Ironically, many churches today omit the very ministry that was at the heart of the early church.
In the course of a single year, 500,000 American wives become widows. A large percentage of these are members of our churches. My experience as a pastor leads me to believe that they form one of the most neglected segments of our church life. Certainly we have a spiritual obligation to them. But what is it? And how can we perform it? For years I was overwhelmed by guilt feelings because I knew I had not ministered to them adequately.
The Grecian Jews within the early church complained “because their widows were neglected” (Acts 6:1), and most widows in our churches could echo their discontent. The leaders of the church then appointed leaders to look after this responsibility. A lack of satisfactory service brought this body into existence. Clearly, in the early church this service was to take a high priority. Flow much do your deacons know about caring for the widows of the congregation?
Let me suggest four steps we can take to minister to widows in our churches: First, deal with major causative factors behind widows’ problems by educating your congregation to prepare for the eventuality of death.
A widow’s first and most difficult problem is that of working through her grief. But second, and often more frustrating, is coping with the financial management of the family, home, a business, an estate, and investments. At the moment her husband dies she crash-lands into an unfamiliar world of difficult decisions just when emotionally she is least capable of dealing with them.
All too often a husband deludes himself into acting as though he will live forever. Sylvia Porter reports that only three out of ten men have an up-to-date will. ...1
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