Community is a sort of buzz word right now. Everyone is talking about it and everyone wants to find it. We want to share with you how genuine community is often found in the context of volunteering or serving. Keep reading to hear from Cinthia Miller about her volunteer experience with Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS. As you hear from her experience, keep in mind that this is simply one of many ways to volunteer. There are so many opportunities to join different volunteer teams at FCC or wherever else you might find yourself. Here’s what Cinthia’s experience looked like and how she came out forever changed.
It’s Tuesday morning and seven moms are trickling down the elevator and the stairs into a wide empty room. These ladies are arriving extra early to set up for another MOPS meeting. With strollers of squirmy babies and toddlers in tow they are ready to start the day serving together. This morning is about serving other mothers of young children through encouragement, connection and fun.
These seven ladies each have their own tasks; making coffee, setting tables, preparing food and activities or speakers. As the morning gets going, these seven women will sit in circles with the other mothers. They will continue to serve as they invite them into conversation and listen to their joys and woes of the week. They will rally the circle to come alongside each other in encouragement and pray for one another. The morning ends and good byes are said until next week. Most of the women will head home to the rest of their day, but this team of mothers will linger with their little ones. They will not only tear down all the things that made the day possible, but also lift up in praise all the moments that happened.
In a book I recently read by John Ortberg, he quotes Dallas Willard and says that people are made up of experiences. We don’t consist merely or even primarily of cells and tissue, instead our real lives are a series of experiences. Ortberg adds to this by recognizing that shared experiences equal intimacy and intimacy creates deeper relationships.
Together, this team of women create an opportunity for the mothers of MOPS to feel loved, to feel valued and to feel like they belong to something bigger than the craziness of this season they are living in. They are serving other women in a beautiful way as they collectively make the MOPS experience possible. The impact for the women attending is great.
The relationships that grow in intimacy through the shared experience of serving these women is possibly even greater.
My time on the MOPS team was a season of such personal and spiritual growth. Serving continually impacted my life in a positive way, forever. The feeling of joy, purpose and fulfillment from what I could see God was leading me to do for others was amazing. The real change, the real connections, the deepest experiences came from doing it alongside the other women on the team. We laughed, we cried, we saw and felt things together from serving in MOPS and that cemented the entire experience as a milestone in my journey.
Not every person or group is equipped and ready to serve in a way that is as hands on or long-term as the MOPS team and that’s okay. There are endless ways for anyone to serve both hands on with those in need and also behind the scenes. There is an opportunity for everyone that will suit their season of life, personality, gifts and skills. It simply takes openness and a willingness to find out what it is. My encouragement to you is to find that opportunity not just as a calling to serve. Take it as a step into a shared experience with those you are serving and those you are serving with. This is not only an invitation to serve, but a step towards experiences and intimacy.
Groups Director, FCCHB