Guest blogger Lorie Looney Keene shares a fresh thought about mentoring…perhaps something you haven’t thought about! Perhaps after reading this you will think about using your church nursery as a place for mentoring others!
My church has experienced a recent outbreak of pregnancies. Many of my friends, as well as myself, will be having another child in 2012. It begin with just a couple ‘special announcements’ and began to spread seemingly everywhere. So much so, that we are actually in the process of moving our church nursery to accommodate the impending arrivals.
We are all very excited about the arrival of these new mini members, and I have been very blessed to see people begin to step up and take on more nursery duties at church. Typically, I have seen nursery workers to be young mothers doing there expected volunteer service and teenagers who enjoy playing with the babies. What has impressed me the most at my current church, however, is the number of senior adult women who are willingly signing up for ‘diaper duty.’
Some of these ladies have grandchildren of their own. Others, have none. A few have children who live out of town. A couple have family close by. Regardless of their varied personal experiences, they are all volunteering to come rock babies who, for the most part, have no physical tie to them. This is not a mandated duty. But rather, one motivated out of love.
I am thrilled by this, because it allows the moms a chance to sit and rock nearby seasoned mothers who usually can’t wait to get their hands on your baby. It is an added comfort to see your little one nestle up to a worn lap who has cradled many children and be held by hands who lovingly pat them to sleep. This time also allows a natural environment for mentoring to occur.
Titus 2 encourages women to teach other women how to love their children. Such an environment allows that teaching to occur without having to always use words. A gentle touch, a reminder that someone understands your exhaustion, a smile at the perfect time aides in teaching ‘younger’ moms that they are neither alone in the process of raising their children, as well as, they have women around them who love them.
If your church nursery does not currently include a span of ages in its workers, consider requesting that senior adult women (who are physically capable) volunteer some of their time. Some ideas for ways to recruit them are:
1. Remind them of how important they are to young mothers. Just because they have raised their children, they are still needed as mentors.
2. Encourage them to use their ability to rock a baby, feed a baby or simply be an adult presence in the room is very valuable.
3. Share with them the precious opportunity God may be giving them to befriend a young mother and pass on their experiences in mothering.
Lorie Looney Keene earned both a Masters of Divinity in Christian Education and a Masters of Theology (Th.M) from Southern Seminary, where she worked for three years as The Assistant Director of Women’s Programs. Prior to working at Southern Seminary, Lorie served in Poland with the International Mission Board and has over seven years experience as an ER nurse. She is the author of "Pull Up A Chair: You Me, and the Gospel of John" by New Hope Publishing, as well as a contributing author to Journey Magazine . Lorie lives in Tullahoma, TN where her husband, Stephen is the Youth/Education Minister at Highland Baptist Church . She is a Sunday School teacher to HighSchool girls, leads a weekly women’s Bible study and teaches Biology at her church’s homeschool co-op. Currently, Lorie is enjoying the role of stay at home mom to her 2 year old son, Elijah.