This past Sunday my family visited a nearby church that had been recommended to us from some people that work with our organization. We were excited to worship in our mother tongue since that isn't always the case where we live and we also were excited that they have a nursery/Sunday school that we could send our two year old to so we both could enjoy worship.
After we worshipped corporately through song it was time to take the children to their class. I made my way with the other parents as a first time guest and found the appropriate room for my son. Walking in the room I noticed that nothing had been set up, it was just two big boxes that contained foam mats and some toys. This wasn't a big deal, but it did seem strange for the children to arrive at the same time the adults did to set up the room for a church that holds two services. It was also strange that I had to introduce myself first before my son and I were even acknowledged.
Next I looked at the lady who appeared to be in charge with a diaper and wipes in my hand and said, "Hopefully you will not need this, but just in case here is a diaper and wipes." To my surprise her response, "We don't really change them, we just let them stay however they are until the end of service, unless it really offends (smells bad) us." I smiled and said, "Okay, well here is my number, you can text me if he needs to be changed and I will come and do it."
We really enjoyed the service, most likely because I did not fill my wife in on the nursery situation. As the service ended I went to pick up my son along with all the other parents. I opened the door to the nursery to see the room filled with many children of all ages. This was no big deal, but made it more difficult as I was looking around the room for my son. Then it happened, every first time guest worst nightmare. The lady in charge looked at me nervously and said, "Oh no, we must have gotten distracted when the older children came in here, it looks like your son and another boy his age escaped the room, which was five minutes ago."
Now, anyone who is a parent of a two year old, especially an active one like my son, knows how much ground they can cover in five minutes. Oh yeah, the nursery room was right off a staircase in a five story building that is full of many dangerous objects. So yes, they lost my son on our first visit, but thankfully he had been recovered the next floor down by some kind lady who was walking him back up to the room.
Is this a first time guest worst nightmare? Most likely. Especially for those who are not within the body of Christ and are skeptical about leaving their children with some random stranger. So my point is that if your church is going to offer/provide services such as Sunday school then you need to make sure that the workers are equipped to do a superb job where the guest can rest assured, not return to their child being lost in the midst of a five story building. And believe it or not, a nursery experience can make it or break it for a family when visiting a church.