Morphing the Model of Mentoring
By Carol Kuykendall
What is the told of your MOPS Mentor or Mentors? That question has many different answers. Some groups are still looking for a single mentor. Others have a team of mentors, with one sitting at each Discussion Group table. In between are all sorts of models, from mentors who do most of the teaching to mentors who greet moms at MOPS meetings and circulate to encourage women, one-on-one.
MOPS International defined the original intent of the MOPS Mentor as a vitally important part of the MOPS program, offering a voice of perspective, wisdom, and encouragement. Her role was to be an advisor and teacher, based on the biblical description in Titus 2 about older women training younger women. In fact, the original name was “Titus Woman,” and most groups had only one person serving in that role.
As MOPS has grown and changed through the years, the model for mentoring has been morphed to fit the needs of individual groups and the strengths of individual mentors. The name was officially changed to MOPS Mentors, and many groups recruited multiple mentors. But the purpose of mentors is the same: advisors who walk alongside, rather than lead the MOPS group.
A foundational philosophy is that MOPS is run by mothers of preschoolers for mothers of preschoolers, not by moms of older children. This keeps MOPS relevant and focused on the unique season of mothering young children. It also gives opportunities for moms to learn about leadership by leading.
MOPS Mentors’ roles and responsibilities may include:
- Spiritual guidance and leadership training for the Steering Team.
- Speaker at some (or all) of the MOPS group meetings.
- Help in getting speakers who are consistent with the MOPS model of lifestyle evangelism.
- Friend to moms, welcoming moms, and circulating at meetings.
- Discussion Group table mentors, one assigned to each table, offering advice when asked, so the MOPS moms still feel the freedom to express their thoughts.
- Strengthening the connection between the MOPS group and the local church.
Each year, a Steering Team should evaluate the needs of their group, and clarify the responsibilities of each position, including MOPS Mentors. That guidance helps leaders move into the new MOPS year with purpose and direction and defines the value of each position.
Thoughts about mentoring from MOPS Mentors and other leaders:
“The role of the mentor depends on the individual. Not all mentors are speakers. I am. Not all mentors are available to visit or make meals. I’m not. My greatest role has been to support the Steering Team.”
“We’re still looking for one!”
“We’ve only had one MOPS Mentor. We never even considered another possibility until we went to Convention and heard about groups who have lots of MOPS Mentors. So now we have four for next year. One will be our Steering Team Mentor, leading our teaching time at each Steering Team meeting. She will also coordinate the other mentors to pray with
Steering Team members before each MOPS meeting.”
“We have one mentor for each Discussion Group. The mentors take turns sharing a five-minute Mentor Mom moment at each meeting. They also take turns sharing a devotional at the Steering Team meetings. They sit with their Discussion Group during meetings and offer encouragement and advice when asked. They pray for our moms. Some have gatherings at their homes.”
Go to the MOPS Mentor Forum to share your thoughts on the role of the MOPS Mentor.