I get asked questions all the time. As a wife of twenty-six years, a mom of ten—seven having been adopted, a homeschooler and a writer of over 60 books people want to know how my life works. Here is one of those questions and my short answer.
I saw you at the homeschool convention in Nashville in March. I have a question. I saw the teen mom support group that you have in AR. This is something that has always been near and dear to my heart aside from the passion to write my own book! I was wondering for any tips you may have about starting one here locally. My first born is from my teen pregnancy, graduated with him in tow! I think you said you graduated like that as well! Any advice would be great!! —Brandi T.
Brandi, so glad you’re feeling called to start a Teen MOPS group. It’s an amazing ministry. I’d love to see a Teen MOPS group in every town!
Here are some ideas of what to do to get started:
*Contact MOPS International for information about a charter.
*Talk to your church or a local crisis pregnancy about starting the group. Pick a meeting space.
*Set a schedule and write out your mission and goals.
*Talk to folks about volunteering. To get the word out I posted announcements in bulletins, talked on local Christian radio, and spoke at local groups. Local MOPS groups also give awesome help and support! I’ve gotten some great volunteers from these groups.
*Get funding. Local churches can help. Small groups or other community groups can help too. (I run our group on less than $100 a month. We get people to donate food, donate childcare, donate doorprizes, etc. I also get folks to buy and donate copies of Life Interrupted to our group.)
*Make a brochure and send it out. I send it to hospitals, doctors, social service agencies, schools, churches, etc.
*Plan the meetings. Teen MOPS groups usually run on a school year schedule from September–May. (You can see a little more below how we run our Teen MOPS group.)
*Advertise. Put up posters. Send press releases about your group to newspapers and community calendars.
*Pray. (Actually pray with each step!)
*Be patient. When Teen MOPS starts it may take a while to grow a group. We often start with two-to-five girls each meeting.
*Love on the girls. You can plan and plan but your love is what will keep them coming back!
Teen MOPS groups are run similarly to MOPS groups. There is food, a game, a short devotion, a speaker or activity, and discussion groups. Groups can meeting weekly or bi-weekly. Our group here in Little Rock runs weekly. We do this because it was hard for young moms to remember which week as “on” and which was “off.” Our meetings start at 6:30 with dinner. The meeting itself starts at 7:00 and ends at 8:30. We have leaders’ meetings every other month—Teen MOPS is run by volunteer leaders. They can be women with young kids or older kids. We’ve had volunteers that don’t have kids yet. Volunteers can be retired women or women in college. We even have high schoolers who help with child care and other needs we have. At our meetings we provide a dinner for our moms. We provide childcare and we have a “baby store.” Young moms earn MOPS dollars for coming, bringing a friend, going to doctor visits, etc. Every meeting they can take home diapers or clothes.
Want more resources? You can check out my book Teen Mom: You’re Stronger Than You Think—there is also a leader handbook as well as a free companion workbook and group guide! You can also get more information on the MOPS website.