Last week’s post we talked about FWBC Postpartum Pals: Who We Are and, as promised, today we are going to go over how to start a postpartum group in your church. I hope you’ll enjoy this post if you have an interest in helping postpartum moms in your area. Let’s get to it!
1) Talk to your Pastor and/or Pastor’s wife. Your Pastor should know about any special group you are forming within the church and approve it. Explain your desire and what your plans are. Create your Etiquette for Volunteers. We adopted Mrs. Anderson’s and just added a few more tips. Make sure every volunteer reads and agrees.
2) If your church has a Facebook Group for members, post your desire to start a support group and why you feel it is important. Ask interested ladies to join you for a meeting after one of the services to get contact information of each volunteer and any initial planning you have in mind. Also, it’s very helpful to have at least 2 ladies as the main points of contact/admins. This way you can share organization duties & cover time away needs like vacation or admin maternity leave! 😉
3) Start a Facebook Group for your support group. Set the group as a Closed Group. You only want members of the group who actually want to be members seeing the posts within the group for privacy’s sake. Add your volunteers and expecting moms from the meeting and your Pastor’s wife so she can see all the posts, even if she will not be directly involved with the group. Then post the group information on your church Facebook Group with an invitation for the ladies to join. You don’t want to just add people to your private group without their permission and annoy anyone or open up the privacy of the group more than necessary to persons not really interested in being part of the support team. If Facebook is not an option, you can just print flyers and do things the old school way. We also have printed flyers for those not on Facebook. In addition, I’m considering starting a Newsletter for our postpartum pals that are not on Facebook to keep them in the loop better.
4) Decide what services you will offer. Things like a meal train for a certain number of days, phone/text and internet support on the private Facebook group, light housekeeping, freezer meal party before birth to help stock the freezer, laundry service, errands or other needs as requested and volunteers are available. Post in the Group the services offered & for volunteers to tell you what types of help they would like to provide assistance to moms so you have an idea on who to call for what service.
5) Use a database for volunteer and expecting mom information. Make available to both admins. We use Google Sheets. Keep a Pinned Post in your Facebook Group of Expecting Moms so you can easily update and everyone in the group can see who is expecting and the approximate due date, and if they would like services. Not every mom will want services. Create a sign up sheet for moms to select what services they would like. We use Google Docs for any forms we create and share among admins. Keep fliers and blank sign up sheets in the Facebook group files so that volunteers and moms can print forms to spread the word and fill out if they need to. It is SO much easier to get all this information before birth, both for the admins in organizing moms postpartum help and for mom who is exhausted from just having a baby and may be feeling overwhelmed/overstimulated at this point. We want this to be as streamlined as possible to create a sense of security for mom and be a true blessing for her and not a frustration during this time of adjustment.
6) Use Mealtrain.com to organize the meal trains. It’s an incredibly easy and free website to use. They do have upgraded services to help you organize more detailed tasks for a fee but I do that part of the postpartum services manually. Once you have a meal train ready to go, post it on your Facebook Group. Text or email link to any volunteers not on Facebook. Wait a reasonable amount of time to give your actual volunteers time to sign up. If your meal train is not filling up as expected/needed, post the link in your church Facebook Group to see if any other ladies at the church would like to sign up.
7) Enjoy working with moms & volunteers in caring for one another postpartum! You will make new friends and strengthen those friendships you already had. It is truly a blessing to be part of supporting postpartum moms!
Phew! This is a really long post! And there is of course more to it as you go along, but these are the main basics to help you get started.
If you want to create this type of ministry and need help along the way, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy & even excited to help you! This is really a fun ministry to be a part of!
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