"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Open Letter of Concern Over MOPS International

One of the most effective Christian outreach ministries for mothers of young children is called MOPS - Mothers of Preschoolers.

For the past two decades, MOPS has been a place of discipleship and encouragement at Emmanuel Enid (the church I pastor) for mothers of preschoolers. One of Emmanuel's leaders for MOPS is Sarah Wilkins. It's been my privilege to know Sarah for many years. Her testimony of conversion to faith in Christ is very moving. She is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, a wife and mom, and a business professional in her own right. 

Recently Sarah came to me with concerns over the direction of MOPS International. I listened. She asked me to read a book that is being featured and promoted by MOPS International, a book written by the current President of MOPS International, and featured in this year's MOPS curriculum.  After reading the book, I too share Sarah's concerns. I recently wrote my thoughts about this book which has yet to be released to the public.

After working through the proper channels and processes for voicing concerns to MOPS International, Sarah Wilkins and Emmanuel Enid's local MOPS leadership felt it appropriate to make their concerns public. Below is Sarah's Open Letter to those involved in MOPS ministry through local churches. She and other MOPS leaders at our church will be available to answer additional questions of concern in the comment section below:

___________________________________________________________

An Open Letter to the Moms and Churches of MOPS International:

My name is Sarah Wilkins, and I love and have lived MOPS ministry for eight years.  I am writing to you my concerns over the new direction that I perceive MOPS to be taking after speaking with two levels of MOPS volunteer coaches, one MOPS employee, and reading and digesting the materials included in the member packet, magazine, leadership group packet, and website.

First, let me tell you about our MOPS group at Emmanuel in Enid, Oklahoma. We have had a MOPS group for over 20 years. Our current group has steering members from multiple denominations including Baptist, charismatic, Catholic, and Lutheran. We have been and continue to be involved in outreach with an “every-mom” focused. We believe that God is working in the lives of these women, because they walk into a church building to meet with women they have never laid eyes on before. God created them. God loves them. God is working in their lives already; our task is to join Him in His work.

I am very concerned about the registration packets MOPS moms will be receiving this year. In fact, so concerned that after our local church MOPS leadership team pre-read the group experience packet sent to us by MOPS International we halted our registration.  This year, after each mom pays, MOPS international intends to mail each mom a packet that contains materials which market the book Starry Eyed. The packet also includes a companion book that directs the reader to read portions out Starry Eyed with each chapter.  This companion book contains snippets of all kinds of belief systems and no gospel.  There is also a "Truth or Dare" 28-Day Challenge. It includes dares that would be highly inappropriate for many of our moms who are not married.

When our steering team gathered to set goals for this year, we watched the online videos made by MOPS, including the Come Alive video by Mandy Arioto, President, who also happens to be the author of the book Starry Eyed.  The last two minutes of the Come Alive video is what prompted our steering group to send letters to Mrs. Arioto and the Board of Directors of MOPS International. When we hear Mrs. Arioto say that women do not find God where people usually say, we hear her to mean the church and the Bible. Her words are murky and therefore open to interpretation.  We also see a refusal to use the word sin throughout all of the MOPS materials and videos. We are hearing Mrs. Arioto. We hear her when she writes she does not like the church,  a sentiment she emphasizes by stating it clearly in a line in her book Starry Eyed. We hear her clearly when she uses her words to caution people away from the “usual places we are told to find God.”

I perceive there to be lots of life directional pointing in the MOPS materials, and my deep concern is that I cannot ascertain exactly where the materials are pointing. Modern American psychology is used heavily. This years’ material is ambiguous in places and encourages the employment of coping mechanisms like saying it out loud, and accepting being human, instead of offering OUR LASTING HOPE.  I have read through everything, and the majority theme seems to be pointing moms to self actualization through new age mysticism, Celtic mysticism, humanism, and other belief systems. My steering team is convinced that Jesus is not whom the women in our group will discover if they receive their package, read the magazine, and read the book. 

After speaking with my MOPS local coach, speaking with my area coach and emailing with MOPS paid employee over the West coast and central US; I believe MOPS incognito strategy is dangerous. Here is an excerpt from the email exchange with MOPS employee.
             “…As far as referencing secular sources, we see several times in Acts where the Apostles quote the audience's own philosophers make a note of the inscriptions on tombs that are to an unknown God, just to be relevant to their audience as well as bring in what their audience is placing their trust in, in order to point to Jesus. By quoting secular sources we are doing just what the apostles did- quoting extra sources that point to Jesus even if they are not coming from a Biblical standpoint. Rather, they come from a very worldly standpoint and are still pointing to Jesus even though they may not realize it. Praise the Lord that His creations sings His praises!...”

There is personal irony here as my third daughter is named Damaris after this very segment of scripture in Acts 17. Paul argued in the Areopagus and cited the altar TO THE UNKOWN GOD as evidence of their religiosity. He then starts describing the ONE true God. He commands them to repent.  There were two converts Damaris and Dionysius.  Many scholars believe that Paul left that city vowing to no longer use this strategy as just two converts was a failure.  He said he left there and decided to only preach the gospel….that is the good news of Jesus. Other scholars argue that it wasn’t a failure and he tailored and countered the domineering mindset of the specific culture of the specific people at a specific period of time and challenged it with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The use of the scripture to justify using secular sources while offering no Biblical counter and no gospel is the root of the problem.  Mrs. Leih’s quote confirms to me what our core conflict with MOPS is. This is not a small conflict of faith.  Her statement contradicts MOPS Internationals own statement of faith.

If MOPS is to be a moms group that will continue to primarily uses modern American secular encouragement on being your best self and discovering your own happiness, than our church must choose something else. We all live in a murky world where truth is hard to determine.  The devil is real, and does his best destructive work through half truths, lies, and the denial of the reality of sin. 

Thank you for your time.  We wholeheartedly believe that Mrs. Arioto is our sister in Christ.  We do not believe there is any malcontent. We do believe that something is terribly wrong at MOPS. Our steering team believes MOPS may have lost its way in terms of gospel-centeredness.

Pastors of churches who have MOPS groups:

Please get the pre-released copy of Mandy Arioto, President of MOPS book Starry Eyed from your MOPS coordinator.  The books do not go on sale until August 30t, but a single copy was mailed to each MOPS group in the Coordinator’s packet. You need to read the book and make a decision for yourself.

With Deep Concern,


Sarah Wilkins, Emmanuel MOPS Public Relations and Coordinator

108 comments:

TJG said...

I am so grateful you took the time to write this! I am a leader of a very large MOPS group, and my leadership team was also disturbed by the content of the material released by MOPS Intl this year, so we are not using it. Sarah, I completely agree with your assessment, and I hope other leaders follow their instincts and choose the gospel over empty, worldly philosophy. I pray MOPS Intl Leadership recognizes these are not rude criticisms or baseless judgments - our concerns are about keeping the ministry focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Wade Burleson said...

TJG,

Thank you for your comment. I'm confident that you (like we) are extremely evangelistic. We reach out in love and grace to everyone. However, to hear that others (like you) are as concerned as we, will help others recognize that there is nothing wrong with questioning direction of a popular ministry like MOPS. One of the red flags that raised in my mind was when Sarah told me that statements of concern were being deleted by MOPS International leadership on web sites and web pages they control. Again, thanks for the comment.

