A Profile of Singles: Widows


A Deeper look at Widows

At Table for One Ministries we are passionate about reaching singles of all ages and backgrounds. In this series of blogs we are looking at the “profile” of each type of single adult. While these are not all encompassing, they are meant to help singles and those who lead singles understand that type of single adult better or in a different light. We WELCOME feedback and additions to these profiles as we grow our ministry!

Characteristics of this Group

Seventeen million widows live in America. Their average age is 57, with an average of 14 years of being alone after their spouse has passed away. Widows are not only little old ladies, but young fathers who lost their spouse to cancer and women who lost their spouses during war. Too often widows are characterized in the wrong light and the church fails to target them properly. Some widows may remarry while others choose to stay single. Many feel awkward in a singles group, while most find that after their spouse passed away they have more in common with singles than ever before.

Ministry Needs in this Group

Widows desire to have deep relationships like the ones tragically taken away from them. No one chooses to be a widow, so building a ministry sensitive towards widows is vital in connecting them to a group of singles. Widows need a support structure and opportunities to move forward after the passing of their loved one. This group does not need to be isolated from a singles ministry at large; however, they may take time after becoming a widow before integrating with singles. Widows may be single parents and need help with adjusting to parenting alone. Widows can also have a former spouse. A person who has been divorced could have a spouse pass away, and while the connection may not be as strong, it is still a process for them to go through with grief.

Communication Strategies for this Group

Widows need to know there is a loving place for them to find community. There does not need to be a push to get them into a singles group, but space to process feelings and emotions that ends with opportunities to interact with other singles. Since so many widows stay single for over a decade after the loss of their loved one, singles must connect with them to offer a similar structure to what they had prior to the loss of their loved one. E-mail, phone, and text messaging are great avenues to work with widows as they are more personal than social media outlets.

Strategy for Reaching this Group

Widows may have needs such as cleaning around the house and running errands to the store and doctor, although statistically widows do not fit that circumstance. Reaching out to widows starts by having an active griefshare ministry in a church. In this ministry, community and processing grief become vital to growth. Widows take different amounts of time to process their grief, but singles ministry must be prepared to reach out to them and offer community. In the church, singles need to be a part of running griefshare ministries to provide a bridge to the singles ministry. Widows are rebuilding their social interactions for months and years after their spouse passes away.


Cornish, Carol. The Undistracted Widow. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.

Rodgers, Joyce. Grace for the Widow. Grand Rapids: B&H Publishing, 2010.

Silvera, Jennifer. Believe: A Young Widow’s Journey Through Brokenness and Back. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2009.

What do you think?

Do you agree with this profile of single adults who are widows? What resources or information would you add?

Head in the Sand


I sometimes stick my head in the sand. It’s comfortable down there. Especially around the 1st and 15th of the month when I have to sit down, write checks and pay daunting companies for the services they provide out of my already low bank account. Indeed. Punching numbers and paying the Piper has lost its joy these days, but not paying the Piper brings unwanted rats into my life. As I sighed one day in annoyance at the consequences of my sand-like avoidance, I wondered why I did it. I knew that such evasion would mushroom into a big ugly stink, but I burrowed my head anyway.

How many times do we stick our head in the ground when we know there’s something unpleasant to battle or face in our lives? Whether it be a bill collector or a secret sin, avoidance only amplifies issues and prevents us from dealing with the situation at hand. As singles, avoidance is easy to do. We have a choice to invite people to hold us accountable, to call us out of the sand or to be silent and stay in it. However, when we lift our eyes and face the facts, we obtain clarity, structure, healing, teaching, encouragement and whatever else, and usually more than, we need. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (NIV). The alternative to our heads in the sand is to keep our eyes open, our heads up and pay attention.

How many times have you made an error because you weren’t paying attention? Overpaid? Missed a deadline? Said the wrong thing? Heard the wrong thing? Undercounted? If it’s easy to miss things in our everyday visible life, how much more could our spiritual, invisible lives suffer detrimentally due to the lack of attention?  

