Purpose Statement

MOPS Purpose Statement: MOPS International exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Mom (Mum) I Want to Be - Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future

This looks like a useful book:

"Your experience as a mother and a woman is influenced by the mothering you received. If inconsistency or neglect was part of that - or if you realize you're missing something important in your skills as a mom - you need a healthier vision of how wonderful motherhood can be. From her own experience, Suzie Eller provides you a godly, nurturing model. As she walks beside you, she shows you... - How to move beyond the fear that you'll pass on damaging patterns to your children. - Ways to forgive, let go, and leave your parenting baggage in the past. - How to give your kids the gift of good memories and a great future. The past leaves its mark, but so do the hope, forgiveness, and courage to change that God gives. You can celebrate His healing power.. and all that can and will be done in your life as you become the mom you want to be."
Click here for more information http://shopp31.com/themomiwanttobe.aspx

Monday, July 27, 2009


In a previous MOPS back when doing the HOME FACTOR topic (I think last year), I spoke on writing family history.

Here is some new info about a series of workshops teaching you to write personal history for those interested in learning more.

I recently saw a brochure advertising some workshops (5 week course, 2 hours a week) on writing personal/social histories called "My Story" by Elizabeth (Libby) Urbahn.

Her contact details (all from the brochure) are Ph 5476 7138 or 0415 087 876 and email is libbyandpete@bigpond.com and website is www.elizabethurbahn.com.

Starts MON AUG 3, 2009 from 10.30-12.30. Contact Libby for more information.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Session Summary - July 24th, 2009 - Marriage and Conflict Resolution

Shirley and David C spoke to us about Marriage and Conflict Resolution

"The Relationship Adventure"

GUEST SPEAKER: David and Shirley C came to speak to us today on the topic of Marriage & Conflict Resolution.

CRAFT: Funky fridge magnets

M/TEA: Romance, foods of love, foods you love.

Here are some notes from this mornings session:

Intro to Guest Speakers:
David and Shirley have been married for 37 years and have 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls) aged from 21-32 years. Four of their adult children are married so they also have 4 son/daughter in law and they are enjoying being grandparents to their 6 grandchildren.They are originally from New Zealand and were involved in the church in NZ for 15 years as Pastors with a major focus on family and marriages. Since coming to Australia, David has worked as a Prison Officer and a Community Corrections Officer and Shirley as an early childhood educator and Teacher. They now work in their own business of property development and Investor Finance (which they have generously taken time out of to speak to us today). David and Shirley are involved in marriage mentoring and pre-marriage courses through their current church (Kings) and are currently facilitating an 8-week marriage course at Kings and love using any opportunity to encourage people in this area. Today they are going to talk to us about Conflict Resolution and how we can listen and negotiate and bring intimacy and growth to a relationship.

They began by asking us to respond to the question - "What do we think of when we hear the word CONFLICT?". Some of the responses included:
  • disagreement
  • opinions
  • points of view
  • arguments
  • shouting
  • fighting
Then "what do we think of when we hear the term -Resolution"?. Some of the answers included:

  • putting self in others shoes
  • Compromise
  • Agreement
  • Agreeing to differ
  • Communication
  • Letting go
  • Peace
Some of their points from then on included:
  • D and S made it v clear that they are not speaking as "experts" today but as a married couple on the journey still learning how to "be married" after all these years, sharing some stuff they have learned along the way
  • This conflict info good for ALL relationships not just marriage but with family and friends also
  • Conflict is inevitable as you have two different people with two different personalities and backgrounds/upbringing being merged together
  • Conflict comes out of differences
  • Those couples that say "we have been married for x years and have never had an argument" generally raise alarm bells as someone is not getting their needs met and eventually will explode/implode
  • Gave the examples of D's upbringing having no fights, lots of going with the flow and giving in or "people pleasing" vs S's upbringing which involved a mum who often "gave in" and a Dad who was very verbal and dominant (what he said went). D's family could have a discussion that would end friendly whereas S's family would have a discussion that would almost always end in arguments or her Dad "laying down the law" (his opinion was the only one that mattered).
  • How we react in conflict is largely influenced by our Family of Origin (the family you grew up in). Unless you learn other ways and consciously try other behaviours/reactions/responses under stress/when in conflict will typically revert back to family styles of handling conflict
  • Talked about 2 personality styles/types of handling conflict. The RHINOS who charge at things, attack etc, very bold and forthright and the HEDGEHOGS who withdraw and curl up into a ball and avoid conflict but often simmer away inside and get prickly and resentful and often unleash all this sometime after.Conflict often not resolved or badly resolved when have extremes of these types "butting heads"
  • You CAN re-Learn how to communicate in helpful rather than hurtful ways
  • Many years ago when had several young children D and S did a marriage course that really opened their eyes to the concept of "creative conflict". S in particular found this intriguing as her concern had always been conflict = divorce so don't rock the boat and always say sorry to smooth things over (when perhaps really not sorry but wanting to keep the peace and maintain the idea of a harmonious r'ship...at least on the surface)
  • In a marriage will always have differing opinions and that is ok it is how you handle these differences
  • spoke about the idea of "trench warfare" where couples can get this mentality and dig in to a negative pattern (such as stand offs, not communicating etc) for a long time - not healthy
  • Talked about NEGOTIATION vs attack, surrender or bargaining
  • Some steps to effective negotiation. 1) Very important to find the RIGHT time to discuss it. Not when tired, on the way out the door, when the kids are around etc. And learning to sometimes "keep your mouth shut" until it is the right time.Important to "flag" it as a topic that needs to be discussed (name the topic you want to talk about) but rescheduling it to a better time. 2) Know what the issue actually is that you want to resolve and be specific. Spell it out (without attacking and blaming). Use I statements and don't let the topic get lost in an outpouring of emotion. 3) Be a good listener and "reflect back" what you have heard the other person saying. Check that you have really heard the message, what was the main gist of what your partner said (it doesn't have to be word for word, just the main message and the underlying feelings eg " so if I have heard correctly, what you are saying is you feel upset that I didn't call to tell you I was running late is that right?". 4) Spend some time discussing the issue calmly, each taking responsibility for own part and each contributing to the discussion. 5) Work out best possible solution 6) Put the solution into practice with a time frame to reevaluate the solution to see if it is working or needs some tweaking.
They demonstrated these 6 steps with a role play of a discussion about in-laws coming to stay, going through these steps above and reaching a solution that they intend to put into practice and evaluate.

Shirley and David role playing a problem solving discussion
about family coming to stay

They then shared 3 ways to work through issues/Problem Solve (each with pros and cons) and stressed the importance of not getting stuck in a pattern on only using one of these methods but to mix it up and rely on all three strategies.

3 Ways to Negotiate: The Three C's:
  • Compromise - giving in
  • Capitulation - taking turns, alternating positions
  • Co-exist - agree to differ or disagree and go your separate ways
They demonstrated these the 3 C's with a little role play about a couple wanting to go to the movies and Husband wants to see Action movie and Wife wants to see Chick Flick

