In my experience in church ministry, the nursery has always been the toughest ministry to staff. That, of course, is not without reason. Let’s be honest, it is a tough ministry. You have to deal with crying babies and children who are not yet convinced that sharing is a good thing. And oh the noise from the toys! Roaring dinosaurs, baby rattles, alphabet games, and all the repeated crashing of toys hitting the ground. I’m convinced that time goes slower in the nursery than in the rest of the world. But even with all its challenges, I still love the nursery. I really do. I don’t always enjoy it, but I love this ministry. And here’s why.
First, and this is probably the most obvious, it is a way to minister directly to kids, even babies. The nursery is not baby-sitting duty. It is a gospel ministry. During this time, we have opportunities to teach kids about God and his gospel. We get to love on them in the name of Christ, which we believe helps them associate God’s gathered church with the loving fellowship of his people. Even holding babies is a chance to minister because, not only do we care for them in love, but we pray for them that God would protect them and save them. So, nursery ministry is an opportunity to minister to kids.
Second, I love it because it is a way to minister indirectly to parents. Nursery ministry allows parents the opportunity to focus their hearts and minds exclusively on the Lord in Bible Study or in the Worship service. It enables them to give their full attention to God’s Word. Even as we encourage families to worship together, the nursery helps many parents in making that transition. It is also a way to love on parents. Jesus commands us to love one another and this ministry is a way to obey Jesus’ command. We demonstrate love to parents by demonstrating love to their kids. Nursery ministry provides an opportunity to express love to parents in a tangible way. So, I also love the nursery because we get to minister to parents.
Third, I love nursery ministry because I believe Jesus would do it. Jesus’ example is one of service. He said he came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). As Lord and Teacher, he knelt down and washed feet (John 13:14:15). So, I believe that the head of the church would serve in the nursery ministry. I’m convinced that the one who said, “Let the children come to me” (Mark 10:14), would minister there. And that helps me to view the nursery in a more biblical way.
Lastly, fourth, I love the nursery ministry because it helps us as a church to fulfill our mission. This is important because I think a lot of people fail to see how nursery ministry fits into the big picture of our mission. We have a tendency to become short-sighted so that all we see is the ministry itself, or worse, the difficulty of it. But the nursery ministry is a vital piece of the puzzle. We “put the riches of God’s glory on display” by loving on kids and parents. It is one of the ways that we show hospitality to our guests, assist parents in discipling their kids, instruct kids in the gospel, and worship God by serving others. Thus, it helps us to live out the gospel and to disciple others in the gospel.
Well, these are just four reasons why I love the nursery even though it is a tough ministry. I love it because it is a ministry to kids and parents. I love it because Jesus would do it. And I love it because it helps us to fulfill our mission as a church. Even with all its challenges, I believe if we could renew our minds and see this ministry rightly, problems staffing the nursery ministry would disappear.