Church Nursery Volunteer Worker Guidelines (job description)

Here is a list of volunteer expectations that I have been using for our church nursery. We don’t have a formal church nursery worker manual, but these guidelines have several ideas for safety that move in the right direction. I do not use the term ‘job description’ in the document. We want our people to think of their work in the church nursery as a ministry or service to the Lord. Feel free to use these in your church or leave a comment to help me revise them in the future. You can download this as a word document: Church Nursery Worker Guidelines

When I first introduced these, I called a meeting for all church nursery workers. It was a process of re-teaching what many of our best volunteers already knew. Do these guidelines solve all our issues? No, but they set clear expectations and help the church nursery minister more effectively.

Church Nursery Volunteer Worker Guidelines (job description)

Service Description – Early Childhood Ministry Volunteers

And Jesus took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:36-37)

Service Titles: Nursery Volunteer (Babies & 1s), First Steps Leader (2s & 3s)

Ministry Purpose: Your role is to provide safe, secure, nurturing, clean and efficient care to our children. Your ministry responsibilities include playing with the child or directing his play, reading to him, praying for each child, exhibiting Christ-like patience and love, and relating the events of the day to the lesson and theme in words the child can understand.

Service Expectations:

  • Arrive 15 minutes before scheduled service time.
  • Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray individually for children as they play, as they listen to the story, and for the other caregivers as you work together.
  • Every child’s diaper should be changed before parent’s pick up. Potty training children should ‘try’ at least once.
  • Oversee the check-in process. All children should have name stickers on their back. All cups and bags should also be labeled.
  • Oversee the check-out process. Parents will need their “ticket” to claim their child. If they don’t have they will need to wait for the Children’s Minister before the child is released.
  • Clean and straiten the room after the children leave.
  • Report and concerns or ideas for improvement to the Children’s Minister.
  • Attend occasional Early Childhood Ministry meetings.

Interacting With Parents:

  • Always thank the parent for bringing their child. It is our privilege to serve them
  • Always smile (even when you are tired)
  • Always tell the parents about any diaper or feeding events
  • Always follow dismissal plan

Teaching Little Ones:

Early Childhood is best time to build a God-centered worldview for children. We have provided age appropriate teaching material for all Early Childhood Ministries. This material is easy to prepare and use. Instructions are written in the curriculum. Here are some suggestions. If you need additional help see Tony or Kellie.

  • Integrate the biblical truth or theme into the activities the children are doing. Take advantage of every opportunity to make the truths “real” to the children, repeating them over and over, applying them to anything normal around them.
    • Example: “Do you see the elephant in the puzzle? God made elephants. What else did God make? God made everything!”
  • Your role is to teach the children a short Bible lesson each week. It is important to be able to express excitement, energy, and love for God’s word when sharing the story and its principle. It is to be taught as truth, not as just a story.

Please sign and date if you agree to these expectations.

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Comments

  1. Marilyn says

    This is great! I’ve been setting up the nursery schedule for 3 years. I’m going to print some of this in our church newsletter. Hopefully it will encourage more volunteers. Thank you so much.

  2. bbcole says

    Is everything here termed “nursery” as 5 and under? Or is there an early childhood section and then an actual baby/nursery section? I have done the volunteer descriptions for our earlychildhood volunteers. I am looking for ways to word our two nursery descriptions. But it seems like perhaps you term all kids under kindergarten as nursery? Thanks!

  3. Judy Stepler says

    Thank you for the information and permisson to utilize your material. As a member of the Personnel Committee at our church, this format and information has been invaluable. I will respond later when we formulate the final draft.

  4. Ruth Dejesus says

    this is really encouraging! Your website help me a lot,not just through giving knowledge but also making my heart more passionate on serving God and His children..thanks a lot!

  5. Paulina says

    Hi!

    Thanks a lot for the information, it encourage us to serve better, thanks for your time and heart to share all this unvaluable knowledge, we serve in Mexico and there isn´t too much material, but this is great!

    Thanks again! Blessing from Baja Mexico

  6. Alicia says

    Thank you so much for the information that you have provided! I recently took over our church nursery/toddler rooms and we did not have any guidelines in place before I started. I have found your website to be so helpful! I was wondering if you have guidelines or some kind of welcome kit you give to parents of visiting children or new members?

