Volunteering in the children ministry is more than changing diapers, rocking babies and helping the under 2 ½ year old’s play nicely together. It is a very important ministry to the child, parent(s), and even to yourself. Below are 10 reasons why your involvement is needed, useful, and important.
Following orders. The Bible (Romans 12: 3-9, 1 Cor. 12: 1-31 & 1 Peter 4: 10-11) tells Believers to use their spiritual gifts for the good of the church, to serve one another in love. When you are in the nursery, you are obeying one of God’s reasons for gifting Believers. Your obedience pleases God and blesses the church.
Full attention. Once babies reach a certain age, they get wiggly and noisy. These actions while normally welcomed can cause a parent to be distracted and uncomfortable in a church setting. Having the child in the nursery allows parents to participate in church without distraction.
Great impressions. Infants, even though they cannot talk, and under 2 ½ year olds are forming their first impressions about church, God and people. Many of these impressions stay with them for their whole lives. You have the opportunity to make healthy impressions.
Keep schedule. In the nursery it is easier to follow his/her schedule regarding bottle-feeding and napping. Since we have a separate crib room, the child can lay down in comfort and quiet when it is time for a nap. And when awake and mobile, there is plenty of room, toys, and attention to keep the child engaged and content.
Pastor pastors. Since the parents are in the service and/or small group, the pastor and teachers are able to fulfill their ministry to the parents by teaching, preaching, exhortation, mercy, encouragement, etc. Thus the parents are able to grow in maturity, receive love, and be equipped for service in their home and church.
Prayer ministry. Prayer can take place anywhere: when rocking a fussy or sleepy child, just before you separate the two tykes fighting over the train, as you change the diaper, or even as you briefly hug the little one who tripped over the crumb on the carpet. You have many little opportunities to pray for the baby and his/her family.
Realistic expectations. The more hours you put into the nursery, the more you come to understand that age group. You learn what the normal range of behaviors is. This knowledge helps you relax your expectations for all children in general and for your own in particular. An added bonus is you are a good resource for the parents regarding appropriate behaviour.
Relationship building. In the nursery you have the opportunity to build up relationships with the children, the parents, and with the other nursery workers. Doing so gives you a sense of belonging, of affirmation, of team work, and of being needed. You find that even though you are in a ministry and are giving to others, you are also receiving much in return.
Spiritual influence. The older ones in the nursery follow a simple schedule which includes a Bible story, music, scripture, and prayer. This schedule exposes the children to core Biblical themes like God loves them and they can trust God. This first influence can also stay with the child for their lifetime.
Stay or go? The nursery is the first point-of-contact for many families. How the parents and baby are treated will determine if the family stays in the church. Your commitment to being . . . on time … attentive to baby … friendly to the parent … and to the previous ten points makes a difference in the now and for eternity. I hope you can see how valuable your time in the nursery is. Thank you for your commitment and service