  • Compromise would be saying: "How about we give the movies a miss as we cant agree on it and go out for dinner instead". Works well at times and can get past an impasse however wouldn't want to always use this as if always compromising then legitimate needs may not be getting met and resentment may build up over time.
  • Capitulation would be conceding or deferring to the others choice - "ok lets see the Action movie this time and the Chick Flick next time. The caution here would be if there is a more dominant partner than the less dominant member of the couple may not get their fair share of choices or "turns" in a r'ship and their may end up and imbalance and again resentment etc builds up
  • Co-exist would be he goes to the Action film and she goes to the chick flick and they are both happy and maybe meet up after for coffee. The downside here is if always chose this option wouldn't have shared memories and intimacy and may end up prefering to live separate lives and go separate ways.
  • The key is to use a blend of these strategies rather than over-rely on one over the others.
  • D made the point that "men can be quite emotionally stunted in terms of social and emotional development and that "feelings words" can be quite foreign to them and they may take a lot of time to process stuff. Men are also a lot about "competition" and don't like not being able to be on par or compete or hold their end up in this arena - don't like feeling incompetent at something
  • Q from the audience re whether letters or emails (written word) an ok way to communicate as tends to take out the heat and the strong feelings and crystallise what the main issue/problem is. D's response was yes can be a really good way as long as the letter is not an "attack". Can be a little weird at first perhaps so you may want to explain your rationale for putting into writing and state 1) could you read and 2) can we talk about it later and still a good idea to actually discuss face to face to solve the problem. IN D's words "don't use it as a stick to hit him with - should never be a blame letter or an attack"
  • Be aware of the concept of "noise" or interference when communicating - the things that get in the way of hearing and listening - can be actual noise in the envt or feelings or interruptions or history etc
  • When discussing an issue it is impt to allow both parties to have turns and contribute
  • Be aware than women can often articulate and process verbal stuff v quickly whereas men tend to think "I have to fix this" and "dump" the solution onto the women when the woman is wanting to offload and just want him to listen not solve the issue. As men feel this sense of responsibility about things and want to fix it you may to say out loud and directly "I would like to talk and need you to listen I don't want or expect a solution right now just want to offload is that ok"
  • Try and have regular "marriage time" - not necessarily a date (although regular dates important) but time where you do not talk about kids or work but focus on yourselves as a couple, uninterrupted quality time. Important not to use this time to "ambush" one another or it easily become aversive and both parties will be reluctant to take part. Ensure you have a way of flagging what issues need to be talked about
  • Audience member raised the idea of "deposits and withdrawals" ie if you have invested enough time and love and positives into a marriage the slights and arguments wont be as impacting or damaging as the Love Bank is full.
  • Q from audience about how to keep the detail and emotion out of a problem solving discussion - response from S and D was to realise if stayed with the emotion you would never solve it, and that men can tune out so it is counter to what you actually want. Takes practice. Comment from audience was that regular "marriage time" where you feel you can talk and air issues (calmly and briefly) and "be heard" may diffuse some of the feelings stuff so can be specific and brief and solution oriented. Also sometimes flagging out loud to your partner that you really need to just talk and be listened too. Also just committing to not doing what is known as "kitchen sinking" - try to stick to the one topic at a time and not bring in everything but the kitchen sink into your discussion or you will not resolve anything. Perhaps a problem solving discussion about wanting more time to talk about stuff and get things off your chest. Perhaps practicing and adhering to "I" statements and Feelings talk where one partner says what they are thinking and feeling about something and the other just reflects back and checks they have heard will make you feel more listened to. Also try to have good friends that you can offload too (female friends can "get" the feelings and listen better sometimes)
  • D & S talked about some areas that one member of a couple should NOT compromise on and summed these up as areas where there is a strong legitimate need - things such as the areas of spirituality, safety, sexuality and anything to do with self esteem for example. Important to stand your ground and try and explain (calmly, in a non aggressive way but sometimes needs to be repeatedly) to your partner why this is a "non-negotiable" and the impact it has on you/the family/the marriage etc. Most men when realise it negatively impacts feelings or health and well-being of their wife/marriage/family are open to change. If you hit an impasse you may want to consider counselling/mediation/mentoring etc
  • If having conflict that you can't resolve despite best efforts with these techniques then consider seeking counselling/mentoring/mediation'
  • Kings Church currently running The Marriage Course. See here for more info. The Marriage Course originated from Nicky and Sila Lee from Holy Trinity Brompton (London). Sessions cover topics such as Communication, Forgiveness, Parents and In Laws, Sex, Love in Action etc. Current course at Kings is part way through but they may repeat later in the year or next year. Contact Kings and ask for more info. Kings website here.
Some notes from Michele re looking for counselling:

  • When looking for counseling etc be mindful of the persons qualifications and treatment methods, philosophy, beliefs etc. Look for someone who is trained in acceptable, well researched treatment methods that are known to work (it's ok to ask Qs about the persons experience and qualifications and what methods they use and what treatment philosophies they have, where were they trained, what type of counselling do they do etc. You may also like to ask what is the evidence base for this technique/strategy etc, how do you know this will work? Is this "best-practice", "treatment-of-choice" etc. )
  • While no professional will share all your beliefs and you can often benefit from a different viewpoint, being challenged or confronted about something etc you would probably want to avoid someone with completely contradictory beliefs. For example you may opt to not go to an alternative new age type practitioner whose practice is based on new age interventions if you do not share these beliefs/it contradicts with your beliefs/lifestyle etc. It is always best to seek a practitioner who is not only experienced but has recognised qualifications and preferably eligibility for membership of professional bodies as this will give you extra confidence in their skills and training etc.
  • Look up P for Psychologist or C for Counsellor in the Yellow Pages. Look for someone who is a member professional body of the industry eg member of or eligible for membership of the Australian Psychology Society (APS) (psychs) or affiliated with the QCA (Queensland Counsellors Association) or Australian Counselling Association (ACA) for counsellors. This gives you added reassurance of their qualifications and extra protection in terms of insurance and a code of ethics and complaints process etc
  • Be aware that while "psychologist" is a protected term and no one can call themselves that term or practice as one unless have specific appropriate qualifications from a recognised tertiary institution, anyone can call themselves a counsellor, therapist, psychotherapist etc even if they have no training what so ever (AT THE MOMENT - there are moves thankfully to bring more stringent controls into this field in the near future). Therefore, it is a really good idea to always check their qualifications and ask to see proof of their professional membership registration, license, qualifications etc (most would have on display in their rooms, on their card or website etc.)
  • The role of a psychiatrist and a psychologist often overlap and can be confusing. Simplest way to think about it is that a psychiatrist is first and foremost a medico. They have done a medical degree and then specialised and completed further training in psychiatry. Psychiatrists follow a medical model and largely seeing causal factors as chemical/medical/biological in nature (simplifying things here) and are able to prescribe medicine so will often treat patients with medication along with other strategies/techniques. A psychologist may know a lot about mental illness and what medications are used to treat and the mechanics of how they work etc but would NOT be able to prescribe or advise on these medications.

You may like to try:

Shirley Cornish

Relationships Australia


Look up P for Psychologist in the Yellow Pages (look for APS membership)

Go to the APS website and click on "Find a Psychologist"

Look up C for Counselling in the Yellow Pages


We then did an exercise based on a devotion from The Proverbs 31 Ministry called "The Wedding Ring" (Click here to see full copy) where the author talked about how neglecting her wedding ring was symbolic of neglecting her marriage.

Just like my diamond needed to be restored after neglect, so did my marriage. I can't become complacent or despondent about this most important relationship. I have t strip off the buildup of stress and busyness, scrub away any resentment or distance. When I do that, God has shown me that He will restore my marriage to its original brilliance and sparkle, reminding us both why we said "I do" all those years ago.

Based on this idea, we all had the opportunity to clean our rings with jewelry cleaner (* the cleanest mine has been in a long while).

Some excellent books and websites related to Marriage that you may like to chase up are:

10 Lessons to Transform You Marriage - John Gottman
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail - John Gottman
The Relationship Cure - John Gottman
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work - John Gottman
Making Marriages Work (DVD) - John Gottman
Fighting for Your Marriage - Howard Markman
12 Hours to a Great Marriage - Howard Markman
How One of You Can Bring Two of You Together - Susan Page
Now That I'm Married Why Isn't Everything Perfect - Susan Page
Sacred Marriage - Gary Thomas
The Love Dare - Stephen Kendrick
Children Change a Marriage: What Every Couple Needs to Know - Elisa Morgan & Carol Kuykendall
Date Night in the Minivan: Revving Up Your Marriage Once the Kids Arrive - Lorilee Craker
1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married - Monica Leahy
The 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman
Love is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstandings, Resolve Conflict and Solve Relationship Problems Through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - Aaron T Beck
The Making of Love - Steve and Sharon Biddulph
The Transition to Parenthood - Jay Belsky & John Kelly
Living and Loving Together - Dr Bob Montgomery & Lynette Evans
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families - Stephen R. Covey
Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul - John Eldredge
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Womans Soul - John and Stasi Eldredge
Why Can't You Read My Mind: Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns That Get in the Way of a Loving Relationship - Jeffrey Bernstein 
Love is a Decision - Gary Smalley and John Trent
The DNA of Relationships - Gary Smalley
Married for Better Not Worse - Gary and Joy Lundberg

MOPS Mums - do you have any books or websites or other resources regarding marriage or communication or conflict resolution that  you would recommend. Please add them in the COMMENTS section under this post. Would love to hear from you.

The APS Website. Click on FIND A PSYCHOLOGIST. Can filter by issue/topic as well as by postcode
Counselling websites
Queensland Counsellors Association
Australian Counsellors Association

Creative Activity: Funky Fridge Magnets

Example of the fridge magnets

Many of you asked for further instructions on how to make these at home or for gifts etc. Tracey (our Creative Activities Coordinator) will email me the instructions and where to source all the bits and pieces and I will post it here. Please check back!

A Marriage Prayer

By Bud Henry Bowen

Bless our marriage, oh God
As we begin our journey
Down the road of life together.
We don’t know what lies ahead,
for the road turns and bends.
But help us to make the best
of whatever comes our way.
Help us to hug each other often…
laugh a lot, talk more and argue less.
Help us to continue to enjoy each other
as we did when we first met.
Help us realise that nothing nor no one
is perfect, and to look for the good in all things
and all people - including ourselves.
Help us to respect each others likes
and dislikes, opinions and beliefs,
hopes and dreams and fears
even though we may not always
understand them.
Help us to learn from each other
and to help each other to grow,
mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Help us to realise that there is
design and purpose in our lives
as in the world, and no matter
what happens to us
we will hold on to each other
and know that things
have a way of working out for the good.
Help us to create for our children
a peaceful, stable home
of love as a foundation in which they
can build their lives.
But most of all, dear God,
help us to keep lit the torch of love
that we now share in their hearts
so that by our loving example
we may pass on the light of love
to our children,
and to their children,
and to their children’s children


By Steven Reiser
Because we have things in common
We have the joy of sharing them
Because we are so different
There is so much we can learn from each other
Because we love each other
We look for the good in the other
Because we are forgiving
We overlook the faults in each other
Because we are patient
We give each other time to understand
Because we are filled with kindness
We compliment the things we do for each other
Because we can empathise
We know what it’s like to stand in each other’s shoes
Because we have character
We enjoy each other’s uniqueness
Because we have faith
We believe in the best for the future
Because we are honest
We are comfortable to trust each other
Because we are filled with loyalty
We always know the other will be there


In the newsletter we looked at the Jewish tradition of Ketubahs. A Ketubah is a prenuptial document that details the boundaries or terms of the marriage in great detail. They are usually hung in a prominent position in the house for all to see and to remind the couple of their vows to each other. There is very traditional wording that most couples adhere too but there are also more contemporary versions that include sections that read more like promised or vows to each other.

What would your Ketubah say? 

Please add YOUR version of a Ketubah for your marriage to the COMMENTS section of this post (can be serious wording or humorous - would love to hear what you come up with).

Love verses from Corinthians
from The Message bible
Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Term Three of MOPS starts - Friday July 24th

Come and join us on Friday July 24th when we start Term 3 of  
The Adventures of Mothering.

