The hours are stacked up to support that statement. In a post entitled 1/168: Children’s Ministry Hours per Week, Terry Delaney writes that parents have 167 hours to influence their children. We, as individuals serving God in Children’s Ministry, have 1. One short hour.
In one of his recent posts, Ministry to Children contributor Charlie Wallace stated his philosophy as a children’s pastor. In his words, it is, “To partner with parents in ensuring that they are doing their God-ordained job of discipling their children in the home.”
I really love the 1/167 statistic, as well as the quote about parent partnership. As servants in Children’s Ministry, one of our primary responsibilities should be to assist parents in their God-given role.
This partnership will look different for every parent in our midst, but it may include: providing parents with helpful books or DVDS, encouraging them through prayer and intentional relationship building, and/or directing them towards counseling services, financial planning assistance, or child development resources.
For me, one of the most helpful resources as a new parent has been MOPS International. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and is an organization that serves to meet the needs of moms from every walk of life. Through community, MOPS groups all around the world exist 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.”
I cannot tell you how much my MOPS group has meant to me. The women there have supported our family through every season of our lives: the joys of a newborn baby, the challenges of a toddler’s need for independence, the heartache of losing a child, the pride of an achievement reached or a goal attained.
I have learned much about taking care of a home, disciplining our children, loving my husband, and taking time for me. I have developed close friendships with those who are devoted Christ followers and those who are still seeking to find that Savior we call Jesus. I have grown immeasurably in my faith with God. I am a better person because of MOPS International and I am a better mom.
The 167 hours in my week are better utilized now, in part thanks to MOPS. Since I am my children’s primary teacher, I want to be the best teacher that I know how to be. I want to make disciples of all nations, but I want to begin with those who call me Mom.
MOPS International is just one of many parenting resources that you can direct a young mom towards. Many groups are just beginning now, so there is still plenty of time to get moms plugged in. If your church does not currently have a group, find a good local church that does. Encourage the mom to go there. You may even want to consider starting your own group for the following year. It would take an incredible amount of planning, organization, and effort, but the dividends would be well worth the investment made.
What other resources have you found particularly helpful for young parents?