Why do we do Children’s Ministries the way we do? That’s a question I’ve been asked many times over the years regarding homegroups providing Sunday childcare. Frankly, it’s a question I’ve asked myself many times as well! I’ve never heard of another church that schedules everyone involved in mid-week Bible studies to serve in Children’s Ministry on Sundays a few times throughout the year. At times it can be a logistical nightmare and require a lot of effort from a lot of people to make happen.
So, why do we do it this way? One of our fundamental beliefs at SBCC is that we are a church family. As such, we are each called to care for our family. This is why at baby dedications we ask our congregation if we will promise to do all we can to spiritually nurture that child. We believe that the children in our church family are all of our responsibility. One of the ways we can tangibly experience our family responsibility is through serving in childcare. Not only can it bring a lot of joy and fun but it is also a chance to meet members of our church family we might not have met otherwise. Doing the unglamorous jobs that come with caring for children allows us to practice humility, patience and kindness, and forces us outside of our comfort zones which enables us to experience Christ in new and unexpected ways.
A recent article from Christianity Today describes why our church has chosen to hold fast to this practice of including homegroup in childcare even as we’ve grown and changed over the years. In Nan Dolce’s article “Are Smart, Educated Women Still Called to the Church Nursery?” she articulates our philosophy behind Children’s Ministry at SBCC.
She points out that we can all subconsciously have a mental hierarchy of importance as to the service opportunities at a church which can lead to valuing the more high profile roles with adults as more important than those with children. After Dolce graduated from seminary she realized that she wrongly felt that the best use of her education and training would be with adults. Wouldn’t all that education be “wasted” on children? As she explains throughout her article, she realized the need to prioritize ministry with children and youth and for churches to pour our best into them.
Dolce’s article describes well the gift that can come from serving with children:
We should think about how our training might serve the smallest in our midst—and provide an opportunity for us to grow in and display Christlikeness. As artist and pastor W. David O. Taylor writes, “to serve in the nursery [is] a way to love the most vulnerable and least able to return the service…. To perform such ‘family chores’ allow[s] us to be family. … [We] might acquire the virtues of humility and generosity in such service.”
What a blessing that at SBCC we hold a high view of children and ministry to children! We have such an incredibly diverse and accomplished group of Children’s Ministry leaders: teachers, businessmen, construction workers, professors, accountants, therapists, repairmen, computer specialists, scientists, lawyers, doctors, women, men, experienced, brand-new, college students, retired, parents, singles. The list could go on and on. The bottom line is, none of these people are “just” serving with children. They are functioning as ministers to the youngest members of our church flock and they take that role seriously and pour their all into it.
In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus welcomed and blessed children which means that caring for children cannot possibly be for the “least qualified,” but is instead a role for which everyone in the church should strive to be worthy. So, the next time your homegroup is scheduled to serve in childcare, remind yourself that this is lofty and holy work you are doing. You are not just babysitting or enabling parents to sit in the service where “real” ministry is happening. You are doing the work of ministry with those who are the future of the church. You are not “missing church.” Jesus is just as present in the children’s rooms as he is in the sanctuary. It may look different, but it is still worship with the church family. Let’s all continue striving to make SBCC a church family where children are valued, loved, and taught well, all to the glory of God.
(To read the full article, see: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/september/are-smart-educated-women-still-called-to-church-nursery.html)