Ishie4ever said...

I stand with Sarah and Emmanuel Enid MOPS! I'm a member of the group and call Sarah my friend. I trust her judgment and believe that she wouldn't raise these concerns lightly and doesn't mean any disrespect.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Ishie4ever.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Thank you for taking the time to write. We need to connect on facebook!!! The board of directors did not see or approve any of the material. There is hope for change. The board sets the parameters which were not changed.

Dave Panzera said...

The primary way that some great ministries fail is a subversion of though over time against the very thing they wanted to do. You can see this in all the mainline protestant denominations. Were early America people here today they would each die from a heart attack at the subversion of their denominations. Their ministries are now theologically unsound preaching totally false teachings and more and it all began rather harmlessly....That is how Satan works.

A few years back you may remember the famous golfer who died when the plan he was in lost pressure and the whole crew and each occupant went unconscious. thus their aircraft had no one flying it and when it ran out of fuel it crashed. all lost their lives. This there is a term for how it happens. In the USAF we are trained many times to do our best to recognize it. because it is called "Insidious Onset." Call it an educated way of say "Frog in a pot of water brought to boil very slowly!" The frog comfortably goes to its death, as did the men in that aircraft...As will the spiritual effecti8veness of an organization that walks away from that which is true and works.

Only in a lucid moment where one can react both with honor and integrity will such things be avoided. I for one am glad one was raised up to do that here. I pray MOPS adjusts course.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave - as always, spot on.

Christiane said...

Well, I was looking for information concerning Mandy Arioto, and I came across some strange stuff from her past which doesn't quite make sense. First, I found this site (I cannot vouch for either of the two sites I found, so caveat):

http://mandyarioto.blogspot.com/p/about-mandy.html

In the site above, in 'About Mandy', it states this: "Before joining MOPS, Mandy was a preaching pastor at MOSAIC."

So, I attempted to look up MOSAIC, and I could only find this:
http://thisismosaic.org/visit/doctrine/

The problem is that on this site, when you scroll down to the very bottom of the site, you find reference to Acts 29.

The conflict here is that I had thought Acts 29 was patriarchal and yet Mandy, in the previous site, was said to have been a 'preaching pastor'. (?)

Now, I could have found the wrong Mosaic site. So maybe someone else can do a little digging and find out more about Mrs. Arioto, her past, and what she is now advocating in the way of theology for the pre-school mothers' group she heads.

It's a puzzle inside a riddle. Very interesting. :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/03/prweb13249691.htm

Virginia said...

I cam across this article from a friend on Facebook. I am so grateful for your discernment and faithfulness and your willing to stand for TRUTH. May the Lord bless you,

Virginia

Sara Munday said...

Thank you for posting this! I left MOPS this past May after thirteen years in the ministry - the last four as an Area Coach. We are accountable for what we teach and for what we pass down to others. I could not in good conscious pass on MOPS teachings/materials after hearing what was taught in the spring leadership training. We were told to set aside our personal concerns about the training - something I find impossible to do. I fear these teaching will lead many to believe they are okay where they are, rather than helping them learn more about Jesus and that He is the only way to the Father. I pray MOPS will turn back to Truth in their ministry.

Sarah Wilkins said...

I'm sorry, and it is so encouraging to hear your story. If you haven't already, write a letter to the board. I have contact information for all but two.

Amy Lynn said...

Thanks so much for putting this out there. Our group in PA is struggling with this, too. We decided to give it another year to see if it improves any, but since we made that decision, it has appeared to me that it's gotten worse. Another area church already dropped their charter. You're not alone.

Sarah Wilkins said...

I'd encourage you to write the Board. I have contact info for most. That's the only way it will change. In our letter we ask if this is a permanent direction change. We also addressed our specific conflicts with the material.

The board did not see the materials or approve them according to an email I received from mops. They set the parameters in the statement of faith and the contents were supposed to stay within those boundaries.

It is my belief that the materials are way outside of those boundaries.

Friend me on facebook. I will save you hours of Internet searching and give you the contact info. I'm Sarah Wilkins in Enid, OK.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to be very careful here, I have read the book and am a MOPS Dad for over 25 Years. Mops International has always been a multi denominational ministry. I have seen the book and have read the stories. I think this is all being taken out of context and you are throwing the baby out with the bath water. I have read several of Mandy's posts on her blog along with the stories in the book. I think people are reading that light and dark being good and evil. In my humble opinion I believe she is referring to the dark times in life that even Christians go through, depression, sadness, stressful struggles that I even as a Man can relate too. Even in these times Gods voice can seem distant and sometimes Gods voice is completely silenced. Take for example Elijha after God destroyed the priests and alters to Ball, he became afraid and depressed an ran and hid. These I believe are the dark times that she is referring to. God is still there, his glory in his creation is a wonderful reminder of this. I don't think I would have chosen to share and mix in some of the myths she shares in the book but it's not like she is sharing those as an alternative Gospel. I don't see it.
I think if you read this book with the intent that she is a heretic you can find what ever you want to prove that out. And pastor it's likely that even in some of your messages people could interprete them in a way that perhaps you did not intend. I do realize that in the last days a spirit of deception will come and even the elect could be fooled, but I think a blog post such as this is taking an entire ministry out based on a mis representation of the authors intent. I would suggest that perhaps Pastor, you should reach out to Mandy and the leadership as you are the shepherd over your flock and address the concerns directly and not hold a public discrediting session online. I love my brothers and sisters in the lord by Grace I am saved and walking through this life with others and the Holy Spirits leading I will spend eternity with Y'all in Glory. Let's be slow to judge and quick to question and open to understanding of people who use a different language than we do in Conservative Christiandom

Sarah Wilkins said...

What's interesting to me about your reply is that it is incredibly similiar to what the Mops employee responded to me with via email.

Notice in the very beginning of our letter that four different denominations: Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic and charismatic are represented on our steering team. We decided to do the open letter together.

Also in none my arguments do I say or insinuate that the darkness is embracing evil. I don't do either because I do not think that.

I've walked through some very dark times. Darkness created by the sins of others that I was subjected too, darkness I was responsible for, and the darkness of grief.

My issue with the book is the answers given for dealing in the darkness.

She does not give any biblical encouragement or hope. Which to me is ludicrous given the amount of bible passages about where our true hope lies and how we are freed of our shame through the gosple work of Christ.

How a book is written by a parachurch ministry on wonder, hope and kindness and nothing about Jesus is includedis beyond my acceptable line.

Instead she directs women to navigate darkness through saying their shame out loud and releasing it into the air. She tells women to just accept that they are human. She tells them to focus on feeling good by relating a story of a man putting his arm over her shoulder, a man not her husband. She liked the thrill and says there is nothing wrong with feeling good. There's a whole chapter to encourage women in the darkness through thinking about how we are made out of stardust.

She writes about not liking church as an encouragement to women in the dark.

