How is your nursery ministry doing? Lots of babies? Fewer babies?
Nursery ministry is a key indicator of the future of a church. Without the next generation, a church will eventually cease to exist.
What is happening in your nursery matters. If you are reaching young families...young couples, your nursery should be thriving.
At the same time, we have to keep in mind the current overall birth rates, since this can affect your nursery attendance. Let's look at the latest birth stats.
The U.S. total fertility rate has been declining for the past 10 years. The number of women giving birth has hit a historic low. In 2016, the general fertility rate hit a record low of 62 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In 2015, it was 62.5
One factor is this. Millennials, who are the new generation of young adults, are getting married later. The average age for men is 29 and 27 for women. So far, Millennials are much less likely to have babies. There is speculation about whether they are just postponing parenthood or simply choosing to not have children at all.
Interesting enough, while the birthrate for younger women has decreased, the birthrate for women in their 30's and 40's has been increasing.
Another interesting factor to watch and keep in mind is the number of unmarried women who are giving birth. This includes single moms and mothers who are cohabiting. In 2015, 39.7% of all babies born in the U.S. were born to unmarried women. This also varies a great deal according to race and ethnicity. Women of Asian descent had the lowest proportion of births to unmarried women (12%), followed by whites (28.4%), Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (47.7%), Latinos (52.5%), American Indian or Alaska Natives (68.1%) and African Americans (69.7%).
If we're going to reach today's babies and their parents, we must be a church that celebrates diversity. Everyone should feel welcomed and accepted, no matter their social status, age, ethnicity or marriage status. We must also be place where single moms can come and belong even before they believe.
While there are fewer babies being born, this doesn't mean there still aren't lots of babies and their families that need to be reached with the Gospel. Gen Z, today's kids, are still the largest generation on the planet and we must be focused on reaching them.
If you want to see your nursery filled with babies and your church connecting with young parents, then here are some articles that can help you. My prayer is your nursery will be blessed with lots of little ones. Make it a priority. Your church's future depends on it.
4 Big Reasons Why Nursery Ministry is not Babysitting
Why Nursery Ministry Makes All the Difference
How Nursery Volunteers Can Make a Huge Impact in Children's Lives
Nursery Volunteers...Don''t Underestimate the Big Impact You Make
Your turn. The floor is yours. What birth trends are you seeing in your church? How can we reach more young families with babies? Share your thoughts, insight and ideas in the comment section below.