Fortunately, our Father already knows what we need and has provided it for us in the form of His Word. Hebrews 2:1 encourages us to pay close attention to the Word: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (NLT). The truth of the Word is a tidal wave washing away the sand from our lives.

Attention requires discipline, which isn’t pleasant at first. But after a while, reaps a harvest. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (NIV) Training requires focus and attention. God’s word tells us to focus and fix our gaze upon Him and when we do that, we will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. If we discipline ourselves and accept the discipline from our Heavenly Father, we will bear more fruit  “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2  (ESV)

If you and I lift our heads, gaze on Him as we face the discomfort, the things in our lives which threaten the status quo and require obedience and sacrifice– if we just face those, I believe our lives will be made better by He Who washes away all dirt.


Be An Adult

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Be An Adult


So when do you become an adult?

Is it when you get keys to your first car at age 16?
At 18 when you can make your own legal decisions?
At 21 when you can legally drink alcohol?
When you move away from home?
When you get your first job?
When you can pay all your own bills?
When you get married?

Defining adulthood is nothing short of impossible. The idea that an age, ceremony, or responsibility defines adulthood gives no target of what it means to be an adult. So we find adults of all ages acting like children and youths acting like adults. So maybe the best way to define being an adult is to say it is a mindset.

Paul, while talking about love, speaks to knowing true love by laying down the things that made him a child and acting like an adult. James reminds us that we are but a vapor in this life and time is short so we need to ask the Lord what is His will for our life. (James 1:13-17)

Maybe adulthood is what Paul asserts happened when we realize this life is a vapor as James explains. A mindset of adulthood embraces the reality of time (1 Corinthians 13:11). Time that has passed and is passing and will not always be present. One way to see this is by decision-making.

What was it that made you say “I’m an adult now”?

Just Stop Sinning


We encounter many conversations with single adults and the issue of sin comes up often. Everyone deals with sin–we are in a broken and fallen world. Not everyone, though, deals with sin the same. This is a look at two different stories of dealing with sin.


“I can’t be expected to stop sinning”

Jared arrived at school ready to study to be a pastor. He is 31, single, and feels called to be a minister. He is very driven and well read in theology and history of the church. While speaking to one of our ministers, he starts talking about his struggles with addiction and says, “It’s not like we can be expected to stop sinning” and continues on to talk about when a friend had asked him to do just that. He argued we were all fallen people in need of grace, to stop sinning is impossible, and it should be expected that all sin is a struggle not something to be conquered.


“I can stop sinning, at least with my actions”

Allen was looking for a church home and decided to give a church down the street a try. They  had a singles ministry, and the Sunday he attended the issue was on sin and choosing to turn from sin. Allen was taken aback. He had struggled for years with addiction, admitting he had  good and bad seasons in how he dealt with it. No one had ever told him to simply stop sinning. The idea was so foreign to him, he decided to give this “not sinning thing” a try.


It really is as easy as stopping your actions of sinning.

Jared lives in a world where sin is not something he really tries to stop, but only fights off from time to time. Allen now lives in a reality where he may not be able to control all his thoughts, but his actions have been controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit. Bondage vs Freedom.

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  –Hebrews 12:4

Actions speak louder than words, and that is true of our relationship with God and dealing with sin. Our actions need to reflect our repentant hearts for forgiveness and grace. There are methods and books (especially God’s Word) to help each person find their way to stop acting out on a sin. The key is that as mature believers, we seek those paths and find ways to stop acting on our sin, even if we can not control our thoughts and urges.

The payment for all sin is death. Christ paid that debt in full for everyone. However, the consequences of every sin are different. We urge you to take a stand. Make sin in your life Not an Option and experience the freedom from bondage.

Do you think it is possible to have a mindset to stop sinning in certain areas of your life, particularly with your actions?