August 14, 2007

Starting a New Program at Church

I've gotten to the point of being truly annoyed by people that continue to whine about what the church (or any organization) can do for them, but always always stop short of being willing to step up and pitch in when it comes time to implement.

At my last congregation there was a need for unity between the two youth programs. Rather than complain about it, we got concerned parties together every other month to make sure that everything remained on the up and up for the good of the total ministry of our church, not abandoning the younger youth because they were not able to do things, and not to write off the older youth because they did not have compassion for the younger members. That worked.

That also brings me to our current project! I will be forthcoming in saying that Anny and I, though we work well together, have never had any urge to start a group from scratch. That is mostly due to Anny's introverted nature, and my wanting to make sure that she's happy. We are both so excited about putting together a ministry like this one, not just for us for for all involved, that we decided that I would torn up my planning side and she would turn her extroversion up a little.

So, our new project: a ministry for parents with children under the age of 5. It really stemmed from the fact that we have a group of folks that we know on an every-Sunday basis that we would like to get to know in a better context. We don't have many friends around where we live with kids (though one couple will be having theirs anytime now!) and don't want to hang out with parenting groups all the way up in Columbia.

In particular I'm peeved that any parent groups that I can find mention of in the greater DC area are aimed at moms OR dads, whichever is a StayAtHome. StayAtHome would be an awesome idea for either of us, but we have chosen paths that are not the money makers that we could be in, and we have acknowledged that as we have grown our life together. I want to do things as a family, not just a Dad group or a Mom group. I understand that both of those have value, but we really do work well together and want Abby to grow up knowing that.

Our problem with our Parents of Young Children group is that we don't have any curriculum or direction with what to do with our time. I have gotten one recommendation from an Educator freind, but it looks like the resource is out of print and I can't find it on Amazon.

So, my question/plea is: do you know of any good materials for gatherings of parents? It does not have to be church based necessarily, because I have never been good at following the pages I've been given and will adjust as needed anyway.

If you're a part of a group (inside or outside the church, it just happens to be our place of choice) of this nature, what sort of things do you do in your program time?

Any help would be great. If you don't want to post in the comment section, drop me an email at armonroe (at)


  1. Here are some of my suggestions, depending on the group:

    Perfect Madness (kind of geared toward mom, will make you laugh at your neighbors, has a political bent to it.)

    Housebroken (for the dads. It's about a stay-at-home dad.)

    Operating Instructions (by Anne Lamott. How could you go wrong?)

    Two-Income Trap (this one's scary, but it brings up a lot of good issues for working parents.)

    Thos are the ones I would suggest, but read them. None are particularly religious, and they may not be what you're looking for.

    Sounds like a great group!

  2. Well, drat. I was just at Cokesbury this morning and should have looked around, but I've (obviously) been neglecting my blog reading.

    We love our Sunday School curriculum: 20/30: Bible Study for Young Adults. This is a series of several books, each on a specific topic, that can be used in any order. We choose the topic that interests us at the moment and discuss it as a group, one chapter at a time.

    We've done money and power. Next we're doing love, then community. We often end up talking about the topics as they relate to our lives as parents with young children. Perhaps something like that might work for you?