Parenting is not easy! The world sends every conceivable message to parents about how to raise their children, and the biblical message can get lost in the noise. But what an opportunity the church has to step up and meet the challenge of preparing new parents.
An effective parenting ministry will look different from church to church. Think about the parents God is bringing to your church. Are they couples, single moms or dads, adoptive parents, stepparents? Do they come with preschoolers, with school-age children, with teens—or perhaps with all three?
Providing a ministry to moms can be instrumental in reaching everyone in the home. Jeff Simmons, pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, says, “Impact the mom and you impact the family. A moms’ ministry is essential to a church’s spiritual growth and health. Even though a children’s ministry is important, it has a child for only one to two hours a week. A mom is with a child considerably more.”
Now that my church has offered this ministry for several years, it appears to be here to stay. Moms flock to it. Why?
1. Moms want community. They will find it in one place or another. You name it—a coffee shop, gym, park, or bar—moms will meet up with other moms and share life. Check out Facebook groups in your area and note how many of them target moms.
My church’s leaders have found that before families even move to our area of Nashville, moms will visit the church’s website to determine if we offer a moms’ ministry. Moms long for community.
2. Moms are hungry for the Word. It may begin with curiosity or desperation, but moms are interested in what the Bible says. Our moms’ ministry offers several tracks of study, all Bible based. Once moms have chosen their track, we divide them into small groups with 8-12 women per group. A Titus 2 leader (older mom) is assigned to each small group. These small groups remain together for the year (early September through early May).
We always include a Bible-based parenting track, such as FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting® Small-Group Series. Other study tracks we offer include Bible study, prayer, Christian marriage studies, and ways to teach children to follow God.
3. Moms need mentors. Our moms’ ministry is built on Titus 2:3-4, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior… They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children” (ESV). When we considered making changes in our moms’ ministry, the one thing we heard most from our moms was, “Please keep Titus 2 women (moms) as our leaders. We need them.” Younger moms need older moms to mentor them.
4. Moms want time to connect. In order to establish meaningful relationships among moms, we determined that we needed to meet weekly. You may be thinking, “Oh my, weekly!” But meeting regularly is essential to relationship building. Because we have both stay-at-home moms and work-outside-the-home moms, we offer both morning and evening groups.
How to start a moms’ ministry
Starting a ministry to moms is not unlike starting any other ministry in a church.
- Gain your pastor’s support. Present your vision and describe how it will support the overall vision and mission of your church.
- Recruit your leadership team. Enlist older moms who “have walked the parenting road” and can be the Titus 2 leaders.
- Share your vision with these moms and ask them to pray about being a part of the leadership team. Ask that they make a one-year commitment to serving.
- Set your vision and plan. Every team needs a purpose. Your vision statement can be as simple as “We will encourage moms and provide opportunities for them to grow spiritually and relationally.” Once you agree on your purpose, create a detailed plan for the ministry. What you offer will depend on how many moms become involved. Consider offering opportunities for mentoring, for spiritual growth through study, and for fellowship.
- Evaluate along the way. Ask moms what they enjoyed and how the ministry is having an impact. Ask about unmet needs and ideas for future involvement.
Finally, when providing a moms’ ministry, quality childcare is essential. Moms will not leave their children where they cannot be sure they are safe, well cared for, and taught. And what a great opportunity to instill God’s truth into little ones through Bible stories and activities!
Impact of a moms’ ministry
A moms’ ministry can be the entry point for an entire family becoming active in church. “We’ve seen our moms’ ministry provide a wide-open door into the church,” says Linda Anderson, moms’ ministry leader at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.
“Moms come looking for community and support at a particularly exhausting, humbling, and isolating time in their lives. They may just want a hot cup of coffee without their kids. But this special time with other moms becomes what they often describe as their ‘lifeline.’
“They are loved and encouraged by their small groups and the Titus 2 leaders. They are introduced to the power of God’s Word for them and their families. Some meet Jesus for the first time. Many start bringing their families to church. Marriages are mended. Children are discipled. The next generation of leaders is born.”
The question now is—will you open your doors to moms?
Copyright © 2018 by Saundria Keck. Used with permission.