Often I hear people refer to preschool ministry as “nursery” or “child care.” While, yes, we do take care of the children’s physical needs, it is much more than that. The preschool ministry is just as it says. It’s ministry. Beginning in infancy, children experience spiritual growth. Preschoolers need a focused gospel ministry from the very beginning.
From being rocked like a baby to singing praise music as a 5-year-old, preschoolers begin to develop an opinion of who God is, how much He loves them, and how much they need Him. They grow in an understanding of what the Bible is and how we should use it. They develop faith, the faith of a child.
That is why hearing the gospel on a regular basis is so important for preschool aged children. The early years are foundational, so we must build a strong foundation. Within the preschool ministry, it is vital to provide developmentally appropriate ways to nurture spiritual growth. But the gospel truth can’t just end on Sunday mornings. It must go beyond Sunday. Preschoolers need to hear the gospel every day and be shown how to live it out at home.
Did you know:
Babies develop a sense of trust as needs are met consistently and can sense attitudes of love. They learn to associate Gods name with love and confidence and can sense importance related to Jesus and the bible.
1 year old’s begin to make simple choices on their own. They grow even deeper in love and trust and can distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. They can begin to recognize simple pictures of Jesus.
2 year old’s can sit for a short period and listen to Bible stories. They can say “thank you” to God and understand what that means. They can also memorize and sing simple songs about God and Jesus.
3 year old’s can identify Bible stories and characters. They enjoy worship and singing to God. They understand that God, Jesus, the Bible, and church are special and begin to understand consequences of behavior.
4 and 5-year old’s enjoy bible verses and like to retell Bible stories. They recognize that Jesus loves people and helps them in special ways. They ask questions about God and begin to express love for Jesus.
Knowing how preschoolers learn and grow in their understanding of the gospel helps to build on their faith appropriately. Within the preschool ministry, we recognize the importance of preschoolers consistently hearing the gospel and building upon those foundations. Consistency is key. They need to continually hear and see the gospel on Sundays and at home. Don’t wait until you think your child is “old enough” to hear or understand the gospel. Start sharing it with them now. No one is ever too young to hear about the love of Jesus!