When Louise and I stepped in to help with the week to week running of crèche we came with a vision to see crèche as just a further place for biblical teaching and getting to know God. While crèche enables parents to focus on the sermon we felt it is equally, if not more, important as a place for babies and toddlers to hear the name of Jesus.
Crèche has a dedicated team of volunteers who embrace the activities that go on within crèche, and we’ve been excited to see them continuing to share and get involved in this ministry. We would like to say a huge thank you for all their hard work, and for sticking with us as we’ve brought in new activities, taken time to teach us how things run, as well as embracing things like the room changes for the development works.
So, what do we do in crèche? We have stories and songs related to a story or central truth. We dance and sing to worship music. We play with toys and read books. We do crafts. We pray. On the 21st May the message was that Jesus helps his friends- we decorated fish and below is the story that we did, we tend to re-tell stories like this with actions, and then the children copy the actions. What’s been fantastic is that we feel like we’ve actually underestimated and the children could cope with longer stories, and they often ask us to tell the story again and again.
Story with actions:
Jesus’ friends were fishing in a boat.
Pretend to fish
They didn’t get any fish
Jesus said throw your net on the other side
pretend to throw
The net was so full they couldn’t pull it in
struggle to pull
Jesus had breakfast with his friends
pretend to eat
Since we’ve started we’ve seen toddlers wanting to talk to God, we’ve seen children asking lots of questions about who Jesus is and we’ve been encouraged. We’ve even had questions like “why did Jesus have to die?” One particular Sunday Louise was doing the Easter story with the creche, one of the toddlers just couldn’t leave the story alone, they kept wanting to hear it read again and again and again. She kept asking who Jesus was and who the other men on the cross were. She particularly seemed focused on the sad part of the story when the guards take Jesus, Louise persevered with the conversation and kept emphasising the good news and that it wasn’t the end of the story. By the end the toddler seemed happy that Jesus had died to take our place and that that was good news for her and her mummy. Louise prayed with the toddler at the end and they both asked God to help them understand more about him.
Our message would be this- Do not underestimate the ability of an under 3 year old to grasp things, they soak up spiritual things and experience love long before they can string a full sentence together. It’s understood that the first few years of a child’s life are key to shaping who they will be for the rest of their lives, don’t we as a church want Jesus’ love to be a foundational part of that.
We want to see God continue to work in these children’s lives. We want to be in partnership with parents seeking and praying for these children to come to know Jesus. Just simple things like praying with your children and talking about what goes on in the service can be encouraging. We want to encourage parents to get involved in crèche, it gives you an amazing opportunity to bring the good news to your own child as well as other children. For us, a really humbling experience is that now Harry will say to us “God” and he says it in an expectant way, and we’ve learnt from talking to him that when he says it he means that he wants us to pray. Quite often he thinks of it more than we do!
So why not,
• Take time to regularly get to know an under 3 in church
• Think about getting on the rota, or a rota of one of the other groups
• Find out from leaders what your children have been getting up to in crèche/Sunday School
• Talk to your children about what they did at crèche/Sunday School
Dave and LouiseCreche, Magazine