Sometimes churches find it hard to fill the church’s nursery or toddler schedule. While some don’t want to miss out on the worship service or their own classes and some want a break from their own children, perhaps there is a deeper reason that ties into people’s views about what happens in these departments.
Too often serving in this capacity can seem too much like babysitting. Changing diapers, feeding, and playing with the children doesn’t feel like a vital contribution to the work of God.
This position may be seen as no more significant than freeing up parents to attend classes and services. But, workers in the early childhood division of your church do have a pivotal role in the spiritual development of children. This is an impressionable age where a good foundation can be laid for the future.
What is a Foundation Builder?
Think of how critical the foundation is to a building. Everything else is built upon it. Nursery and toddler workers have the opportunity and privilege to be used by God to lay a good spiritual foundation in these young children’s lives by how they interact with them.
Foundation builders talk with children about the Lord as they play, change diapers, feed them, etc. They sing to/with them, pray over them, etc. They let the crying child know he is loved by God and them. They point to objects or pictures on the wall or look out the window to nature scenes and let the children know God made everything. They play music that teaches children about God. They read books that provide a basic understanding of God and His ways. This is the minimum responsibility of a foundation builder.
Foundation builders remember Jesus’ words, “Let the little children come to me …” (Matt. 19:14). They serve with Jesus’ heart for these little one. They follow His approach. Upcoming posts will further consider these qualifications. Subscribe to this blog to receive e-mail notice of new posts.
How to Get & Maintain Foundation Builders
1) Recruit people to be foundation builders. Approach recruitment of these workers as seriously as you would any other Bible teacher. Be clear about the expectations for them to be foundation builders and not mere babysitters. Lay out the case for this important and strategic service.
2) Train nursery and toddler workers to be foundation builders. Don’t assume they will do more than care for basic physical needs. Train them for this important task.
These resources could be helpful:
- Let the Little Children Come Workbook
- Guided Conversation Worksheet
- Play: It’s How Kids Learn Worksheet
3) Train them about the characteristics of this age level so they know how to work within the abilities of children.
This resource could be helpful: Early Childhood Age Level Characteristics Module Download
4) Provide tools for them to be foundation builders. It’s hard for nursery workers to maintain this approach when they aren’t provided with music, books, toys, room decor, etc. that provide a natural segue to pointing children to the Lord.
5) Hold them accountable to be foundation builders. Nursery workers can all too often get into the mode of standing around talking to one another rather than being down on the floor talking with and playing with the children. They can all too easily get lulled into thinking this approach isn’t making a difference. Provide constant reminders. Get feedback. Continue training them.