If you are a Jesus-following mother with young, pre-school aged children, how can you reach other moms who are at a similar life stage?
After all, parenting young babies and toddlers can be an all consuming experience, so the margin for mission is pretty low! Can missional communities and preschool children mix – and is this possible to pull off in a lightweight and low-maintenance manner?
Missional Communities And Preschool Children
We have seen missional communities be tremendously effective in impacting this segment of the population. There is a flexibility that comes from gathering in a home that is already child-proofed, creating a space for mothers to relax over coffee and cake with others who are experiencing the same joys and frustrations of spending 24/7 in the world of toddlers, and allowing the reality of following Jesus to impact not just parenting but the whole of life.
It is well documented that young mothers can easily find themselves feeling isolated, as they are forced to devote so much attention to the feeding, pooping and cleaning up after their short people. If she chooses to leave the house to work, there will be an even greater pressure to be absorbed in the life of the child during her time at home. Whether a woman is a stay-at-home or a working mom of toddlers, it is easy to end up with few social relationships.
In that context, an easily accessible, come-as-you-are community that meets in a nearby neighborhood can be a very attractive option. The bar of acceptable quality is not terribly high when the other option is to be stuck at home playing with a 4 piece jigsaw! My wife Hannah has always found her unchurched friends who are moms at this stage of life are highly open to expressions of church that are embedded in the community, and where there is authentic welcome, practical support and Jesus-empowered love on offer. Missional communities and preschool children can indeed play well together!
This past weekend we launched a new Rivertree Go Community that is focused on reaching mothers. While all ages and stages are welcome, there is an especial focus on making it an open and accepting place for those with pre-schoolers. Below you can watch a brief interview I did with Denise and Brandi, who came to me with the vision for the group and who have developed an excellent plan for launching and establishing it.