While pointing may be considered an impolite gesture, for babies
it's a critical building block for speech development. Pointing is
a nonverbal way to communicate and teaches babies about
back-and-forth communication. A baby may point at a cup and an
adult's response will be, "Do you want the cup?" Not only is the
baby communicating a need, but the adult's response also places a
word with the desired object. Help babies build their faith
vocabulary by pointing at these items while children are in the
Point That Finger
• Jesus-Point to a picture of Jesus and tell babies his
name. Associate the relationship we can have with Jesus by sharing
affirming truths as you point: "Jesus loves you, Kelsey," or "Jesus
protects you, Tyler."
• Church-Display a picture of your church building or go
outside and point at the building, telling babies this is the
church where they come to learn about Jesus.
• Bible-Point at a Bible and say, "That's a Bible. It
teaches us about Jesus."
Birth Announcement Wishes
Let everyone know when a new baby is born at your church and create
a special memento for the parents at the same time.
Ask new parents for a photo of their newborn and the baby's vital
statistics, such as birth date, height, weight, and name. Then
create a decorative birth certificate with the information and
place the photo and certificate behind a mat board. To download a
certificate template, go to www.childrensministry.com/birth.
Hang the announcement in your nursery check-in area, and encourage
families to write congratulation wishes on the mat with a permanent
When the mat is full of good wishes, place the entire birth
announcement in a frame and deliver it to parents as a gift from
your church families and nursery.
My First Read and Learn Book of Prayers
This board book by Mary Manz Simon introduces babies and toddlers
to prayer. Each prayer has ideas for specific situations and
special days. These fun-to-learn prayers introduce little ones to a
lifelong conversation with God. $9.99; Scholastic; www.scholastic.com
Little ones learn to be kind to each other as they share this bear.
You'll need a stuffed bear and a timer.
Introduce a stuffed bear and tell kids they'll each hold the bear
during class. Give the bear to one child and set the timer for
three minutes. When the timer sounds, the child chooses someone who
hasn't yet had a turn with the bear.
Talk about caring for and sharing with friends. Remind kids that
Jesus wants us to be kind.
I Can't Hear You
Hearing loss is the #1 birth defect in America-each day 33 babies
are born profoundly deaf, and another 2 to 3 out of 1,000 babies
are born with partial hearing loss.
One of our children's ministry values is
excellence. We'd worked hard to achieve this value for several
months by enforcing our security policies and requiring parents to
present their identification tags before we'd release their
children. One morning I got to experience just how far we'd come in
our goal toward excellence-and how much our pursuit spoke to a
My granddaughter is a nursery regular, and since I was
just outside the nursery as the service dismissed, I decided to
pick her up. The volunteer immediately asked me-the children's
pastor-for her identification tag, which I didn't have since her
mom had checked her in. The volunteer decided to have some fun with
me and said, "No tag, no kid, no exceptions." She reinforced her
position with a playful smile, saying, "Your rule, not mine."
Had I insisted, I'm sure she'd have released my granddaughter. But
she was right. If I wanted commitment to our security policies,
then I had to follow them, too.
"You're exactly right," I replied. "I'm no different than any other
parent, and I'll be right back with her tag."
Walking away, I noticed parents behind me smiling at the
situation and I hoped it would send a firm but humorous reminder of
our commitment to keep kids safe.
I discovered later that week that the church had received a letter
from a guest. Her family had witnessed the exchange between the
volunteer and me. She wrote:
"I was amused as I watched the volunteer refuse to release the
children's pastor's granddaughter without her identification tag on
Sunday. We've visited a number of churches and have been concerned
about the lax approach toward children's safety. While many
churches have some type of check-in system, few actually implement
it. When the volunteer at your church refused to release her
granddaughter, the children's pastor affirmed her enforcement of
the security system and went to get the tag. I was shocked-and
impressed. My husband and I decided right there that we'll be
making your church our new church home. It's so comforting to know
our children will not only be learning about God but will also be
safe in your care."
What began as an attempt to have fun with the children's pastor
over our security policy actually became a transition
moment for a family-and for our church. It's an important reminder
for everyone to set an example of excellence in ministry-and it
starts at the top.
Colleen Oglesby is a children's ministry consultant and has served
for more than 30 years in children's ministry.