I have just returned home from MOMcon 2015 (the annual convention of MOPS International) held this year in Indianapolis, USA. Erma Mayes (MOPS Field Staff Manager) and I were just two leaders in this gathering of 2,800 MOPS women from America and around the world. MOMcon2015 promised to provide opportunities for these women to connect and grow, laugh, rest, learn and be mentored. It delivered on those promises, except maybe we didn’t rest so much.
There were over 20 workshops, and the Keynote Speakers were Sherry Surratt, Jen Hatmaker, Bob Goff, Margaret Feinberg and Amena Brown.
For me the top six take-home messages were:
1. Christians love. Full stop.
Jesus said the command to “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) was second only to the command to love God. Loving others, regardless of the outcomes, is a Christian’s purpose. Loving our MOPS mums should not be based primarily on a hidden agenda to convert them. Love is what we are called to. MOPS groups are a wonderful opportunity to love mums with young children, to show them care, friendship, understanding and support.
“We don’t love our neighbours simply to convert them; we love them because we are converted”. Dave Runyon in “The Art of Neighboring”.
2. Groups are effective.
In small groups, people are more likely to make friendships, more likely to open up in conversation and more likely to share their deepest feelings. Groups are an effective strategy for reaching lost people. Churches are wise to develop groups where people will feel welcome. MOPS is a group strategy.
Christians should relentlessly welcome outsiders to their groups.
3. Evangelism is for the benefit of the church as much as the person.
Traditionally when we approach evangelism we think of the benefit to the sinner who is saved. If they are disinterested we can easily give up. We can think, ‘Well, that is their loss!” But it is also a loss to the body of Christ. We need to start seeing others as the missing pieces of the body of Christ that they are. Paul reminded the Corinthians that ‘the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”’ All members of Christ’s Body have value and purpose. In MOPS, when we reach our mums with God’s love, we are not just doing our mums a favour – for they will bring benefit to us and provide in the Body of Christ what is currently lacking. We want to serve them – and that is good – but we should also see in them the potential to serve us, and to serve with us.
This. No matter what is going on in your life, remain suspicious that God is always up to something good!
5. Your pastor can be your biggest cheerleader.
This one is for MOPS Coordinators. Keep your pastor informed and up to date about your MOPS group, especially the good things. Email him after each meeting to let him know about any new mums, about encouraging conversations, and about leaders stepping up and developing their gifts. Share with him your plans and programs. With your pastor informed and supportive, your MOPS group will have a powerful advocate as you seek support and leadership from others in your congregation.
6. Expect the impossible!
As well as attending MOMcon2015, we had opportunity to meet for Global Ministry training with inspirational leaders from 13 countries. It was inspiring to hear of leaders deciding to ‘think big’ and then seeing God bring their plans to fruition.
(Pictured above: Erma Mayes, Field Staff Manager, with leaders from Brazil.)