I do not like change. Unless, of course, it is something I initiate. For the most part, I am most comfortable when a certain ministry in which I am actively involved (MOPS, Bible study, small group) continues on year after year just the same. Well, maybe a few tweaks here and there, but essentially the same. One of my favorite ministry activities is getting blown up this fall. It feels very weird not to have it the same. But, it is the right thing to do. It was time to blow things up!
Operation Kaboom! That is what Heather Zempel calls it in her book, Community Is Messy. In fact, she calls it “Divine Demolition.” When we are truly open to the Lord’s leading, we must be willing to let go of our cherished way of doing things if they are not successfully bringing new people to Jesus and growing young believers into maturity. A few tweaks just won’t fix it. Time to “kaboom!”
For 7 years, I have been a mentor mom for Mothers of Preschoolers (a.k.a. MOPS). A wonderful part of my life. I look forward to every new group of moms to love and serve. Then, “kaboom” happened. The host church decided in the spring that they would not continue hosting this MOPS group (that had been around for 12 years!) but would host its own mothering group with a more spiritual emphasis.
MOPS is designed to be an outreach ministry, bringing in moms from the community including those who don’t know Jesus yet. What a great idea! At first, this particular MOPS group attracted lots of unchurched women. And, a few got to know Jesus and grow as believers. Then, it became more of a community for moms from area churches—still providing fellowship and occasional helpful hints through quality speakers—but not attracting unchurched women and moving them towards a relationship with Jesus. The leadership recognized that women could spend 8 years in MOPS and never move forward spiritually. Reflecting on my 7 years, I can count on 1 hand the number of women I knew who became Christians because of MOPS. It was time to “kaboom” it and create something new and more effective.
Of course, those of us who love MOPS immediately balked. It got really messy. Then, as we honestly looked at how little influence we were having on unchurched women in our affluent community, we agreed to the “kaboom”—though hesitantly. It was time to create something new that met the needs of moms of young children yet also would give them spiritual principles on which to base their mothering. Christianity is Christ. It’s not just being comfortable in our groups. What hope do any moms have without Christ for themselves and their children? Now, excitement is building among us leaders about what God may do through this MOPS-replacement ministry starting in September with its new name—“Moms Together.”
I am reminded once again that our role in the here and now is to “make disciples.” A disciple is someone who follows Jesus. They can’t follow Jesus if they don’t know Him. Making disciples starts with introducing people to Jesus who don’t know Him yet. How many of our women’s ministries focus on that?
Christian women spend a lot of time with each other. We love Bible study groups. That’s where disciples grow. But, who is preparing each one of us to reach the women around us who don’t know Christ. Where is the weekly training and practice for that? Unless we intentionally reach the women next door to us and share the love of Jesus with them, we will not be fulfilling our purpose. Honestly, other traditional women’s ministry activities I have enjoyed through the years might also need to be “kaboomed” to make room for disciple-making. Ouch. Even good change still hurts.
[If you are interested in learning more about the process of disciple-making, consider attending the “Disciple-Making Pathway” training in the DFW area on September 7.]