Half of our moms are not believers. They have come into our church and are sitting beside women who are "the church" how are they to understand her disdain for the very women they sit next to and the church as a whole. Are they to trust Mandy that these women aren't worthy of their time. Are they to trust Mandy that they aren't doing this spiritual thing correctly?

It is not the walking through darkness that I don't understand. It is the numerous directions she points the women to navigate the darkness. None of which are Jesus or the gosple.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Also,

I was fed through two levels of volunteer leadership before I was passed onto a paid employee. She refused to speak to me on the phone. I asked her to call. She didn't. I asked for her number twice. She didn't give it to me. I'd be happy to email you the email exchange in its entirety.

I didn't get the impression that Mops was Interested in talking it out. She responded with almost the same words you did in your post. Basically--- you must disagree because you can't comprehend the book and you are confused and think we say to embrace darkness.

There is no place to voice your concern within Mops. Even the supported facebook feeds that are not run by Mops have been asked to delete questions.

We're just trying to give groups a warning. The warning is read the book! Decide for yourselves!!!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Would you mind giving your name?

In my experience of online writing (which reaches nearly a dozen years), the words of someone with a verifiable name attached are far more effective.

Unknown said...

Amen. So well written.

Jean Gantzer said...

Amen. So well written.

Temarie said...

I was the coordinator for the one at our church and we ended up leaving Mops because of this. I started to really do some research and am so saddened with the direction Mops has been taking over the last few years. They've aligned themselves with people who have very questionable theologies. One is Glennon Doyle Melton who writes the Momastery blog is on one of the DVD’s. She is universalistic in her writings and believes that all people will go to heaven and does not believe in hell. Michael Hildago is another who describes the theme in one of the DVD's. He's the pastor at Denver Community Church that teaches holistic theology. It seems they have aligned themselves with the emergent and universalistic churches. I have also written letters to Mops but never heard a response back. Thank you so much for standing up for Truth and sharing the false ideologies that Mops has decided to follow!

Wade Burleson said...

Temarie,

I have tried to find online some written concerns over the direction of MOPS, and I have yet to be successful. Your experience is not dissimilar to others, but we have been "caught by surprise." Do you know why there's nothing written about these concerns with MOPS?

Thank you for commenting.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Hidalgo in his video giving the theological foundation for Mops seems to refuse to use the word sin. I'm in total agreement. To take darkness as a metaphor and not talk about sin you have to avoid John. I strongly recommend writing and emailing the board. I have all but one contact. As a not for profit the board matters. They did not preapprove the materials.

Sara Munday said...

I did write to the board on my last day with MOPS. Thank you, Sarah, for all you have done and are doing for moms!

Laura Humerickhouse said...

I also left MOPS after 6 years as a special projects volunteer (and several more as a group leader) fire these same concerns. I could make a good guess as to who 'Anonymous' is and the reason it sounds so similar to the reply. However, I digress. You are correct in MOPS not wanting to engage with those that disagree - that right there is extremely telling, in my opinion. I am praying for the scales or blinders to fall from many eyes and hearts.

Jill Wingler said...

Thank you so much for sharing. We were greatly disheartened by the direction that the materials went this year. it is scary to me to see all of the directions the materials point to (and don't point to). We literally sat in disbelief at what we were reading or viewing in the videos (A pastor swearing, Mandy stating that she has a potty mouth & loves adult humor with no hint at repentance, and many more). Our leadership would also be interested in writing to the board. We have seen so many women from outside the Church come through the doors because of MOPS, there is such potential there!

Sarah Wilkins said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry. I'm glad my group and church are good with shifting direction. I'd be incredibly sad to lose having time with the moms.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Please do write them! I'd be happy to share the contacts. If you are on facebook, friend me. It's Sarah Wilkins Enid, Ok. I'll send them to you through facebook.

Sarah said...

How do we contact the board? I was part of a local MOPS group for several years but didn't sign up last year because I felt the previous year's literature we received in the mail was so disappointingly confusing/vague/wishy-washy. Very humanistic. No mention of Jesus, ever. The church that sponsored it has always kept things Christ-centered, but I can't support MOPS until things change.

Sarah Wilkins said...

The board is listed on the mops website along with their places of emoyement or hometown. I just tracked them down on the web. I could not find contact info for Mrs. Chowdry. If you find me on Facebook I'll give you the contacts through messenger.

Hollie said...

Thank for standing up for what is right and speaking out. We went through this EXACT same thing last year with MOPS International and our church cancelled our long term membership with them as well. Stand strong, you are doing the right thing in warning others!

Gordon said...

Concerned persons should write to the Board and point out the discrepancy between the stated beliefs of MOPS and the current teaching found in certain of their publications.

Point out to them that they, as Trustees, are legally responsible for exercising the utmost care to ensure that all written material complies with the stated norms of doctrine, without any significant addition or subtraction.

It was surely never the intention of a tolerant and accommodating approach toward different church traditions to allow for an interpretation which turns an accepted teaching on its head. It seems that certain false teachers have crept in unawares and are now trying to set a new agenda with their own curriculum.

If the Board fails to take corrective steps immediately they would, as a last resort, be open to charges of serious incompetence, mismanagement, professional misconduct and neglect of fiduciary duty. Trustees are normally heavily insured against such claims but the courts can be expected to side with the aggrieved parties in all valid cases.

From my own experience, I would say that it is very hard to turn the clock back once corruption has set in, and the situation only seems to get worse.

Amy Lynn said...

Wade, you earlier mentioned searching for written concerns and have failed. They are not on Facebook because those posts were all deleted soon after they were discovered by the coordinator of the various MOPS pages they were posted on. Mandy did address some of the questions of this nature raised in her webinar in June, but the answers didn't sit well with me. She said they are not saying they don’t follow Jesus and they are not changing their values, mission, or vision statement at all. They’re just not going to take stances on things other than things essential to salvation. They believe the bible and all of those kinds of things to be very true. They don’t want to get involved in the political mess (i.e. abortion).

When asked if church sponsorship will still be required if meeting outside of a church? The answer was, "At this point, we’re still going to have churches sponsor groups. Just to have a home base and spiritual point of reference." That's disturbing to me because "at this point" makes it sound like they'll move away from that very important bit of accountability.

My personal take on what I'm hearing is that they want to be undercover Christians. Granted, none of our steering team or pastors have read Mandy's book yet, but we did all separately read the "exegesis" for leaders on the theme, including two of our pastors, and we all had very similar concerns. Our one pastor said it read more like isegesis and I'd have to say that I agree with him. There were some good things in there, but there was a lot that seemed to be out in left field.

I do have a friend who said she actually had the chance to talk with Mandy and the conversation went well, however, I'm not sure what they spoke about specifically. I just know my friend reached out because the steering team of her MOPS group was highly concerned and they ended up dropping MOPS already. Our concerns did begin last year when I discovered Glennon Doyle Melton was on the DVDs, but since that was under a different CEO, we thought we'd give Mandy a shot and tell them that we are essentially putting them on probation this year and will be dropping next year if they continue to head the direction they're going.

Wade Burleson said...

