Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Read And Learn: Ministry To Moms

PresbyBlogger Jan Edmiston wrote a thought-provoking post yesterday at A Church For Starving Artists: The Secret Needs of Moms. She said that "there is a huge market out there for someone to have a ministry of spiritual direction just for moms."

I sure could have used that back in the day when Portia and Babs were very young. Moms with young children often form peer support groups in churches but these usually focus on practical questions of parenting, working, and volunteering and not on the spiritual side of life with a young family.

Jan asks what that ministry might look like. One of her commenters responded by describing a back to school event that the older women in her church were hosting for the younger women in the congregation with children. The event centers around packing school kits for Lutheran World Relief, but the older women will be giving "survival kits" to the younger women as a thank-you and encouragement for them. The kits include tea bags; bath & body shower gel and hand sanitzer; a votive candle: and OF COURSE dark chocolate! As the commenter observed "they are reaching out... to say 'hey I've been there... let me help".

In what ways does your church reach out to mothers of young children to encourage, support and feed them spiritually?

(Cross-posted at Presbyterian Bloggers)

5 comments:

Elaine said...

My church has a Wednesday morning women's study class that has been using a lot of small group formats lately. Now, this does limit it to Moms who don't work outside the home (or at least not on Wednesday morning), but there is always free child care and the younger women are sprinkled amongst the older in groups.

This pretty clearly provides a chance for these women to get out of the house, turn the kids over to professional childcare, socialize with other women and do some type of Christian ed. type study.

Does this count as spiritual direction? Well, as someone who is in formal spiritual direction with a director who went through a 4-year certification process -- no, not in my book. Is it worth doing? Absolutely.

Stushie said...

MOPS - Mothers of Preschoolers - is a terrific spiritual program for young mothers. Check it out at

http://www.mops.org

Sarahlynn said...

Our church used to do a Tuesday morning Bible Study. I attended, well, religiously for a few years until the leader needed a break and no one else was up for the job. Now I'm in a monthly PW Circle of moms.

The Bible Study wasn't explicitly for moms, but what first attracted me to it was the beautiful line in the bulletin, "Childcare will be provided." That's FREE childcare! At the time, I was a career professional turned stay-at-home-mom going a bit crazy. I had an 11-month-old baby with special developmental and health needs whom I'd rarely left. I'd been out of the house a couple of times, leaving her with her dad while I went grocery shopping, but in eleven months I hadn't even had a haircut.

The first day of Bible Study that fall I shoved my precious baby at the sitter and took off at a trot. Apparently, she cried the whole time that first week. But she got better and so did I.

We also have a Stephen Minister who visits the home (and parents) of each newborn, bearing a blanket and dinner. Those connections are so valuable.

My Sunday School class is mostly young families. We all - moms and dads - discuss both the practical and spiritual issues we confront every day. It's been a wonderful experience . . .

RobMonroe said...

GAH! Can I point something out and not become the most hated PCUSA Blogger? I promise to preface it with this: moms are wonderful. My wife is an amazing mom who has stopped noticing that I have not done any laundry all summer as things at the office have been crazy. Moms do need love and affection from every corner of the earth - from church and family, from work and friends.

Why is it that no one thinks about creating such a program for parents instead of just moms? Maybe it is just because of the parents that I associate with, but most of the dads that I know are just as involved as moms are, and I don't mean just for discipline time like in the TV shows.

When I discovered that there was NO programming for anyone in my age range much less anyone my age-ish with a child or two in tow I did what I do best: started one of my own. It has taken two different shapes over the two years it has happened, but it's an opportunity to discuss parenting and faith, and how the two mingle well together.

(Trust that this is not a rant against my church, or the institutional church. The same "norms" are true for TV, magazines and just about all advertising and activity. Just drives me a bit nuts.)

Sarahlynn said...

Rob, your point is very well taken.

I'm of two minds on this. On one hand, YES, dads are far more involved than they used to be and our programming should support that more. The needs of Stay at Home Dads are probably pretty similar to those of Stay at Home Moms, for instance.

And focusing on moms is self-perpetuating. (Assuming that moms fulfill certain roles in families encourages moms to feel like they should be doing certain things, etc.)

But Dads have special needs of their own (as do moms) and I think we would ALL be well-served by there being more dads groups around in addition to moms groups and even parents groups. I know my husband has a hard time connecting with other dads who are similarly involved in their kids lives and dealing with being torn between building a successful career and wanting to be at home with the family as much as possible.