Coping with divorce : effective program methods
This project is designed to provide the information local church leaders need to carry out ministries to assist those coping with divorce. The research was carried out during work with several hundred individuals involved in ministry at Good News Community in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Chapter One presents a dynamic theoretical model for understanding the process of divorce to help shed light on the opportunities for ministry. The model ties together the events in divorce with the affective grief cycle. This synthesis shows how the emotional stages can be seen responding to specific losses involved. Human needs are identified which develop from the succession of losses seen and also from the emotions and profound identity questions which accompany them.
Chapter Two provides components and strategies for effective programs addressed to the needs identified. These are drawn from research in thesocial sciences and illustrated by examples from selected programs in use across the country. The methods favored are also shown to be expressed in biblical models of ministry. In addition, results of empirical testing show remarkable changes for the better in seminar participants. A detailed analysis of results compared with those of a control group is provided in the Appendix.
Chapter Three describes a variety of forms for this ministry that would be appropriate for different communities. Guidelines for selection and training of lay ministers are provided. Detailed learning objectives to guide the ministry are suggested. Program limitations and the potential for failure are addressed. Practical strategies for promotion and follow-up are provided.
This project shows that a specialized divorce ministry is, indeed, worth doing. Measurable results can be expected. Effective methods are available. An abundance of human resources can be developed when those who are helped become, in turn, the next generation of dedicated workers.