MOPS: Focus is on mothers
MOTHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS Kara Lank, left, 3-year-old Dawson Boes, 16-month-old Tyler Lank, 1-year-old Ethan Bell, Andrea Bell, 2-year-old Cade Boes and Dawn Boes will take part in the MOPS, which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, at NorthPark Church. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Ida Brown / religion editor
Nov. 23, 2002
Realizing the unique needs of mothers with young children, a Meridian church has organized a ministry to help them be the best moms they can be, while celebrating the joys of motherhood.
Registration is currently under way at NorthPark Church for MOPS which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers.
Scheduled to begin in January, the program is open to mothers in the Meridian area with children under 6.
The MOPS Story
The first MOPS meeting took place in February 1973 in Wheat Ridge, Colo. For two hours, eight mothers talked, laughed, ate, passed a basket for childcare expenses, had a craft demonstration and ended with a short devotional. Through friendship, creative outlets and instruction, the women began to understand the MOPS concept: Mothering matters.
As the women moved around the country, they took the concept with them, and new groups formed. Growth began as word spread in churches, conventions and magazine articles. Requests for information became more frequent, and a handbook was printed.
In 1981, MOPS established a board of directors and incorporated first as MOPS Outreach, and later as MOPS Inc. In 1982, 150 women from five states gathered for the first all-day MOPS leadership seminar.
In 1988, MOPS expanded beyond U.S. borders and was renamed MOPS International Inc. As MOPS grew, so did the need for a chartering process, additional resource materials and a paid staff.
In 1989, the board hired the organization's first president, Elisa Morgan, who writes for Christian Parenting Today and is a frequent guest speaker on the syndicated television and radio programs "Focus on the Family."
MOPS reached out to moms through the MOMSense newsletter now MOMSense magazine beginning in 1993. The newsletter accompanied the existing MOMSense radio program.
In 1995, MOPS formed a partnership with a publishing company, further expanding its outreach to mothers. Also that year, MOPS established Teen MOPS groups for teen-age mothers. And in 1997, MOPS went online, followed by the creation of MOPS-to-Mom Connection in 2000 to bring additional resources directly to a mother's home.
To date, there are 2,500 MOPS groups in the United States, Canada and 13 other countries.
Meeting unique needs
Stewart said the purpose of MOPS is to nurture mothers of preschoolers by meeting their distinct needs to the glory of Jesus Christ.
While all stages of parenting are important, mothers of preschoolers have distinct needs. MOPS recognizes the years from infancy to kindergarten are foundational in a mother-child relationship.
Sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Thursdays at NorthPark. The format will include socializing, discussion, teaching, creative activities and presentations by guest speakers.
Part of the teaching time will be devoted to the curriculum "Raising Great Kids," by Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud, who have written several books on family issues.
The focus of MOPS is on the mothers. During the two-hour meetings, the children are cared for through the MOPPETS program.
All study material for the program's curriculum will be provided by the church. The program will be presented from January to May. Sessions will begin Jan. 9.