Chad Parker, Houston, TX
Divorce Recovery Ministry is needed in UPCI churches. Our culture no longer values traditional marriage in a world of broken people. The church must help those hurt and disillusioned from divorce and struggling with the trauma that comes with it. The biggest misconception of divorce is, the worst is over, so now they can move on. But the rebuilding process is physically and emotionally draining.
Divorced individuals often backslide because of shame and spiritual questions that arise. Pastors should preach/teach about topics of healthy marriages, divorce, divorce recovery, emotional health, etc. and provide a healing safe place.
Resources are DivorceCare (www.divorcecare.org) and www.ApostolicCounseling.org. With a vision, any church can launch an effective Divorce Recovery Ministry. Our church has had great results through our small group ministry called Circles that addresses difficult life topics including divorce.
Dr. Jenifer Williams, Alexandria, LA
Research shows divorce is more prevalent among born-again believers than with agnostics and atheists, so Divorce Recovery Ministry is needed in UPCI churches.
Divorced individuals struggle with issues such as grief, questioning God and their faith, and emotional struggles. They experience spiritual isolation and loneliness. Recovery is relational, so it’s going to come about through relationships. They must be connected to others in the congregation, including clergy and significant individuals along their journey.
Even people going through divorce don’t understand it. Misconceptions often are they could have prayed themselves out of it, they didn’t try hard enough, one of them is at fault, or why can’t they just move on? Sometimes neither is at fault, but they have just grown apart.
Churches can facilitate Divorce Recovery Ministry support groups for the adults and for the children and provide counseling as well as divorce prevention and reconciliation classes.
One resource is DivorceCare (www.divorcecare.com). Other resources are The Complete Divorce Recovery Handbook by John P. Splinter and When the Vow Breaks by Joseph Warren Kniskern.
Jennifer Fuller, Sikeston, MO
Divorce Recovery is a much needed ministry in UPCI churches. Divorce happens, even to individuals devoted to ministry. Their spouse made the decision to walk away.
While the church focuses on whole families, divorced individuals struggle to attend churches that fail to focus on their emotional and spiritual needs. Divorce Recovery meetings, led by those trained in divorce care, help divorced individuals heal and offer support.
Misconceptions that the couple didn’t pray enough or put enough faith in God, or one partner wasn’t submissive, or that one partner fell into sin, aren’t always the case. So, the church must not judge or speculate, but ensure that men, women, and children are loved and feel valued in their lives. Providing for needs, monetary support, food and holiday support are ways the church can help.
Resources include Life’s Healing Choices by John Baker, Boundaries: When to say Yes and When to Say No by Cloud and Townsend, Search for Significance by Robert McGee, Children and Divorce by Archibald Hart, and Support Your children Through Divorce by Archibald Hart.
Debbie Saiz, Torrence, CA
As the National Director of Single Adult Ministries of the UPCI, I believe Divorce Recovery is much needed in UPCI churches. The percentage of single people in the population of North America is 50.2%, including divorced singles. Although eighty percent of new converts in all denominations are single/divorced, most churches still mainly focus on families.
The UPCI is working to get every district and every church to start a SAM
to help single adults find their purpose, including those divorced. Local churches should minister to the needs of those who are divorced through support groups. Quite a few churches have successful Divorce Recovery ministries and have won people to the truth through them.
Recommended resources include DivorceCare, UPCISingles.com.org and the book Hello New Life: A Christian Guide for Finding Hope, Healing, and Happiness After Divorce by UPCI author Paula Nielsen.
Daniel Sirstad, Troutdale, OR
Ministering to the needs of those recovering from divorce is absolutely needed because divorce happens. It is rare that both parties stay in the church, but many times one does. Their world has turned upside down. Rather than avoid them, the church needs to reach out to them. Loneliness is prevalent and if the feeling of belonging is not there it becomes easy for them to slip away. Guidance is needed to help them navigate this new life. The children desperately need a sense of belonging. Other children, not understanding, may cause pain to the child of divorced parents.
One misconception is the remaining divorcee did something to deserve this, but many times, one party quit, and the other had no choice. The divorcee deals with a myriad of emotions.
The books of Jim Smoke help the divorcee move forward. I’m not aware of an Apostolic church program specifically for divorcees.
Be a kind friend to the divorcee, even if they rebuff your efforts. This will not last. And, please, always be kind to the children.
Carol Clemans, Madison, MS
A Divorce Recovery Ministry is needed in UPCI churches. The church is a place of healing for the troubles in life for those inside and outside of the church. Love people in their pain, and they will desire to know your God.
I counsel divorced individuals on establishing a new perspective through God’s Word. Misconceptions about divorce rise from judgmentalism, but the blame can’t be placed on either spouse. Friends often disappear after the divorce, and divorced people struggle with emotional pain and much more, plus the grief of a broken dream for the marriage and family. They may leave the church, because they no longer fit. A support group offers a safe place for the divorced person to process their identity in God and create a new normal for self and children.
Resources are www.divorcecare.org., www.carolclemans.org., and the book The Complete Divorce Recovery Handbook−www.christianbook.com.
Esmeralda Delgadillo, Kingwood, TX
Divorce Recovery is absolutely necessary for UPCI churches. It provides a platform where thoughts can be shared and resources given. Our world is broken, people are imperfect, but God is a healer and redeemer. Establishing a strong network of support in the church is paramount in the healing process. The church must provide a space for people regardless of their marital status.
Divorced individuals struggle with the grief of losing their marriage, plus so much more. They are often confronted with financial difficulty, spiritual direction, sexual purity and finding their place in the church. They often backslide because of the overwhelming emotional adjustments they are faced with and may isolate themselves.
Misconceptions of divorce are that it was the easy way out or they didn’t try hard enough. However, many have suffered for years, and it takes courage to walk away.
I developed a study for single moms called RUTH (Restoration Until There’s Healing), based on the story of Ruth. And I recommend the book titled It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst.