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A MOPS International HANDBOOK
© Copyright 2014, MOPS International, Inc.
All leadership materials are protected by copyright.
This handbook is the property of MOPS International, Inc.
MOPS International, Inc. n 2370 South Trenton Way n Denver CO 80231-3822 n 303.733.5353 n MOPS.org
MOPS.org weblinks are current at time of publication, but may change due to website updates. If you cannot locate a specific weblink, you may use the website search tool to find articles and resources.
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MOPS Mission StatementMOPS International encourages and equips moms of young children to realize their potential as mothers, women and leaders, in relationship with Jesus, and in partnership with the local church.
Elements of the MOPS ExperienceOur vision is that every mom is so impacted by her MOPS experience that she carries it with her for life, making her a better mom who creates a better world. As a leader of a local MOPS group, the MOPS experience begins with you.
n Hospitality.We want every woman who steps through the door at MOPS to feel at home. That’s why we think food, coffee and hugs are always a good idea. Atmosphere and words make all the difference in providing a safe space where every mom feels more like herself when she enters.
Action: Consider how it would be to walk in someone else’s shoes. As a leader, be authentic, adaptable and humble. Be aware of the needs of moms in your group and community. Help each mom build at least three strong relationships within the group. Get moms involved in serving and leading. Follow up with moms who miss a meeting.
n Welcoming to all women.We’ve all been placed in this time and space in history as a tribe of women who are raising the world together. And the beauty of it is that we don’t all have to agree with one another, but everyone is in and we all need each other. Every mom is embraced at MOPS.
Action: Do the faces in your MOPS group look like the faces in your community? Reach out to women who may have different life experiences than you. Engage in conversations and invite moms who may be experiencing different life situations than you.
n Leadership development.Moms have the ability to do big things. MOPS wants to help every woman gain the confidence to use their voice to change the world. That’s why we challenge women to lead.
Action: Plan speakers to equip moms to grow as women, mothers and leaders. Share stories of how moms influence other moms. Are the moms leaving your MOPS group different than when they came?
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n Inspiring toward a faith journey.MOPS strives to talk about faith in a way that inspires every woman toward Jesus. We hope that every mom experiences who God created her to be and finds her purpose.
Action: Intentionally connect your church and MOPS group to help moms grow in faith. Create a safe environment for every mom regardless of her faith background. Be committed to authenticity and vulnerability in your own journey so that others see the true reality of following Jesus.
n Mentoring.Sometimes we need a wise woman who has been there, done that, to bounce ideas off of. That’s why we love MOPS Mentors. They provide sage advice and willing ears.
Action: Equip the Mentors in your group with resources to help them grow in their skills. Include them in leadership meetings and help them to know how to best support you.
The Purpose of HospitalityIt’s not unusual for mothers of young children to put the needs of the children before their own, at the detriment to their own self-care. The hospitality team sets the tone and offers a pleasant and sustaining environment where the felt needs of a mother are met.
The overall goal of MOPS Hospitality is to create a welcoming, safe, comfortable and inviting place where a woman can feel accepted among friends by:
n Creating a welcoming atmosphere as women arrive, making each woman feel glad she came to MOPS.
n Organizing and serving food at MOPS meetings, helping women feel nurtured, facilitating interaction and providing time to relax.
n Reaching out between MOPS meetings to women and their families, showing that MOPS genuinely cares about moms and not just about their MOPS attendance. This builds deeper relationships, providing more opportunities for sharing the truth of Jesus through relational evangelism.
Simplicity is key. Hospitality doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate to be effective. The goal is to communicate to each woman, “You are special and we care about you.”
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Hospitality Team Leader Job DescriptionPersonal Characteristics:n Demonstrates a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Because members of her team may not have committed their lives to Christ, she is in an excellent position to encourage each member to make this decision.n Reflects a warm and friendly personality and demonstrates a caring attitude toward each mother she encounters.n Displays a sense of calmness, which is reflected in a smooth, flexible, organized manner. n Gifted with a God-given ability to create a welcoming, encouraging atmosphere. She ensures MOPS is appealing and inviting to every mom. n Delegates well and enjoys having many women involved in the completion of her team’s responsibilities.
