You've heard it. Admit it, you dread it. You try and get out of it. I know I have. But if you are a parent that attends a church, then sooner or later you have to face the dreaded "N" word. NURSERY. I know, I know, you change diapers and wipe boogers all week, Sunday is your day to escape that! So WHY in the world would you want to go to that with SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILD?!? The INSANITY of it all!
Ok, I say that in all humor, really, but let me give you my perspective. I used to sing in the choir. I used to do my once-a-month dread-it-and-get-it-over-with nursery duty and then breathe a HUGE sigh of relief as it was finished. Then I felt the Lord leading me to join the nursery staff more often than my once-a-month deal. At first, I was like, seriously Lord? I wipe bottoms all week and now you want me to be in there MORE? I started working in the nursery more and seriously fell in love with it. I fell in love with the faithful volunteers who are there EVERY WEEK, even though they don't have any babies in the nursery anymore. I fell in love with my sweetie babies who I have the privilege of watching them grow up, just like my own children.
See here is why I had a change of heart. Our church has a HUGE service every year around Christmas. The nursery is the LAST place people want to be for that service, because we have some pretty cool people come speak (Kirk Cameron, John Smoltz [go Braves!], Bobby Bowden, and this year is Nick Wallenda, the tightrope walker). We have a TON of people from the community come and have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Last year, I went to help in the nursery, and there was a couple who brought down their son, who was about 3 years old. He did NOT want to come in at all, but I took his hand as he cried, and his mom said "he's never been apart from me". She was VERY nervous to leave him. I didn't blame her! But I assured her that he would have loads of fun, and we would text her if he needed her. She waved at her little boy, and went to service. After service, she picked him up, asked how he did (great, by the way), and then with tears streaming down her face told me "thank you for taking such good care of him. I have never heard anything like that before in my life." Wow. Talk about a wake up call!
Here is my take on why nursery workers are so very important and vital to a church. Yes, it is nice to drop your kiddos off, and have a break from them. Yes it is important for you to be fed spiritually. But our church exists for the community, to reach lost souls. These big events are for THEM...The unsaved and the unchurched (thank you Cassi for that perspective!). We can give up one service a month (or more, nursery directors will GLADLY take any time you want to volunteer!) so that an unsaved mother can sit through a service and hear the Gospel preached. Honestly, we will never know the impact we could have, just by loving on some babies. There may also be those parents who are saved, but this is the first time in a new church, and they are nervous. Having a reassuring face take their child and care for them can be a huge help in allowing the Word of God to enter their hearts. Then there may be a child who is in your care that doesn't normally get loved on, or held. That hour or two that you take to show that child the love of Christ may make a huge difference in their life.
No, it is not glamorous. You might even get spit up on your clothes. But the smile or the snuggle that you get from that sweet child is seriously worth it. And knowing that someone might have come to the saving knowledge of Christ makes it even more worth it.
So the next time you hear that dreaded "N" word...think about it...what is one or two hours a month compared to all of eternity?