Sometimes people ask me what I do for my job.

Me: I oversee the children’s ministries at our church.

Them: Oh so you are in charge of the nursery?

Me: ?

This question has always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it is just me, but when I think of the “nursery,” it has nothing to do with what I do for a living. When I think of the nursery, I think of:

  • A few very old ladies who were paid by the church to keep a handful of children alive for hours on a rotational basis every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night.
  • The plant section at the hardware store
  • The newborn baby room on the Maternity Floor at the hospital.

Semantics, I know. Here is how I actually answer them.

Me: We do not have a nursery at our church. We have a small group environment for preschoolers and elementary aged kids.

Them: Oh, so you have a school?

Me: ?

By this time, I generally give in and tell them that I do in fact oversee the nursery. It is just not worth the time and I am ready for this awkward conversation to be over.

Nine years ago, when I started this job, we were a portable church. 95% of the volunteers were college students and EVERYONE was on a different schedule:

  • Some served once a month
  • Some served every other week
  • Some even served every other month

It did not take me long to learn a few things. In our preschool environment:

  • Kids did not know their “teacher’s” name
  • It was chaos. We were herding cats. The children were most definitely in charge.
  • I do not think we even had activities or curriculum. It was survival.

Groups? There were no groups? No one was thinking about groups.

A few weeks in (tearful weeks), I started reading Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering. I had an “a-ha” moment and I knew what needed to happen. We had to move to consistent weekly volunteers in ALL of our Sunday morning family environments. At this time, our student ministry had weekly small group leaders, but preschool and elementary did not. This was the moment that everything changed. EVERYTHING!

We are a different church now. Nine years later, we have experienced multiple building projects and explosive growth. It was a lot of hard work and I have to tell you, it was 150% worth it. If I have learned anything all these years, I would tell you that the ONLY way you can keep your sanity with a small paid staff is to move to weekly group leaders. I would even venture to say that the very BEST way to impact the lives of kids and their families is to move to weekly group leaders. In every age group.

What about the nursery?

There is that word again. ?

Especially the nursery (or preschool as we like to call it)!

There are a lot of reasons why you should move to weekly group leaders in preschool. I could tell you that it is more efficient, which it is. I could tell you that it is more strategic, which it is? I can tell you that it is actually easier, which it is. However, one of the most important reasons for moving to weekly group leaders does not have anything to do with any of these reasons. I will tell you all about that reason in tomorrow’s post.