Who Should Serve in Children’s Ministry?
Ah…the age old question: Who should we recruit for children’s church? When asked who should serve in children’s ministry, some say young mothers should absolutely be required to volunteer in children’s ministry (though I would question if that’s truly in the spirit of volunteering..but more on that later). Some say older women are better suited for serving the youngest ones in the ministry. I’ll be looking at both sides (and some in-between). See if you agree!
Should Young Mothers Serve in the Nursery?
They’re the ones who fill up the children’s ministry. Am I right? Or am I right? I have often quipped to people who make remarks about our family when I’m pregnant, “I’m building the Church!” I am, right? Isn’t that enough? Of course, I jest.
Personally, I don’t mind serving in children’s ministry- most of the time. I served for years before I even knew I wanted children of my own! I like younger people. I love their candor, and their sincerity in worship (or not- there are ones that let you know flat out that they just aren’t “feeling it” and would rather play with toys- I love that, too).
But if you make me…just because I have kids? There are seasons when I’ve had to step back. (I’m in one of those right now! Still serving, just not in a major role.) Life gets too all-consuming on the home-front. I might not have time to spend in the Word of God on a daily basis, let alone, time preparing a lesson and activities for a weekly class. Mamas can get burnt out. They don’t have a lot leftover sometimes. Take this on a case-by-case basis. Mothers with very young children can be susceptible to post-partum depression, extreme sleep-deprivation, or both (among other things). Yes, even Christian women! Yes, even women of faith! Check in with the young moms in your ministry. See how they’re doing. Then, talk to them about their availability. But don’t assume.
What About Mature Women Serving in the Nursery?
Who should serve in children’s ministry? That sweet grandma sitting in the pew? Why, she’s a perfect candidate for children’s ministry! We need a baby-rocker…like yesterday! We’ve got infants coming out of our ears over here! Wait. What on earth do you mean, she doesn’t want to serve in children’s church?!
Again, same point as above: don’t assume. As a children’s ministry leader, I’ve had to approach many people to recruit volunteers for children’s church. I’ve been flat-out rejected many times. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking people who you might think would be a good fit (many times people won’t serve until they’re asked directly- strange phenomenon!) But don’t be surprised when that person you think is a “shoe-in” just looks at you and says “uh-uh”. Not all grandmas like rocking babies. I’ve heard women say, “I’ve raised my kids. I’m done.” I’m not mad at you (er…them!) Some women just feel called to a different area of ministry. You never know what’s going on in someone’s heart or mind or life. Maybe they just don’t have the grace to serve children. I don’t have the grace to do a lot of things in ministry- so why should anyone else be different?
We’re Not Like Smurfs!
We need to not stereotype people and put people in boxes. We are not Smurfs! (Oh my, did I just use a Smurf analogy in a post about the Church? Sure did. Let’s not get hung up on that, okay?)
From Wikipedia: “Papa Smurf is the leader of the community. Other Smurfs are generally named after their personality disposition, for example, Brainy, Greedy, Vanity, Lazy, Clumsy, Hefty, Jokey, Dreamy, Grouchy, or their profession, for example, Poet, Actor, Handy, Harmony, Farmer, Clockwork, Painter, Tailor, Miner, Architect, Reporter, Timber, Barber and Doctor Smurf.”
If you’ve never watched, or don’t remember the Smurfs, Grouchy is a grouch. Jokey Smurf…well, he tells jokes. All. The. Time. He’s notorious for playing pranks on his fellow Smurfs. Vanity? He’s the one who is never seen without his hand-held mirror. My point is, we are not only shaped for one thing. We are multifaceted individuals, made in the image of God. Don’t assume that because a person has children, they want to be with children even more. Don’t assume that the kindly woman would love nothing more than to gently wipe a toddler’s nose and softly sing praise music in their ear while they drift off to sleep. Sure, those people exist in the ministry. But not everyone fits in that box!
Who Should Serve in Children’s Ministry?
Everyone! Young, old and everyone in between. Female and male! That young, quiet, unmarried woman? Yes. That woman in the “in between” years who still has older teens at home? Yes. That young dad? Yep, him too! Even youth and older tweens can assist in some ways. And think outside the schedule: come up with ways people in your congregation can serve in children’s church without actually being in a class. That can always relieve some of the burden too. And again, don’t be afraid to approach someone who might seem unlikely. There might be a new member who keeps to herself at first, and you might discover that she ran the children’s ministry in her previous church for 20 years! You just never know what gifting and experience may lie in an individual. If you lead the children’s ministry, here are some ways you can show support to children’s ministry workers and make it more inviting.
What do you think? Did I miss anyone?
Becky is a wife of eight years and stay at home mom to three young children. She aspires to encourage women in Biblical truth on her blog, Happy Christian Home.