Care & Community, Event in Review Part 1

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It was another great event, with our community leaders coming together to learn about serving our communities (local and abroad) better.  We are quickly outgrowing our space, and the Lord has provided a new location for us.  The site and RSVP pages for all of our future events will be updated as soon as we know our exact move date.

Some highlights from our Care & Community Event:

Convoy of Hope’s Convoy:Women division sent us this amazing Empowering Women Party Kit for our women to preview.  This kit will help you put together a great event that raises funds for women in their at risk/trafficking rescue programs across the globe.  Additionally, they sent each Women’s Ministry Leader in attendance a great gift bag with information about Convoy:Women and Tumbler.    THANK YOU DOREE WITH CONVOY WOMEN! 

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We also had the opportunity to share with the leaders a ministry called “HOPE Mommies”, which is a two part ministry.  If you know of someone who has suffered the loss of a infant, during pregnancy or after, then you know how difficult it can be to work through that loss.  Churches can charter a HOPE Mommies Group and create a support network for the women in their church and community who have gone through this loss, and need a community who understands their pain.

You can also order a HOPE BOX (pictured below) to be sent to a woman in your church or community that has suffered a loss, or as a Women’s Ministry host a Hope Box Gathering where you can pack up multiple boxes and then take them to your local Hospital or Doctors Office where they can be distributed to grieving mothers. 

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All of our Women’s Ministry Leaders received the following in their gift bag, thanks to the ministries that support our work, and sent us information to share with the leaders. 

jan17wmcfguthriecrosswayCrossway Publishers donated sample chapters of “What Grieving People Wish You Knew” by Nancy Guthrie, and two full copies for us to give away.  Harvest House Publishers donated thirty copies of Women Counseling Women for our leaders to add to their Women’s Ministry Resource Libraries!  Do you have one?  Look for an upcoming post on suggestions on how to start your own!

SonGear sent beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and scarves (not pictured) for our leaders, as well as these awesome Overcomer Stickers.  New customers get 10% off their first order when they register.  Great site for event favors, speaker gifts, or personal shopping.

We also provided information on local ministries that our leaders could bring their Women’s Ministries alongside for serving in various ways.    This included information on on starting their own MOPS Group, Hope Mommies Group, Foster Parenting and Ministries that serve Foster Kids, Parents, Volunteers (4Kids Treasure Coast, Place of Hope Treasure Coast).

If you have not heard, the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. opens this fall, and would make a fun Women’s Ministry trip.  We also included information on Christian Leaders Institute which has a developing Women’s Ministry Certification program.

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Finally, we included information from our two guest speakers.  Sue Chess of Carenet (Treasure Coast) shared with our leaders about our local pregnancy crisis center and how they serve the women in our community.  Sue also shared a bit about their teen program, Protect the Heart, and then turned the topic over to her guest Pam who leads their Post Abortive Care program.   Not only were the leaders given information on the organization itself, but also a list of suggested ways they could serve and support this ministry.

We also had guest speaker Curtis Wilson, of One Child Matters.  Curtis shared with the leaders the One Child Matters vision and process for reaching kids in communities around the globe.  From child sponsorship, to mission trips to meet your sponsored child, One Child Matters has a unique program that focuses greatly on connections between the church and the community they serve.  We are looking forward to planning a Women’s Ministry Leader Mission Trip in the future.

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Part 2 of this event review will publish on Monday, Jan 16.

Ministry Spotlight: MOPS International

 

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This month, across the country and in many parts of the word, mothers of presechoolers are gathering at local churches for fellowship, support, encouragement, resources, and relationships.  An exciting facet is that Jesus is always invited too.

When my husband and I relocated to a new city, over an hour away, we didn’t know a single person here.  At that time we had an 8 year old and a 4 year old… however within just a few months I found out our third was on the way.  We were still trying to find a church home, our neighborhood didn’t have any other families with young children, and I was so very alone.   My first thoughts were:  “I need to find a MOPS group”.

I was already familiar with MOPS from my previous city and I knew that finding a local group would be a great way for me to meet people in my community that were in the same stage of life.  I also knew that MOPS groups were made up of women from various churches, which gave me an opportunity to be a part of a group while we were still searching for our home church.  For me, MOPS was a way to plug into community.

Over the last 17 years, I have watched women come to MOPS for many reasons.  What I also saw was how much MOPS became an avenue that led women and their families into the church.  MOPS Moms would sign their kids up for VBS.  The next year they were signing up as VBS volunteers.  They would trickle into family or kids events at the church, and then you would begin to see them at church on Sunday mornings.

