Monday, August 1, 2016

The Easiest Moms' Group You'll Ever Lead

Our vocation of motherhood is a busy one. You want to socialize with other moms, but you barely have five minutes a day to give away to pursuits outside of your home. When you get those moms together for your first gathering, here are a few things that have worked for the groups I have led that require minimal effort and preparation.

When I was a new mother, the moms' group I joined at that time, would encourage the mothers in the group to take turns bringing various articles or excerpts from books to share with the group. Each mom could sign up to lead one of the gatherings, and she would make copies of the articles/excerpts she wanted to share, usually writing 3-5 discussion questions to go along with the material. At meetings, we read out loud, just going around in the circle, each reading a paragraph or a few. Then we discussed the questions. It was fairly simple, and the leader wasn't responsible for coming up with new material each week. I also felt it was a wonderful opportunity to explore a variety of topics, because each mom wanted to share something near and dear to her heart, often material I would not have read on my own and sometimes ideas with which I disagreed but still found fascinating to hear.

Another option that requires even less preparation is to simply reflect on the Sunday Gospel(s) for the upcoming week(s). The above group was founded with this practice and thrived on it. Everyone would bring a Bible, and the leader would look up the passages to be discussed. They read the Scripture aloud and paused to discuss in between each passage their thoughts and how to apply it to our lives as mothers. Sometimes the leader prepared questions or had a Bible study resource as supplement to the Gospels but not always.

If that still sounds like too much effort or might not fit the vibe of your particular group, consider gathering simply to pray a Rosary and then just chat. In a smaller group, opening up the discussion to any topic would work. In a larger group, you might have moms jot down a conversation starter on a note card as they walk in the door and pull those out after the Rosary to keep things flowing. Since one of the main purposes of gathering with like-minded women is to fulfill Matthew 18:20, and Our Lady is the perfect role model for mothers, praying the mysteries together can be extraordinarily fruitful.

Maybe your group needs to get to know one another in a more relaxed atmosphere over wine and margaritas! Moms' Nights Out are a fantastic way to either begin a moms' group or supplement a planned discussion group. Every time I have planned a Moms' Night Out, women come, and even when it's only one or two other women, we rejoice in one another and are refreshed by the night out. You can meet at a restaurant or plan a fun activity like painting or bowling. I guarantee you will have interest, and the Holy Spirit will guide your fellowship to provide each attendee with the graces they need if you allow Him.

Too tough to get together without kids? Several of the above options could certainly be done with children either in the room with you or in the next room. Put on a Catholic video during the Rosary to keep them quiet in the next room or hire some teens to help babysit while you have an uninterrupted discussion. But if you don't think those options work for your fellow moms, just meet at a park. Choose a time of day when the weather is best and get together with moms and kids! We can be nourished immensely by one another's company whether the setting be structured or informal. The point is that we need to get together.

I hope you can see that once you get women together, it is not that difficult to keep going if you choose a format that works for most moms. There are other options, like book studies and Bible studies that I will review soon, but if you are looking for simple, these ideas will get the job done!

Which of the above ideas most appeals to you and why?

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