This series is co-written by Linda Ranson Jacobs and Wayne Stocks. Linda has drawn on her years of experience working with children of divorce in a childcare setting, in churches and in developing the Divorce Care for Kids (“DC4K”) curriculum for churches to identify and explain some major issues when it comes to ministering to children of divorce and to explain how those issues were addressed in the DC4K curriculum. Wayne has drawn on his years volunteering in children’s ministry and his work with children of divorce to provide some practical advice on how these issues can be addressed in a weekly children’s ministry environment. Together, we hope that this series will help children’s ministry workers better minister to children of divorce and help those who volunteer in divorce ministries like DC4K to better anticipate and deal with issues unique to children of divorce.
Children’s Ministry workers are a unique breed. We choose to volunteer and spend our time surrounded by kids striving to teach them about Jesus and the Bible. We enjoy noise and games and the many twists and turns that children’s ministry inevitably brings.
As a group we tend to be a little more free spirited, but we also take ministering to children very seriously. To that end, oftentimes we get a picture in our minds about how our ministry should operate – how a certain activity should unfold or how a group of kids should act. We get our minds set on what we want to accomplish, train our leaders to move towards that vision and then move forward sometimes faster than we can even keep up. Sometimes, we even settle in and enjoy the fact that everything seems to be running smoothly…that is until “that child” shows up. We love kids, and we have a heart for kids, but “that child” is the difficult one. The one who disrupts the plan and refuses to allow the ministry to operate the way it should. Many times, in today’s day and age, “that child” is a child of divorce. The fact is ministering to a child of divorce, whether in a dedicated group setting like DC4K or in your Sunday morning children’s ministry, presents unique challenges.
Not every person who in children’s ministry is going to be equipped to work with children of divorce. If people have done children’s ministry before or are used to a more traditional children’s ministry, they may go into culture shock when it comes to ministering to children of divorce. Or they may throw up their hands when a child of divorce comes into other church classes.