5 Things Habits Of Effective Nursery Workers:

nursery-workers1. Listen To Your Leaders:

To be a great servant, we must be a great listener and doer. We must make every effort to listen to our pastor. If he ask us to arrive 15 minutes early, we make every effort to arrive on time. If our nursery director tells us not to pull out the blocks today, we follow her advice and leave the blocks put up. To be a great nursery worker, we must listen to and follow our leader’s directions.

2. Listen to the Parents:

To be a great nursery worker, we must listen to the parents. If they ask us to give junior a bottle at 9:15AM, we should do everything we can to give him the bottle then. If they ask us to get them quickly if their child will not stop crying, we go get them. If they tell us that little Sally will be fine, we let little Sally cry it out until it becomes obvious she needs mom or until her crying become so disruptive that the wellbeing of necessitates her removal. Again, we may not always agree with the parents. But if the child is not being harmed, we need to die to ourselves and our pride and listen to the child’s mom and dad. After all they (and not us) have been charged with caring for the child. We need to respect the parents. We should listen to them.

3. Listen to the Kids

When we come to nursery, we need to arrive with a kid focus; our goal should not be to catchup with the other adults in the room. Our mission should be to learn and to play with the kids in our room. We should talk to them about preschool. Learn about their favorite colors. Play dragons, farm, and restaurant with them. And if they are too small to talk, we should study the babies, seeing what makes them happy or upset. As we learn which babies like the swing and which ones like the bouncy seat, we will be better equipped to care for the children. And as the babies become happier, we demonstrate the love of Christ to both the little people and their parents. We show the onesie wearing souls that we love them. And we show the parents that we care about them enough to keep their kid happy so that they can make it through a sermon.

4. Talk To Your Leaders

After listening well, we should seek to speak well. We should seek to mention concerns and problems to our leaders. For example, our church has restroom signs above our restrooms because a nursery worker noticed that those signs were missing. All the rooms, had nice big signs jutting out from the wall. But the bathrooms did not. By speaking to me, he made our church better. No children’s pastor or nursery director can anticipate or catch every problem. By speaking well and with love, you can make your nursery and your church more welcoming, safe, and friendly. A good worker is willing to address concerns.

5. Talk To The Parents:

When parents come to the door to pick up their child, capture the moment. Tell them something their child did well. Brag about how well the slept or about how well they shared. My wife and I love hearing how our kids did in nursery. All parents do. And as we talk to the parents about their children, we begin to build relationships with them. We begin to lay a foundation from which to share the gospel or from which to talk about church membership. By reaching out to parents with hospitable speech we have a chance to make much of God.

Are You Listening To God?

listenAre you ready to listen? And I am not talking about getting your children to be quiet or about improving your relationship with your spouse. That kind of listen is good and paramount. But there is an even more important listening that needs to take place. We need to listen to Christ.

When Jesus took his disciples up onto the mountain before his death, Peter, James and John were in a stupefied awe. And rightfully so. According to Mark 9:3, they had seen the glory of Christ. The text records that Jesus’ “ clothes become radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” Something magnificent was going on. And that’s not all. Moses and Elijah show up with Jesus and begin talking about Jesus’ upcoming death. Talk about a wow moment. Although, the disciples did not know fully what was going on, the they knew that something amazing was occurring. As the miraculous event ended, Peter blurted out, “Rabbi it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  Seemingly, Peter always has to say something. And so, he did.

And, he begins well enough. Peter recognized that experiencing Christ more fully is a good and gracious thing. Hearing the gospel preached is a blessing. All Christians should long to know Christ more. All should long to see the glory of Christ.

Unfortunately for Peter, he does not stop there. He goes on to offer to build three tabernacles. He essentially wants to do something for God. Peter wants to help establish the kingdom of God. And while building tabernacles and memorials that point to the glory of God is perhaps well intended, Peter’s thoughts miss an important truth. Christ does not need us.

Jesus does not need our programs, our large church buildings, and our schemes to validate his ministry. Jesus is not sitting on his throne of glory thinking, “If only they would feed 1000 people or if only they would build a new facility, then my name would be great.”  Christ does not measure his greatness by our actions.

Instead of speaking, instead of trying to work to moralize the grandeur of God on earth, we are told to do something else. We are told to listen. In verse 7, we read, “And a cloud came over them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘“This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”’ We need to listen to Christ.

We buck against this idea. Because we like Peter, want to push God forward with human hands. But God does not need our soup kitchens, our buildings, or our T.V. shows to reach the world. Christ is tabernacling with us. He has sent the Holy Spirit to bear witness to his son. Christ reveals himself daily in the Scriptures. Instead of us trying to vindicate God by showing the world how successfully our programs and ideas are, we need to listen to Christ.

We need to believe that salvation comes through the cross alone. We need to listen to God. We need to admit that God is the authority on God. We need to listen to the Son. And then we need to obey. There is no other way. God requires nothing more and nothing less. Jesus is speaking. Will we listen?

Let Your Kids Be Your Guide?

forget Jiminy CricketOne of today’s new and up and coming parenting trends is to replace Jiminy Cricket with your kid’s voice. When it comes time to evaluate the value of same-sex marriage or time to choose which charity to support, increasing number of parent are asking their kids to be their guides. Since my little guy can only communicate through grunts and cries, I am not all that tempted to jump on this latest bandwagon. But this new development in the world of postmodern, American parenting poses a great question for us to think through: “Should our kids be allowed to speak into our lives?” The simple answer is both yes and …no. Let’s take a look. 

Negative Words

First, let’s get the negative out of the way. As Christians, we should not surrender our decision making to our kids. Once while working as a server, I witnessed a 5 year-old order for her parents. She asked for refills and dictated the pace of the table for the entire evening. In addition to being awkward, such a situation is not healthy. As Christian parents, we should not let our preschooler order us around for the following three reasons:

  1. Our authority is God. It makes sense for non-Christians to make kids their authority because they’ve rejected the Bible and the idea of real truth. For secular parents, it ultimately makes little difference whether they choose their middle schooler or Buddha to be source their source of wisdom. It’s all relative. But as Christian parents, we claim to have direct access to truth through the Bible. If we want to know which charity to support or decided whether or not divorce is bad, we should look towards Jesus. God has all truth and all power. Why would we turn to anyone else for spiritual and moral guidance? “For you are complete in him who is head over all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).
  2. God calls parents to guide their children. We even see this example in the Trinity as Jesus follows the will of God the father (Luke 22:42). Moreover, our perfect savior obeyed his human parents (Luke 2:51). If ever there was a kid who could legitimately tell his parents what to do, it was Jesus. And yet he still followed his Mary and Joseph’s wishes. What God models, we are to follow. All throughout the Old and New Testaments children are told to obey their parents. And parents are charged with instructing their kids. To be faithful parents, we have to guide our families (Col 3:20; Eph. 6:1-4; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6)  
  3. Our kids will fail us. If we make any person our source of wisdom and happiness our lives will end in despair. Because all kids are touched by sin (if not control by it) and lack the day to day knowledge of life (like how to use a credit card), our kids will fail us. If anything, surrendering our adult responsibilities to our kids is cruel. We are asking them to make decisions they are not prepared to make. Perhaps they can order a meal that we like, but most cannot balance our budget or determine right from wrong on their own. When we place unreasonable expectations our children, our family life will be filled with frustration, chaos, and bitterness.

Positive Words

Now for the positive! Although we should not allow children to control our lives, we should invite them to speak into our lives for the following three reasons:

  1. Though my little man can’t say a word, God has used facial expressions, the words of my younger siblings, and the comments of other children to convict me of sin.Kids are super perceptive. They can often spot hypocrisy as quicker than free candy in the grocery store.  After all it was a little boy in the famous fable who first said, “The Emperor has no clothes on.” When our children do speak up, we need to be humbly receptive and repent. Accepting rebukes is one of the many listening earways by which we can encourage our children’s hearts (Eph. 6:4; Col 3:21).
  2. God uses children to proclaim truth. Think of the Naaman’s servant girl and or Samuel who all pointed people to God (2 Kings 5:2-3; 1 Sam 3:10-21). As parents we need to realize that God can and does deliver messages of hope, salvation, and comfort through children. My wife and I experienced this first hand as several children encouraged our hearts through signs, notes, and kind words as we mourned the death of our first son.
  3. And Lastly, we should want to hear from our children because we are not God. We all misunderstand people. We will think our kids love dance with in reality they would rather taking guitar lessons. If we always assume we know what our kids like without talking to them and discovering their god given interests, we cannot help but make them bitter. Let’s encourage their hearts and get to know our kids as they change and grow.

Although we should never appoint our kids to be our conscience’s guide, we also should never shut them out of our lives. God’s given us children in-part to help us grow in our faith. For this to happen and for us to by godly parents, we need to listen to our kids without surrendering to them.