3. Being a mom has made me a hospitable pastor
The first Sunday at a new church I walked into the nursery to leave my toddler, and she ran to a pile of raggedy stuffed animals. She grabbed and kissed and wiped her nose all over them. There was a dusty collection of toys, puzzles with missing pieces, and little lambs peeling off the border on the wall. It didn’t take long before I realized no one was coming to staff the room.
First impressions are hard to shake, and most people list “children’s area” as one of the top reasons they’ll return to a church next week. As a mom, I have a special radar for all of the ways we might be attracting or scaring away young families. As our church works to be a welcoming community, focused on growing our own disciples, I am able to advocate for nursery care and intergenerational worship. I have been able to offer hospitality to a young nursing mom at a funeral service, and visit a new mom in the hospital where I knew just the right questions to ask.
I have been able to see holes in the system that would most likely go unnoticed if I were not a mom. I am bringing attention to the need for child safety policies and a thoughtful scope and sequence for children’s Sunday School. Being in the thick of motherhood, I am aware of just how foundational children’s ministry is to the future of the Church. Not only does this attract young families and impact the lives of children today, but it is also an investment in future disciples and leaders of the Church.
A lot of times, in working to expand God’s kingdom, my girls do a better job. They aren’t influenced by the boundary markers we have put up. They aren’t inhibited by what other’s think. The kingdom belongs to them, and every day they teach me how to be a better member of it, making me a better pastor!
BONUS: When we have new families over to our house for dinner, our girls eagerly await the arrival of new friends! They pull out tricycles and bicycles, doll houses and trains. All the while, I am able to visit with their parent(s).
First published on the Evangelical Covenant Church's Commission for Biblical Gender Equality Blog.