Donna Perugini Children's Author

Getting Church Nursery/Toddler Volunteers-What Not to Do



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Stats Show Churches Need Nursery/Toddlers Room Volunteers

On one day alone, my blog stats showed over 12 hits for people trying to understand how to get volunteers for the church nursery. That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Those people were just a drop in the bucket showing a church’s needs for nursery/toddler helpers. Are you hoping for steps 1,2, and 3 to get your volunteers?

Check Out This List of What Not to Do

Let’s start a list of what not to do to get church nursery volunteers:

  • Use a crammed space because babies are tiny and can fit in small spaces…they’re just kids after all
  • Chaos with no plan for a small teaching (with helpers for that time)
  • Leave the nursery a mess of unkempt and broken toy pieces lying all around
  • Ignore all safety precautions you put into place at your home like electrical outlet covers and toys to choke on
  • Use guilt to pressure people into becoming workers
  • Have young children (ages under 12) help that end up playing and not helping
  • Don’t put a time limit on length of weeks/months serving in nursery
  • Promise 1 time every 6 weeks and then keep begging the worker to come more often
  • No planning for a rotation of workers, thereby keeping the same worker in every Sunday
  • Have no rules posted for mothers who bring babies with fevers, who changes a baby’s poopy diaper (should be the mother), mothers will get their babies back if it can’t be consoled and parents who need to pick up their child immediately after service (Even the workers want to enjoy other church members before they go home)

Use the Preteens, Teens and Young Adults to Help

It will take the help of a child age 12 (preteen) to be a runner that gets the parent from the service, that helps with a teaching (for toddlers), that helps keep an eye out when your back is turned. If you have someone alone in the nursery/toddler room, you’re inviting chaos and an overwhelmed worker.

Did Your Church Nursery Come Up to Snuff?

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Check through the list and see if your church nursery can ‘come up to snuff. It really isn’t fair to the workers to not have the leader of children’s ministries fully back them with well thought out rules for the parents and scheduling. It also is not right to let just a few people watch the babies/toddlers while the other mothers (or fathers) ignore helping

The Resentful and The  Martyrs

Church is a community of believers who come together as a family. Some family members just don’t understand that we all work together. Church is many workers, not just a few workers that carry the load…some like martyrs and others doing so resenting every moment. And the church leader for these positions may not have listened to the thoughts verbalized by the workers in the nursery/toddler area. Maybe they’ve been ‘burned’ before in other churches and don’t trust any leader’s promises anymore.

They Said You Would Work One Time Every Six Weeks and Didn’t Keep Their Word

Is it so bad to volunteer for one Sunday out of six? I know, you’ve said you would volunteer for that but you might end up being the only one that works in the nursery…forever! Could that really happen in a church?  Well, yes! When leaders have access to a responsible volunteer, they hate to let them go. They don’t want to be begging for help all the time, barely keeping the nursery doors open due to lack of response. Leaders need more than just themselves to make it all happen for the parents. They won’t be able to do that without the body of believers helping.

Next posting let’s cover how to set up the nursery/toddler areas

Comments on what your church does for the nursery/toddler area?  We’d love to hear and share it, so leave your comments on this posting!

17 Responses to “Getting Church Nursery/Toddler Volunteers-What Not to Do”

  1. 1

    I love this list! I’m half tempted to email this to the children’s ministry leader at our church, but sadly I don’t think it would do one bit of good. Our church has become a “Mega” church, we feel pushed out and are looking for a new family church.
    Have a great day!
    Linda Kinsman recently posted..Do you Polyvore?My Profile

    • 1.1

      You are not the first person to bring up ‘Mega church’ here. A lot of people feel pushed out and unhappy when a church trends that way. It’s interesting how a ‘vision’ in a church can change so radically as time goes by. Mega churches are trying to appeal to larger crowds, which tends to water down the message and behaviors to include the newcomers. It is a trend backed by a business plan to grow churches.

      • 1.1.1

        Exactly Donna. Looking back on our 4 years at this church, I can see the shift line, when the church and the Pastor were “discovered” and we went from a large congregation to Mega status.
        Personally, I think there’s some power plays involved as well. It’s sad really, because the Pastor has such powerful and thought provoking sermons.
        Linda Kinsman recently posted..4 Days To ZenMy Profile


          It really is too bad that politics of a religious sort creep into churches. The Pastor there that became ‘famous’ must be distracted to not see what his flock is going through. If I understand anything in Revelations, it’s that Jesus is very much involved with His church and Body members. Churches are not to be molded to the world’s ways of politics and business as usual (Rom. 12:2). The best thing you can do for a Pastor is to pray, “that the eyes of his understanding are opened” to what God wants in His church.

    • 1.2
      sandra says:

      It church is moving in that mega church direction. Seems what that means to me is we are more concerned in bring in the new then in taking care of the ones we have

      • 1.2.1

        Hi, Sandra,
        Thank you for leaving your comment. Yes, some churches do move in the ‘mega church’ direction. Sometimes the Pastor is run by a board that loses sight of what God called that church to do. And sometimes the Pastor loses his the way that God has directed him to go with the church.

