Moms of secondary students and young children are the last to have a lot of time for relaxing and fellowship. With that in mind, First Baptist Church Hamilton is offering just that: Any mother with kids — newborns through age 18 — is invited to join MOPS and MOMSnext to get some "me time" in, with Jesus at the forefront.
The third Tuesday of each month is a time for mothers to come together for breakfast, crafts, a Bible devotion and to hear from a guest speaker. The MOPS and MOMSnext groups meet at 9:45 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. at the church, 1501 Pyramid Hill Blvd. People who attend do not need to be members of FBC Hamilton, and childcare is provided free of charge.
There is another Bible Study opportunity for mothers of children at 9:45 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. MOPS and MOMSnext co-chair Julie Yantes says there is also child care provided for that.
On the fourth Tuesday of each month, members of the groups are invited to meet up with their children for play date, Yantes said.
"We do Jump'N Jacks, or go to the library, or just play in the gym at church," she said of some of the play date activities.
The mother-focused groups also meet on Wednesday nights while their children attend the various Christ-centered programs for youth at FBC Hamilton. And there are sometimes meet ups on Friday nights — those are without children to allow moms to re-energize and get some more of that important "me time."
Yantes says at the monthly meetings, moms "are able to have actual conversations and eat our food and drink our coffee while it is still warm. We go through a lot, and it's nice to be able to find other moms who are going through the same things we are."
People who are interested in more information on MOPS and MOMSnext at First Baptist Church Hamilton should visit firstbaptisthamilton.org/mops.
"It is a lot of fun and it's great to be able to count on these relationships with other moms," Yantes said. "It's nice to be able to have someone to talk to who is going through the same things you are. We also do so much outside of MOPS as a group."
First Baptist Church Hamilton is currently in a Sunday series of sermons regarding the modern family. What does your family look like? What does it mean to be a "typical" family? A "modern" family?
Statista.com says a typical American family has three people on average. The number of family households with children younger than 18 has decreased over the years, which shows a decline in the birth rate. That maybe even shows decline in the economic conditions of the U.S., Statista states.
There are 83.09 million families in the U.S., and 2.24 million marriages. (The number of U.S. families with a single mom is 15.4 million, and a single dad is 6.42 million.)
The average family (three people) has a median annual income of $72,707.
In 2018, there were about 61.24 million married couples living in the United States, according to Statista. In 1960, there were only 40.2 million married couples living in the U.S. But population growth means this is still a decline.
"The rate of marriage has decreased from 9.8 per 1,000 of the population in 1990 to 6.9 per 1,000 of the population in 2017," Statista says in its married couple report.
At last count, the divorce rate stood at 2.9 per 1,000 (in 2017). In 1992 that was 4.9 per 1,000. But the divorce rate is different: It's lower because of fewer folks getting married. Decrease marriages, decrease divorce.
Millennials are less likely to get married, which will keep the marriage rate on the decline. One of the reasons for fewer marriages among millennials?
Statista reports it is a decrease in religious affiliations. Other reasons include the lack of belief in lasting marriages and a higher number of unskilled men. (Women are less likely to depend on a man for trade and care.)
With this information in mind, let's look at the demographics of Christianity. In 1948, at least 69 percent of U.S. residents identified as Protestant. In 2018, that number has dramatically decreased to just 35 percent.
The U.S. has seen a significant decline in the number of Christians, and thus a decline in the number of people following God's call for marriage and family.
The landscape of relationships in America has shifted. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans are simply staying single longer — the median first-marriage age is 30 for men and 28 for women as of 2018 (a U.S. Census Bureau statistic). But youth is not the most affected group here: Divorce rates have soared among those 50 and older. For every 1,000 older adults, 10 are divorced (that's up from five in 1990). And among those 65 and older, the divorce rate has tripled since 1990.
The good news? Love stays at the top of the list of why Americans get married, according to Pew Research. It's not money, and it's not desperation. It's love! In fact, 9 in 10 Americans list it as their reason for marriage. It's ahead of companionship, financial stability and legal rights. That is something to celebrate!
Want to read what the Bible says about divorce? Here are some helpful passages.
“Now to the married I command, yet (not I, but the Lord): A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” — 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
This week, Christian comedian John Crist performed at the Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati. Many folks who attend churches in the Tri-state went to see him. It was a hilarious performance with jokes that entertained and delighted. But Crist got serious for a moment and said this to the audience:
"Christians, can we not be so uptight? Read the end of the book. We already won."
That's how Crist justifies finding humor in everything: As Christians we should feel safe knowing the finality of our physical lives will be met with an eternity in Heaven. What a great comfort!