I've recently been having a discussion with some friends about how children's ministry often isn't viewed as a priority - particularly when it comes to recruiting volunteers. Our Puggles group is under staffed (ie. we don't have enough volunteers) and I think a lot of this has to do with the mindset that they're so young that they can't learn. As if it's viewed as a daycare service instead of an opportunity to serve, teach, and set the very foundations of understanding the basic Biblical concepts that everything else is built upon.
As proof that very young children can learn, here's a conversation that I had with Anna yesterday during lunch. And she's 2, by the way.
Me: "Anna, what did you learn today at church?"
Anna: "Fishy. A fishy."
Me: "Oh, you learned about a fish?"
Anna: "Yeah. In the waddy (water)"
Me: :Oh, there was a fish in the water?"
Yeah: "Yeah, a big fishy. It wawowed."
Me: "It what?"
Anna: "It wawowed!"
Me: "Oh! The fish swallowed?"
Me: "Did he swallow Jonah?"
Anna: "Yeah. He was sad."
So even at a very young age, she's learning Bible stories! I was so excited and happy - particularly because we had just been talking about the wrong mindset so many people have that very morning. And how great is it that God provided me with the perfect illustration that they really are learning - with my very own Anna!
We need to be teaching them. We need parents, grandparents, and other individuals to understand the importance of what we're doing and to jump on board with us! Most importantly we need people to care enough to volunteer. How many parents help coach baseball teams? How many moms are on the PTA, help with girl scouts, shuffle kids back and forth to soccer practice, to piano lessons, etc.? And how very unimportant all of those are in comparison to our children learning about Jesus. So please, volunteer. They really are learning!