The Most Important Job in the Church

bible reading challenge day 93

Coffee on the veranda with soft music playing in the background. A beautiful sunrise and sweet fellowship in preparation for Sunday worship. Yes, this is what Sunday mornings are made of.

Ahem. Maybe in my dreams.

most important job

Sunday mornings are a whirlwind around this house. Oh, I prepare the night before- clothes are laid out, all children are clean before bed, sometimes even the breakfast is already prepared…Yes, we have our routines and rituals in place to assist in a smooth lets-get-out-the-door experience. Whether you use your own experiences or a little imagination, if you look at our family photo on the right, you can guess that it takes a little work to get everyone to church each week.

Because we all know that the shoe fairies come out at night and hide shoes just so we have to spend 15 minutes extra looking for one. Only one. The other is in plain sight.

By the time I pull the van in the church parking lot, my hope is for no wind or rain- does terrible things to my hair. And have you ever tried to fit a minimum of 5 kids under an umbrella with you? Guaranteed bad hair day right there.

I wave to the parking lot attendants- rain or shine, they are faithful. (They probably think to themselves: How many kids do they actually have in there?)

Greeters watch as our family-swarm, huddle, whatever you want to call it… buzzes through and I smile and shrug- with no free hands to shake because, well, bags, a purse, a child or two.

Then there’s the check-in procedure.  We have this thing down to a science. Praise the Lord for the church’s automated computer system. Just scan, print and go. Ahhh- population management- got to love large family logistics.

Each child goes to class, happily, willingly… my children have always loved church. No matter when or where- it’s simply a benefit from taking them regularly from the time they were born.

With one exception – the separation anxiety phase.  

Ahhh yes. Ages 2 and 3 alike, no matter the church, no matter the room, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will cry. (Are you supposed to bet in church?) Because they simply want…Mama or Daddy. And typically this crying will stop shortly after Mama and Daddy turn around the corner, but initially it sounds as though they are surely dying.

With my experience of this particular childhood phase, I calculate the “window of opportunity”- you know what I’m talking about- that small frame of time assessed by your toddler that determines whether they willingly walk through the door or calmly get passed through the door opening to the volunteer OR decide to throw a very large, rather HUGE, toddler-sized FIT. Which of course, must include kicking and screaming.

Last Sunday, that window arrived. I braced myself for the tears I anticipated. After several weeks of the separation anxiety phase, I was prepared for the ultimate toddler temper tantrum. And then it happened.

The sweetest angel from Heaven in the form of a dear woman with graying hair casually looked my toddler in the eyes and in a relaxed, comforting tone, asked her:

Are you ready to play?

At which point, the toddler girl assessed this woman’s eyes and asserted her to be a fun, warm person. And for the first time in weeks, she willingly was passed over the door to enter her Easter Sunday class.

Without a toddler-sized fit.

My mama’s heart wanted to go around the corner and have my own praise and worship session right there in the foyer of the church.

Only it was 9:01 and the first worship song had already begun.

As I entered the auditorium, ready to soak up all the Spirit offered, I thought for a moment about how this wonderful nursery volunteer had no idea what she has just done for me, a tired mama who pours as much as I can into my family and friends and ministry through the week…but who needs to fill up each Sunday morning.  So I can continue to pour out. And I thought for a moment:

This dear lady had no idea that at that moment, for me, she held the most important job in the church.

And then I thought of the entire church worship experience…our pastor, the choir, the worship leader, the band and orchestra, the media ministry, those parking lot attendants, the greeters… and I realized

No matter who you are…

or where you attend…

the most important job in the church should be

the one you are doing.

 

What do you think the most important job in the church is?Anybody relate to toddler-sized fits at church? Hope you’ll leave a comment- I’d love to read that I’m not the only one!

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh the memories. My now 15 year old would start sobbing on the way to church, she was 3 at the time. “Will you stay with me? Pleeease mommy. ” And the grandmotherly teacher would intervene when we arrived. Love that woman to this day.
    The flip side is my 9 year old, with the breathing issues, mom or dad stays, much to her dismay.
    Bless their little hearts, and the mamas that love them.

  2. says

    Thank you so much for posting this – I was asked just this week to help with Children’s Church – and was so hesitant because it’s been a lot of years since I had small children – my youngest is 30 and I have no grandchildren yet. I need to know just how important this job is!!

  3. Justine says

    The most important job in the church is the one who sees you sitting in the service and Knows you are hurting and just comes and sits by you and puts her arm around you, she doesn’t say anything she just loves you.

  4. Cindy says

    I too, left my crying, firstborn in our church nursery. But when my second child was born I kept her with me during Sunday School and church. She would sit on my lap during Sunday School. During church we would sit in a room at the back and she would also sit on my lap. I made sure it was not a ‘play time’. We would stand and sing the hymns and other things that we could participate in. Usually, since it was naptime, she would fall asleep in my arms. When she was 2 years old she said that she would like to sit in church with Daddy and her brother. I told her she would need to be quiet and she was. She sat on my lap during church, as she had been trained to do from the beginning. I’ll never forget hearing a woman in distress over her middle school aged child who had grown out of Children’s Church – how would they be able to behave in church? It really did not ruin my week, or church service even to have my baby with me in church. The time goes by so quickly when they are little – why stress them out by abandoning them in the church nursery?

