News flash. Nursery ministry is NOT babysitting.
It's time the church understands this if we want to reach the next generation.
It's time children's ministry leaders catch the vision for nursery ministry and make it a priority.
It''s time we help nursery volunteers understand the importance of what they do.
Nursery ministry should be so much more than just soothing away tears, changing diapers, keeping up with bottles and making rocking chairs rock.
The truth is this. Nursery Ministry is ministry at the most critical time in a person's life.
Here's 4 big reasons why nursery ministry is not babysitting.
Reason #1 - Nursery Ministry is Prayer Ministry.
Do you believe prayer makes a difference in someone's life? If so, then the early years are a key time to pray for a person. The early years are a key time to pray God's promises for a person. The early years are crucial years, when a person needs spiritual warriors praying hedges of protection around them.
Think about the impact the prayers of nursery volunteers can make in the lives of children.
Pray for the child you are rocking.
Pray for the child you are holding.
Pray for the child you are playing with on the floor.
What if...you put Bible promises on your nursery walls and encouraged volunteers to pray those verses over the children while they were with them?
What if...you created a prayer calendar for parents and partnered with them to pray for their babies?
What if...babies and toddlers saw you talking to God as your best friend in the nursery?
Reason #2 - Babies can process information and be impacted by God's Word.
I can tell you whether or not you think nursery ministry is babysitting or not. Here's the test. Do you teach a lesson in your nursery?
Churches that know nursery ministry is more than babysitting teach lessons in their nursery.
You may be thinking, "Why teach a lesson? They can't understand what I'm saying, so what's the use?"
Scientific research reveals something much different than this line of thinking.
A recent study published in Science shows that babies as young as twelve months old are capable of syllogistic reasoning. Through a series of tests by experts, it has been determined that even infants are able to entertain hypothesis about complex events and modify them rationally.
Yes. The lessons should be short. Yes. The lessons should be age-appropriate. Yes. The lessons should use visual pictures. And Yes. It will help build a foundation of faith in a child's life.
What if...you set aside time in the nursery for a brief lesson?
What if...you empowered volunteers to know when they teach even infants, it makes a difference in their life?
What if...you showed babies the Bible each week and told them it is the Word of God?
Reason #3 - You can show babies the love of Christ.
They may be babies, but they are watching our body language. They are listening to our tone of our voice. They are sensing our attitude.
They know if they are being treated as a bother or a blessing. Show them by your actions that they are a gift from God.
They can look into your eyes and know if you really care about them. Let the love of Jesus shine through your eyes and into theirs.
They can hear how you talk to them and know if they are valued. Use your words and tell them they are highly valued by you and by God.
They can observe your mode of operation during the sometimes stressful times of drop-off and pick-up. Model the patience that is a fruit of the Spirit.
They pick up on how you interact with other volunteers. Be an example of Jesus' commands to "love one another" and "think of others as more significant than yourself."
They watch as you sing along to the praise lullabies and worship Jesus. Be an example of what it means to be a worshipper.
They can sense the respect you have for God's Word as you hold it before them.
Reason #4 - Nursery Ministry Impacts the Entire Family.
Nursery ministry impacts the entire family....because parents with infants decide if they are going to return to a church based on how their child was treated and cared for.
Nursery ministry impacts the entire family...because they help lead parent & child dedication, which is a major milestone in a family's life.
Nursery ministry impacts the entire family...because it allows parents to hear the Gospel without being redistricted.
Nursery ministry impacts the entire family...because nursery volunteers can speak hope, encouragement and influence into the lives of parents during drop-off and pick-up.
Nursery ministry impacts the entire family ....because nursery volunteers can influence parents to pray more for their children.
Nursery ministry impacts the entire family...because it can extend what was taught at church into the home.
If you serve in the nursery, may you gain a fresh perspective of what that means.
If you serve in the nursery, may God renew your passion and vision to make a difference in the lives of kids and families.
If you oversee a ministry, make the nursery one of your top priorities.
If you have nursery volunteers in your church...remind them often that what they do is NOT babysitting. It is ministry that matters...a lot!
Join the conversation. From your perspective, what are some other reasons why nursery ministry is not babysitting? Share your thoughts, ideas and comments below.