We will have  
Shirley Caldwell 
from Kings Church speaking on
The Marriage Adventure.
This is as part of our exploration of the topic of 
Relationships/Climbing Partners
and we will continue working through the topics of  
Perspective, Help & Hope 
throughout the remainder of the year.
I think we are making some funky glass magnets for Craft
and the
Morning Tea theme is Love Hearts:
food shaped into heart shapes,
foods of love, 
foods you love etc.
Look forward to seeing you there. 
Feel free to bring a friend. 
We love meeting new MOPS mums!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ice Age Movie Fundraiser for MBC Christmas Lights

MBC is having a Christmas Lights fundraiser.

Come and see the movie, Ice Age 3 on Friday 17th July @ 7pm.

Adults $14, Child $12.

At M'dore Birch, Carol & Coyle (Sunshine Plaza).

Tickets need to be pre-purchased and can be bought from Maroochy Baptist church office any day during the week (there are eftpos facilities).

Theme Scripture

Psalm 139

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Annual MOPS Participation Fee

The annual MOPS Participation Fee of $10 assists MOPS Australia in covering the cost of training for Regional Coordinators to help other MOPS groups to develop around Australia. It also allows more MOPS group leaders around Australia to access regional training.

This will go a long way to helping MOPS Australia bring MOPS to more Mums around Australia.

When you register for MOPS each year, you will be handed an Annual Participation Fee form, and we ask that if you are able to pay this $10 participation fee, please do so before the end of April 2011.

The payment options are...
1. Direct Debit to MOPS Australia bank account
2. Credit card
3. Cheque payable to MOPS Australia
4. Cash to MOPS@MBC front desk

Thank you, from the MOPS@MBC team.

How did MOPS begin?

It was a Tuesday morning, at about 9.30. They each had faced spilled cereal, tangled hair, and a few had even been forced to change their outfits due to a last-minute baby throw-up on a shoulder or lap. They had driven, or pushed strollers, to the church and had dropped their little ones off in the creche. They had made it!

And now they sat, knees almost touching, in the circle of children's chairs from the Sunday school room. Hands held hot cups of tea and biscuits in utter freedom because this treat did not have to be shared with a child's sticky fingers. Mouths moved in eager, uninterrupted conversation. Eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. Hearts stirred with understanding. Needs were met.

That morning in 1973, was the first morning of MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers. Little was it known that from this small beginning in a church in Colorado, USA, the seeds of the MOPS concept and format had been planted. The needs of the women were met even then, through the opportunity for friendship, creative outlet and spiritual emphasis. MOPS International now charters approximately 2,500 MOPS groups in churches in the United States and 13 other countries throughout the world.

How did MOPS begin in Australia?

How did MOPS begin in Australia?

Nineteen years later and thousands of kilometres away, the same mutual need for sharing was realised by a group of mums with children under school age in Melbourne. After reading about the MOPS concept in the US, leaders introduced the program to the Clayton Church of Christ Fellowship in early 1990 and MOPS was born in Australia. From this small beginning, the seeds for future growth were planted, resulting in the formation of an affiliated body to support the ever-increasing number of Australian groups and the mums they served.

Since its formation in June 2000, MOPS Australia, Inc has grown rapidly and there are currently over 100 groups throughout Australia. In the last year alone, 35 new groups have commenced, with groups starting up regularly throughout different Christian denominations. Groups now meet in every state and territory in Australia, with an estimated ministry to approximately 2500 mums and 3000 children.

How did MOPS begin at MBC?

A Brief History of MOPS at MBC by Karen Askey-Doran (COordinator of MOPS til 2008 and currently Regional Coordinator).

In 1999, the leader of MBC’s women’s ministry caught the vision of MOPS. At that time I was a new Mum with little inclination to help; I was interested but not convicted!

Roughly a year later another meeting was held to generate interest. At this time I had another little baby girl, a 16-month-old toddler and, although I was unaware of it, Post Natal Depression. And once again people were interested but not compelled to lead.

In 2005 Holly, caught the vision of MOPS and began to sow the seeds of interest throughout the young Mums in our church. Robyn Robertson came to our first meeting and inspired us into action…the seeds Holly planted took hold!

