Dear Henrietta: Mommy Muddled about MOPS
I don't know what to do. We have a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in town and it's causing division among us. I've gone to a few meetings myself and I definitely see the benefits it provides to mothers. However, I am not comfortable whenever they have women pastors as speakers. The woman pastor mostly talks about motherly things but she often ties it to her job as a pastor. With MOPS, they always start with a prayer and I know the woman pastor said a prayer with everyone.
Some of us think it's okay while others think it crosses fellowship lines since our church doesn't teach women pastors as being biblical. My conscience always bugs me a little bit when I go. I understand I don't have to participate in the prayer but I still feel odd. I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to do what is right.
Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
Sincerely, Mommy Muddled about MOPS
"Dearest Mommy Muddled about MOPS,
Thank you for your question! Even us Hens were a bit torn about your question and it has been a good one to discuss. I am not able to give you an answer about what is right to do as that is completely unique to your Christian freedom and conscience.
I have heard of MOPS but have not attended any group meetings and did some research on the MOPS website to learn more. I did not know that MOPS is a Christian non-profit organization until I read their facts section. If after reading their Christian statements you feel your conscience is still bothered, than by all means, respect your conscience and do not go.
According to their website, MOPS' purpose is "to connect moms all over the world to a community of women, in their own neighborhoods, who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood. MOPS groups are rallying women to be more honest, to feel more equipped and to find our identity by journeying along side one another."
Their mission statement is, "MOPS International exists to encourage equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ."
After perusing their website I can see how there can be wonderful benefits and opportunities for mothers to be a part of MOPS. I think it can be possible for one to attend MOPS without sacrificing their Christian beliefs and allow the multi-Christian environment to help strengthen their faith even more! Here's why:
1. The purpose of MOPS is to encourage all women in their roles of motherhood (we need it!) and their purpose is not for moms of different Christian faiths (or those of no faith at all) to worship together. You are in no way obligated to pray along with the leaders or other women and should not pray if it is on your conscience or against your Christian practice of fellowship.
2. When you read a Christian book, blog post, or hear a pod-cast that is from a different Christian fellowship as you, can you be encouraged and advised? Absolutely! Should we use discernment and test their teaching? Yes! I would encourage you to attend the meetings with some faith like-minded mommas and find a time afterwards to discuss the content and how it ties or does not from the Bible. Start with the negatives and end with the positive. Create a way to grow closer together to your Christian sisters by diving into God's Word together like the Bereans and avoid any debates. If you have any further questions about the content or scriptural authenticity please ask your Pastor for his input.
3. Attending MOPS is a great way to meet not only other moms in your community but to let Jesus shine through you! Make friendships with women who are of different Christian denominations. We are not called to a world where we seclude ourselves from others who may live or preach God's Word differently from us but rather to be the light in the darkness leading them to the truth in love.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Be bright - not absent!
If you are looking for other ways to have time with moms in your community outside of MOPS perhaps consider starting your own group!
- A Meetup for moms and their little ones. Moms that live or are moving to the area can easily find your group by searching online. The group can be as specific (adoptive, Christian, homeschooling, working mothers), non-specific, organized, or flexible as you like. You can meet at a playground once a week, local library story times, a restaurant that has an indoor playground (great for winter time!), or even the children's museum or zoo trips depending on how brave you all are!
- You can also create something similar to Meetup by creating a private Facebook page. In that case you invite your personal friends who can then invite friends of their own.
- MOMS Club is very similar to MOPS but is not affiliated with any religious organization. I have been a part of MOMS Club before and we really enjoyed it.
- Time Out For Moms. Time Out For Moms is a women's ministry that serves young mothers by experienced mothers of like-minded faith. There is a video on their Facebook page that can give you more insight to their ministry. Click here to watch. If you would like more information you can send a message to Marilyn (one of our mentors!) of Time Out For Moms on their Facebook page.
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