Position Responsibilities:n Focuses on the needs of women and arranges the atmosphere, including the physical space, of MOPS meetings.n Organizes the refreshments at each MOPS meeting, delegating responsibilities to team members and MOPS moms as needed. n Assures a warm welcome for every woman who comes to MOPS.n Delegates or plans and implements special events, both at MOPS meetings and outside of MOPS. n Reaches out to mothers beyond MOPS, organizing help for families and the community.n Serves on the Leadership Team and attends meetings. n Reads the MOPS Handbook and Hospitality Handbook and understands the vision of MOPS International and her relationship to the MOPS group.n Disciples her team members and encourages each woman to grow in her relationship to Christ.
Above all, love each other deeply... Offer hospitality to one another.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10
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The Hospitality TeamHospitality is an important part of the MOPS ministry and is best carried out through a team of dedicated, caring women. Being part of a team also provides an opportunity for women who enjoy reaching out to get involved and develop their talents.
The organization and responsibilities of women on your team will vary according to your needs and group size, but here are some general suggestions:
n Meet regularly: Build relationships with one another to share ideas, plan and work on projects. This will provide you with an opportunity to reach out to non-Christian women on your team, to build friendships based on common interests and to challenge each team member.
n Plan ahead: As soon as you know the MOPS International annual theme and your group’s teaching topics for the year, brainstorm together possible meeting themes and ways to execute them. The FUN, THINK, TALK, DO cards included in your Group Experience kit are designed to help with this. This will help you to prepare, organize and delegate the necessary financial work.
n Divide responsibilities: Create different teams who are responsible for specific tasks in Hospitality. Recruit greeters who will arrive at MOPS meetings early to welcome the other moms and help them get settled. Recruit women to organize refreshments and others who will mingle with new moms, helping them connect with others in the group.
n Mingle during the meeting. Encourage each team member to spend time socializing. An important part of every Hospitality Team member’s job is to make women at MOPS feel welcome, and the best way to do that is to speak to her. Hospitality Team members should not spend a meeting in the kitchen or other space removed from the main area.
n Arrange for set-up and takedown at MOPS meetings. Ask for team volunteers who can arrive early to organize tables, chairs and decorations or stay late to clean up.
Many MOPS groups divide responsibilities for refreshments by assigning
a different Discussion Group to bring food to each meeting.
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General Hospitality Guidelinesn Utilize nametags, which help provide individual identity and a feeling of group membership. Nametags can be designed to tell you more about a mom than just her name, like numbers and ages of her children and her assigned Discussion Group. Work with the Creative Activities leader to make your nametags during one of your first craft times. Don’t forget to have extras for visitors. n Use variety. If possible, change the setup of your room and/or table arrangement once in a while to provide visual variety and help the group mix.n Build community. Help women meet and get to know one another through icebreakers and games. The FUN cards available through the Group Experience Kit give an icebreaker idea for every meeting of the year! MOPS offers rest, relaxation, fellowship and fun. Laughter should be one of the first sounds heard when someone walks into a MOPS meeting!n Give away door prizes. Who doesn’t love a gift? Use door prizes as a way for moms to get to know one another. No budget for these gifts? Send your team out to local merchants to request donations. Gift cards to gas stations, nail salons, or dry cleaners can feel like just the pick-up a mom might need. Give awards for silly things like most embarrassing mom moments, new babies or first-time visitors.
If giving a gift to moms announcing new pregnancies or babies, be sensitive
to women who may be suffering through infertility or have experienced a
miscarriage and make sure to recognize new adoptions in a special way.
n Use videos, music and decor to make sure your meeting stays fresh. Draw upon the skills of a variety of people in the group.n Identify your Hospitality Team. Use special stickers on nametags or pins to help set your team apart so that others will easily know who can help them when they have a need.n Remember the MOPPETS Team. Work with the MOPPETS Team Leader to make sure there is a tray of refreshments for the MOPPETS teachers during each meeting. Coordinate thank you cards and small gifts for them as well throughout the year. They’ll appreciate your efforts and feel a bond to your group.
Has your group created a great video? Share ideas on the Idea Center at
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Welcoming the NewcomerMOPS exists to encourage every mother of preschoolers. If each woman on the Leadership Team understands that a friendly greeting is an important part of her job, and if the Hospitality Team models welcoming behavior, every woman who comes to your group will feel truly welcomed.