    • says

      Oh Cindy. I didn’t abandon my child. I gave her the opportunity to enjoy church at her own level. Each parent is entitled to do what they feel is best for their child and I’m so glad that you enjoyed having your little one with you. But for me, I know it is best for my babies and toddlers to attend classes. It is a GREAT thing for children to learn to sit in church and enjoy it. But on a regular basis, the sermons are designed for adults, not for children. I love that they have the opportunity to learn God’s Word at their own level with other children their age.

      • Cindy says

        Abandon might have been too strong of a word, but when you described leaving a child crying for it’s parents, that is what came to my mind – not a happy child going into his class to learn with children his own age. I just wanted to mention for others to see that there are alternatives to leaving your children at church. And they are not so terrible as “I need to leave my child, so that I can be fed God’s word.” One can enjoy hearing the Word of God with a baby in their arms. The seasons of life are short, especially having young children. Before one knows it they are happily attending Sunday School with their friends. I think it is up to parents to choose what they think God’s will is for their family, but some might not consider keeping their babies with them – and I wanted to share what a blessing it was for me.

    • Jodi says

      I agree. For me, I feel called to keep my son (18mon) with me. I still breastfeed, so leaving him in the nursery is difficult. It has been a journey of discovering how to worship, hear a sermon and pray while wrangling a toddler, but it has helped me learn how to continually do those things throughout my day. I am not against nursery settings or Sunday school, I just feel that church should be a family experience with all members partaking in worship together. I’ll admit sometimes I end up in the nursery with my son so we can take a break and play! My philosophy on homeschooling extends into other areas of life, especially church-but that’s just what works best for my family :)

  5. Alisha says

    I agree the most important job is the one you are doing…but bless those sweet workers in child care on Sunday mornings. I really try my best when I’m doing the 4-year old room to really enforce how much fun they’re going to have and play with others. Hailey has (for some unknown reason) hit the same phase you’re talking about since she moved to the 3-year old room. I actually took a pager last week and haven’t since she was 6 months old I think. Our opinion (like yours) is to put her in there because we worship better with her there and she gets more out of her class time than being with us. Can’t say enough about how much I love the sweet workers who take the crying kiddos and calm them down less than 5 minutes later! :)

  6. Katie says

    You spoke to this mamas heart this morning! My hubs and I have 3 kiddies and volunteer 2-3 times a month in our youngest kids church class. He is 2. It’s such a good reminder that everything we do we do unto Him and that the least (littlest) hearts matter so much! The gift of teaching is not mine, even though we homeschool. And my sweet hubs was the instigator of our volunteer time. He LOVES children and really enjoys his time being able to minister to them. I needed the reminder that even though it’s not necessarily my gift, or my visions of beautiful Sunday worship don’t evolve Cheerios. (LOL) My husband and I are being blessed beyond measure with the gift that parents are entrusting their little ones for to us to teach, cuddle and pray over. Thank you!

    • says

      Bless you Katie for being willing to stretch yourself in the process!! I’ll be honest in saying that after teaching hours of piano lessons a week to children and caring for my own clan, working childcare at church is challenging for me. I wish I could tell you that it is a joyous time- but I think that’s why God has always had me play the keyboard or be involved in church in other ways. He knows my talents and skills, as well as the times to use them. ;)

  7. Christina Beebe says

    My son, now 11, has never had a problem with seperation anxiety. It was always me. He would take off (at a run) down the halls of the church to get to his Sunday school class! He didn’t even want me to walk with him! I did catch up with him to open the doors (as I panted) to each class! In Kindergarden Stephen told me (as I was crying) to leave that he would be fine.

  8. says

    I may not have all the gray hair you spoke of, but I am that 2/3 year old Sunday school teacher. I’ve seen all the fits and tantrums and crocodile tears (that do stop very quickly after mom leaves). And I wouldn’t be any where else!! To watch them go from tears of anxiety to little hands in worship is the most amazing thing!! I didn’t jump at this volunteer opportunity, God had to push a little! OK, maybe a lot! But I am so glad he did! It’s had been a blessing I never would have imagined!

  9. says

    We had one who would start crying when we passed a certain house that he knew was “on the way to 2′s class”.
    It was so hard to drop him off crying…but so needed for me too…to wrestle with knowing he was in a loving environment where he would learn and have saltine crackers and sing about the Arky-Arky…and I would ACTUALLY focus in church. It was also good for him…to hear me say that I promise we’d be back soon and his teachers loved him…and then for him to see us follow through.
    I don’t have babies any more, but I still volunteer in the nursery because of the gift it was to me when we had so many littles. Love this fun post sweet friend!

  10. says

    I love that my son is in an environment where he learns about Jesus at his age level. My son is an only child and it is good to have that social interaction for him and to know that it is ok for mommy and daddy to leave him with FABULOUS workers and know that we will pick him up. He does fine and most kids do stop crying.

  11. Betty says

    The most important job, in my estimation, and the hardest one is being the Pastor’s wife. I can’t imagine not being able to discuss anything you want to with anyone you want to. We can do that, we can be off key if we feel like it. She can’t. She has to smile and look interested while her thoughts are on her child that is experiencing the same problem that yours is having in the Sunday School. She can never have a very close friend like you can because she must not show favoritism. Further more she must always be happy and put on a happy face whether she feels like it or not. She is constantly on display for everyone that walks in the door. We need to pray for our Pastor’s wife who is just like us in her needs.