Amy Lynn,

I spoke with Mandy on the phone for about 30 minutes this afternoon. I repeated my concern that MOPS Coordinators, like our own Sarah Wilkins, were extremely frustrated that their concerns were "deleted" from official MOPS pages, and that communication with official MOPS representatives was extremely difficult. George Bernard Shaw once said, "The main problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." I feel MOPS International - including Mandy Arioto, President - believe that 99% of MOPS participants are "happy and satisfied" with the direction of MOPS, but a "small percent" (yes, in the singular and Mandy's words) were not - but they feel they have listened to those who've expressed their concerns. Unfortunately, it is only an illusion of communication when you delete comments from those who disagree.

I do appreciate Mandy's love for Jesus and her concern to "win the lost" to Jesus. She expressed frustration and disappointment with me for "not initiating the conversation two days ago" before I posted my blog. I explained to her that I was only responding to the frustrations of my MOPS Leadership Team at Emmanuel for not being heard by MOPS, and posted the Open Letter that they (the MOPS council at Emmanuel) wrote. Surprisingly, Mandy didn't realize my blog post was a letter from Sarah - and was not written by me. She did apologize for not knowing this, but my wife and I were shocked that she called me without having read the post - only on hearsay from others. Good communication begins with taking time to listen and learn before you respond.

I was told that MOPS is intending to move more into solidly based biblical materials in the coming year ("the next step") but right now their focus is to "win people over who've been burned by the church" and have had "Jesus beaten over their heads." All well and good except for the fact if you feed pigs slop and call it corn, it doesn't make it not slop. :) Bad analogy, I know, but if you expect lost people to come to Jesus, you better give Jesus, for He Himself said, "IF I BE LIFTED UP, I will draw all MOMS to me" (pardon the paraphrase).

Thanks, Amy Lynn, for the comment. We resonate with what you are saying. I'm hopeful that somebody at MOPS has finally heard and there is a growing understanding that the "small percent" is in reality a fairly large (and possibly growing) percentage of churches, pastors and people who are concerned that all materials in MOPS be Christ-centered and biblically-based.

Wade Burleson

P.S. In 12 years of blogging, this post has had more unique hits from around the world in the first 48 hours than any other blog post I've posted. It's in the tens of thousands in a very short period of time.

Michelle Cox said...

Thank you so much for expressing in words what my heart was saying. I am a mentor for MOPS and was so very troubled by even last year's MOPS materials and magazine. The gospel is at stake. People's lives are at stake. Is there any way we can organize and get a petition going to have other concerned MOPS leaders to sign??? Praying for you and the MOPS organization.

Wade Burleson said...

Michelle,

You and Sarah Wilkins ought to see what can be done.

Wade

Susie said...

So you are saying when you wrote to the board, they said they didn't see the content of the materials at all?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

If my father were alive, I believe the new direction of MOPS would cause him to say: “I hate a sermon that doesn’t mention His name.”

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Your father was a very wise man.

Larissa Hawkinson said...

Secondly, I don't know of any time in Scripture where the Lord has counted two converts a failure. Wouldn't this year at MOPS be counted "worth it" if we saw two more souls enter the kingdom of God? We limit God when we limit the avenues He may take, the way in which He will whisper to people in the wilderness.

My local Kansas group, of which I am the coordinator, loves the theme, see the Lord already using it in our leadership team, plan to incorporate Scripture to fill in the gaps that the book may leave, and will create many opportunities to speak of sin, righteousness, and judgement. The Lord is not slow about keeping His promise, but wanting to see all come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) And I trust He is fully capable of using this theme to accomplish His perfect will.

Angela said...

I'm a MOPS Coordinator of a smaller group in South Carolina. I believe deeply in the value of the ministry but I also value the concerns that you're bringing forward. I have to remind myself that nobody is perfect. Not even those who work in ministry. I have to remember that God is growing all of us and we should show each other the same grace that God shows us. Having said that, I believe it's good that you've brought the concern forward so that the good folks at MOPS International can pray over it and consider how they will move forward. Each group will need to prayerfully consider the materials provided by MOPS International and decide how to use them. MOPS International has shifted from allowing each group to arrange for speakers and activities to now they're providing a whole slew of materials to work with. Perhaps they've gone a little overboard in the provision and we've begun to rely on them too heavily for sharing the gospel. MOPS is built on the concept of relational evangelism. They've provided a framework for us to use to build relationships with our moms and to share our personal testimonies through those relationships. It's powerful stuff. I've prayerfully considered the curriculum and hope to present it to my group in a way that is pleasing to God. I'm not going to push the Starry Eyed book with my group at all. We're going to focus on the theme deep dive that's provided in the leadership training materials. The message is incredible and all about our purpose in sharing the gospel. God had a plan for the stars from the very beginning of creation. He uses them throughout scripture to remind us of his power (wonder), to teach us that just as God knows each of the stars he also knows each of us, he used the stars in a promise to Abraham (kindness), he used them to guide the wise men to baby Jesus (hope), and he uses them in prophecy of things to come. Just as God had a plan to use the stars from the very beginning, we too have purpose. He's using each of us to share the gospel and to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to nonbelievers. MOPS International provides a framework. We provide the meat. God is growing us as leaders through this ministry. It's up to us as leaders to help our group see God in the stars. This year's theme pairs beautifully with a theme used by MOPS many years ago called "Twinkle." Elisa Morgan wrote a book to go along with it called "Twinkle: Sharing Your Faith One Light at a Time." It's about all the excuses we make for NOT sharing the gospel and how to overcome those so that the light of our faith shines for all to see. You can find that on Amazon for really cheap. I pray that you find peace and clarity in the decision of how to move forward with the MOPS ministry at your church.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Larissa,

I can't see your first comment. I listed out the two popular beliefs by biblical scholars.

Our group is 50/50 churched and unchurched. We follow the Mops model to a t. My deep concern is because of that. I do not come from a Christian background. I believe the coping skills given in the book are what the unchurched women already believe. They are exactly what many in my family believe instead of Christ.

When a person is not a Christian, a person still has a belief system. It is my view that Mandy's words encourage them to stay where they are instead of move towards Christ.

Larissa Hawkinson said...

My comments are in three sections in order to be allowed in the comments section.

"I would like to address" is the first.
"And last night" is the second.
"Secondly,I don't know" is the third.

Larissa Hawkinson said...

My first comment is being removed each time I attempt to post it or is not sticking for some reason. I have tried a dozen times to post, and it will not allow me to. Sorry, Sarah.

Sarah Wilkins said...

I think What mops provides should be able to be used as is. We should not have to spend hours reading through it carefully in an attempt to protect our moms. We should not have to spend hours adapting it to include Jesus when it's supposed to be about hope.

If the materials were completely inocuous, I would believe what they say about outreach. The problem is they are not without direction. They quote and point to all sorts of belief systems EXCEPT Christ.

Also why do materials made just for leadership, that none of the mops moms will see, have the same problems? The Hidalgo video is theologically very different from Mops statement of faith. He will not say sin. He avoids the gosple of John. His view is either universalist or extreme Armenian. That leaves our church out cometely and violates their statement of faith.