Here are some suggestions for welcoming new moms when they arrive:n Assign greeters to meet women as they enter the building. The greeter can give directions to MOPPETS, help a heavily-burdened woman with her load or introduce a first-time visitor to another mother.n Have a greeter walk a mom and her child/children to MOPPETS to help them get settled and then introduce her to the Discussion Group Leader she will be with for the day. The Discussion Group Leader can then introduce her to other women in the group.n Set up and information table. Display MOPS International membership benefits, books or recent creative activities or handouts from presentations and any publicity items you have created for your group.n Have temporary nametags available for new moms.n Introduce newcomers to the group. Avoid anything that could embarrass the mom or cause an awkward situation.n Be sure to get the mom’s contact information so you can invite her to upcoming MOPS meetings and events. Your Finance leader or Discussion Group Leader may collect this information but this for you, but be sure you get the information so you can send a welcome note of give her a call.n After the meeting, write a note to each newcomer. Thank her for coming and let her know the date and schedule for the next meeting.
“I was so shy when I started coming to MOPS that I never talked to anyone and never volunteered for anything. Then a friendly woman asked me to help set up the snacks
every week. I had something to do! They needed me! From there I went to coordinating
the refreshments, to being a Hospitality Team Leader. Now I’m the one approaching
shy moms to set up the cups and plates before a meeting!
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What Should Our Meeting Look Like?Creating an atmosphere at each MOPS meeting that is both inviting and fun is an important part of the Hospitality team’s task. Show a mom she is welcome and that someone took the time to prepare for her arrival. The key, as always, is to keep it simple. Manage your time well — including announcements, ice breakers and other hospitality activities, but be careful not to take more time than allowed because this takes away from teaching and discussion group time. Leave room for women to interact around the atmosphere.
Each year, MOPS International chooses an annual theme that communicates the vision and purpose of MOPS. The theme is always based on scripture and lends itself to strong visuals and applications that unite MOPS groups around the world as we use them all year long at events and in publications.
Many MOPS groups choose to use the theme in their own groups because it can unify and give direction to a variety of different activities. The theme gives you a direction while planning speaking topics, activities and language (like Discussion Group names). The theme will also help you with decorating your MOPS meeting area. You can create centerpieces, banners or visuals and use them meeting after meeting.
The best way to ensure a return visit from a first-time visitor or regular MOPS
attendee is to provide opportunities to connect with other women. MOPS
International research shows a mom is more likely to return to MOPS if she
has three or more friends there. Create an atmosphere where friendships
can begin and flourish.
Brainstorm theme ideas with other leaders on the Idea Center:
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MOPS RefreshmentsOne of the greatest tools in the hands of the Hospitality Team is food, which nurtures those who enjoy it. Consider these guidelines as you minister through food:
n Use a variety of foods. Set an example of healthy habits by varying the food types you present. Variety will help accommodate for special dietary restrictions as well.n Keep it simple. Don’t let the food become the focus of the meeting or intimidate future volunteers by creating high expectations of extravagant refreshments. Food at a MOPS meeting is there to facilitate interaction and relaxation.n Enlist help from the MOPS group. Providing meals or refreshments for others now and then builds self-esteem and the feeling of belonging among MOPS women. A few days before the meeting, remind women that they volunteered to bring food. n Enlist help from outside the MOPS group. See if members of your church would like to sponsor a MOPS meal by either preparing or covering the cost of a special meal. Local restaurants might also be willing to donate or offer a catered meal at a discount. n Consider foods that fit a theme. Providing meals or refreshments that fit a theme will help MOPS moms get into the spirit of the meeting.n Share the recipe. Ask those that make something to share the recipe with the group. Place the recipe next to the dish for moms to copy or take a picture. Share the recipe in a newsletter or Facebook group.n Food for kids too! Little ones get hungry too. Make sure MOPPETS teachers have snacks for kids. If you are an evening group, you may consider having moms and kids eat dinner together before separating for the teaching and discussion portions of the meeting.
“I can’t express how much it meant to me to sit down at my very first MOPS meeting and eat a snack by myself,
without little hands grabbing pieces from my plate.
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Reaching Out To Moms Beyond MOPS MeetingsA mom’s life doesn’t stop when she leaves the MOPS meeting. She is constantly adjusting to new issues, situations and experiences in her family life. Your Hospitality Team can make a lasting impact in the life of a MOPS mom by meeting her needs, especially during difficult times. Establish a team of women who can coordinate meals, transportation, childcare and care packages to moms who are experiencing the following life changes:n New babiesn Miscarriagesn Illness or injury (their own or a family member’s)n Moving to a new homen Unemployment or other financial hardshipn Death in the family
Helping moms in need can be a sensitive endeavor. Some women may be upset to know that others are aware of the details of her life, particularly difficult situations. Approach her with love, offering the support of your MOPS group while promising to respect her privacy if she prefers. Never share a situation with anyone outside your team unless the woman herself requests it or gives you permission to share it.
