Moms Want to Serve
By Maureen Diffley, Captain
At a recent women’s ministries leadership event, Faye Morgan shared about a MOM2MOM group that she leads at her Baptist church in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Its focus is helping moms engage in a variety of Christian service together. Finding time to serve others is hard for all moms. Single or married, working at home without compensation or working for pay, being a parent is a 24/7 gig, but serving outside your immediate family circle is still important for Christians.
Writer Deb Douglas took a hard look at what would help moms keep up with their family responsibilities and still engage in other service opportunities. We’ve reviewed and updated some of her suggestions. In fact, by following these guidelines, you may easily enable moms – and fellow folks with servant hearts, to participate in regular service. Some tips:
“MAKE SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES DOABLE”
- Provide childcare. (This is also a volunteer opportunity.)
- For all projects, have an accurate timeline and share it in advance.
- When planning a weekday service opportunity, bear in mind school hours. By what time will parents who pick up their children (or meet them at the bus stop) have to leave?
- Be clear about what will be involved (how to dress, how much physical exertion and mobility is required, etc.)
“KEEP SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES MANAGEABLE”
- When people lead, they are more invested and more eager to invite others to join in the service opportunities.
- There are capable leaders in your midst, share the chance to lead.
- If your service project is happening off-site, make sure you have visited in advance and coordinated well. Be prepared to be flexible!
OFFER WAYS TO HELP THAT DO NOT REQUIRE PARTICIPANTS TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY
- If you are packing hygiene bags, but expecting the women to bring all the stuff – then women with limited income may not come to pack. Separate the collection service from the packing service, so all can give as they are able. For some it will be money and goods, for some it will be time, for some it will be all of the above. Not everybody has a lot of money, but everyone has resources to share.
“MAKE IT RELATIONAL”
- Have fun!
- Encourage carpooling and conversation.
- Have some coffee or beverages available for post-service interaction, when feasible.
- Reinforce the value of the specific activity for the mission and of serving together. Help participants to be intentional about what you’re doing by including an explanation of the purpose of the activity and the larger mission and praying before you start. Following the activity, provide an opportunity for a prayer of thanksgiving and reflection. These precious minutes of expressing meaning are important.
Just a Few Ideas…
Consider your local community, where are the opportunities? Where can you show up and be neighbor? How does your corps directly impact the neighborhood – what are some projects to do in the building or on the grounds? What ideas do your volunteers have? What events could someone from your corps organize for you? Who should be on the team that organizes this endeavor?
- Organize a food pantry closet.
- Paint a room at a senior center or in the corps.
- Pack kits: gender-specific gifts for prisoners, commercially sexually exploited persons, homebound, etc., hygiene supplies with socks for people experiencing homelessness, cleaning supplies/useful household items for refugees, graduates of homeless shelters, etc., new baby items for parents getting support through pregnancy crisis center or other agency….
- Serve a meal at a soup kitchen.
- After identifying homes in need and willing to receive help, send folks willing to clean, mow lawns, garden, do a bit of repair work, etc.
- Beautify a public space: clean up, fix, add something of value.
- Deliver plants or flowers to neighbors and be available for conversation and prayer.
- Volunteer at a local community garden.
- Stuff envelopes, put on labels, inflate balloons, etc. for a local fundraiser or charity event with great values.
*Wording in quotes comes from Dr. Deb Douglas’ article on www.lifeway.com
Got a story about a mom in service? Tell us at email@example.com