My pastor has an excellent view on the difference between unity and uniformity.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Keep trying. My Pastor is in church all staff meeting on Tuesday mornings. So it isn't anything on purpose.

Larissa Hawkinson said...

I would like to address two things. One, to my knowledge, as an administrator on the MOPS Coordinators Facebook page, we have not deleted ANY comments in any of the threads pro- or anti- this year's Starry Eyed theme. There have been many posts raising concerns, and we as admins of the page and fellow coordinators, felt as though the comments in the thread became cyclical, repetitive, and divisive. In fact, this was the original Admin Post: "We are loving that this page is a place for open and honest discussion of some tough topics. We feel as though the discussion of the theme has been thoroughly covered in numerous posts below. At this point, we would like to return our focus to the supporting each co-laborer and brainstorming of brilliance in preparation for the upcoming year. Thank you for helping us out with this! Any new posts related to agreement/disagreement with this year's theme will be removed out of respect to the admins' time and one another. ❤ You all!" In a follow-up comment, we continued: "We are not removing any of the previous posts. We have turned off commenting on those posts, but we do not plan to remove any of the discussions that have happened. And this has taken up most of our days for the last couple of weeks as these conversations have come to light, and while we feel that those conversations have been really helpful, it just seems to be be-laboring a point that has already been made. We are not trying to put an end to people sharing concerns, but there has been much input on both sides of agreement and disagreement with the theme in the direction of MOPS International, and at this point we feel as though those concerns need to be directed to MOPS International. It has taken a lot of monitoring from the one other admin and myself to help keep the posts moving in a respectful direction. I hope you understand our heart in this. We love that this is a safe place for tough discussion to happen, but feel as though the dozen posts regarding this theme with hundreds of comments on both sides of the fence has been sufficient to cover the concerns from all different directions, including some of the MOPS International staff members. We are seeing these posts move toward divisions, and it is intended to be a place of support and encouraging one another and building one another up, for the edification of our co-laborers according to the need of the moment so that our words give grace to those who hear."

Larissa Hawkinson said...

And last night, we turned off the commenting when this blog post was shared on the Coordinators page with a final comment that read:"ADMIN POST: Once again, we greatly appreciate that we can share our opinions openly with one another. However, we do not see this discussion as being "good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." (Eph. 4:29) We strive on this page to live peacefully with one another as far as it depends on each one of us (Rom. 12:18). We want this page to be about "pursuing the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." (Rom. 14:19).

If you are no longer involved as a coordinator in a chartered MOPS group, we invite you to remove yourself from this page and allow those of us who are to continue to "encourage and build one another up" (1 Thes. 5:11).

We know and understand that there are many concerns with the theme and its presentation to your group via the MI materials. You are more than welcome to start threads regarding HOW to use the theme or incorporate more Scripture, but you may not disparage MOPS International, fellow leaders, or any of the theme authors. It is my understanding that Mandy and the MOPS Intl. team are working on a response. Thank you. Larissa and Kimberly"

So please rest assured that the facebook page is not seeking to "cover up" anything for MOPS, but rather stick to our original goal of encouraging one another, speaking life-giving words, and giving grace to those who hear.

Chris Riley said...

Being corrected is also edifying according to Scripture. Holding each other accountable is also edifying. Deleting posts that disagree help no one.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Moms post as they discover the issue. people find out at different times. You are not a paid employee. To me this is another example of weak leadership from Mops. There are facebook pages for each position because their website doesn't provide what groups actually need. Instead of realizing that, and having a paid mops employees admin the different facebook pages, they allow volunteers to. You know and I know how important these facebooks have become to groups. They are an integral part of the process now. When women lodge complaints on your site and the other position sites, they feel like they are getting their concern out. When I asked on the PR site if women where creating pieces that replaced things in the packet to say why....it was deleted because it was drama.

You do not log the name of the group, the complaint, and send it on to Mops. It would be helpful to direct women with the name and number or email of who they need to talk to at Mops.

Jill Wingler said...

Hi Larissa,
I was just wondering, do the board & those on MI leadership have the ability to view the posts that were in the coordinators FB group? I was not sure if they saw just how many people were concerned about the current theme and the specific concerns that were raised? I remember scrolling through some of the posts looking/hoping for a response from MI on this issue so that we could have some resolution. As you said there were hundreds of comments so I may have missed it, but to me I felt like that was why it kept popping up was because people did not feel like they were being heard or getting answers. I'm sorry that you and the other admin have had to deal with this as I can only imagine the time and stress that it has caused!

Thank you,
Jill

lynnpetro said...

As a mentor mom of a fairly new Mops group, I was extremely dishearten to see the new theme and accompanying resources. Some of the admin people think that the "Point" has been made and it is being belabored. In my humble opinion, when you have this much negative feedback, it's time to pull the plug and start over. At Mops international, I am sure they could pull this years theme and re-do a theme from years back that was very successful. I know printing costs would be high; however, for the sake of unity and to keep the gospel message and all arrows pointing to Jesus, I truly believe this is a viable alternative to all the upset this years theme is causing.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Lynn, call mops international. They truly believe there is no problem.

Unknown said...

I agree with this post 1000%. I too believe that MOPS is a wonderful program for moms, but in a world of sin we need to be presenting the TRUTH into these moms. I started the book Starry Eyed and disagreed near the beginning that I stopped and have not finished. We need to be praying over MOPS.

Anonymous said...

Amen. We too felt a strong sense to RUN away from the MOPS Int. covering and go out on our own. Several members were concerned by the "new age" theme itself and started the discussion months before the renewal packets arrived. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing, for letting us know we are not alone, for shedding light onto what God was showing us without even knowing the full realm of what was in those packets. He is our one and only. He is our source. If we are going to be "starry eyed" it will be from looking to Him and upon His glory and the goodness found in Jesus. Thank you. Keep up the great work fellow sisters of the King.

Larissa Hawkinson said...

MOPS International knows that the Coordinators they serve and equip are seeing a problem. Jill, there are many members of the MOPS International staff on the page as members, and they did respond on occasion in the various threads. They do not label themselves as MI staff, so it just takes being familiar with their names to recognize their comments.

It would take the same amount of work for me to call MOPS International and discover the best way to contact them with concerns as it will for those hoping to make their concerns known. But I think it gives more ownership if one does the footwork themselves. We are very clear in the group description of the MOPS Coordinators facebook page that "This group was created by and for MOPS Coordinators and may or may not reflect the views and opinions of MOPS International." If someone would like to contact MOPS International, they realize that we are not best place to do it.

My group has chosen to seek the Lord in the theme, to trust that He is able, and to supplement where necessary for the dynamic and needs of our group. I hear the concerns, and I agree that some level of concern is warranted. I am placing my faith in God Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, to use this year for His glory.

Wade Burleson said...

Larissa,

I meet with men at 7:00 am on Tuesday mornings, and then enter three different staff meetings from 8:00 till just now 1:00 pm. Phones not allowed.

I'm not sure why your comments are not appearing. This is an open blog, so anyone can comment - there is no moderation.

I apologize for any difficulties you may have had, but can only assure you its not on my end. Thanks for your comments.

Shannon League said...