Work with your church to compile a list of resources that they recommend utilizing to meet specific needs.
“I was a ‘professional meal-recipient’ for seven months after my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. My MOPS group was awesome! They ran errands, brought
food and even did my laundry. Most important to me, a MOPS woman arranged
for childcare and took me out to lunch every few weeks so that I could get away,
and she listened as I processed through a difficult time.
I never felt that kind of love before!
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Special EventsMany MOPS groups discover that they want to spend time with each other outside of their regular meeting times and away from their children. Planning special get-togethers outside the MOPS meeting time creates more opportunities for women to get to know one another and deepen their relationships.
Here are some examples of special events that your group may consider planning:n Mom’s Night Out. Choose a restaurant, coffee shop or other gathering place in a central location and invite moms. This provides a casual, unstructured opportunity for moms to spend time together, and gives them a chance to eat a meal that they didn’t cook and don’t have to share! You don’t have to just eat. The nail salon or bowling alley would love to accommodate a group of moms out on the town.n MOPS and POPS. MOPS and POPS are events that bring together MOPS moms and dads (or single MOPS moms and their guests) for a time of fellowship and fun. MOPS and POPS events should reflect the same caring and level of comfort as the MOPS meetings. They should include food, fun and activity, along with some low-key sharing about the difference Jesus makes in lives and in families. Plan a special “date night” with a nice dinner and speaker, or a fun-filled barbeque with the whole family. Carry relationship evangelism over into the gathering. The atmosphere should be non-threatening, comfortable and friendly.n Weekend Trips. Organize a weekend away at a local retreat center, hotel or at someone’s home. Spouses and children may or may not be invited. This could be a way for families to get to know each other or could be a retreat for moms. Either way moms should feel refreshed and not drained when they return home, so include activities that will re-energize the tired mom.
If you decide to plan a MOPS and POPS event, be sensitive to the single
moms in your group. Invite single moms to bring guests, someone they’d
like to share MOPS with, and they’d like their MOPS friends to meet.
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Special MOPS MeetingsTwice a year MOPS groups design a special MOPS meeting in which they extend an invita-tion to accept Christ. Consider creating a uniquely welcoming atmosphere that enhances these opportunities.
n Holiday Meetings Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day are great times to share about Jesus. Utilize decorations and food that complement the holiday theme.
n MOPS Share Your Story Meeting The MOPS Mentor or Coordinator will invite a MOPS mom or outside speaker to share her spiritual journey and relationship with Christ. Make it a special event and use flowers, china or beautiful paper products and provide special foods.
Be sure to celebrate the positive moments of a MOPS mom’s life as well.
Designate a volunteer to send cards for birthdays, anniversaries and other
important events, like the birth or adoption of a baby.
Dear Hospitality Leader,
Thank you for investing your time, talent and passion into helping a mom find a friend, become a better mom and wife, and realize (maybe for the first time) how much God incredibly loves her. We know that better moms make a better world and you are a huge part of impacting a better world.
Here’s what I’m praying for you:
That God will use your unique leadership gifting in ways that will amaze you. We know it’s no accident that you are in leadership and we also know that God has given you special talents and gifts that maybe you aren’t even aware of yet. I’m praying that in the fun and challenge of leading your group, you’ll have opportunities to discover and be amazed at the impact you have as a leader.
That you will discover a brave new you. I’m praying for your leadership and how you will grow. Maybe this year you will face opportunities or situations that seem big (even scary) and I’m praying that you’ll grow in courage and confidence. Could God be calling you to reach out to moms you’ve never reached before? Could God be prompting you to share what he has done in your life with a mom in the group? I’m praying you will have the confidence to go for it!
That God will give you delight and joy through your leadership. Leadership isn’t just work, it can be so much fun! I’m praying that your Leadership Team will be filled with moms you can laugh and have fun with. I’m praying that the special meetings you plan are full of moments that thrill your heart. I’m praying that as you lead, you can step back and feel the pride of a job well done.
Know that you are treasured and much covered in prayer!
Sherry SurrattCEO and President, MOPS International