The concept of the church nursery is as old as the saying "It takes a village to raise a child." Establishing one offers the members of your congregation not only the service of providing caring, trained, professional guardians for their children while they are occupied with pressing business, but also lets them rest assured that the faith culture of the church will continue to be imparted on their kids even in their absence.
Running a nursery, however, is a difficult financial, legal and logistical endeavor. Does your church need a nursery?
The Minds of Children
When children literally grow up in the church, they are far more likely to carry their faith with them for the rest of their lives. More than just growing up in a churchgoing family or even participating in Sunday school, children who are raised in church nurseries are immersed in the faith from their earliest childhood memories. Their caretakers—second parents, in a way—are members of the faith community, and the church becomes their second home. This is the backbone of the family ministry concept.
The Minds of Adults
One of the most prominent organizing principles of the Christian faith is to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Establishing a church nursery gives a remarkable opportunity to adults to nurture and care for children—all while sharing the faith with the church's youngest minds and guaranteeing a future for the church.
The Family Concept
Establishing a church nursery depends—in reality—on the need and desire for one by the members of your congregation. If there is a large enough contingent of followers, however, who have young children who need to be minded while they're at work or away on business, setting up a nursery may be the best thing you can do for you church—and its members.
The Bible has countless examples of family ministry, and the concept of family ministry—making your home the center of your faith—is arguably the best thing a family can do to strengthen the family's spiritual center. But in reality, parents have to work, and if their kids are too young for school, they must be in the care of guardians. If the guardians can extend the concept of family ministry while the parents are away, the service your church nursery offers is twice as good.
Whether or not to establish a nursery in your church depends on your financial situation, your logistical capabilities and the needs of the members of your congregation. But if done right, it can strengthen the bonds of parishioners and plant the seeds of the church's next generation—especially in an age when far too many kids grow up to be adults who stray from the church.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about religion and profiles top business leaders for companies such as MediaShower.com.