MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is an international organization that began in 1973 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. It started humbly—just eight moms meeting together for two hours to enjoy food and fellowship.
These women recognized that the common challenges of motherhood often leave moms feeling lonely for authentic friendships with those who understand the ups and downs of raising little humans. They saw the church as a natural facilitator of the mission of building up and encouraging women in their varied roles, but especially that of motherhood. MOPS exists to “encourage and equip moms of young children to realize their potential as mothers, women and leaders, in relationship with Jesus, and in partnership with the local church” (mops.org).
Each month, over 71,000 moms utilize the group search tool provided on mops.org to find a local MOPS group. These moms look for connection and encouragement. Because of this evident need, the Chapel Oaks Church became involved. Excited by the mission of MOPS and the opportunity to connect with and encourage moms in the community as well as the church, they formed a group.
The group began in the fall of 2014 with two leaders and 15 moms, seven of those being community moms, and has grown to approximately 40, with one third from the community. It is a diverse group with a variety of religious backgrounds represented, but twice each month the group bonds over everyone’s “sameness”—the need for community and encouragement and a fierce love for their children.
Each evening begins with dinner followed by a seminar on a topic relevant to motherhood and/or womanhood. Over the past three years, the group has used DVD presentations provided in the MOPS curriculum and has enjoyed guest speakers who taught about parenting, finances, meal planning, organization, health and fitness. There have been classes on self-defense, painting, cookie decorating and card making.
There was a weekend marriage seminar and a parenting seminar with John Rosemond. Park play dates, zoo trips, camping trips and even a few Mom’s Night Out evenings have been planned. There have also been spa nights and special nights where the gospel is shared and moms are invited into a new or deeper relationship with Jesus.
There are women in every community across this nation and around the world looking for encouragement and wanting to connect with someone who “gets it,” someone who understands their heart’s joys and sorrows. MOPS is a great place to begin or deepen this connection and provides a non-threatening environment in which to introduce Jesus, the special friend, to mothers and their children.
—Mary Kendall is a member of the Chapel Oaks Church in Shawnee, Kansas. To learn more about this ministry and how your church can be involved, check out their website.