Creating the nursery schedule at church is one of my least favorite administrative tasks as a children’s minister. The next schedule is due out this week, so I thought I would share how I do it.
6 Steps To Making A Church Nursery Schedule
1. Revise The Old Dates
I’ve moved to a 6-week rotation for our church nursery. I simply open the Word document on my computer and edit the old dates by looking at my calendar. This saves me time because I don’t have to shuffle workers for 5th Sundays. It also makes the commitment level seem more manageable for the volunteers.
- Printable Templates: You can download my Sample Church Nursery Schedule as a Word document. It is very similar to my real one, only I’ve used fake names. Here is a simplified version of a schedule
2. Review For Special Dates
While I have the calendar out, I look for special dates that will affect the nursery. These might be weeks when we cancel Sunday night church, or when we don’t offer a nursery because of a church-wide dinner.
3. Remove Any Outgoing Volunteers
I keep a master copy of the church nursery schedule in my office. I use it to make notes when workers need to come off, change their service dates, or I have new volunteers to add. It helps to keep these notes in a central location by actually writing them on my copy of the schedule. I just delete these names at first and leave the spots as blanks until the next step.
4. Fill The Empty Spots
Then I find workers to serve in the blanks on my schedule. I should probably write more in depth about finding volunteers, but for now here are a few time saving tips. How do I get volunteers for church nursery?
- Identify and recruit new nursery workers before you need them. While drafting the new schedule, I often think of potential volunteers to add to my recruiting list. Why not contact these people in before you’re in a pinch?
- Use a church nursery job description or volunteer handbook to set clear expectations. Having clear communication up front helps you avoid nursery burnout.
- When I can’t fill all the nursery spots I will just write “Volunteer Needed” and send it out anyway. This lets usually results in a wave of new workers. Seeing the specific need in the bulletin is much more powerful than sending out a generic appeal for help. In cases where I still don’t have workers, I call the on my substitute list.
5. Pray For The Volunteer List
Why not take 10 minutes to pray for the nursery roster while it’s top of mind? Pray that God will bless them for their service. Ask for protection for their health so they don’t call in sick. Mention each volunteer by name. Then expand your prayer to include the hours of ministry represented on the list. Ask God to call out new volunteers with a heart to love and serve the little ones. Don’t waste this opportunity for specific prayer.
6. Encourage The Workers
Send encouragement with the nursery schedule mailing. I always like to send notes of encouragement to the volunteers included in their nursery schedule. This can be a great way to remind them how important their ministry is to the church.
- Send a handwritten thank you note. Just something simple to say, “I’m glad God has your in our church and I’ve prayed for you this morning. May God bless you.”
- Send an encouraging article. You can find some that I’ve written at the bottom of this page under “related articles.”
Some More Time Saving Tips
- Keep a list of volunteers on call. These can regular volunteers who are willing to take an occasional second shift, or others who can only work on occasion.
- Send the schedule in several different formats. We put it in the church worship folder (Sunday bulletin) 2 weeks at a time, post it around the church, and I mail ever people their own copy of the 6-week schedule. Some churches like to do reminder calls, but this is overkill in most small churches. If your congregation is tech savvy, you can email the church nursery schedule as well.
- Use a one-page format (or smaller) and alter paper colors each month. Most of our schedules end up on people’s refrigerators, so I try to keep it as fridge-friendly as possible.
- Put your contact number on the schedule. This gives people easy access when they need to make a change to their nursery commitment.
What Do You Think?
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