Jenn and I always spend time in her minivan after our monthly MOPS meeting, processing how the meeting went, dreaming about what we’ll do next, and challenge ourselves with the spiritual development of the mamas in our group. We call them our “van chats” which often include pep talks to each other.
It was September and we had just finished our first meeting. We were back in the van lamenting over the fact that our first meeting felt so over-programmed. We weren’t sure how this happened because all the pieces were in place: we loved the theme and the opportunity to share it with our moms, the video was one of our favorites, the crafts, welcome gifts and food were all on point. Looking back, it was a great first meeting, but we knew God was moving us to re-evaluate.
Fast forward a couple weeks as we arrive at MOMcon 2017. At the Leadership kickoff meeting, Mandy Arioto, MOPS President and CEO, shared intimate details about her first years as the CEO and how that propelled her to continue toward the goal of reaching 1 million moms. As we listened, Jenn and I both had tears in our eyes, as the Holy Spirit was moving in both of our hearts.
The goal of reaching 1 million moms was going to include a new piece called Collectives. When Mandy introduced the new Collective: Fierce Love, Jenn and I knew that was the missing piece to bringing our mamas into deeper relationship with the Lord.
We returned from Kansas City and immediately ordered the Facilitators’s Guide and Workbook. We wasted no time in getting our Collective started. Our church already had a well-established small group ministry meeting Wednesday nights which provided everything we needed: child care was already established, low-cost dinners were available to families, and there were already teams who set up and tore down. It was clear that this was the most efficient way to get it off the ground.
The study quickly gained momentum and brought new faces! There were moms showing up who had never engaged in any type of ministry at the church. Moms who had fallen off the radar were returning. Some moms who never attended our MOPS group and only engaged through our social media, showed up for the Collective. It was incredible to see the Holy Spirit move!
The biggest reward came in the fifth week, when the moms shared their story. They showed incredible courage as they bared their souls to women that many had only known for four weeks. We saw a visible shift in the room as moms let out sighs of relief and their shoulders appeared lighter as they heard: “You’re not the only one,” “You are valuable,” “You are a great mom,” and “Jesus loves you in your weakness and brokenness.”
It is bittersweet that our Collective is ending, but we are anticipating the next one. Jenn and I still have our “van chats” which at times still include pep talks. As we reflect, we are humbled by God’s hand in all of this, and we’re grateful for all the hard work and dedication of moms who serve each other. We realize that the best hood out there is motherhood.
Start your own Collective or find other ways to reach the moms in your community here.
Have you already started your M Collectives journey? We would love to hear your story! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fierce Love Collective is produced in partnership with My Quiet Cave.