Coffee, Books and Moms
Tamara J. Boone
For more than a year, my friend Jill and I have reached out to other stay-at-home mothers in our neighborhood through a weekly coffee-and-book-review hour. It has proved both an evangelistic tool and a forum for deeper spiritual growth for those of us who are already Christians. Here are some pointers to help you start and sustain a similar group.
* Begin with a core of committed Christians. In this way, the non-Christians can observe the love of Christ among believers, and the Christians can offer valuable input during the discussions.
* Frequent “hot spots” for stay-at-home moms. We’ve met mothers at the park, the library, Little League events, and local fast-food restaurants. When we invite a woman to join our group, we tell her up front that we discuss books about God’s role in the parenting process.
* Choose the right book. One that already has discussion questions cuts down on preparation time for the leaders. Books we’ve used with success are A Mother’s Legacy by Jeanne Hendricks, What Really Matters at Home by John and Susan Yates, and Diapers & Dishes or Pinstripes & Pumps by Gigi Graham Tchividjian. Some of these we found at the library.
* Have plural leadership. Take turns leading the discussion and share in following up with group members.
* Be open and vulnerable. Our frankness about our struggles has opened doors to fruitful discussion about God as our source of strength and wisdom in all our life roles, including parenting.
* Schedule a babysitter to come to your home. This helps mothers concentrate on the discussion.
* Keep the discussion short. If you go beyond an hour, the mothers get distracted by their children’s activities. Leave time before and after the discussion for informal conversations.
* Meet weekly. We found this important in building relationships. We meet from September to June, during which time we review three books.
* Plan social events. At least once during the school year, plan an evening of fun, without children! During the summer, keep in touch through trips to the zoo, park, and pool, and through backyard potlucks.
We have the mothers get together fifteen minutes before our meeting to pray. This prayerful focus reminds us that we are doing God’s work and He is affecting the results.
-Tamara J. Boone
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”
This article “Coffee, Books and Moms” by Tamara J. Boone, was excerpted from the book Best Small-Group Ideas compiled by Deena Davis. It may be used for study & research purposes only.