One of the reasons we joined our church was that the nursery was awesome. As in, we’d been ‘church hopping’ (church shopping?) for 8 months, and every week Bean cried her eyes out. When we found our church, Bean didn’t want to come back home after the service.  And because of that, we totally recognize the importance of that ministry in the life of the church.

Last year the church asked parents to offer to serve one service one Sunday a month. Not so bad, but we got stuck in the new walkers room (do you realize that babies develop separation anxiety roughly around the time they start walking?) – the new walkers room is not fun. And within about 2 weeks of the start of the commitment, everyone else who was supposed to serve on our Sunday skipped out. So I became the default Team Leader. Not my thing.

Well this year the minimum commitment of service is month on / month off. And they’re guilting me into it. This after telling me that until Little Man has his EEG I have to stay with him in the nursery (he’s in the new walkers room).

The dilemma? Do I allow them to guilt me into it (with Christian guilt nonetheless – apparently this is how I gain treasures in Heaven, and those who truly love God will be led to serve)? Or do I tell them that, in fact, my hesitancy to serve in the nursery comes from being abandoned in the new walkers room  because my ‘team mates’ signed up to serve and then left me hangin’  (every single time)? Is it okay for me to tell them that I need a break because they done wore me out? And no, it has nothing to do with me being spiritually corrupt (but maybe I am?)

It makes no sense for me to serve, seeing as how I’d do it in total, complete bitterness. And then of course, I’d be feeding the bitterness month on / month off, and that’s not healthy for anyone, especially not those cute little kids I’d be taking care of.  Am I so bothered by this because I’m a people pleaser who doesn’t want to say no?  Or am I shrugging off the church’s needs in favor of satisfying my own selfish desires? This would be so much easier if I’d just agree to serve and get over it…

Note: I still love my church and submit to their authority. I still believe that the nursery is awesome. And it’ll be even better this year with the new service commitment translating into greater continuity for the kids. I just hope I can find a way out of being a part of that continuity…


4 thoughts on “Dilemma

  1. Are children not welcome in the main service? You could always just take the kids into the service with you and then you won’t have an obligation. Or maybe you and your husband can swap out so you both have a chance.

    What about girl scouts or older children? Perhaps they would like a service opportunity! I know many preteens who would happily babysit with the supervision of an adult – and an enthusiastic youngster can make a nasty obligation bearable.


  2. What I think is interesting is how they are asking the ones they supposedly serve to serve themselves…

    We have a bitty little church– and moms just take their own kids down to the playroom (where there’s a speaker) if they can’t keep still.

    Sometimes, if there’s a few playing nicely one mom will offer to let the others go back, and sometimes we talk about something from Sunday school or incorporating faith in child-rearing.

    It’s sort of organic, and anyone can say no (or not-volunteer), but each is still responsible for her own kids.

    If you can, I’d just level with them (sarcasm optional, and probably not the most gracious thing, but,)

    “Have you noticed you’re trying to use guilt to motivate me?” Can you point-out you had a really bad experience and are protecting yourself now? Taking a season of rest?

    I actually think it’s fine if no one has been relieving you to leave a note on the door of the nursery that says (graciously): “Each to his own this week– It’s my turn to be fed.”


  3. This is an excellent question. I cannot tell you how many times this sort of thing has happened to us. I believe the real problem is a lack of leadership over this much needed area of the church, plus a lack of commitment from other members. Note how eager they were to crown a brand new attendee Team Leader! Just another symptom of our all-play and no-work culture seeping into the church.

    Quite honestly, this amazes me. The nursery is viewed by most parents as a free babysitting service. But, Scripture is quite clear that children are a heritage, a blessing from God. Deut. 4:10 says, “‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”

    That church, and all the others which treat those who minister to children in the same fashion, need a trip to the woodshed.


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