Marge Kool, an 86-year-old grandmother, didn’t expect to be involved in MOPS—Mothers of Preschoolers—at her age. The mother of six and grandmother of 19 says she’s more like a MOPS great-grandma than a “MOPS mom,” the term generally used for mothers who attend MOPS groups.
Her church, a joint Christian Reformed and Reformed Church of America congregation called Covenant Hope Church in Battle Creek, Mich., opened a local charter with MOPS International in September 2018 to minister to young families living in the area. Kool was flattered when her pastor and his wife, Joel and Kelsey Klingenberg, and her granddaughter Amy Asma approached her about becoming a mentor mom for the group. Klingenberg and Asma, coordinators for the group and moms of young children themselves, value mothers supporting each other. “MOPS groups allow moms to learn more about the Lord and reflect on his work in their lives. It also provides a safe space to share experiences, build friendships, and feel encouraged in this phase of life,” said Asma.
Thanks to Covenant Hope’s experienced moms and grandmas who volunteer, the MOPS group has six mentor moms. Kool said there are aspects of parenting today, including social media, that add complexity she did not experience raising her own family without a mentor. “I try not to tell them what to do. I guide,” Kool explained.
Mentor moms lead the devotional time during meetings (held first and third Fridays), participate in activities, attend play dates when able, and pray for the moms on a regular basis. “The 17 MOPS moms have greatly benefited from the love and time invested in them from the mentor moms,” Kelsey Klingenberg said. MOPS International provides an outline for local groups, including lessons, challenges, and discussion questions.
The coordinators expect to continue to grow in the next year as word of mouth spreads. Most of the attending moms are currently from outside the church.