It’s right there in James 1:27a: “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after widows in their distress?” Need some fresh ideas for demonstrating pure religion by ministering to widows in your church?
Share a tissue: Small acts of Christian kindness can make a difference during grief.
• Take Twelve. For a new widow, make a notation on your personal calendar to remember the one-month anniversary of the death for 12 months. Personally contact her monthly with a simple phone call, a stop to visit, an encouragement note, an invitation to dinner, or an invitation for a cup of coffee.
• Notice her. Seek her out at church. Talk with her. Show love. Sit by her during worship. If she’s not there, call to check on her.
• Listen. Don’t avoid conversation about her late husband. Whether she is a recent widow or has been alone for decades, let her share memories of her husband.
• Church ideas: Provide a grief recovery class or grief support group. Assign a deacon or a family to a new widow in your church to help her through the grief process.
• Pray. Every time God brings her to mind, pray. Take the time to voice a prayer when you visit.
Offer friendship: Demonstrate God’s love through friendship (Proverbs 17:17.
• Be a friend. Laugh together. Cry together. Shop together. Carpool. Telephone. Text. Begin a new tradition with her: Invite her for a holiday, call her each Sunday afternoon, plant flower bulbs each fall or take her to lunch on her birthday.
• Include her. Help her meet Christians with similar interests or life circumstances. Include widows on your guest list when you entertain. Ask her along for a family adventure, such as watching July 4thfireworks, a day trip, or dinner. Invite her to join your Bunco club, book club, Bible study group, computer class or community club.
• Think of the kids. When your ministry involves younger widows, be aware of her need for childcare to be provided. Consider adopting a young family that first Christmas after the death of the father and husband, helping out with the purchase of presents.
• Share ministry. Discover her interests and talents, and carefully watch for ways she might enjoy serving at your church. For example, if you teach a Sunday School or Vacation Bible School, invite her to help with records, greeting or substitute teaching.
• Church ideas: A church might form a group for widows. They could plan fellowships, prayer team or Bible studies. The group could go on outings together, do ministry projects, take short trips for vacation or missions or share holiday gatherings. Find ways to include widowers in many of your gatherings. One younger widow advises avoiding the appearance of a dating service.
Show Honor: 1 Timothy 5:3-10 instructs us to honor widows who are widows indeed.
• Personally deliver a holiday fruit basket, a birthday balloon or a single Gerber daisy.
• Deacons sponsored an annual banquet for widows in our church. They provided transportation, served the meal, prayed for each widow at his table, and made her feel like a queen for the evening. Alternate: allow deacons to escort widows to be first in line at the annual church potluck dinner.
• A Christmas open house for widows could be planned at a church member’s home.
• The church youth group could sponsor a “cupcakes and coffee fellowship” for widows, serving homemade goodies. Assign teens to visit with and serve a widow, and use nametags to help them know one another.
• Some churches honor widows annually during a worship service. Mail widows a printed invitation, make them special nametags, and give them a corsage as they arrive. Create a pre-service slideshow to spotlight them. Ask them to stand and invite church members to surround them and offer a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing.
• Assign a church group or class to Christmas carol at each widow’s door. Take a group photo with her in the middle and mail or deliver it to her with a Christmas card signed by the entire group.
• Assign a children’s or youth class a widow. They can send cards, deliver candies, help with small home projects, and get to know her.
• The young married women’s class could sponsor an annual “Hats Required Tea” just for widows in the church. Draw names to pair young women with a widow to provide transportation, serve her, and maybe even borrow one of her hats to wear! Ask ladies to be prepared to share a favorite Bible verse.
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