Sarah and Wade, thank you for sharing this. I am a MOPS member, and I sent MOPS International an email last week about my concerns. I am glad I am not the only one who sent them feedback.

I received a prompt response from MOPS saying they are committed to teaching the truth of Jesus from the Bible. I did not find that truth in the Starry Eyed materials this year, so I pray they hear all of the feedback and become more Biblical in the future.

Laura Humerickhouse said...

When I looked up MOSAIC, the description I found said they are "a spiritual community"...they didn't call themselves a church and God was never mentioned.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Larissa,

I had no knowledge beforehand that the blog would be posted to the coordinators page. I am not on that page. Someone did message me after it was posted. We wish to encourage steering teams and pastors to read Starry Eyed for themselves.

Sarah Wilkins said...

I asked the mops employee through email if the board approved the printed materials. She kept answering that the board supported Mandy 100%. I kept asking if they approved the materials. The next day I got an email that said the board does not approve anything that goes out. They set the parameters of statement of faith then trust the CEO to stay in the parameters.

Cassandra Steele said...

I just wanted to say thank you for this. I wholeheartedly agree with you and am working on my letter this week. Thank you for sending me the contact information for the board members. It is greatly appreciated! If you don't mind sharing, I am wondering how is your group proceeding? I see that you halted membership.

Sarah Wilkins said...

We do not want the packets. We are continuing on without the printed material. I've watched most of the videos. We might use the Jen Hatmaker one as an emergency backup, if a speaker doesn't show.

Jill Wingler said...

How do you go about not receiving the packets?

Sarah Wilkins said...

You don't register your moms.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Official complaints are written to the board and Mandy Arioto. Emails to other people have a high chance of not landing where they need to. If you are on facebook, message me and I'll give you the contacts I have for them.

Gordon said...

If the CEO does not stay within the spirit and the letter of the set parameters of faith, it is the duty of the Board to take immediate steps to rectify the matter. Trust is good but control is better. It would be grossly irresponsible on the part of the Board to permit the canker to grow when it is clearly brought to their attention.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Anonymous above. Mops is just a gateway for mother's to search for more. It is not our positon to judge. Mandy is making it easier for those who are unfamiliar with the bible and church ways to walk into a church & Christianity by not scaring the mom as soon as they walk through the door. Mops is not a Bible study. It's a gateway to open conversation. It's why mops works so closely with churches. It's then up to the steering team and the church leaders to encourage those who are searching for more, not MOPS Inc.
Remember, to add Jesus did and you will not go wrong. Love everyone. That's it. It may not always be easy but it's not up to us to decide who is doing the "right thing". That's up to someone else. If good didn't intend to have Mandy head of MOPS, she wouldn't be there.
Signed,
Mops mom of 2 years +
Mops coordinator for 2 years, then Teen mops coordinator x 2 years.

ScottShaver said...

Dear Anonymous.

Kinda like a "gateway" drug if nothing but peaceful religious synthesis becomes the overall spiritual point/lesson.

Beg to differ with a MOPs Mom/Coordinator, but it is our responsibility as responsible parents and Christians to "judge" such things.

The Hickels said...

I was on the volunteer staff of MOPS International for the past 5 years as well as a leader in my local group before that. I had to step down in May over serious theological concerns over the spring leadership training material. I sent an email to Mandy, several other paid staff members at MOPS, and every board member for whom I could locate an email address. I received 1 response from 1 board member and it was that he had been out of own and wanted to really read my letter once he was back at home and could give it the time and attention it required. That was over 2 months ago and he's never gotten back to me. I did get a call from Mandy. It went smoothly until I shared with her that I had just read her new book and had serious concerns over it. You can all email the board but don't be surprised if you don't receive any answer. I heard a call with volunteer staff in which it was stated that MOPS would not engage in conversation with those who disagree with them.

Those with concerns please know you aren't alone. I pray that MOPS has the blinders removed soon and can see the theological issues so many have expressed to them before moms are led astray.

I shared this post on my FB page for I feel it is spot on. Even though I've shared my own thoughts on the subject there, this post really explained the issues clearly for many of my friends. After posting it, a paid staff member sent me a private message and told me that she was hurt that I shared it without checking with her as she didn't feel it portrayed the truth of the situation. I shared it for the response you said you received from MOPS was almost verbatim to the one I received and other former volunteer staff received and group leaders and pastors received. Keep standing for the Truth!

Sarah Wilkins said...

Thank you for posting. There is definately a pattern. I still think it's worth the time to file written complaints. Something in writing can't be denied. I'm curious what the drop will be in moms who register. I've gotten emails and calls from churches who plan on not registering because they do object to the doctrine in the book and packet.
I do worry that there will be many church pastors, who will reject the book and corresponding materials as contrary to the gosple and their churches belief, who find out too late. A mops mom will buy the book, read it, reject it, and give the pastor a copy. That will put many Mops groups in danger of being permenantly defunded and disbanded. At the least, they will loose trust.

Also steering teams who decide to not register have to scramble. I feel like the last minute release puts the volunteer lay leadership steering teams in a horrible spot. I spent all day, distracting my teething fussy baby and designing stuff for the packets we have to make to replace the ones we aren't getting. Our first meeting is in two weeks. We are scrambling to put out high quality stuff.

I didn't realize staff only saw the materials a few months ago. That's crazy! It also explains the lack of feedback.

Do you have contact information for Chowdry or the Canadian?...I can't remember her name!

The Hickels said...

I don't believe that I do. Also, the list of board members on the website, to my knowledge, isn't up to date. Meant to mention that in my earlier comment.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand the "no basis in gospel" argument. A lot of what Christians do has no basis in the gospel: Christmas trees, celebrating saints for particular worldly items, All Saints day falling after the pagan holiday, etc. But accepted everywhere (mostly).

Sarah Wilkins said...

One had moved and changed jobs, but I found her....are there new board members?

Chris Riley said...

People who have read the book need to start posting reviews with your warning. I searched multiple online bookstore sites and the book is getting glowing reviews with only a few mentions of the lack of clarity about the Gospel.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Chris, that is part of what drove us to this post. Since the release date isn't until the 30th, my reviews that I tried to post (to Amazon etc) would not post. Mops is in the middle of a heavy blitz the buy the book. Moms will buy before they can be warned.

ScottShaver said...

Well...in that case, regardless of content, looks like Mandy will "MOP" up a few coins.

jessi bridges said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hickels said...

I'm sure there are but, unfortunately, I don't have their names.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Here is an update: I spoke with Mandy Arioto on the phone for about an hour. She was kind and gracious. We will stick with Mops this year, but we will not register our moms. We have redesigned a packet to give our moms. We rewrote the 28 day challenge, wrote our own welcome letter, included our own stationary cards, included the book Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson, made nice star key chains, and packaged it all in paper mâché home decor boxes. We will print Mops on our tshirts and advertise under Mops.
Theology and methodology, Arioto and I differ significantly in all the ways that matter. She said she would let me have a look at next years programming early, though I did not request a time frame. I hope that next years' will be usable, but I feel it will be necessary to review it carefully.

We will happily share our packet designs with any church that requests them.

