(Our Children’s Leaders Team (CLT) has been blessing our children and their parents for several years, and as Andrea Lang, who has served with the CLT, has recently become our Pastor of Children’s & Family Ministry, we wanted to take extra time to make sure everyone on the CLT is better known. So, for the next few weeks, we’ll be hearing from everyone on the team.)

by Andrea Pope

I have a confession: I started volunteering in the nursery almost 8 years ago, as I was waiting for my own baby to arrive. I have clear memories of being nervous each time – what do you do with babies and toddlers? What if there’s a mutiny? I have another confession: my daughter Karis then arrived and she seemed to also be nervous to go to the nursery! And now I get how very natural that can be. I smile at the irony that 8 years later, I enter the joyful and peaceful space of the nursery and breathe a contented sigh of belonging. So do my children, and hopefully you know that feeling as you enter various spaces in the church.

It seems many of us wear several hats – these days mine include: daughter of God, wife to a mustache (I mean, Trevor), mom to Karis (7.5) and Judah (4), bibliophile, speed walker, winter lover (sorry), coffee consumer . . . and there’s a hat that’s become more comfortable over time: Nursery Coordinator at Church of the Cross.

I have another confession: before I had children I thought the nursery was mostly a place for the little ones to play and to give parents a break. Being among you all – in listening prayer, being part of the CLT, the leadership that has shepherded us – I now know that the nursery is those things AND it’s a place where God’s Spirit is working, the Word is alive, the prayers are powerful, the play is worship. The children are learning to trust God in the safety of a lap, the serving of cheerios, the reading of the Living Word, and receiving blessing.

It is you, the people of Church of the Cross, who live out our value of children. We welcome children as they are, expecting God to personally meet and work through His littlest. It’s no understatement to say it’s been life changing to be with you, to be invited into your fold has shaped my family. A hundred little things happen each Sunday in the nursery, and a million little things happen in the children’s ministry at Church of the Cross. We’re invited to watch God at work through His smallest children, to learn from them, to value children as they are (not as who they might grow up to be). The invitation blesses everyone, not just parents, not just children – all of us. We were all that age once; I often think of that miracle. I’m weekly humbled, grateful to God for the opportunity to be among you and to be in the nursery – spending time with the children, getting to know parents, worshiping through play, praying and serving with you.

Okay, one more confession: the nursery leans on the volunteers! Thank you to each volunteer, you make the nursery a place of peace and joy, showing God’s love and generous care to each child. And thank you to Britta Scanlon who offers her consistent presence there, and thank you to all who coordinated before and laid such beautiful tracks that we continue to journey. I always trust the blessing to pass back and forth between adults and children. God bless you as you spend time in that precious place (and if you don’t yet and want to join the team – give me a holler!).

Now, pretend you’re wee high, exploring a bright blue room brimming with toys and books. Someone the size of your mom or dad bends down to your level and asks to pray for you . . . you walk over willingly, lean your head in, a gentle grown up hand is placed on your head. You feel a colorful sticker placed on your back, you see the grown up’s eyes, you hear:  “I pray God would give you joy and peace in this place. I thank God for who He has made you. Jesus, I pray you’d be our all in all. Amen.” I pray we could all receive this blessing with the heart of a child!