Christ’s Church’s ministry to families exists to magnify God and spread a passion for His glory by making disciples and shepherding them to value Jesus Christ above everything else. In keeping with that mission, it is our prayer that everyone touched by our ministry to families would come to treasure Jesus Christ above everything else that this world has to offer (Phil. 1:21) and that each of us would learn to live in such a way that everything we do in life is done in reference to Christ (Col. 1:18). While we believe that parents have the primary responsibility to minister to their own children, Christ’s Church seeks to come alongside of parents to help them with that task. One of the ways we do this is by providing an optional nursery (divided by infants and toddlers) during church services for children three years of age and under.
Nursery Ministry Workers
We care greatly about the safety and well-being of the children God has entrusted to us here at Christ’s Church. All nursery workers must be members of Christ’s Church and are required to undergo a thorough vetting process, including background checks, and reading through and affirming our Child Protective Policy prior to serving in the nursery.
To volunteer in the nursery, please call the church office at 601.265.6568 or see one of the Elders.
Nursery takes place in a specific location within our facility. (Signs in the foyer will direct you to the nursery area).
Hints on Training Small Children to Sit Still During Services
At Christ’s Church, we provide parents an optional nursery for children up to and including the age of three. We do not offer a nursery for children older than three, because we believe it is important for whole families to worship together. In the same way that we must train our young children to sit still during meals and not run around the room during mealtimes, we also must train our children to sit still during the worship service (so that others around us are not disturbed). At the same time, we recognize that training small children to sit quietly in a lengthy worship service can be a daunting task! But you are not alone. We believe it is part of our ministry to come alongside and assist you with this important task.
We provide below some tips from older parents who have successfully trained children to sit quietly in church. We hope you find them useful. Of course, you may come up with your own ideas (and if so, please share them with us!). Also, to be clear, these are hints — not commands! If you have any questions or desire further help, please reach out to one of the Elders.
- Start Small at Home. Long before your child turns 3, consider having a daily time of family worship around a table. It shouldn’t last more than 5 minutes — just say a quick prayer, read a verse of Scripture, and maybe learn a Bible song together. Even a “wiggle worm” child should be able to sit quietly for 5 minutes. If necessary, have the child fold his/her hands together and place the folded hands in the lap – this seems to be helpful to many children. By having a regular time of family worship, you will be building family bonds, you will be instructing your child in Scripture, you will be laying the foundation for your child sitting quietly for longer periods and you will be introducing your child to key elements of an adult service — prayer, praise, and Scripture.
- Start Small in the Church Service. You might consider bringing your aged 3 and under child into the first part of our service before taking the child to the nursery for the remainder of the service. For example, you could start your child off in the service for the Call to Worship and our first song, then then quietly exit for the nursery. Of course, if your child handles that well, consider keeping your child with you for even more of the service.
- Be Wise. When you begin transitioning your child into the worship service, remember the obvious — your child is not a mature adult. It is unreasonable to expect small children to never move a muscle and to listen to adult things during a lengthy church service. To insist on that could easily drive them away from the Christian faith in later years. Provide creative alternatives that will engage your child during the service. For example, you can allow your child to color on paper or play with felt dolls or other quiet toys. So long as your child is vocally quiet without the wild flailing of the arms, such activities are perfectly acceptable. You may be surprised to find that your child picks up some of what is happening during the services, even while playing or drawing quietly!
- Be Patient. While you may at times have to bring discipline to bear if your child is not being quiet during services, be loving and patient with your child (just as God is loving and patient with us as adults!).
- Be a Teacher. During the preaching time, try drawing for your child a picture of what is being preached about. Don’t worry — you don’t have to be a skilled artist, and stick figures work just fine. This will help to engage your child and lay the groundwork for your child listening to the sermon in later years, while teaching your child truth at the same time. For example, if the crucifixion is being discussed, you can motion to your child to watch you draw something like the example below and can whisper in the child’s ear “Pastor is talking about how Jesus died for our sins.”
- Be Considerate of Others. There is no need to be embarrassed if your child acts up during the service. The rest of us who are parents have been in your shoes before! At the same time, if your child is highly disruptive, you may be preventing others from hearing the preaching or otherwise distract others from worship. Please be sensitive to that and be willing to remove your child from the service, if necessary, provide appropriate correction, then return to the service. You can always go back and catch up on anything you miss through our live stream and audio recordings.
Child Protective Policy
The nursery of Christ’s Church (CC) exists to glorify God by
- Maintaining a safe and secure environment that protects children from misconduct and our nursery workers from accusations and,
- Living faithfully before the children and modeling for them how Christians are called to respond to God, interact with each other, and interact with the world around us (Matthew 5:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1).
Child abuse or neglect- any recent act or failure to act resulting in imminent risk or serious harm, death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker who is responsible for the child’s welfare.
Child/Children- includes all persons three years of age and under.
Worker- includes both staff and volunteers who work with children. Workers must be at least 18 years old.
Staff- are the paid employees of the church. All church staff are required to receive a background check regardless of whether they have direct contact with children.
Volunteers- are those who work with children and are not in the employment of the church. Volunteers include nursery helpers, hall monitors, check-in system helpers, teachers, and anyone else who serves the children.
Expectations of all Workers
All nursery workers share a responsibility for loving the children as Christ loves them and for setting an example of proper Christian conduct in the way they live their lives.
Training and Screening Procedures
- All workers must be members of CC.
- All workers must fill out and turn in an application form (Appendix B) as well as pass a background check before serving in the nursery in any capacity.
- Workers must consent to social media checks and reference checks.
- Workers must be approved by the Elders of CC before serving in the nursery.
Expectations for Nursery Settings
- The Two-Adult Rule: Every nursery must have a minimum of 2 adults who are not married to each other.
- Visibility: The nursery doors will remain locked during the service as long as there are windows on the doors for accountability.
- Discipline: Nursery workers will encourage and motivate the children to sit quietly, raise their hand, and participate safely. If a child is not responding or is misbehaving in a way that could bring themselves harm or harm to another person, the parents will be contacted and required to pick up their child. No corporal punishment will be administered even if the parents/guardian give permission.
- Food and Drink: Parents will be required to specify any allergies or food preferences in the Planning Center Check-In App discussed below. Volunteers will check the notes from parents before offering food or drink to the children. Unless otherwise noted, 0–3-year-olds will be given water and crackers and will occasionally be offered candy and other snacks.
Protective Rules and Safety Guidelines
Safety and Wellness: Only female volunteers will change diapers. Children with green/yellow runny noses, diarrhea, vomiting, eye/skin infections, communicable diseases/infections, or fevers will not be allowed into the nursery. Toys and equipment will be sanitized after all the children have been picked up.
Check-in and Check-out Process: CC utilizes the Planning Center Check-In App. Parents can check in their children through the Church Center App and then print stickers at the check-in table before the nursery begins. Parents must show their sticker to the check-out volunteer before picking up their children (The code on their stickers must match). If the sticker system is not working for some reason or a parent loses their sticker, they must show a driver’s license or some form of ID to prove that their first and last name matches the name in the system. Parents must give permission for another guardian to drop off or pick up their children by adding them to the Check-In App. Under no circumstances can a child be checked out by someone not listed in their family’s household information in the Check-In App. Children must remain in the nursery with the workers until the proper guardian properly checks them out.
Restroom Procedures: Workers will make sure no one is currently using the restroom before sending the children into the restroom. A worker will wait outside the door. Under no circumstances will children who are in the nursery be permitted to go to the restroom by themselves.
Emergency Response Plan and Evacuation Procedures: In the case of a tornado or natural disaster, the workers will have the children sit in a designated location. Then, the children will remain there as they wait to be picked up by their parents/guardian with the matching sticker. In the case of an active shooter, nursery workers will keep their doors locked and use their phones to alert the police and other members of the church. If there is a fire, the nursery workers will lead all the children to the parking lot or another safe place outside and call another CC member to inform them of their location.
Prevention Plan for Child Neglect and Abuse
CC takes an active approach to preventing child neglect and abuse by having annual trainings where nursery workers are equipped to recognize a potential predator. CC also invites all parents to attend these meetings so that they can be trained in how to prepare their children to recognize and tell their parents about a predator. CC will always prioritize the safety and well-being of the victim over the offender no matter how repentant the offender may seem. True repentance will accept the consequences of sin and invite accountability and boundaries to prevent future temptation. CC will also follow the church discipline plan as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and the By-Laws of the Church.
Reporting and Response Plan for Child Neglect and Abuse
Staff members or nursery workers must report abuse or neglect to a CC Elder as soon as there is reasonable suspicion.
A CC Elder, or designated person, will call CPS or JPD within 36 hours of receiving the report and will document the name of the receiving officer. The staff member or nursery worker who reported the allegation to a CC Elder will be encouraged to be present while the Elder calls the authorities. Where possible, all CC Elders will be present.
- MS Statewide Child Protection Hotline: 1-800-222-8000
At least one CC Elder will connect the victim and the victim’s family to a counselor who specializes in abuse/neglect. This counselor, if available, may be one of the elders of CC.
The Elders will assign a member of CC to be an advocate for the victim and the victim’s family. The advocate will be responsible for mediating between the family and the Elder Board, check in on the family periodically so that they do not feel forgotten, schedule meals and babysitting in case the parents need to attend court hearings, etc.
How the Church Handles Sexual Offenders Who Regularly Attend or Join the Church
If a known offender attends CC, a chaperone will be assigned to the offender and will shadow the offender while he/she is on CC property. The offender will not be allowed to serve in the nursery under any circumstances. The Elder Board will contact the offender’s parole/probation officer and the local prosecutor’s office to find out the specific terms of his or her parole or probation and make it very clear to the offender that CC will abide by the law. If the offender continues to attend, the parents of CC will be informed through electronic means so they can decide what level of supervision is appropriate in protecting their children. The offender must agree to guidelines and prohibitions in order to continue attending the church.
A Duty to Warn Policy
If an adult abuses a child at church, the Elders will inform every known school, church, and organization in which the abuser is involved.
Warning Signs of Physical Abuse in Children
- Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
- Is always watchful and “on alert” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
- Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
- Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
Warning Signs of Neglect in Children
- Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
- Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor).
- Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
- Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
- Trouble walking or sitting.
- Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
- A sexually transmitted disease (STD) or pregnancy, especially under the age of fourteen.
- Runs away from home.
 Families were often together for worship in ancient Israel. For examples, see 2 Chronicles 20:13 (“all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.”); Joel 2:15-16 (“Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants.”) (Underlining added for emphasis). Even in the First Century church, whole families remained together for worship. When Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church was first read to that assembly, he assumed that children were present since he addresses commands directly to them. Ephesians 6:1.
 While daily family worship should be the goal, it also should not be enforced slavishly or legalistically. Times of sickness, work schedules, and other circumstances can interfere with family worship — you don’t need to feel guilty if something interferes with family worship. Simply get back to it as soon as you can and be as consistent as possible.