Sallie said...

Thank you for making us aware of this issue. I was concerned by the title and marketing before I even got my kit. I would love to have a copy of your packet design! How do I go about contacting you for that? We've registered half of our moms already, but not our new ones.

Unknown said...

How would one do that?

Sarah Wilkins said...

Email mopsemmanuel@gmail.com , and I'll send materials.

Heather Jerman said...

Sallie is the best MOPS leader! Are you thinking of re-packaging too? Hit me up girl we will knock them out this week.

Heather Jerman said...

Sallie is the best MOPS leader! Are you thinking of re-packaging too? Hit me up girl we will knock them out this week.

Mike W said...

There are many of us who, due to general misconceptions about the role of leaders that most churches share, pervasive abuse and misuses of power we've found in churches in our area, have found the church to generally be a place which we want to avoid. So I can understand why the author of the MOPS materials may have some issues with "the church", so long as it's defined as one of the institutions that are called churches, as opposed to the Church as defined in the Bible, as in all believers in Christ. That said, I understand the misgivings of the author of this article, something does seem amiss.

Anonymous said...

We as a church have decided to leave MOPS Intl. We have had a very large MOPS group for many years, pulling in many ladies from the community. We have had a wary eye for several years now on the direction of MOPS Intl and these latest developments and especially the book - Starry Eyed, which now, most of us have read, have made it an easy decision.

I am very happy that our ladies decided unanimously to leave out of concern for the lack of gospel clarity and the infusion of other, dangerous ideas in the book. The Pastors and Elders are in complete agreement as well.

We have been "repackaging" MOPS for a while now...each year using less and less of their materials.

We are now breaking entirely and renaming our group. We feel that even using the name supports direction and ideas that presents harmful teaching.

Thank you for helping us be aware of where MOPS was going.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Sorry for your struggle. I know it's not easy to repackage with so little time. The last couple of days, mostly on non official mops facebook feeds, I've realized that lots of mops leadership do not actually read the material. This is terrifying. The amount of steering team members across the nation willing to go toe to toe, then say "I haven't read it, but I love mops. I'm sure this theme is Christ centered." ...it makes my heart sink. What Mommas all over the country are going to receive in the mail based off of explicit trust is sickening. I'm glad your group read. That's what I want. I want groups to read it. I also hear a lot of..."I'm sure what they mean is...", or "it will spark discussion"---well if it's sparking discussion because it's contrary to your churches teaching or unclear in its' meaning, maybe you should Honor your church and your pastoral staff and let them have a look and an opinion.

Tammy Murray said...

To those concerned about this year's Mops, starry eyed theme. I am a new corrdinator /leader this year after not having participated in mops for over a decade. After reading through the book and curriculum I was sorely dissapointed. But I chose after much prayer and speaking to my pastor, to use the theme of wonder, hope and kindness and teach as the Lord directs me, and NOT, use the curriculum. I also chose to try and make a difference. I emailed my coach and mops international a list of my concerns and scriptural basis for my concern. I spent time in prayer and made detailed lists. I chose to be mature and welcome a discussion. My coach did call me, she did listen and she did take notes to take to her meeting at mops headquarters. My desire is to be part of the solution. To extend grace, to fight the battle with the Lord armor, and run the race.
I don't know what the our come will be, not do I know if mops will.make changes. But I will keep trying. My coach as told me that by no means must I follow the curriculum. Will my church and I chhose to associate with the mops name next year, I dont know, but I'm willing to try and make a difference for the kingdom of God.

Sarah Wilkins said...

That's encouraging to hear!

Tara said...

I believe deleting posts seeks to deny the fact there are many who disagree. If you are not responding to them...what harm is it to allow them to post/discuss. I believe they/you don't want people to realize how many are upset. It sure doesn't seem it is a small percentage. To me, deleting comments or not allowing them are part of the problem. I would reconsider your position.

Sarah Wilkins said...

I'm not on the coordinators page and never have been. I am on the publicity leaders page, and they left a thread on from last week. That was nice. I think the misunderstanding is that the groups adapting/not using materials are not being considered Mops groups to some of the more ardent supporters. That thread felt good because it let groups looking for other options find others in the same predicament. Finding alternatives also helps Mops groups whose churches want to cease Mops charter. It gives those women an alternative to present to their church without having to remove Mops from everything this close to start date...which can mess up your outreach/enrollment drive. The thread got dicey in lots of instances. One lady was deeply wounded because I believe in original sin.....somehow she felt this was a insult against women with post partum depression...I still don't understand the connection. The point is they left it up even though it was uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

I read your letter and your words concerned me. I've been involved in MOPS for 8yrs & 7yrs on leadership. I personally LOVE this theme! I'll spare you my reasons.

As for the 28day challenge you were referring to only one day excluded someone who may not have a husband or boyfriend. One day.

MOPS is an amazing ministry world wide. It may not be for everyone & the theme is optional. Maybe it's not for you, but I'd be VERY careful how you go about spreading your "truth".

Sarah Wilkins said...

Anonymous concerned writer: I guess you think sexual relations and risqué photographs are ok for the unmarried? To be hip and millennial we'll just have to agree that your entitled to your own truth. I base truth off of scripture which I believe to be reliable and truth no matter what my feelings are. So, my truth won't be changing anytime soon. Since I believe truth is a rock that does not change I'll just keep standing on that. Dare 6: "get frisky...", dare 14: "send a sexy text to your man..." I'm also opposed to dare 17: "guerrilla decorate...public place" Dare 23: "go to confession even if you aren't catholic" I think 17 is against the law, and I think 23 trivializes the catholic faith. I also think the skinny dipping suggestion might get people arrested. Also day 24 entitled Hearing God the truth is "what distracts you the most from being present in your life." The dare is "start a prank war with another family". awesome self reflection instead of focusing on God.

Though I do believe it is none of my business what unmarried moms do, I feel it is wrong for me to encourage them to do that which scripture points out as harmful for them.

Not sure how reading what Mops put out this year and then believing that they believe it is spreading. Id like to point you to many of the five star reviews of Starry Eyed. Many moms love it because of the other belief systems, I happen not to.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to write this letter expressing your personal concerns about the MOPS theme. I'm sure you knew that there would be others who would agree and disagree with your opinion.

Women who attend MOPS come from all different backgrounds. Mothers who are married, unwed, divorced, remarried, & widowed. They all come to MOPS for connection, community, not to be judged and to learn about God.

I find it a little extreme to say that MOPS is encouraging unwed mothers to have sex.

Dare 6: it states "get frisky with your HUSBAND". It didn't say boyfriend. Dare 14: "send a sexy txt". It doesn't say send a naked picture. Sexy means different things to different people. Dare 17:you left out "make a public place a little more hospitable by adding something beautiful" that's not illegal. Could be as simple as flowers. Dare 23:says "or" find someone you trust and say out loud the thing that haunts you. Nothing wrong with that. Dare 1: suggesting skinny dipping isn't illegal. Have you ever tried it? It's freeing! The dare says "skinny dip in a pool, swim in a lake, wade in a river". It only said to skinny dip in a pool. Not in a lake or river.
Dare 24 I'll give you it's not a great suggestion.

