Nursery, is it really a ministry?

There may be some people who just view the nursery as a place to put infants so they are not disruptive and so adults can focus on the worship service and the message. I’m sure that there are those who opt not to serve because they see the nursery as a place that contains crying children and possibly messy diapers. In fact, you may have heard about a sign that is posted in church nurseries which reads, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51, NIV). Of course using the verse in this context is incorrect as the passage is referring to the rapture. I encourage you to read it in context, but it shows the view many hold of the church nursery implying that it is not a ministry, but a service the church provides. It saddens me when those in the church view the nursery in such a way.

Building a foundation of faith

So when does God begin to work in the life of an individual? In Scripture we see that God knows us in the womb, even before He forms us in the womb! (Isaiah 44:2, Jeremiah 1:5) We even know that infants in the womb react to events outside of the womb (Luke 1:44)! If you need more proof, then all you need to do is ask any of the young mothers in our church who are with child or have recently given birth and I am sure they will attest to the fact that their children respond to music, voices, etc.

So at Hanover Fellowship, we see the nursery as a time to begin to build a foundation of faith alongside of the family. Did you know that in the nursery we do not have any books other than books that talk about the things of God? It is not because we are opposed to other medium or stories, but we believe that the nursery should work to help families build a foundation of faith. Would you want the older children to watch a Disney film during children’s church, or learn about the things of God? I hope you chose the latter. So why should it be any different in the nursery? While there is no formal structure, those serving in the nursery are encouraged to do the following:

  • Read a book to the children that talks about God’s goodness and the things of God
  • When the children are quiet and playing, to take a moment to pray for each child and their families
  • With older children, talk to them casually while coloring about what they are coloring and how it relates to God

In doing these things, we are working to introduce the things of God to them, assisting families in the discipleship of their children.

A Ministry Extension…

Nursery can also be considered an extension of the Greeter Ministry. As young families visit, one of the first things they see is if Hanover Fellowship cares about children and the nursery is often the first glance that they see evidence of that. So the nursery is instrumental in welcoming visiting families.

Sacrificial Service

Those serving in the nursery are also serving sacrificially. While we may not think about it, they are giving up the fellowship of other believers in the service. As we are greeting each other and worshiping together, they are serving with the children, working to lay that foundation of faith. They either miss hearing the message all together, or they listen to it via the web site or later via a CD copy. This ministry of serving in the nursery is so important to them, that they are willing to sacrifice that sweet time of fellowship once or twice a month. Through all of this service, they may never see the fruits of their ministry, another sacrifice. How will God use these children in the future, after they have worked with families to lay this foundation of faith.

Final thought…

So here at Hanover Fellowship, the nursery is truly a ministry to these young children and their families and we see God at work in these children. Those serving are giving of themselves sacrificially and I am personally thankful for each and everyone of them. I would like to ask you to do a few things:

1. Take some time and personally thank and encourage those serving in the nursery (their names are listed each week in the bulletin)
2. Pray for those serving in the nursery and for the children (and their families) in their care
3. Rejoice with us in all that God is doing in the nursery

God is working in the nursery as we minister to the children there. Do you want to be a part of what God is doing? Prayerfully consider serving in this ministry. If you are interested in being involved or have other questions, please let me know.

In His Service,

Bill Gunter