There were some moms who ended up staying in our MOPS group, but their families would attend a church closer to their home.  Some would even start MOPS groups in their new church home.  MOPS is a blessing to both the mothers who are served and the churches in which they become part of the community.

Many communities, like our own, have MOPS groups with waiting lists because they’ve reached maximum capacity.  MOPS is one of those ministries, that in my opinion, you simply can’t have enough of.  Staring a MOPS group is an easy process that begins with the desire to serve our mothers with preschool aged children.

If you are interested in starting up a MOPS group in your church and community, visit their website or speak with another local MOPS leader.

 

 

Women’s Ministry: The Childcare Conundrum

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Whether you have a formal program for mother’s like Mother’s of Preschoolers, a variety of Bible Study groups, or your Women’s Ministry likes to host brunches … inevitably childcare becomes an issue.

  • Not enough volunteers.
  • Not enough budget to pay childcare workers.
  • Background checks are expensive.
  • Limited space in Sunday School rooms.
  • To feed or not to feed the children.
I have yet to speak with a Women’s Ministry team where this hasn’t been an issue at some point, if not currently.  Growing churches will often outgrow their Sunday School rooms or nurseries if there is a surge in births.  The more kids you have, the more childcare workers you are going to need.  For the safety of the children and for the church, more and more churches are requiring background checks of anyone working with children over the age of 16 -18.  This is an expense that the ministry may not be able to afford.  Many women’s ministries will share stories of volunteers who don’t show up at the last minute, leaving members of the ministry team to miss the event in order to properly care for the children.  However, paying for childcare workers (especially on top of paying for background checks) might eat up the entire event budget.
What do you do?
There are many churches that have opted to NOT offer childcare because it causes so many issues, and would prefer to avoid the headache.  However, this will virtually eliminate any of the single moms or women who have husbands who work odd hours from attending your events.  Yet, these are quite often the women who need to be reached the most.  Fellowship events may be the only time they get to mingle with other women who are believers.
  • Paid childcare workers are more reliable than volunteers.  If paying a childcare worker isn’t in your budget, consider charging or taking donations for childcare services for women’s events.
  • Offer childcare only to those who are truly in need.  To do this you can opt to not include it in the event publicity, but direct those who may have childcare concerns to speak with a WM team member.
  • To offset costs of childcare workers’ background checks, pool with other ministries in the church or neighboring churches.  You can split the costs of the background checks and share the approved list of workers.
  • Cut childcare expenses in half by utilizing paid childcare workers and volunteers.  Many churches have teens who need volunteer service hours for high school graduation or college applications.  Or, you may have a group of teens who receive funds for youth trips in exchanging for volunteering at the church.
  • If you know some of the women attending have teens that can serve as childcare workers, or tweens you can help your workers, ask mom to bring them along.  I find directly asking mom is far more effective than going directly to the teen.    (Volunteer or Paid)
Some other suggestions:
Partner with another Women’s Ministry team that has a schedule similar to your ministry.  If you always have a brunch on the 1st Saturday, and they have theirs on the 2nd Saturday…. your team could provide childcare for their event, and they could provide childcare at your event.
There are many different online services for babysitters that include background checks for their sitters as part of their service.  Baby sitters will list their experience, availability, and their rate of pay under their profile.  This may be an option, if you are comfortable hiring childcare workers that are not from within the church or personally recommended.
Another facet of childcare that can prove to be difficult is estimating how many childcare workers you need.  Consider having your mothers pre-register their children, even if the childcare service is free.  Then you are only securing the amount of childcare workers you actually need, but do be prepared for the couple of moms who didn’t know or forgot to register.
If the brunch is a potluck, considering having a few of the women’s ministry team members prepare dishes for the children instead of the brunch/luncheon itself.  Be sure to skip things that are known allergens, or to ask moms when they pre-register.
A final thought, for women’s ministries who have chosen NOT to offer any childcare for their events.  There are times where it just isn’t feasible to have childcare available, or despite our best efforts we just can’t get the workers (such as during holiday seasons).  If you are not going to provide childcare:
  • Give plenty of notice about the event.  Even if all the details are not secure yet, a simple “Save the Date” is enough to allow moms to begin planning for childcare needs on their own.
  • Provide a list of known baby sitters, and suggest moms’ pool together and hire two sitters, for one house, and the group brings their kids to that home for the duration of the event.
  • Plan women’s events during the same time the kids events are happening at church.  If the kids are having an Awanas meeting, you could have a special event nearby.
  • Some nearby churches may sponsor “Mom’s Days Out” programs periodically.  You can schedule your activity during this time frame, and only suggest these locations to the single moms.