Someone recently suggested I was
wasting my gifts running the nursery at our church. After all, I
could be teaching adults; I know a thing or two about the Bible. I
should be leading a Bible study. I should wise up and bid farewell
to the preschool wing and move upstairs.
I could attend church unconcerned by another Sunday with an
unacceptable child-to-adult ratio. I wouldn't have to listen to any
screaming babies. I wouldn't have to take that toddler by the hand
and explain, yet another time, that we don't throw toys, we don't
hit, and we do use our inside voices.
I don't care to encourage my brothers and sisters upstairs to
huddle in exclusivity, soaking up knowledge. I'd rather pull them
into humble service. It's better for them in the long run.
Some of them hate it. They "do their time" and get out. Preschool
is prison for them, and I'm the warden. A fine calling God gave me,
they think. They don't mean any harm, and I've learned not to take
it personally when they roll their eyes, mumble about being out
until midnight on Saturday, gripe that it's only been five weeks
since they did this, or run in the other direction when they see me
I know that some are willing, by grace, to wipe snot off a teary
face, build a block tower destined for swift destruction, listen to
a garbled prayer about a sick cat that threw up in Mommy's bed, and
sing one more round of "Jesus Loves the Little Children." In
serving here, people gain the wisdom needed to live by the Word
they study so enthusiastically.
Wisdom runs deep where knowledge falls
In response to the suggestion that I find a more impressive
ministry of service, a better use of my gifts, I just shake my head
and tell myself, "I'll get out of the nursery when I finally wise
So I'll run the wisdom wing here at my church. Let somebody else
teach adult Bible studies. On days I'm not feeling too wise or
fulfilled in my calling or loved by the children, at least I've got
entertainment. Have you ever watched an exquisitely beautiful
2-year-old wrap her little arms around a crying playmate? I have.
Have you ever listened to a small boy describe his mother? I ask
questions. How tall is she? Seven feet. How much does she weigh?
Forty pounds. What does she like to do? Take care of me.
Sometimes people skip out on the nursery because they want to go
to "real church." That's okay. Let them go to church. I don't want
them to miss it either. I love my pastor; he preaches a good
sermon. I've tried handing out free sermon tapes because I know
people need to hear the sermon. I myself will listen to the sermon
I hear each Sunday-in our nursery.
So let them go. I'll stay in the nursery. The lesson may not be
enlightening for adults, and the music may not stir an adult's
soul. But the invitation is heavenly, enduring, and holy. This
isn't missing church. This is church. cm
Vicki Buchhold is a preschool director at Central Baptist
Church in Sanford, Florida.