BY DEBBIE MONTELL
A number of church leaders agree that the most important departments in any church are the nursery departments. It is of utmost importance to pay a great deal of attention to these departments.
Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” We too must be very solicitous toward the little ones.
When you show interest in and a caring attitude toward a parent’s child, then you enjoy a great deal of confidence from the parent.
Since almost everyone loves a pretty little baby or small child, and since every parent wants to show off the baby, and since most people like a good parade, then why not have a BABY PARADE!
1. A BABY PARADE
A parade is a good opportunity to get the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Schedule the parade for the close of the Sunday school hour or the beginning of the morning service.
Advertise the baby parade well in advance to get the greatest participation.
Select two or three people to coordinate it so it goes smoothly and is enjoyed by the parents as well as the church family.
Make sure that the microphones, entrance ways, etc., are all planned so that things go smoothly. Ages three years down to infancy are the suggested ages for the parade.
After the parents and their babies are lined up have each child introduced to the congregation by his or her parents as they move across the platform of the church, telling the child’s name and age.
You may want to divide the babies into age categories such as:
Birth through 12 months
13 months through 24 months
25 months through 3 years
Have a photographer lined up to make each baby’s picture. They can be made available to the parents later. Take the picture of each as they are presented in the auditorium with the pastor. Often you can get a professional photographer to come, set up his equipment, and take the pictures professionally, just for the opportunity to sell additional pictures to the parents. You must insist that he furnish you one photograph to display the following Sunday and to give to the parents.
111. TAKE A SURVEY
Have a card made that the congregation can fill out to furnish you with the names and addresses of people with small children who do not attend church. Take this survey several weeks before BABY DAY, in order to have plenty of time to contact the parents, asking them to participate in the baby parade.
You may write to them or call them on the phone. Do everything possible to get the parents and the baby to the services.
When they are visited, explain the nursery situation to them. Mothers want to know that their babies are going to be safe and happy while they are in the nursery. This allows the parents to be comfortable in church.
HAVE A BABY DEDICATION
Following the Baby Parade and while the parents and children are still in the auditorium, have a prayer of dedication for the babies.
Of course, explain to them that the babies are merely being dedicated to the Lord. At an older age they must trust Christ, personally, in order to go to Heaven.
Keep the parade in check so that it doesn’t dominate the whole service. The sermon is the most important part of the service. Do not let the parade take over and dominate the service.
Obtain a commitment from Sunday school people, that they will be a part of BABY DAY by inviting at least one family who doesn’t attend church regularly. You might even have them fill out a commitment card.
VI. GIFTS FOR THE BABIES
Have a small remembrance for each baby in the parade. It may not be an expensive gift. It should be something attractive and useful.
It can be presented by the pastor during the parade. The mention of the gift in mail or personal visits certainly would be in order.
A marvelous gift could be a small New Testament. They can be obtained quite inexpensively from:
American Bible Society
New York, NY 10023
(212) 581-7400 or 480-1499 or from your local Christian bookstore.
VII. “T” SHIRTS
One lovely, memorable gift, could be a T-shirt. Parents and babies alike would be thrilled with a gift such as a T-shirt. They are popular everywhere!
Design the shirt to have a message on it concerning your church or Sunday school.
VIII. Crown a “King” and “Queen.”
This feature of Baby Day is usually the most enjoyable and is the feature that nets the most visitors to the church on that day. The child (parents with a child, age infant through age 3) that is responsible for the most visitors present on Sunday
morning for Sunday school or the church service, is crowned “king” or “queen.” The boy with the most visitors and the girl with the most visitors. The visitors may be any age – brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, neighbors, etc.
A system for the guests to sign in should be set up well in advance of Baby Day.
The parents with the most visitors in attentance for his or her child may be recognized with a nice gift, perhaps a gift certificate to a Christian bookstore, a Bible or even a gift certificate to a nice restaurant.
When the “king & queen” is announced and crowned, they should be placed on a nicely decorated cart of some type and rolled out of the auditorium. Two covered video projection tables, with wheels, may be strapped together and nicely decorated to make a great cart on which to ride the “king & queen.”
During the first forty-eight hours following BABY DAY, every visiting parent and child should receive a visit at their home. They may be contacted by several methods; by phone, mail or personal visit. Direct mail to their home and telephoning them are both helpful, but a personal visit is far more effective.
Have a wonderful BABY DAY!
To show my cooperation and support, I will be in attendance at BABY DAY.
___I will invite a family with a baby to attend.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY DEBBIE MONTELL. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.