Building a Community {Three Word Wednesday}

Building Community.jpg

Last week during my MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) meeting I was responsible for our main topic. We were originally going to have local law enforcement speak to us about internet safety but those plans fell through so I thought about our group and a message that we needed to hear. 

This is my seventh year as a part of this group and for the past several years we've been in transition. We changed host churches three years ago and the year after that several "regular" members moved on as their kids grew up. We've attracted several new moms and our group has great numbers but we are still learning what it really means to be connected. Thinking about all these changes and how so many of our moms don't know too many in the group I came up with a topic I knew was important and relevant - community. 

Jen Hatmaker wrote a book not too long ago called, For the Love. Full disclosure, I haven't read it. I've got it on hold at the library and I'm waiting on my turn. But for the launch of this book Jen did several videos about different sections of the book and there is one section that really resonated with me and it's the video that I chose to show during my MOPS meeting. You can see it below. 

For years I avoided inviting people over to our house for play dates or whatever because the house was crazy. We were always in the middle of some type of construction project and it was a clutter disaster. Despite an abundance of storage space there never seemed to be a place for everything, let alone anything. It was one thing for us to walk around a pile of old computer towers or ignore the bag of junk mail that sat in the hallway but I felt silly when other people saw these things. Now I think back to how silly I was! If someone chose to judge me based on my {lack of} ability to keep my house clutter free that isn't my fault, it's something they should work on in their own heart. My heart needed work in the hospitality department. 

After I showed this video to our group I spoke a bit about community. I wish I could give a word for word transcript because apparently what I said really resonated with the moms. I got several compliments and thanks over what I shared. Thanks God, for giving me the right words! But I'll try and type it up the best I can. 

Community is what MOPS is about. It's about coming together with this thing in common - motherhood - and building each other up, starting relationships, and building friendships. We need to stop being so concerned about the stains on our carpet or the crumbs on our floor. Believe me, I could probably cook a full meal with the crumbs that are on my floor sometimes! Man, I miss my dog... but only for that reason. 
Anyway. This a room full of women. We may not all get along perfectly. We may not all agree about everything. But I can guarantee you that there is at least one person in this room that you could build a true friendship with. She may not be in your small group, she may not be sitting at your table right now. You may not even really know her yet. But I bet she's here. My challenge to you is to walk out of here tonight ready to be brave and invite someone over. Or out for coffee. Or on a walk. Stop letting the mismatch furniture or the "too small" spaces get in the way of discovering a good thing. 
Get real, get personal, and get honest. Find friends, build each other up, and help each other grow towards Jesus. Because that's what this MOPS community is all about. 

It's not word for word what I said but the message is the same. Getting together doesn't need to be fancy. It doesn't need to be perfect. It doesn't mean you need to scrub bathrooms or shampoo carpets. It doesn't mean you put on a perfect smile and pretend all is good. You can't have real relationships if you are pretending. It may take a few meetings for walls to really come down but the time invested is so worth it. 

I challenged myself last year by taking on the role of host of our MOPS leadership meetings. Once a month I invite all the leaders to my home so we can plan, talk, eat (obviously), and pray. The first few times I ran around the house in the days leading up to the meeting vacuuming, making sure dishes were done, and cleaning off all the kid crud from the dining room chairs. This have changed since then. Last month one of the other mom swept my floor for me because I was dealing with kids, ha! I don't get caught up in making sure every stinking dish in the house is clean. I pull out extra chairs, make sure I have what is needed for the meeting, and we always enjoy ourselves. It's a place where we can open up and be real. And I'm so glad I took the chance to open up our home because it's one of my favorite nights of the month. 

I'm going to challenge you the same way I challenged the moms in my group. Reach out to someone. Perhaps you know this person fairly well or maybe you have only recently met them. Invite them over for coffee. Invite them over for a family dinner. Invite them to meet you at the library or park for a play date. Walk around the mall. As Jen says, "It all feels kind of simple and safe, but it's a great place to start with community."

 

Will you accept my challenge? Will you invite someone over or invite someone out? How will you start building community?

 

I'm linking this up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday.