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.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Nursery Team!

nursery-workersOften when we come stumbling into to the church nursery with hands full of kids, books, and bags, we are celebrating survival. We made it to church.Yes we began the day as a two-touchdown underdog. But we are here! Praise the Lord!

And as we bolt for worship service after a hasty “goodbye,” we often give very little thought to the nursery workers who just inherited are sweet, little children bent on destruction.

While we celebrate the power of the gospel a few hundred feet away, those brave nursery workers we left behind begin to face the never-ending onslaught of toys, pee, temper tantrums, bottles, and crackers. Not too surprisingly, most nursery workers cannot wait for the service too end and for us to come back.  “Oh where are the parents?”

While there are things that our churches should do (such as insisting that nursery workers regularly attend church services) to maintain the health of their nursery program, we parents can also do a lot to help keep our church’s volunteers happy and healthy.

Here are 5 ways, we can count nursery workers as more significant than ourselves (Phil. 3-5).

1. Keep Sick Children at Home

I think it is great that you want to be a church. But if Sally is contagious and feeling ill, she does not belong in the nursery. She could infect the nursery workers and the other kids. By bringing your sick child to church, you could cause your friends to miss work, to incur doctor bills, and to spend sleepless nights.

Now I fully understand that we don’t always know when our children are sick. Not too long ago, my kids infected a few other families because my wife and I misread their little bodies. But if we know that our children our sick and infectious, we should not risk our neighbors health. We should count others as more important than ourselves and keep our little deranged steroid users at home.

2. Be Prepared

Again, I know this is hard. However if we can prepare well for nursery, we will save our kids and our nursery volunteers some heartache. If little Bobby is wheat, soy, lactose, corn, and water intolerant please send some snacks with him. Yes, our churches love your kids, but they cannot anticipate the specific dietary, discipline, and behavior needs of every child. If you can send food, toys, or information that will help your child last the 1-2 hours that he is in the nursery please do so. Don’t expect your church to have the resources of high-end private hospital.

And just in case you are wondering, the answer is yes. Yes, I have arrived at church without my son’s cup and diaper bag. I totally get no one is perfect. This not a rule but more a heart attitude. Instead of having a heart that demands your church’s to accommodate your child’s every need, seek to equip your nursery to minister well to your child.

3. Come Quickly.

Friends, I get that adult time is special. But if we are going to put others first, we must not impose upon the nursery team. They often have families and their own kids. The longer we wait to pick up our kids, the longer we keep others from adult conversations and from caring for their own families.

I know some parents assume the following, “Nursery workers love kids. What is wrong with giving them a few extra minutes with my darling little guy or girl?” Think of it this way.

I knew of a valet who was once responsible for a parking a brand new jaguar sports car. It was so beautiful, strong, and sleek that the valet could not help himself.  About 18 miles, 15 minutes, and a broken axle later, he put the car into the restaurant’s parking garage that was a mere two blocks away. When the patron, got his jaguar back, he noticed that the changes to his car. He was furious. And the valet: he was out of a job.

Friends, the men and women in the nursery have agreed to watch your children for a few blocks.  Thirty minute joy rides go are not part of the package. Please respect your nursery workers and make a good faith effort to pick up your children quickly.

I understand we will be late on occasion. I once dropped my son off in the nursery during our 8:45AM service and totally forgot about him. I was actually locking the doors to our kids’ center a little after 12:30PM when some very gracious nursery workers brought to me. Hashtag Fail!

There are also times when we may need to talk for 30 minutes to encourage a friend who just loss their mother to cancer. I get that and support such actions. But in general, we should always seek to quickly get our kids.

4. Say, “Thank You”

We know our kids. We love them. They are amazing. But they are our kids. Full of our faults and bad habits. They are little sinners. When you pick them up, thank the workers who just spent an hour or so with them. Let the volunteers know how much you appreciate them sacrificing for you and your children. The volunteers did not have to come and play with your child. But because they love Jesus, they came. Please, say thank you!

5. Serve

In today’s age of safety, I know not everyone can serve. There are interviews, background checks, and other hurdles to jump over.  You may not be able to serve in your church kids’ ministry. I am not trying to guilt trip you into anything. But, the best way to understand what the typical nursery worker experiences is to spend some time in their shoes. Spend time changing other kid’s diapers, wiping up other kids’ spills, and listening to other kids’ cry. By being in the nursery,  you will gain a better understanding of how much others have sacrificed for you and your family. You also will gain a better understanding of why your child’s diaper wasn’t changed or why your baby’s feeding was a little late, and why people are happy to see you pick up your child.

We should never forget that nursery is an awesome blessing. And we should always want to interact with the nursery workers in an understanding and loving manner. We should always seek to think more of them and less of us. Who’s with me?

3 Ways To Reach New Parents

young-families

To reach the next generation with the gospel, we have to reach parents. And one of the best ways to reach parents is to value the things they value. The apostle Paul said it this way,

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them (I Corinthians 9:19).

To win people to Christ, we must be willing to serve them and to meet their needs. While our acts do not add anything to the gospel, they make gospel proclamation clear. In other words, the message exists but it needs a strong signal to connect with people. If we want to have a strong signal, we must seek to serve others. We must seek to serve young families. In my experience, young families are looking for three things after determining a church’s love for the gospel: cleanliness, security, and relationship. To reach young families we must have clean facilities, promote safety and value relationships.

1. New parents love the smell of Lysol. It proclaims to the world that your church takes germs seriously. New parents also love seeing fresh paint, clean new toys, and fresh books. When I first came on staff at FBCE, my wife and I visited all the nursery rooms. The new born baby room had an external broken pipes in the ceiling and holes in the wall. We both looked at each other. As our eyes met they quietly screamed, “There is no way, we are leaving a baby in here.” Thankfully FBCE understood this principle. The church now has a brand new facility with a great baby room. But the point still remains. If new parents think your facility is dirty or see that every book in your nursery room is ripped in half, they probably will not come back. We will lose opportunities to share the gospel if we have dirty facilities. Value cleanliness.

2. Most every parents comes to our church doubting our ability to care for their child. This lack of trust is not our fault nor indicative of poor parenting. It is human nature. Parents love their kids and rightfully slow to hand over some of that responsibility to the church. We must win the parents’ trust. We must prove to them that we our facilities and programs take their children’s safety seriously. We must show them that we love their kids from beginning to end. Towards that end, we must run background checks and vet our volunteers. We must have check-in and out procedures that keep track of the kids at all times. We must keep proper ratio’s in place at all times. We must make sure 4th graders are not playing dodge ball in the room while babies crawl on the floor. If parents do not think our church is safe, they will not return. Value safety.

3. Young parents value relationships. They want to feel connected. They want to be part of the church. If we want new families to come to our church, we must be ready for them. We need to great them with a smile, help them get acclimated to our church, and walk them to their kids’ rooms. And while we teach and watch their kids, we need to take the time to get to know the kids, asking questions about their hobbies, school, and family. We also need to respect the parents’ wishes if possible. If they want you to get them after little Johnny has cried for 10 seconds, then we go ahead and page them. When the parents come back, we need to tell the parents how much we enjoyed meeting their child mentioning specific details about the child’s day and/or lesson. And it would not hurt for us to ask them to lunch! Value relationships.

All three of these things are ongoing. We are always cleaning, improving safety and building relationships. You never “arrive” in kids’ ministry. But if we spend time, money, and energy cleaning, protecting, and building relationships, we will have more and more chances to share Christ. Are you ready for new families?