You are entitled to your opinion. Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean that my truth doesn't come from God's word.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your balanced response.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Anonymous....our group is one in which all women feel comfortable and but judged. Every year we have at least 10 unmarried women. Who are totally accepted. It's because of our actual experience in being a group for all women that we know exactly how that 28 dare will be interpreted. Either the mom will feel shame and guilt and therefore feel separated out when reading married or she will consider the dare wholly for her. Both of those outcomes are negative. It is illegal to "beautify" public property. Beauty is objective and somebody has to clean it up a month later when it looks terrible, or mow around it, etc. Being naked in public is a crime. I once had a family member who was a game warden. It is not legal.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that you feel the need to take what I've said out of context. I NEVER said that it was ok to be naked in public. I have close friends who are police officers. Nothing in this 28day dare is illegal.

It's unfortunate that you've failed to mention the awesome bible verse that MOPS International has included in the theme. Jeremiah 33:2-3.

Sarah Wilkins said...

That verse is not prominent...it's like a side note. When given the chance to really explore that verse in the materials Arioto chose to go a different way. It is listed in chapter 27 of the guide all moms get which is meant to be read with chapter 27 of the book Starry Eyed. God tells Jeremiah "call to me..." Mandy's writings in both of those places never mention that the reader may speak with God to find his plans and more about him. Instead she writes going to go on an actual pilgrimage to a place, examine our dreams, and quest to find out what "you" might do in the future. It has zero pointing to God and 100% advice on self actualization/self transcendence.

Elizabeth Mindemann said...

Sarah I'm not sure if you are still reading comments but all I can say right now is AMEN and what a relief. I've been in contact with MOPS as well over this years theme as I am coordinating our group and so very uncomfortable with the materials for all the reasons you mentioned and a few others. I got a feeling like I was an odd ball for being concerned. Anyway, I'm trying to find you and connect on Facebook so we can chat. If you have the time can you look me up? Elizabeth Mindemann

Sarah Wilkins said...

I think I messaged you my number from the mops facebook...was that you?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your concerns. I am also a concerned MOPs member and this is causing division in our local chapter. I feel so sick over it and am praying that truth will prevail.

Planning on Heaven said...

I have been a mentor Mom at our church's Mops for 5 years. I read the entire starry eyed book and was astounded at how it fell far short of Christian doctrine. It pointed to self for hope rather than to Jesus.
Page 70-" We're made of bones, water and spirit which remind us of our contentedness to the universe, but we are also made of Spirit, an intangible spark...This is hope the belief that all matters."
Page 33-"One of our main goals on earth is to learn to inhabit our humanity fully. This means we make peace with our needs, which help us us accept our need for each other....nurturing the kind of relationship with ourselves that creates space for being human. Turning toward ourselves...."
My take-
Our humanity is flawed. There is no healing within our humanity. We must point one another to Jesus for healing, for hope, and for strength in our weakness. We NEED JESUS! We cannot find peace with God unless we trust what is BEYOND our humanity. THE Holy Almighty God reaches to us with His help. We cannot find hope on our own or inside of our humanity.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Agree. To be further astounded watch the videos of Rob Bell and John Philip Newell posted in the follow up blog to this one. They are two of the resources mentioned in Starry Eyed. Those ideas are also in their videos along with them making fun of christians for believing Jesus died for our sin.... Argh.

Anonymous said...

This article is worth reading re: MOPS- http://surphside.blogspot.com/2012/09/mops-heads-toward-contemplative.html and info on Erwin McManus' Mosaic Church -http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/01/erwin-mcmanuss-casket.html

Barbara Grant said...

in response to Christiane's question about the Mosaic Church, it is based in Los Angeles and is lead by lead pastor Erwin McManus. There is much criticism on the Internet that Mosaic has cult tendencies, and has this website: mosaic.org. Info about McManus is heres: http://mosaic.org/erwinmcmanus/. Oddly, there is NO statement of faith, discussion of who their staff is or what their ministries are, but rather offers to buy a Mosaic app or "sounds of their tribe" - music albums. These people do not present any information about Christ or the Gospel, but are in fact ace marketers. Arioto's own bio (on PR Web - http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/03/prweb13249691.htm) showcases her marketing talents: "A graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University, Arioto began her career as a pastor in San Diego, California. She later transitioned into a new field as Marketing Director; due to her success in helping brands gain traction in developing markets, she became a sought after speaker on the topic of cultural change and innovation. Featured on MSN, theNest.com, Fox and other major media outlets, Arioto gained a voice as an expert in relationship building for growing companies. In 2010, after growing a successful start-up company, Arioto accepted a position with Mosaic Church in Southern California, where she spent 3 years as a teaching pastor as well as leading children and family ministries. Most recently, she has helped MOPS International reimagine their brand while creating cutting edge resources to reach young moms." This tendency towards slick presentation, and not much Jesus or gospel, seems to be inherent in Arioto's career influences, so it's not surprising that she's carried it into MOPS. The PR Web bio says, "Linda Chowdry, search committee chair, credits Mandy’s time with MOPS as Marketing and Membership team leader in combination with her extensive experience in ministry and marketing within other organizations as critical considerations placing her at the top of the (CEO) candidate list." Again, no mention of her qualities as a spiritual woman - or as a theologically sound Christian. Looks like MOPS has been getting what they paid for.

Sarah Wilkins said...

There is a Vimeo video of Mandy Arioto addressing the changes in Mops. Http://Vimeo.com/179370370/9ac450e4b8 Mops is no longer a Christian worldview/evangelism partner with churches. Their goal is to become two things: 1-an organization of encouragement of niceness and oneness for all women using all belief systems as to not be exclusive or 2: a Bible study mom group. Groups will be able to choose. The problem is my group likes being Christian worldview / evangism group, and we aren't interested in Bible study curriculum from a organization whose theology is all over the place. Watch Mandy yourselves. She's super excited about women encouraging each other in mosques and coffee houses. Mandy thinks churches are the problem. If churches weren't so exclusive then more people would come. The bad news is, the path is narrow and Jesus is exclusive. I think the majority of people leaving the church do so because they never followed Him. The rich man spoke face to face with our Lord and still left. Pharisees spoke face to face with our Lord and chose their own ways of thinking. Jesus wasn't the problem because they left. He said you have to follow him. Some won't. That's where America is. I've walked the streets in other countries where people never get to hear about our Jesus. In America you still get to hear. Mops thinks since people aren't listening AND following, that means we have the message wrong. The gospel isn't helping others. In fact it is nothing we do. The gospel is the story and life of Jesus as recorded in scripture. The gospel is the good news that he died for our sins to make a way for us.

SweetIncense said...

No real surprise about the ideas from Mandy Arioto when one knows about her past relationship with MOSAIC, an emergent church. The Emergents tend to be inclusivists (one can come to Christ in another religion without knowing the historic Jesus Christ) and/or Christian universal reconciliationists (like Rob Bell, they believe that God will keep reaching out to people in hell until all are saved). Emergents like stories, not doctrines, and tend to be hostile to holding to historic Christianity.