Trish and Javier were amazed when their toddler recited her simple Bible verse and sang the new song about Jesus. Other church nurseries they had visited had been safe and warm, but offered scarcely any spiritual input! Two-year-old Kaeli was like a sponge at home—always eager to learn new things. Trish and Javier knew she could grasp simple spiritual truths at the church nursery, too. Grateful for the very basic Bible instruction for Kaeli, Javier and Trish looked forward to coming back the following Sunday.
Of course, the church nursery must be a caring, nurturing place that addresses the physical and emotional needs of babies and toddlers. In addition, your nursery can also be a thriving, fun spiritual harbor! Your nursery can be both a safe and spiritually nurturing environment. The simple guidelines below will help you create an atmosphere that encourages spiritual growth in young children.
Bathe your nursery facilities in prayer, offering each area to God for His special use. Ask the Lord to make every inch of the room conducive to the children’s growth in love and understanding of truth. Pray for the children—whether they are present or absent. Pray for their current as well as future needs. Imagine how God will respond when your volunteers are regularly praying for the toddlers they play with, sing to, and hold!
Make your room a place of perpetual worship. Play gentle worship music (either instrumental or with lyrics). Remember that worship includes all your actions. Consciously choose wholesome, positive decorations, pictures, and even toys that bring the Lord honor. Display posters with Scripture verses that encourage and inspire your volunteers. Show parents that God is your ministry’s first priority and that your love for their little one flows from the Lord.
- God’s Word
Your infants and toddlers can benefit from Scripture just as young Timothy did (2 Timothy 3:15). Of course, the Bible is the focal point of each lesson, but enhance your room with Scriptural posters, bulletin boards, and songs. Also, encourage your volunteers to recite Bible verses they have hidden in their hearts.
Babies and toddlers learn very early that they can trust their parents to meet their most basic physical needs. You and your nursery co-workers can expand the trust and faith of the little ones. The seeds you help sow now may not bear fruit for many years, but all the children in your care will sense and internalize your confidence in God’s love, grace, and sovereignty.
Rather than forcing a child to participate in an activity, show a positive attitude and let him or her know of your unconditional acceptance. Usually, as a young child becomes familiar with the routines of your classroom and the open hearts of your volunteers, he or she will become eager to interact.
Above all, encourage your team of volunteers to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Trust Him to work in unseen, glorious ways!