ministry to Widows
“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
Currently on Thomas S. Rainer’s blog is a post entitled, “Seven Reasons Why Your Church Should Have a Ministry to Widows”. In this brief article Rainer makes the point that in spite of the fact that scripture is clear that we are to care for orphans and widows, and the fact that “churches around the world have taken some steps to care for the orphans”, in North American churches there are very little “intentional church-wide ministries to widows.”
This lack of care is not due to a shortage of need. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 700,000 women are widowed each year and the Social Security Administration reports that “the poverty rate among widows is three to four times higher than elderly married women.” The non-profit organization Widow’s Hope goes on to explain that, “upon the death of a spouse, a widow loses 75% of her support base.” Widow’s Hope is one of several organizations seeking to help meet the needs of widows in an online format.
There are numerous passages in the Bible dealing with widows, and it is clear that early in Christianity, God had a special concern for widows, orphans, and others in difficult circumstances. The same is true today! So why does there seem to be a disconnect in so many Christian congregations between something so clearly tied to God’s will and the lack of ministries to widows?
One answer would be that not all widows are in need of help. In 1 Timothy 5 there is a clear distinction made between: 1) an older widow in need, 2) a younger widow who ideally can remarry, 3) a widow who has family that can and should care for her, and 4) a widow who is only living to serve herself and not God.
Our responsibility is to care for that first group of widows: those in need. I hope you will join me in praying that we, as a church, do this well. Pray that we will be aware of the needs. I hope you will consider joining me in finding new ways to give care.
This year I am going to initiate a new online support and study group for widows. If you would consider participating and would like more information, please email me: email@example.com