        God will still continue to bless His people as much as they’ll let Him. Pray for your leaders at the church…for them to have the ‘eyes of their understanding opened’and for God’s wisdom for the direction of the church. Pray that the Holy Spirit would remind them of the Word of God that is on the inside of each one in your body of believers. Remember that ‘the prayers of a righteous man/woman avails much’.

  2. 2

    I used to work in the church nursery (and then the preschool & Kindergarten class). We did one month on and two months off (if memory serves). There were only a handful of us. Not sure why more parents don’t volunteer. (I am currently not a member of a church. There are three really good ones in my area and hubs and I are trying to figure out which one fits our family best though the pastors at each are FANTASTIC and sound in doctrine. Otherwise, I would most likely still be a nursery/ Sunday school volunteer.) 🙂 Also, each class had a set curriculum and the teachers would make sure it got traded off and all the pieces stayed together. I would ususally prepare the morning of class. (Though a couple times a parent or two would try to drop off their children early when they saw me in the room.) I liked having a set curriculum with the lessons all planned out for me, activities, music, and take home stuff. It even broke everything down into minutes so I knew how long to allot to each thing. 🙂
    Brook (Matt5vse6) recently posted..Bullying: Part Seven – Deliver From the Hand of the Oppressor Him Who Has Been RobbedMy Profile

    • 2.1

      Some parents are very happy and fell justified and passing off the responsiblity of pulling on the oars with the rest of the church. After a long week of hassling at work, they’re tired (volunteers are too) and believe it would be best to just sit in the service (volunteers would like to also).

      When you operate a Sunday School, curriculum is important. Volunteers should not have to come up with their own, but they can always add in puppets, object lessons, etc. to liven up the teaching. Piecing out the arts and crafts, etc. to get help from outside the classroom is a unique way to include people that would otherwise not want to take on a whole class themselves. It’s a win-win.

      You’re very organized when you can break the teaching down into minutes. I ran our children’s church the same way…with no slow times. It was always up until we would come to a more worshipping portion and then we’d give an altar call and ask if anyone wanted to have prayer for any other problems in their lives. Our way of teaching took the 6-11 age group altogether in the same room. We had puppets, object lessons, games, races, passed out goodies as we went along, skits and music. Our team included at least 1-2 others people besides me as the person as leader in front of the stage. It was usually exhausting, but the successes were worth it.

  3. 3

    Oh yeah, I loved keeping the kiddos busy the entire time. 🙂 Especially with them being so young. Sometimes I would visit the older children’s class and they would be sitting quietly in rows, listening intently. My class enjoyed being fidgety. 🙂
    Brook (Matt5vse6) recently posted..Bullying: Part Eight – The Body’s Reponse to a "Highly Stressful Survival Situation"My Profile

  4. 4
    Karyn18 says:

    It’s summer time and kids here in town are actually engage to join a bible study in the church. As early as 5 years old we should convince and encourage our children to learn more about bible. This is the best way to mold them as God-fearing persons.

    • 4.1

      No summer here yet. In many areas across the US, there are Vacation Bible Schools. The kids love the crafts, games, fun and learn lessons at the same time….a huge amount of volunteer work!

      I believe you need to begin teaching your child about your faith way before they even comprehend it. If we’re interested in the bible as parents, your children will likely be interested too. I know there are people who believe you should leave your child alone about faith and religion…let them make up their own mind. If that was the case, I wonder why they don’t follow through on that line of logic and let the child decide what time to eat, go to bed, decide if they even want to go to school, etc.

      Thanks for coming by my blog!

  5. 5
    CK says:

    I think rotating the volunteer jobs is a really great tip. Makes for happy workers 🙂
    CK recently posted..Valentine’s / "We’re expecting!" – Photo shootMy Profile

  6. 6
    Faith says:

    Our church nursery is not up to snuff. I have already mentioned it to the person in charge. She discussed it with the pastor and they basically brushed it off. I volunteer there once a month, and every time I leave with the same feeling that it is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s pretty frustrating, let me tell you.

    • 6.1

      Keep loving on those little ones. Your interaction with them does make a difference.

      If the ‘disaster waiting to happen is safety issues, document them, photograph them (on your cell phone?) and then talk with the head of the nursery again. If there is no response to take care of the issues, then go to the pastor with the info.

  7. 7
    sandra says:

    I was told today that sad as it is churches have to be run like a business

    • 7.1

      There are parts of the church that are run like a business…bookkeeping, office, banking, paychecks, organizing the staff, calendars, etc. Some churches have been hiring babysitters for the nursery due to no participation by the congregation. Each church doing this will have to weigh the benefits and the conflicts themselves. Some will undoubtably end up having families move out of their church due to the lack of personalized care. All areas of children’s ministry should have teachers from their own church teaching and caring for the children.

      I would love to see all churches operating as the Spirit of God would lead them. Unfortunately, we have ‘human factors’ in every church that differ in understanding of the scriptures regarding the church being the Body of Christ, not a business. Each person in that church is ‘knit together by love’ with the rest of that church body and is not a ‘customer’. The Spirit of God will move and lead people in a church setting even if they don’t have the up to date music instruments, sound boards, overhead projection, mugs with their logo on it, etc. All that is required is a respect and love for God, the chance to worship Him freely and good teaching and understanding of God’s Word. Would it really be that simple? I think so…I’me livng it!

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