To me, one of the most unappreciated, least-visible ministries in the church is the nursery ministry. Rarely will you hear anything mentioned about this ministry from the pulpit. I have yet to find a waiting list of those anxiously wanting an opportunity to serve in this ministry. It’s a mark-it-on-your-calender special day when a parent hurriedly dropping off or picking up their child stops to say thanks. Perhaps some of this might be due to people removing the word “ministry” from the title and instead referring to this as child care.
But, in looking at this situation, do those in this ministry perpetuate the “child care” way of thinking? In their minds, are they just providing a safe, fun place for children while the “real” ministry is going on in the church auditorium? Has the “not changing diapers but changing lives” has just become a cliché? I began to have these questions one Sunday when I walked through a nursery classroom and the worker said to me, “Pastor Billy, we dodged the bullet this week.” When asked what they meant, they replied, “We dodged the bullet. We didn’t have any babies today.” Needless to say, the spirit of slap came on me. Thankfully I was able to refrain from doing what was needed.
Here’s a radical thought … if this is the nursery ministry, then let there be nursery ministry. Of course the diaper changings and the bottle feedings aren’t going away. But do something radical. Allow the nursery ministry to include actual ministry. Pray over each and every child. Speak God’s Word over the child. Bless them. Jesus’ words are still true. “The words that I told you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63, New Century Version). Use those few precious minutes entrusted to you to impact that child’s spirit and destiny.
Don’t know what blessings to speak over the child? Trinity Church International’s unbelievable nursery director, Elsie Wilson, placed colorful posters around the walls showing over 30 different blessings to speak. Each week, the volunteers could select a particular blessing to speak over each individual child. Want the list? Click this link Nursery Scripture Confessions, print it out on paper with a colorful border, and then place the posters around your room.
Here’s one more key ingredient to moving this important ministry out of obscurity. When the parent picks up their angel, tell them about what transpired during your service. Let them know that you loved praying over their child. Tell them that you loved speaking God’s blessings over their precious child. And, then let the leadership of the church know what is happening. They are clueless until you tell them. Email them a note with a picture letting them see a child lovingly held and tell them that this angel was prayed over and blessings from God’s Word were spoken over that child. I guarantee that this will become “pulpit material” and there will come a new appreciation for a ministry that is helping to set the course for each and every baby and toddler’s future.
I am going to print these. Thank you for the good word.