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.

 

 

A Heart of Worship

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We are excited this weekend to have a new speaker at one of events.  Sheila Thomas is going to be sharing with our local leaders about the importance of having worship as part of our Women’s Ministry events.

Do you put much thought, as a Women’s Ministry Leader about incorporating worship into your events?  Whether you are choosing a formal worship event, that is all about singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, or having a few minutes dedicated to opening an event in worship… here are a few quick thoughts to consider.

Events tend to be a place where we feel very comfortable inviting guests.  These guests may not be familiar with old hymnals, your church’s go-to song list, or even what is being played on local Christian stations.  Therefore:

  • Look for songs that are easy and do not have complex melodies that are hard to follow.
  • Select songs that use more common vocab words vs. “Christianese”, so that our guests understand what it is they are singing.
  • Print out the lyrics or have the lyrics displayed on a projection screen for those who are unfamiliar, never assume people have memorized the lyrics to a common song or can follow along.
  • Even though women do tend to naturally sing at a higher octave than men, consider the untrained voice may have difficulty with high notes and use them sparingly.
  • Consider the theme of your event, the emotion you want to evoke from the women, and select songs that fit the theme or desired response well.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring in a male worship leader for a women’s event.
  • If your church worship team is taxed for time already, consider using someone from the body who has this gift but can’t commit to the regular schedule of the worship team.  There may also be someone from your youth group that could lead worship.
  • Contact local Christian Colleges with music programs for potential worship leaders.   Many of these colleges require volunteer hours of their students, and leading worship may count.  This is a win for the student, to gain more hours.  It’s a win for the ministry too, as it helps offset budget concerns.  Make sure to ask the college if you are allowed to compensate the student for travel time/expenses or give a monetary thank you gift even though they are volunteering.
  • Consider balance in the planning stages regarding how much time you want to allot for worship songs, where in the course of the program do you want to utilize them (beginning, throughout, ending).

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Many thanks to Ligonier Ministries and their magazine “Table Talk“, for gifting the women in attendance this weekend a copy of their back issue Worship Matters“.  It is a great addition to our speakers thoughts on why we need to incorporate worship in to our programs.  It’s a valuable resource on a beautiful topic.

Be a Presence in Your Community

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Years ago, my Pastor made a point to our congregation on what kind of impact he wanted our church to make on our community.  He said that if our doors had to shut today, he would want our community to miss us tomorrow.  There are churches and ministries that open and close all of the time, but how often does their absence go noticed?  Does the community even notice they are gone?

Just last year, a friend and her family began to faithfully respond to the call toward International Missions.  They gathered a group of local friends together to organize a fundraising event.  A location was picked, local businesses rented booth space or sponsored the food and games areas.  They reached out to the local churches and asked if their worship band would be willing to donate time, playing just a set of music during the day.  In exchange the church could set up a tent and hand out information about their church to people from the community who passed through.  What an amazing opportunity to 1) support missions work, 2) network with other churches, and 3) introduce themselves to the people in the community who may not have a church home.

ONE church responded.  One out of HUNDREDS.  I was shocked.  You’ll be happy to know The Women’s Ministry Council was there.

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So, let me turn the question on to your ministry… how does your ministry present itself to the community?  Are you interested in serving your church only?  Or would you be willing to step out into the community and support another ministry, that is not your own?  What holds you back?

When a local church hosts a simulcast event for a well known speaker, why are we not carpooling our women to these events?  Or, at minimum, promoting it to our women?  Are we afraid to lose our women to another church?  Is our calendar too full, not providing enough room for divine appointments to come along our way?  When the community needs us, are we too busy to step out and say…  “Here we are, how can we help?”

Women’s Ministry is an amazing opportunity to not only serve the women in our own churches, but other churches and the community at large.  Big churches can come along side small churches, welcoming them into our Women’s Ministry events.  We can make space for the churches who lack the space.  Churches that have been blessed with resources, like Women’s Bible Studies, can share resources with those who lack.  Small ministries can band together, serving long side each other and sharing the load.  All of us, ministries of any size, can work together in serving our community.

What if?

  • What if all of our women’s ministries grouped up for a Habitat For Humanity building project?
  • What if all of our women’s ministries alternated weeks, providing meals to Molly’s House in Stuart?
  • What if all of our ministries came together to make blessing bags for the homeless?
  • What if all of our ministries fellowshipped together at local park, praying for our county?

What… if….

Who Is Your Timothy?

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When developing leaders in your Women’s Ministry team, one of the most important people you need to be on the look out for is your eventual replacement.  Life and ministry work is unpredictable.  The Lord may move your to another city or state, or perhaps you may find He is moving your heart away from Women’s Ministry toward something else that needs your specific gifts and talents.  You could get pregnant or have an illness in your family that requires you to take some time off.   Our co-founder Laura says we need to have a “if I get hit by a bus” plan in place. 

What if something happened today that immediately pulled you away a leader?  How would your Women’s Ministry team respond?  Could they pick up your baton and keep running or would they be lost wondering what to do next?

A few years ago, I was a part of a ministry that had a very unexpected and sudden departure of our leader.  She was very hands on and did most of the work herself.  As her team we supported her ideas and programs.  When she left, we were stumped.  There were a few major projects up in the air, and we didn’t have all of the information we needed.  One of the biggest was related to a financial commitment and we had just under a week to decide if we should move forward or shelve it.  We sat at the meeting… staring at each other in disbelief… no one knew the answers the questions we all had.  

This is NOT a great situation for any ministry to be in.  Which is why it is important that we have a second  in command.  Call it a co-leader, assistant, vice president, or whatever term you feel comfortable with… but the role is the same.  It is the person who can pick up that torch for you, because they’ve already been apart of the process.  This person is being mentored and groomed by you to take your place, should the season arrive.  When you are planning meetings or projects, they are brought into the fold.  Everything you know, they know. 

You will share with them how you come about your decision making process, where you keep supplies, passwords and keys, etc.  Occasionally you will allow them to run the meeting in your place, or take the lead on a major project.  If you are meeting with the Pastor or staff member that oversees the Women’s Ministry, she is included in this meeting.  She becomes your right hand woman, the Timothy to your Paul.

How will you identify her?

  • She never misses a meeting.
  • She’s not only writing down the things that apply to her from the meeting, but everyone else.  She’s already “in the know”.
  • If you can’t recall a piece of info from a previous meeting, she usually can.
  • She speaks up often with ideas and suggestions for the ministry.
  • She accomplishes her tasks without you needing to remind her, and usually early.
  • She’s known for helping others with their tasks, once she has completed her own.
  • She’s has leadership experience, and you can see that in how she interacts at the meetings.
  • She’s a regular attender at the church.
  • She is also wise, she doesn’t overschedule or overburden herself with commitments.  She knows how to say no, and she’s said it to you in the past.
  • She may have outright asked or hinted at desiring more responsibility in the ministry.
  • She will email you ideas, articles on  Women’s Ministries, or share what she has learned other ministries are doing effectively.
  • At conferences, she signs up for workshops about Women’s Ministry.
  • She is pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ, and knowledge of the Word

These are just a few ways you can look for those people who stand out.  But, before you approach her about this role, be sure to cover it in prayer and speak with the Pastor or the staff member that oversees the ministry about the person you are considering.