People came slowly at first to fill the positions, it seemed there were a lot of blanks for a long time! Holly was going to be our Coordinator and when she filled out the charter she realised that a Mother of Preschoolers should really fill that role…. So she called me! Very graciously, Holly took a side step into a Mentoring role (very appropriate really).

God was moving in our midst, we had been blessed with an inspired team of 15 Mops Leaders and 9 Moppets Leaders, each one having a testimony about how God had lead them to this ministry!

I suspect that God has big plans for our group. I still feel very inadequate sometimes but I do trust God and I want to serve him and to reach out to Mums who are hurting, to support them. I want to encourage, you know, to build up… to make a difference in people’s lives, especially my children’s!

I know I’m not alone… In Romans 8:28 it says “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He planned for my girls, my twins, my battle with PND. He planned for MOPS - at this time - in our church! The door has literally been flung open!

What happens at a MOPS meeting?

When a mum enters a MOPS meeting, she is greeted by a friendly face and escorted to MOPPETS, where her children enjoy their special part of the MOPS program. In MOPPETS, children from infancy through to school age experience a caring environment while they learn, sing, play and make crafts.

Once her children are settled, the MOPS mum joins a program tailor-made to meet her needs. She can grab something to eat and not have to share it! She can finish a sentence and not have to speak in words of two syllables!

The program typically begins with a brief lesson taught by an older mum who's been through the challenging years of mothering and who can share from her experience and from the truths taught in the Bible. Then the women move into small discussion groups where there are no "wrong answers" and each mum is free to share her joys and struggles with other mums who truly understand her feelings. In these moments, long-lasting friendships are often made on the common ground of finally being understood.

From here, the women participate in a craft or other creative activity. For mums who are often frustrated by the impossibility of completing anything in their unpredictable days, this activity is deeply satisfying. It provides a sense of accomplishment and growth for many mums.

Because mums of preschoolers themselves lead MOPS, the program also offers women a chance to develop their leadership skills and other talents. It takes organisation, creativity, and management skills to run a MOPS program successfully.

By the time they finish the MOPS meeting and pick up their children, the mums feel refreshed and better able to mother. MOPS helps them recognise that mums have needs too! And when they take the time to meet those needs, they find they are more effective in meeting the needs of their families.

Meeting the needs of Mothers of Preschoolers

The MOPS program is dedicated to meeting the needs of mothers of preschoolers. These needs have been identified by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall in their book, What Every Mum Needs:

The need for Identity: Sometimes I'm not sure who I am

The need for Growth: Sometimes I long to develop who I am

The need for Relationship: Sometimes I long to be understood

The need for Help: Sometimes I need to share the load

The need for Perspective: Sometimes I lose my focus

The need for Hope: Sometimes I wonder if there's more to life

Here's How Some Mums Describe MOPS

"MOPS means that I am able to share the joys and frustrations and insecurities of being a mum. Our meetings provide the opportunity to hear someone else say, "I was up all night," or "They're driving me crazy!"

MOPS mum, Perth

"As a single mum, this is the first group I've felt accepted in for who I am."

MOPS mum, Canberra

'On my first day at MOPS, I knew my life had changed forever! The women made me feel so relaxed. I had a peace I hadn't felt for a long time. They were so caring, pleasant, helpful…the list goes on! I just want to say, "Thank you MOPS!" If it weren't for MOPS, I wouldn't be where I am today.'

MOPS mum, Melbourne

'When I first started MOPS, I was very, very lonely. MOPS gave me a chance to get out of the house which I was grateful for. The talks were very informative. I found out a lot through these talks. My problems seemed to become smaller. When I first started at MOPS, I thought I was a Christian. I wasn't. Through MOPS I can now say, 'I am a Christian.' MOPS to me is not only Mothers of Pre Schoolers, but My Own Private Salvation!'

MOPS mum, Canberra