For the past several years, I’ve had the joy of teaching 1s and 2s in my church’s preschool ministry. When my husband and I moved out to the rural outskirts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we decided as a family to attend our church’s plant about 10 minutes from our new home so we could evangelize within the community in which we live. Yesterday was my first opportunity to teach the babies in the second worship service at our church plant—and I had a blast!
I’m sure some of you may be wondering, “What does a baby’s Bible teacher do other than wipe noses, change diapers, and give bottles?” Quite a bit actually! The baby years are absolutely crucial to setting a proper foundation for a child’s walk with Jesus in later years. As leaders meet the babies’ needs—wiping noses, changing diapers, giving bottles, rocking and holding—they begin to associate church with happy, loving feelings. When they trust the Bible teacher, babies begin to internalize and trust the Bible stories we teach—even though they may not be able to fully comprehend Scripture.
Since we are a church plant and have limited resources, I made a mental note of some resources that I could bring to help provide a more focused learning experience for babies.
Provide board books that feature Bible themes or people, not fictional characters
I love books—all books. Just the simple act of reading to babies is so crucial to their overall development. At home, the books we read our son vary from Bible devotions to books about robots and dinosaurs. At church, however, books that we read to babies should focus on God’s love, the beauty of His creation, or how God worked out His plan in the lives of real people. Some of my personal favorites are The Jesus Storybook Bible (currently not available in board book form but awesome nonetheless), Little Words Matter Bible Storybook, and God Loves You, Little One. Of course, the Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories for Toddlers are available for the Old Testament and New Testament. I know that sometimes the books we have on hand are the ones donated to the church or used in a weekly preschool setting, but those books should be tucked away for safekeeping when it is time for babies to learn about Jesus.
Put something on the walls—at the changing table, near the cribs, or at baby’s eye-level
I am not talking about elaborate murals here. The Gospel Project for Preschoolers Kit includes an enhanced CD with Bible story pictures. Print out the Bible story picture and tape it next to the changing table where a child can see it and touch it. Talk about the people in the picture and the Gospel Gems as you change diapers. If your church does not use Gospel Project for Babies and Toddlers, you can find all sorts of age-appropriate Bible story pictures on the Internet to put on your walls. Even something as simple as securing a non-breaking mirror at a baby’s eye-level can be an excellent opportunity to tell her how much God loves her and how special she is in God’s plan.
Incorporate music with the babies, and, if you can, use their names in the songs
Right up there with reading to babies, using music with babies is so important to their development. If your baby room has access to a CD or MP3 player, use it! When our son was a baby, we found Scripture memory songs to play for him. I personally like Rain for Roots’ Big Stories for Little Ones CD and Scripture Lullabies’ Hidden in My Heart CD. If you do not have access to a music player, guess what? Babies would be just as happy to hear you sing a made-up song to a familiar tune. Even talking in a singsong voice as you tell them “Jesus is God’s Son” or “Jesus loves you” is enough to stimulate their growing brains musically. They do not know what it is to sing “in tune” yet, so do not feel embarrassed about singing to a child.
What are some resources your church uses to help babies develop positive feelings about church each week? Share in the comments below.
Check out these additional resources for your preschool ministry:
Rachel Myrick is the Babies and Toddlers Content Editor for the Gospel Project for Preschoolers. Rachel has served 1s and 2s (her peeps) for nearly 15 years. Rachel and her husband, Shaun, live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with their son, Gideon, and their dog, Samson. Rachel serves at New Vision Baptist Church’s Buchanan campus.