  7. Shebba says

    I am a new parent getting back to my ministry at church. I now need to depend on the nursery at my church while I participate as needed. My church nursery is awesome with, as always for anything..room for improvement. I am doing my part by finding sound and valid suggestions to make things better for my children and others. Thanks for making your handbook available!

  8. Sarah says

    I like your idea of having one person constantly there for continuity for the children and the parents but how do you plan for that person to attend a church service at least once a week?

  9. Deb says

    I attend a small church (congregation is about 80) and recently was contacted to see if I would become a nursery volunteer. Additionally my church has one service per week which I enjoy so much after working 60 hour a week. I was honest with the person who called me and stated that at this time I feel I need the spiritual fulfillment of attending the service. (Also, there is no part of me that wants to work in the nursery as I have raised 4 children and am quite honestly burned out). I work as a mental health therapist and see approximately 25 children each week for hour long therapy sessions- so again, I am truly burned out.
    The problem: today was the first church service since I declined the request to volunteer in the nursery. I said hello to the person who had requested my help and she snidely turned away from me. It was very difficult for me to say no when I was asked and now I am left feeling guilty. I just need thoughts from others- am I being selfish or neglecting my christian obligations by turning down this request?

    • Robin Harris says

      Deb, I am a Director of a Nursery and Young Children’s Ministry … You are absolutely the “better woman” here. You do soooooo much for our children, just by doing what you do. You have no OBLIGATION to the church or nursery to volunteer in children’s ministry. Your obligation is to SERVE GOD !… it sounds like you already are. Our worst enemy is ourselves. We work so HARD for others, we forget God wants us to take care of ourselves as well. Spiritual care is as important as any other ministry. Without it – our ministry work is just empty work. God bless you in your life …

      • Deb says

        Thank you so much Robin for the comment. I have been struggling with this decision so much- I really needed someone to tell me that it was not unchristian of me to turn down the request to volunteer in the nursery.

        • florence Ajayi says

          Dear Deb, i totally agree with Robin Harris. you have no obligation to the nursery ministry;besides, our service to the Lord must be from our HEARTS otherwise it becomes eye service /men pleaser and that the Lord hates. I will suggest,if truly you re interested in the nursery ministry, takeout time to wait on the Lord He will instruct and GRACEwill be granted despite your tight schedule/burnouts.

    • Robin says

      Hi Deb, I have worked in the nursery for a little over a year and I have just transitioned to director…neither one of these decisions were made just because I was asked…I prayed and I also sought the Lord and His calling :) Don’t feel guilty…we are different parts of the same body, Christs. God will call you to the service or ministry He want you to be in because it’s all for Gods Glory not ours…Please pray for this person and forgive them for making u feel guilty because u don’t want to any unforgiveness or bitterness to take root, the person maybe disappointed because she is having a hard time finding someone…pray for the Lord to give her wisdom and put the right person in her path…Blessing :)

    • Val Salentine says

      I was in the same boat as you when I taught school and worked regularly in the nursery. I shared my feelings with the pastor’s wife, who ran the preschool program. She said that in order to allow God to work in the situation, I needed to step back. In other words, by continuing service while I was burned out, I was preventing others from receiving God’s call to service. Even if no one were to step forward, it was my duty to allow God to work in that situation. I was being selfish by continuing in a service for which I no longer felt called. Things eventually worked out, and I’ve recently stepped back in to prepare the weekly curriculum materials but not teach. Love it! :)

    • tammyk says

      Deb, I agree with what the others have said to you. I would like to add, please give an extra measure of grace to the person who asked for you to volunteer. Sometimes when a ministry is struggling for volunteers, the responsibility can be all-consuming. Perhaps she saw you and knew that you’d said no, and was on a search for other possibilities and so looked past you and on to others.
      I’m not saying it’s right– we should take care to not overlook people that we don’t “need”– but it can be a situation that has less to do with you saying no, and more to do with survival mode.

  10. Deborah says

    Well, it isn’t easy to practice…. but this article is very helpful. Sometimes we have no idea how to develop our small church. Thanks so much… May God bless you

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