You’re going to church…super! Your children are in the church nursery and you’re glad you get the break. You’ve been asked to participate in the nursery schedule…but you wanted a break! You and all the other moms want a break. “Many hands make light work”is an old Ukrainian proverb with real truth. The system works best when everyone participates. Here’s a young mom’s positive take on the situation. My guest blogger is Becky of ‘A Happy Christian Home’.
A Great Children’s Ministry Starts with You!
When I became a member of my church eight years ago, it was not based on whether my children would like it there, or whether they would thrive in the children’s program that was offered. I didn’t have any children yet! I wasn’t even married at the time. That was nowhere close to being “on my radar”. Of course when my son was born over three years ago, all of that changed. If he was going to be in the nursery during the church services, I wanted to be involved somehow- I wanted to know what was going on. So, here are some tips that you, as a mom of young children can use for being more “hands-on” in this area.
1. Why Children’s Ministry?
First of all, let me just say that your church probably doesn’t intend for the church nursery volunteer or children’s ministry volunteers to be a baby-sitting service for your little ones! What?! Okay, I know you don’t think that, but sometimes we just drop them off and run so we don’t miss any part of the message, right? Most ministries consider it a serious responsibility to help parents teach and train their little ones in “the way that they should go”. Sometimes, the nursery is understaffed, and it will be difficult to implement the programs that they desire to incorporate. The workers are busy breaking up a scuffle between two toddlers, or trying to wrangle all the children together for the lesson (this can be quite a feat if the grown-ups are outnumbered!) Which leads to my next point:
2. Volunteer to Help in Your Children’s Ministry!
Have you heard of the 20/80 rule? Where 20% of church volunteers do 80% of the work? I think in my church and probably countless others, that’s a pretty accurate statistic. Could you realistically volunteer one or two services per month? Probably. You may be able to do even more! And that would be a huge help to the three church nursery volunteers that are in the nursery during every single service. Ask what you can do. I’m sure they would welcome your help! But don’t overdo it, mama! You know how much you are capable of, and if you have a newborn at home, maybe now is not the time to head up the Easter Pageant committee or something. Trust me, probably nobody will tell you when enough is enough! Don’t be afraid to say “no” if it’s just too much for you in that season. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have little ones- don’t add to that by biting off more than you can chew! Just- don’t be afraid to say “yes” either- you may find that you really enjoy being with the little ones and sowing into their lives. What if I’m not “called” to the children’s ministry? Regardless of where you are called, it’s very likely that if you volunteer your time in the children’s ministry, God will “promote” you to wherever it is you are called simply because you are willing to be used in whatever area may be in need of help. On the other hand, if there’s another area of ministry that you think would be a better fit for you, volunteer there- you may be freeing someone else up who can work with the little ones.
3. Offer Your Support as a Church Nursery Volunteer
Perhaps, if you aren’t ready to commit to serving in that area, you can ask if you can do something on a smaller scale, like bringing in snacks or juice for the children to share, or providing supplies for the crafts or something. Little things like that make a big difference! Another way to support the children’s ministry program is to go over the lesson with your child throughout the week. Usually children are sent home with a lesson and a coloring sheet or something along those lines. Talk to them about the lesson they learned and look for everyday opportunities to enforce the principles behind the story. Sometimes the older children have a Scripture to memorize, so you could work on that with them too! This of course is in addition to the teaching you are already giving at home.
4. Avoid a Negative Attitude as a Church Nursery Volunteer!
Maybe something isn’t going quite like you think it should in the children’s ministry. You’ve discovered that (gasp) the children have been watching videos during church (or you don’t like the discipline methods being used, or the snack being served, or whatever). Well, like my pastor says, “negatives don’t go down, and they don’t go around”- meaning don’t complain to other parents about something you don’t like- and certainly don’t tell your family members or co-workers (or whoever you talk to outside of your church) about your disappointment. In humility, go to the teacher, and express your concern. If for whatever reason, you can’t do that, talk to the pastor. Perhaps if you are dissatisfied with what you’re seeing this could be a clue that you should offer to step in and provide some assistance. (See #2) But on the same token, don’t make it your life’s goal to overhaul the children’ ministry- make sure you aim to serve in a spirit of humility! However you choose to get involved, just know that your involvement matters! “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23) Parental involvement on any level is the key to a great children’s ministry- and the “church experience” will be one that benefits the whole family.
Your thoughts on helping some way in children’s ministry? Leave your comments and share this post with your friends, family and church by clicking on the icons below!
Becky is a wife and stay at home mom who writes at her blog Happy Christian Home. She is a former staff member and current volunteer at Compassion Christian Center , where she has been a member for eight years.