Friday, February 28, 2014

Safe Nurseries + Safe Equipment = Welcoming & Effective Ministry!

It really does matter if the nurseries in our churches are safe places for babies. If they are not clean and safe, then parents won't - and shouldn't - leave their children in the nursery. If parents aren't able to leave their children in the nursery, they very well may not come to church and we lose the opportunity to impact a child's life from the very beginning; which means we lose the influence we are able to have on an entire family. Nursery ministry is not just about caring for babies - although this is a very important part of a nursery ministry. Nursery ministry is about ministering to the family - to parents, babies and siblings. Effective nursery ministry is a tremendously important part of the church - and it needs our attention. Jesus said to let the children come to Him - we need to be absolutely certain we are ready with a clean, safe and welcoming place for the littlest of these children!

There has been much in the news for the past few years about safe toys, baby furniture and equipment and while we need to pay close attention to this for our nursery ministries; nursery safety goes beyond the items in the nursery and encompasses everything about our nurseries. Over the next several days, we’ll take a look at safety standards for toys and equipment and how to learn of safety recalls, but let’s begin today with our nurseries themselves. We need to ask ourselves; what shape is our nursery in?

Clearly many churches are not able to renovate old buildings or build new ones, but we all can be sure to take simple, basic steps to make our nurseries as clean, safe and inviting as possible! Grab some parents and nursery volunteers and ask yourselves the following questions!
  1. Are rooms brightly lit, windows clean and walls freshly painted with lead-free pain – no cracks/chips?
  2. Is there a sign-in security gate/table/counter where parents are able to provide important baby information and receive a security slip/form/ticket – which has to be turned in when they return?
  3. Is the nursery area open past the security check-in station so parents are able to see their child as volunteers care for him/her?
  4. Is the nursery clean?
  5. Do the toys, furniture and equipment look well cared for and safe?
These are just some basic considerations; easy areas for any church to evaluate and make simple changes as necessary - a can or two of paint, bright light bulbs, weekly cleaning and basic security! In my next post we will look at safety policies and consider resources to help us with the "ministry" part of nursery ministry!

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