By Jill Smith and Tina Wimmer
ECC MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and MOMSnext (Mothers of School-age kids) offer a morning filled with fun surprises, refreshments, speakers sharing on relevant topics, meaningful small group discussions, creative crafts, and a few hours to relax and enjoy the company of other moms. The MOMSnext moms sit at their own table within the MOPS group so that their conversation can be more specific to their season of life. MOPS is about celebrating motherhood, meeting needs, making connections and equipping women for the joys and challenges of their lives as moms. It is a caring ministry for mothers of children ages birth through school age designed to provide support and encouragement while helping moms to develop a sense of commitment to family, other moms, church, and their community. As a ministry of our church to moms within the community, MOPS provides a front door for young families to experience Christs love through the body of Christ in a non-threatening, encouraging environment.
The MOPS group at ECC was started in 2007 and the MOMSnext group started in 2016. Both groups meet together in the Life Center Auditorium on the second and fourth Tuesday mornings during the school year while newborn through kindergarten age children meet in the main building for MOPS Kids. The groups are led by moms within the group. MOPS International provides a theme each year as well as leadership development and training. The children follow a curriculum of Bible lessons. Last school year, there were 30 moms registered and 20 children.
I became involved in MOPS approximately one year ago. I had two young boys and they had no friends. I knew that my boys needed some type of interaction with other kids. I came to the open house at the church for the MOPS program and I was surprised how friendly, caring and welcomed I felt that day. I even had one of the moms want to do a play date because she lived so close. It took a couple of weeks for me to grow the courage to call and tell her I was ready for the play date. This was the start of many lasting friendships. As the year moved on, I looked forward to Tuesdays of MOPS and the boys were mostly excited to come play and never wanted to leave. The boys grew in confidence and by the end they would walk into the class and say, “Bye, mom! I love you.” After MOPS the boys would talk about how much they loved to sing songs and do crafts. The fun times in MOPS Kids were talked about all week and it was always a question of when do we get to go back to church. MOPS was a life-changing event for not only my life but for the boys.
This year’s theme in MOPS is “to the full” based on John 10:10 with subthemes titled: have more fun, fear less, and find your people.
Have more fun; Fun is often the first thing to go when life gets hectic because it seems frivolous and extravagant. This year we are going to remember that we can still have fun even when life is hard. We are going to let the laundry wait and build a fort with our kids.
Fear Less: No more fearing what people might think or say. No more letting fear paralyze us or concern about the future rob us of the present. We’ll change our ways of thinking, calm our anxiety, and surrender our need to control. This is the year of faith over fear, and abundance over scarcity.
Find Our People: This year we’ll meet our neighbors, learn the name of the cashier at the grocery store, and invite our MOPS table over for dinner. We need our people, and they need us. Finding our people takes some vulnerability, but it will also mean being known, belonging, and helping others feel the same. Life to the full happens best with people by our side.
If you are thinking, “where do I fit into this group?”, there are a few options: